Thursday, November 1, 2007

Driving to Lang Son

I am a member of an internet group from the adoption agency we used. It has been a great resource for information and sharing with other parents. And it really helped to make the time go by quicker when we were waiting to get our referral and then waiting to travel. Something happened on it last night involving me that I felt was not very respectful and I feel a little as if I was "spanked" by the headmistress of the school. I am way too old and way to intelligent to be treated that way. What had happened was I had written about my husband and I renting a van to go see the province our baby had been born in. We had our hotel call and make the reservations. We had a driver and an interpreter pick us up (we didn't request an interpreter but the driver didn't speak English so they sent her along) and we went up to Lang Son. We drove up and took pictures as we went. We drove around Lang Son for awhile after we got there and then drove back. We did stop at a restaurant on the side of the road once so the driver and interpreter could eat lunch. End of story. Here is what I posted :

My husband and I wanted to go to Lang Son on our own a few
days after the G & R to see what it was like and take pictures of the
area where our daughter was abandoned. The people at the front desk
at the Melia found a place that would charge us $100 for the trip and
the people at the Somerset found a place that charged $80. The
people that charge $80 picked us up with a driver and an
interpreter. They were great and we were very glad we did it. It
was nice to go back and see the area with Sasha.

Last night there was a statement from one of the head people at the agency:
> I recently heard about a family who had rented a car at their hotel in
> HaNoi and taken an interpreter and gone with their baby to the
> province where their child had been abandoned to find out the history
> of the child. THIS WAS DANGEROUS. The main reason is that in the
> Northern Provinces, it is not unusual for the police to stop cars or
> vans driving foreigners to demand identification and to demand money
> from the drivers. In fact, we have had the experience of a van full of
> families going to their G and R being stopped, unloaded and searched
> by the police on their way to Lang Son province. There is still much
> suspicion of foreigners in some of the provinces. Another REAL danger
> is that if by some small chance, the embassy should get word that you
> were in the area that your child was abandoned they could think that
> you knew or had a relationship with the people or person who found the
> that VietNam is a communist country. So, under no circumstances are
> families to travel on their own while they are in VietNam to do their
> adoption. The exception would be on organized tourist trips or trips
> arranged by the in ###### Staff. If, later, when the adoption is complete
> and you return to VietNam, you wish to do something like this, then it
> would be wonderful to have more information for your child's benefit
> and ######### supports that. But we do not want anything to happen
> that could jeopardize your adoption. Please heed this warning.

Okay, what was that about? We never said we went to find out about our child. Did any of you read that in my post? Who added that part on and why? How crazy would that be for my husband and I to go to the province she was born in and start looking around for information about her? If I had been someone who needed information about her, I would never had SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED AN ABANDONED BABY, which I did. If we had wanted more information about her and thought there was more information to be had, we would have asked our agency if they knew any more. Too silly. Actually, no. Embarrasing to be involved in this. The way it should have been handled was if someone who works for the agency had a problem with my post or anyone else's post, they should email that person directly. If they had emailed me and told me that they had heard a RUMOR that my husband and I had gone searching for information and that they want to make sure people knew it could be a potentially dangerous thing to do to travel in the province for the sake of the adoption, the person who wrote the original email could go back and write another email telling the rest of the people about the danger. One thing my agaency has said again and again is that RUMORS are bad. Hmmmm.... Another thing I want to write, and then be finished with this whole emabarrasing matter, is that if it was dangerous to be traveling to the Northern Provinces, why were we not told that before we travel? And Halong Bay is in on eof the Northern Provinces and that is suggested as a place to visit while there. WHAT? There are many nice vans and cars on the roads to Lang Son and Halong Bay, so we certainly didn't stand out. I know this for a fact because we drove to and from Lang Son three times and to and from Halong Bay. I think after eight times on those roads I know what I am talking about. And I am not sorry I went, I think it will be important to Sasha to see the pictures. I probably would not have gone though, if I had heard it was dangerous from an agency employee.
After seeing the email from the agency clearly written about me I wrote an email to the group explaining that someone had changed my words and added things to it. I knew my email would not be posted writing that the agancy had not handled something in an appropriate way is a NO NO. Let me tell you that when someone writes something that is clearly about you and then you are not allowed to defend yourself, it feels pretty crappy. I feel better now.
One other thing. I don't have any negative feeling toward my agency. I am going to put this down as a mistake and move on. I had a great experience, loved my stay in Vietnam, and have an amazing baby who I cannot beleive I am lucky enough or blessed enough to raise. I just needed to get this out instead of feeling as if I am a young school girl.


Anonymous said...

Sorry you are getting stuck in some WC dramarama. Seriously.

Karen said...

Good for you Stacey! The whole thing is ridiculous and should have been dealt with privately as you said. Visiting the province that your child is from is common place for adoptive families (done ALL the time in China adoptions). The only reason your trip is on the radar is b/c Vietnam adoptions are on the radar & perhaps certain agencies also. I too, had a good experience with our agency but all the censorship is BS!

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacey, I found your blog after reading another blog. My husband and I are close to getting a referral for an infant girl (hopefully from Nam Dinh) and we live in Huntington Beach. It would be great to meet someone else who has adopted from Vietnam and for my daughter to have a friend that came from the same background. You can e-mail me at
Blessings to you and your family.

charisa said...

When we were in China for our 2nd daughter we went to the spot were she was left to be found. It was a very valuable experience and we are so glad we have pictures of her village. Don't feel bad, I had my hand slapped too by our agency for something really stupid. I stay off the boards because I was firmly reprepanded for nothing!
I'm glad you wrote about it.
Glad you are doing well, and- your kids are so cute.