Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Becci's Story: Complete chaos and no financial accountability

I was given the recommendation of contacting Giving Hope Rescue Mission (GHRM), with Voice of the Orphan (VOTO) as the placing agency, by a couple of friends. I did some research of the organizations online and found nothing but positive social media.

In August 2012 I contacted VOTO through their website. I got a response back almost within minutes. We were thrilled. After not getting answers from a previous agency we tried to work with, we were suddenly getting answers (on a Sunday no doubt) as well as lots of info (packets on dossier prep, timelines, payment expectations, etc). "AM", the staff contact who was in charge of coordinating families wanting to adopt, was so great in getting back to me. We were told that the Haitian adoption fees would be $12,000 per child (half due up front), plus U.S. side fees, passport fees (originally listed as $1,500-2,500/child in our contract) and monthly sponsorship fees of $300/child. We were sent a contract with those fees outlined.

Immediately after this contact I was added to the private VOTO facebook group for adoptive families. 

I spent hours reading as much of the group history as I could, wanting to know more about the creche & agency we had just signed on with. I thought it was great that they had such personal contact with all the parents through a private FB group. As I looked through the history of the page I noticed several posts about deaths at Giving Hope Rescue Mission creche, but thought “this is Haiti, I guess this is normal”. 

All of the posts made the creche look amazing. Happy pictures of kids, pictures of parents with kids, and stories advertising all that Heather Elyse had done for the kids and the adoption community. I also noticed quite a few posts by Heather talking about how “bad” other agencies were, or other people in Haiti (a "wiccan" lawyer, scamming agencies, parents that had done something "evil" to the creche, or had spoken poorly of Heather or the creche). I thought “Wow, Heather is really great and she sure is persecuted!”. (Of course I now realize that only Heather and a few other people were allowed to begin threads on the group and so adoptive parents were not allowed to post difficult questions or debate an issue.) 

I commented on a few posts, saying how excited I was to be a part of Voice of the Orphan and Giving Hope Rescue Mission, and asking a few questions here and there. 

Then without warning I was removed from the group & given the reason that I didn’t have my dossier submitted yet. I thought this was a huge violation of privacy for all involved families if the group was only meant for people with dossiers in and I had been let in accidentally. But decided that it was a unique mistake that was for my own good, so that I could have a glimpse into how great GHRM/VOTO was. I inquired about being removed so suddenly and got a short response from a staff person/fellow adoptive parent, "SH", saying that “I shouldn’t have been added to it.” That was it. I thought it was abrupt and rude, but figured maybe it was just a personality thing.

On August 28th 2012, I was contacted directly by Heather Elyse. I thought it was amazing that the director of the creche, herself, was contacting me. I had read that she had 180+ kids she was caring for, as well as 10 adopted kids of her own, and a large staff. I couldn’t help but think, “How does she have time for me?” I also thought all she juggled seemed too good to be true. I wondered how it was possible, and I asked several people involved with Voice of the Orphan. Nobody had an answer for me. They just all said “she is amazing”.

Heather stated that the reason she was calling me was to let me know that the homestudy agency we had contracted in our state (see this link for an explanation of the homestudy) was not following adoption laws (!) and that they were refusing to cooperate with her. 

I was surprised because this homestudy agency had such a great reputation in our home state of Illinois and came so highly recommended by all we knew, so I contacted them and they stated that Voice of the Orphan was not a licensed adoption agency and therefore they could not submit our homestudy to Voice of the Orphan.

I was surprised to say the least, but I had a huge ‘back and forth’ between VOTO and our Homestudy agency. Voice of the Orphan (AM & Heather) kept promising that Voice of the Orphan was licensed, but just not on the Illinois’ list, yet, because they hadn’t gotten their paperwork in the mail (and they "weren’t Hague accredited yet because Haiti wasn’t ratified into the Hague Convention yet”.) Read here to see issues related to Voice of the Orphan's licensing.

After nearly 3 weeks, the Homestudy agency flat out refused to work with Voice of the Orphan to facilitate our adoption through Giving Hope Rescue Mission, stating that they needed to protect children and felt that VOTO was not a good agency to work with. Primarily because they weren’t a certified agency, nor on the Illinois licensed agencies list. 

Heather kept stating to me that she had never had a problem in Illinois before and that she had done at least 6 adoptions (see email screenshot above) in Illinois.

Later I came to find out that none of those Illinois adoptions had been completed yet. 

Heather gave me the name of an Illinois social worker who would do the Homestudy in a non-hague manner (a different style of homestudy) and get us approval using Tim Rowe, President of Voice of the Orphan, as the independent attorney.

I was told in August that IBESR (Haitian ministry that oversees adoption) would reopen Aug 13th 2012 until Sept 30th 2012, and that we had until Sept 15th to get our adoption dossier to Haiti. Staff of VOTO (managed by Heather) assured me SEVERAL times that it would be no problem to get everything done. I kept asking her how that was possible as our new Homestudy wasn’t even started yet, and we knew it would take at least 4 weeks to finish it. She just kept telling me “It’s possible”, really getting our hopes up. We had everything we needed for our dossier, except the approved Homestudy. Because we were doing an independent adoption now (using Tim Rowe), we had to re-do our Homestudy completely (and pay for it again, too). We also had to re-do our whole dossier. This was costly and time consuming. And confusing.

We got final word after October 1st 2012 that our Homestudy was nearing completion. A phone call from VOTO stated “Quick get your stuff down here, there’s a good chance we can still get you in!” I told them that our homestudy wasn't ready yet but they said to send the rest of the adoption dossier, they would submit it, and could slip in the homestudy later.

I rushed and pushed people to get things done faster. Later, I felt bad for being pushy and short with so many people (especially our first Homestudy agency, who had supposedly "broken adoption laws"). I ran around getting all of our stuff done in 1 day: notaries, certifications, and apostilles. We even drove 5 hours round trip (with 2 sick kids in the car) to Michelle See’s house (cofounder of Giving Hope Rescue Mission) in Indiana to drop the papers  off so we could get them to Haiti “in time”.

A few days later I got a casual email from Heather talking about potential referrals of children for our family (October 13th, 2012). Nothing about IBESR or when we would be matched or submitted to IBESR which supposedly only had a short window opening for adoptions submission.

During our email conversations that night, Heather mentioned bartering for dental work (I am a dentist) for herself and her adopted kids. She actually stated that the kids at the creche get better dental care than her own children.

I was thrilled to be able to help Heather, since one of the reasons I opened my private practice in Chicago was to serve missionary and ministerial families. I was very excited to be a part of something ‘so big’ like VOTO/GHRM. We went back and forth about 10 times that night talking about kids, referrals, dental work, etc. I was excited to have such personal contact with her. Before she finalized our “choice for our referral” she stopped it short and said she needed to focus on her kids and that she was “confused”. She stated she would do a “convo” with me on Monday, gave me her number and said we would go over each of the kids on the ‘waiting to be adopted page’ over the phone “because that would be easiest”.

Monday came and went. We were still waiting on pins and needles to receive our child referral and be submitted to  IBESR. Especially after the huge rush of document preparation. I tried texting her and calling her. No answer.

After that we received a referral by email for a sibling set of 2 children without any further notice/discussion. We were a little surprised (especially since they were older than we had talked about), but excited. 

The referral had very little in it. Names, a picture and birth dates that weren’t correct. Supposedly they were brother and sister, but the dates were only 5 months apart.

We contacted AM, our ongoing contact with Voice of the Orphan, and she said she would get a correct birthdate for the little girl for us from Heather, that they “must have entered it incorrectly”. 

I inquired further about payments, delays to the process, missing information from the referral, etc. Michelle, the cofounder of GHRM, offered me her personal number, stating that I could ask her anything. I called her, but she didn’t have any more solid information about the siblings, nor did she have any information on whether we had been submitted to IBESR (never stating that we were in no way getting at that time because IBESR was closed & they didn’t have a way to get us in). 

I asked her via email when our sibling set arrived at the creche and she couldn’t give me a direct answer about that either. She said “sometime in June/July when I was there”. 

We thought this was all very strange that such little information was passed along (as friends adopting internationally had gotten medical histories, abandonment stories, etc.) 

We were supposed to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives based on two names and a picture, with incorrect birth dates?!

And then the fact that they didn’t have such pertinent information like the date that the kids arrived at the creche?

The only excuse we were given was that it was hard to get the information from Haiti to the states and “VOTO didn’t have the access to all the information at GHRM." Except Heather was running GHRM and was clearly able to post on facebook regularly from Haiti... 

AM told me “We are implementing a new computer system so that we will have direct access to the information Haiti has, and there won’t be any delays in accessing it when we need it.” I couldn’t help but think that relevant information to children’s referrals was a hugely important thing. Something that should be in order before giving out the referral.

October 29th 2012 I requested the missing birth date again. I also asked several other questions, including specifics of payment plans (as Heather had promised we could work something out and that we could barter dental work for our adoption). I emailed Heather and another staff person. I got a return email from Heather's assistant who said she would pass along my financial questions to Heather. We never heard anything regarding finances  & payment plans after that.

In the beginning of December 2012 we were contacted about our initial payment due ($6,000). We asked about the payment plans that had been mentioned before. We were shuffled between staff. On December 4th we got a response from Michelle See (cofounder of Giving Hope Rescue Mission): “We will work out a payment plan with you, so there aren't any set dates for payments until we work out what is best for you.”

We decided to begin fundraising for the adoption payments. We wanted to make sure that if people donated to our adoptions we could properly thank them so we asked how records were kept and where our friends and family should donate. 

This was Michelle’s response to that: “We do have some people that have churches or friends and family supporting them monthly.  If they donate to Room for Grace, the. It will be applied to your monthly sponsorship.  If they send a check to VOTO, it will be applied to the adoption cost.  Both are tax deductible, you would just need to decide where you want people to send the money.” 

We started informing our friends and family that we were adopting. We were hesitant because we still had no “proof” that we were in the adoption process. No signature on our contract by VOTO. No paperwork showing that we were officially in pre-IBESR as we had been promised. No receipts of donations. But we had photos and the basic information about these two children and decided to move forward. We asked for support from friends and family because we had no reason to suspect that the adoption wouldn't happen.

We set up a blog so they could follow our adoption journey. We were excited. Our son began talking about how his “brother and other sister” would have ‘this seat and that seat’ in the car, and ‘this seat and that seat’ at the dining room table, and how they would share bunk beds. I asked him one time who he wanted to invite over for his birthday party, and he said “Just A & V” (our sibling set). He was so excited to have them be a part of our family.

Communication after that was minimal. We asked for a list of donations received and got this message from "SH" who was in charge of finances:

“yes, you will get an email for any donations that are made via our web based systems (for both VOTO and Room for Grace).  If someone mails a check, the system is a little less reliable for notifications.  In that case, they will be included in a summary when payments are due, but you will not receive an email - that's why we prefer electronic donations! Yes, this donation will be applied to your monthly support costs once you are actively matched.  If that does not occur it will be used for the general operation fund of the creche.”

After this we received nothing else. We believed ourselves to be "actively matched" with "A" and "V." We had no reason to believe otherwise.

We sent our finalized homestudy to Hait in December of 2012. Believing that the rest of our documents were approved, in Pre-IBESR and our file was simply waiting for the homestudy to be "slipped in" in order to be submitted to IBESR

IBESR reopened in the beginning of January 2013 and we waited with excitement for news that our adoption had been submitted. Apparently we didn’t get in (we never got any official word...just ‘no response’). When I contacted Heather she said we weren’t through pre-IBESR. I asked why not since our dossier had been there almost a month, and we were told previously it only took ~2 weeks. She said she would check on it. 

Then January 19th, 2013 we were sent an email asking if we had sent in our finalized HS! The homestudy we had sent 5 weeks prior! 

At this point I was scared that they may have not gotten it & all our personal information was lost somewhere. 

I was grieving that this entire time we had been hoping about IBESR entrance, nothing had actually been done. 

The dossier "coach" NB emailed me after I confirmed that the homestudy had been sent 5 weeks earlier. She stated that it was received. 

We were so discouraged that nothing had been done in the meantime.

Then on January 22, 2013 we were contacted by AM asking us for a meeting. We emailed her back on January 24, 2013 stating that we would be happy to phone conference with them any time that next week. We tried to repair what suddenly seemed to be a rocky relationship by apologizing for asking questions and assuring VOTO that we were happy with their work.

At the end of January 2013 we spoke with Michelle and AM. They were very direct and said that we needed to pay $6000 immediately if we wanted to adopt "A" and "V." [Again, apparently we weren’t anywhere near being submitted to IBESR, but nobody had bothered to tell us that or contact us, and left our hopes up the whole time.] 

We asked about the payment plan Michelle had previously promised us. We were told that that was “for after the initial payment”. 

We asked about the dental work and bartering and were told “that was for later, after the work was actually performed” (Heather never responded to me when I tried to set it up.) 

We were also given the total number (not the breakdown of donations like we had been asking for, but just a lump sum number) of our donated funds. It was SIGNIFICANTLY less than we thought it should be (& knew it should be). We asked for a list of those who had donated and were told to contact SH. She sent us one email showing one donation and that was all.

We had to make a choice, and we just didn’t have the money that moment. We informed them that we couldn’t come up with the money right then & so we would have to decline. We were so sad. Our son kept asking us when A&V were coming home, and we had to explain to him that we might end up adopting someone else, and that we would have to pray that A&V would go to another safe family. We also had to explain to all of our friends and family why we weren’t adopting the children we had told them about.

And yet, we were not even through pre-IBESR or IBESR so technically our adoption had not even begun. We struggled to understand why so much had to be paid immediately and why the promised payment plan was no longer an option.

We were then offered to switch our referral for a “single child” which would obviously be cheaper. This was a matter of fact email. “Here are your options...” No concern for the emotional factor in any of this. We considered walking away at this point, but didn’t know where else to turn to and Heather/GHRM had our full dossier. We also had great concern about getting donors money back (especially since we still hadn’t gotten any records of donations). We let them know we would have to pray and think about it.

AM then sent us an email with the list of fees again. We found it interesting that they weren't  the same numbers as the original numbers in our original contract with VOTO.

What was requested by us (again) was a list of donors & their donated amounts so we could get a sense for what was raised and how much more money we needed to come up with. We got no response.

We waited and waited and waited for a referral and for information about our donations. Always being promised it was coming.

After roughly a month I texted Heather asking what was going on (since we had been promised several times that we were “next in line for IBESR submission” and that “IBESR was opening soon”) but we didn't yet have a referral. 

She responded that she didn’t know what was going on. She didn’t know what was happening with our funds. She didn’t know anything about our dossier/new referral. She said to us that she had EVERYTHING ready to go into IBESR back in December 2012 but then she was told by VOTO to put our adoption "on hold".

This entire story of miscommunication between Heather and the handful of VOTO women working for her is hard to believe since Heather manages everyone. In fact her assistant's email address is actually Heather's so she sees all emails coming in.

In May 2013 we really started wondering who was telling the truth. It seemed that each agency blamed the other but all staff worked for Heather! I asked about this. Heather told me she was no longer involved with Voice of the Orphan and that she had separated herself completely from them. She said they were mad at her because she would no longer contract with them because VOTO wasn’t licensed. (Previously she had assured me when we signed on that they were licensed.)

Heather said she would get an answer on the donations received for our adoption. She texted us a little later stating we had $6,375 in our account. 

I explained to her that that wasn’t right according to those friends and family that had told us they donated (much less those we didn’t even know of). She said she would look into it further. We never heard anything about our funds after that.

Around this time we got an email regarding a "family weekend." It was the first time families were being allowed to visit their children in Haiti at Giving Hope Rescue Mission since the previous November. 

We still didn’t have a referral. I thought it was weird that we were being invited to come down to Haiti for a family weekend without a referral. 

Then the referral came suddenly, less then 3 days later. 

Again, the referral had just a name, a picture and a birth date. 

48 hours after this we were surprised to receive an email stating that VOTO families had 3 options: 

1. stay with VOTO (but no guarantees the adoptions would happen)
2. go with MLJ, a new partner agency with GHRM
3. Leave and go to another agency 

We didn’t understand why they would set up a family weekend, give us a referral and then send this letter out just 2 days later. We tried to contact Heather (as we were told she would be available via phone all night) & couldn’t get through. We left a message, but didn’t hear from her.

We let VOTO know on the 18th of April that we would move forward with them. We signed an agreement accepting our referral of a little boy, but never got anything from VOTO showing proof of a match. Nothing was ever signed by VOTO. I texted Heather after that asking her about paperwork and IBESR possibilities. She got back to me assuring me she “could be trusted” (stating it several times). She said IBESR was reopening and that she was sure we would get in.

At the end of April I pointedly asked AM if we would be submitted to IBESR if it reopened. AM said “yes”. I even asked if our little boy’s adoption paperwork for IBESR submission was done. She said no, but that it could be submitted with what was there, and that the needed documents could be added later.

While viewing pictures on the FB page I noticed that another family had our previous sibling set attached to their name. I contacted them, asking them about their referral. They excitedly told us what they had received (exactly what we had: 2 names, 2 birth dates-one of which was missing a number, and a picture). I couldn’t help but wonder why they still didn’t have an accurate birth date and how these two could be siblings...

At the beginning of May 2013 several families were entered into IBESR to begin the adoption process in Haiti, but we weren’t one of them. AM told me we should be happy though because our dossier was no longer “sitting at GHRM”, but rather “at IBESR”. I asked her what that meant (since we didn’t get in...where exactly was it ‘sitting’?) and she said that there was a good chance it would be accepted, we just had to wait. We didn’t hear anything for the next week.

I then asked Heather what happened (why we didn’t get into IBESR, even though we met all the requirements.) I asked her directly why we weren’t submitted and she said we weren’t ready because our son's paperwork wasn’t done. I asked why not, since they had had nearly a month. She told me it takes much longer than that. 

I told her what AM had said about being able to submit to IBESR with what was available and add more documents later. She said that wasn’t true and that without a complete file they couldn’t submit it. Again, inconsistencies.

At the beginning of June 2013 we were growing so weary of this emotional rollercoaster. I got an abrupt phone call from NB, the dossier coach, stating that they had a “source” who could get us into IBESR, but that they could only do it for 6 kids and that if we wanted this opportunity to finally get into IBESR we would need to pay $3000 extra dollars within 48 hours. If we didn’t want the spot, then she would call the next family on the list, as there were limited spots. I was appalled. 

We didn’t have the money, and had to say no. She said “ok, bye”. And that was it. I contacted Heather via phone immediately. I was so upset that we were being treated like that. 

Heather said that she couldn’t believe that VOTO/NB was treating families like that and that they shouldn’t have. She apologized and said she didn’t know why they were handling it like that and that if we didn’t have the money to tell them to “just bill us”. (However, we now know after talking to a staff member that it WAS Heather, herself, giving the directions on what to do.)

I contacted NB back immediately (not wanting to lose out on 1 of those 6 spots) and told her to please count us in and to “bill us”. 

After this we received more emails stating that personal emergencies happened and that we weren’t submitted and that the date was being moved back. Throughout June we kept hearing “later”. By the end of June we decided as a family that we just couldn’t handle the inconsistencies and decided to try other options. Our family life was being impacted by this constant state of confusion.

At this point we contacted Heather (early in July 2013) and asked her what our options were. We didn’t hear back from for a couple of days, so I emailed her again. Heather responded telling me there were the same 3 options as those offered in April (see screenshot from Michelle above.) 

BUT, she said that if we left VOTO we couldn’t take our referral with us. Meaning that the little boy we were now waiting for could never be ours to adopt. (This was not at all the tone of the options given in April...) She said that we could get a refund back minues $2000 for the child’s adoption paperwork preparation. (IN APRIL 100% REFUND WAS PROMISED). She also said that she was confident Wesmin would get us in to IBESR, but that they were just “waiting out the storm”. 

On July 10th 2013 VOTO sent out the letter stating that there was a hold on renewing the GHRM creche license & that there were several "accusations" against them. We decided at this point (with everything else we had going on in our lives and what we had experienced so far) that we would walk away. 

I texted AM on July 14th, requesting to cancel our adoption. She forwarded our request to Tim Rowe and Michelle See on July 15th. During this time, one of the generic emails AM sent to all the current adoptive families that had not gotten submitted to IBESR stated that they would do full refunds, minus $3000 for the child’s paperwork. (NOT zero or $2000 like in previous promises)...again, more inconsistencies.

Because we never received a complete donor list (or any list for that matter) from VOTO we decided to send out a generic email to all of our friends, family and colleagues (VERY EMBARRASSING!) stating that we were having some issues with our adoptions and would no longer be using the agency that we were with. 

We had to explain that one of the reasons was their incomplete record keeping and ask that if our friends had donated that they let us know and send a request for a refund to Tim Rowe, President of Voice of the Orphan in Indiana. We immediately starting getting emails in, stating that friends had donated, and asking us where to send the requests for refunds. We were shocked at the number of our friends who had donated, and felt so bad that we never acknowledged their generosity with thank you notes. Many of our friends emailed Tim Rowe right away (and CC’d us with it).

We didn’t hear anything from anyone at VOTO for a couple days so we emailed Tim, Michelle, Heather and AM (on July 17th) requesting our dossier be returned to us within a week (the dossier being worth a lot of money and representing a lot of our time) as well as donations to our adoption returned to our donors. I called Tim Rowe directly & left him a message. We played phone tag, and I finally spoke with him on the 21st. 

He asked me to voice my concerns in writing & let me know that it could be up to 30 days before I got my dossier back. 

I sent him an email on July 26, stating that I was concerned with the financial records (or there lack of) of VOTO and GHRM. I still, to date, had not gotten full records of who donated for us. I also informed him that 30 days was too long to wait for a dossier and that there was no reason it should take that long. 

Michelle See emailed me shortly after that stating that our dossier was on its way back to us, however, I didn’t hear anything from Tim (regarding the finances). I emailed him again on the 2nd of August and asked him about our finances. This time I CC’d our lawyer, as I felt that no one was taking our requests seriously at VOTO.

Tim emailed me back immediately stating that they were processing our refunds (for those donors who had requested them) & that they should be returned within 30 days. However, we still had no idea who all of our donors were, so we were unable to contact them and let them know to contact Tim requesting the refund.

On August 22nd we received an email from a friend of ours stating that she had not received anything back from VOTO (from the request sent back in July) and re-requested the refund only to be told that she had donated to Room For Grace and so VOTO couldn’t help her! (Room for Grace was founded by Heather Elyse, VP of VOTO and the organizations were very much interconnected.) 

My friend was very upset, as was I, that it took a month (and a second request from her) to get the clarification that she hadn’t donated to VOTO, and to forward her request to Room for Grace. 

SH then proceeded to respond to our donor stating that the funds were sent to Room for Grace and not VOTO, so therefore their funds went into a general fund for the care of the children, not towards the our adoption! (WHAT??? This is NOT what Michelle See had stated would happen with funds in her email from December: “We do have some people that have churches or friends and family supporting them monthly.  If they donate to Room for Grace it will be applied to your monthly sponsorship.  If they send a check to VOTO, it will be applied to the adoption cost.  Both are tax deductible, you would just need to decide where you want people to send the money.”) 

Because of this they said they couldn’t refund the money donated. They also stated that no one had ever requested a refund from them, so she wasn’t sure how to do it, if they could.

I then emailed Tim and requested better records of our donors and amounts donated from both Room for Grace as well as VOTO, again CC’ing my attorney. I received a list from him on August 26th, however, it was not a complete list as we had donated a personal check for $75 and that was not listed. We also received an email from SH stating that we had 2 donors who donated to Room for Grace, totaling $200.

I emailed Tim Rowe back stating that this was not a complete list, as we had a $75 check we had personally submitted which didn’t show up on there (but was cashed by VOTO). 

Tim responded with this:

“Thank you for your email and again I apologize for any inconvenience. I checked the records again and did not see any additional donations. I know SH keeps detailed records through a database of all the VOTO donations. To the best of my knowledge what I provided you was a complete list of the VOTO donations. Even though I do not have a record of the 75 dollars you donated, I take you at your word and can refund you 75 dollars if you desire.” 

The cashed check. If VOTO cannot be trusted with small things how can it be trusted with large things? (Posted with Becci's permission - address and bank information no longer current.)

That was it. No acknowledgement of their lack of details in their record keeping. In fact in this email he states that SH is responsible for VOTO’s records, but earlier we were told she was responsible for Room for Grace’s. 

Is she responsible for both? If so, why all the hassle to get a complete list of our donors and donations from both agencies? I am very concerned about their poor record keeping, and us not truly knowing if all our donors were accounted for. 

This mess cost us so much time and emotional energy!

To date we have never gotten an official record of donors. We have not gotten a complete record of all donations, nor have all of our donors gotten their money refunded. We have also never gotten any paperwork for any of our adoption agreements. We have decided to voice our concerns publicly, because although we walked away from our referral, there are still many children involved, and we want to make sure that they are taken care of and other families do not go through what we did this past year. 

With all the risks currently involved we have decided to walk away. We are fortunate that we didn’t spend thousands of dollars on visitation with our kids, that we didn't pay $700 (the fee Heather charges for families to see their kids) to visit them during the May "parents weekend". We didn't get emotionally attached in person. 

But we lost a lot of money on preparing our homestudy and dossier, we grieve that we may never adopt from Haiti, and we are heart broken at the number of families stuck in the middle and the children who are without forever families. Or matched with families that may never bring them home.

And we are really disgusted that we wasted a year of our lives trying to to work with Voice of the Orphan and Giving Hope Rescue Mission.