Although we began our relationship with Deaconess with high hopes, we encountered huge disappointment, pain, stress, and years of wasted time. With each negative experience, we chose to persevere with patience and grace and didn’t complain at the time because we thought we were enduring with a purpose. We chose to look past the indiscretions and the disrespectful attitudes all with the goal of holding our baby someday. I think that it is a great disrespect that our grace and patience was met with such cruel and inconsiderate treatment. I kept track of a few of the events that I viewed as the most egregious along our journey and I have wrote them below to show a little of why I feel so strongly wronged.
We had numerous complications involving home study process and finally becoming activated that extended our waiting time much longer than I think anybody involved had expected. There was an email in which Deaconess admitted that most of the delays had been their fault and that they were sorry but still required the full amount of money to be paid. Multiple times we were told that we didn’t need to feel out certain forms and then later we were told the exact opposite. It seemed there was a grave lack of organization and communication and this interaction went on for quite some time.
We had a very uncomfortable home study experience. The worker who came to our home asked my husband if he “parented out of fear” after him telling a story of him helping with a family member being a single mom and needing a man’s voice to help her kids cooperate. The story was told in an effort for Deaconess to see how we interact with our community of people and love on those around us but instead if was interpreted negatively and seen as a tactic of aggression and hostility. We should have seen this as a first indication that we were being misunderstood.
I missed a phone call from a worker that was asking us if she could show our profile. I didn’t get the message till the opportunity had passed and we were disappointed. My husband called and asked why they didn’t call his number also to which they replied something related to the fact that “Mommy’s usually know first if they are expecting a baby”. Once a family has come to the point that private adoption is part of their story, they may have endured losses and heartbreaks relating to this topic that are unfathomable and there is no way that the worker understood any of this when they made this statement. The insensitivity to this very probably pain showed an extreme lack of understanding what the costumers are feeling and at best, a lack of training pertaining to the field of adoptions.
After requesting some paperwork for a grant application, we were sent personal documents from another family in an email. When I brought this mistake to their attention, they then requested that I destroy the documents. I’m sure they had no idea of their error until I brought it up but just the fact that this could have happened so carelessly is concerning. I would be horrified to know that our personal information was given out without our consent to another family.
After telling us that our profiles were being shown to expectant mothers, we had to make numerous phone calls to hear the status of the decision despite the promise that they would keep us updated. These times of waiting were nerve-wracking as our future and hopes were held in the balance.
After waiting for almost a year, we were finally called to say that a mother had picked us and wanted to meet us. We had a very awkward match meeting in which we were watched by two different workers. We had no coaching as to what was expected from us at this time or how we were supposed to act. I was later told that most of what I said during this meeting was misinterpreted by the Deaconess staff as offensive but I think that this was just another instance of the relationship we had started with Deaconess over a year ago. After the meeting they told me in an email that I had been offensive in a response that I wrote to our worker asking her if I had done okay and how it had gone. Our worker didn’t write me back, instead had one of her bosses write the response. The response to our email seemed escalated and the words written did little to encourage any hope at all. My husband emailed and called multiple times to inquire as to the details of my offenses and our failures but was unable to receive a reply or speak to anybody on the phone. We received the email telling us of the agency firing us toward the end of the day, right before I drove home from work.
I am shocked at the terrible treatment we received and I want to warn as many potential adopting parents as possible about the awful way we were treated!