Chapter Forty-Seven

The “Lurking Bulgarians”


    We have mentioned this earlier under the “Wahls’” story.  Upon our return, the ever-faithful Susan Corrigan had forwarded along the following email to us.  

    Make note that this was sent out to every client save Daniel and Elizabeth Case — again.

    As I have mentioned in “The Wahls’ Story,” this email is really nothing but an attempt to gag clients through fear, innuendo and ignorance regarding Bulgarian adoption. It is also an attempt to isolate clients from one another lest they “jeopardize” their adoptions by speaking freely amongst themselves. 

    We call this the “lurking Bulgarians” email. The date on this email is Oct. 4, 2000 — a day before we returned home with Anguel and the same day the “Wahl’s” posted their hurt to the EEAC Bulgaria list.

    Comical as this may seem, many clients unfortunately believed it and actually did what they were instructed to do.  Note that it is titled “Internet Warning”

Dear Families:

It has come to our attention that the Bulgarian government is closely monitoring adoption boards and web sites.  They have even asked individuals to pose as adoptive parents or adoption attorneys to write emails to adoptive families posting on these in which they are asking individuals to divulge all the information about their adoption, their soon-to-be children and their agency.

This information is being taken back to judges, orphanage directors and the ministries.  These government entities are using this information against the adoption agencies, families and attorneys who are helping these children.

Recently some judges have used posts against parents who are adopting when their court cases come about.  The judges can then start causing delays by asking for more paperwork or coming up with excuses not to hear the cases.  It is important that you do not express any information about your case publicly or by email to anyone you personally do not know.  Just because you have an email conversation with someone who claims to be using your same agency or going to the same orphanage, it does not mean this person is being honest.  Please be aware and be careful!

All information we send you as an agency is private, and we hope you will keep all information we provide you to yourself in order to help us show the Bulgarian government that we are working with them and not against them.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.  Denise and the BB Staff

    “Be careful indeed”!  Be careful of paranoid adoption agencies worrying about their clients spilling information. 

    Hmm. I missed all those emails from those fellow fake BBAS families who claimed to be adopting from Burgas.  We missed the judges seeing our posts on the Internet.  We missed dishonesty from our fellow adoptive parents (oh wait — there was one — see “When Clients Attack”).  I must have missed fellow adoptive parents freely sharing information about where our cases stood and what Ministries our dossier was in. 

    To say this email is insulting to clients’ intelligence is an understatement.  Butt-covering yes.  Lurking Bulgarians, no.

    What was this really all about? More treachery?  More silencing techniques?  More guilt to the Wahls?  

    A warning to stay away from Daniel and Elizabeth Case now that Anguel was home?

    For a long time we merely suspected this was the case. But in spring 2003, thanks to having put this website up, we got confirmation.

    Yet another former BBAS client, whom we had been in touch with prior to bringing Anguel home but had abruptly broken that contact off shortly thereafter (although we noted that she occasionally posted to some of the mailing lists we frequented), emailed us one fine morning after she had read our site and gotten caught up on us and what had happened.

Don't know if you remember me, but I am another BBAS client, who was very unsatisfied with the agency and Denise.  You and I use to correspond before Denise lied to me and told me that if I continued to correspond with you, it was going to disrupt the adoption process of our daughter.  That was November, 2000.  I was terrified to send you an e-mail, fearful that you may have even been a part of BBAS's schemes.  That was how paranoid Denise made us.

     As it happened, I was on vacation at the time so Dan wrote back. He was pleasantly surprised to hear from this woman after so long, but what really threw him was the second sentence. He asked her in his reply if Denise had explicitly mentioned us.

    She wrote back later that same morning:

... I have my diary in front of me, dated November 14, 2000, and this is what I wrote word-for-word:     "Denise called me at work to tell us we are one of 30 families named by the Cases as people complaining about BBAS and the Bulgarian government.  The Cases filed a formal complaint with the Bulgarian government.  [Husband] and I had to compose a letter fighting this, and Denise will be meeting with the officials over there on December 2 to smooth things over.  This is not good for our case, but Denise says she can fix it."
Furthermore, I remember writing this "letter" I mention above, and we had to write how we have no problems with Denise, BBAS, the Bulgarian government, our adoption, etc.  It was the most painful thing we ever wrote, because it was all false.  We consulted with our attorney about it, and he advised us what to write.  Denise told us that if we didn't write the letter, our adoption would not go through.  We had to re-write the letter 2 or 3 times to include what Denise wanted.  At the time, we didn't know if what she was saying to us was true, or if she was just trying to cover her ass.  Anyways, she told us she needed to know everything I had discussed with you guys, and I told her nothing.  Even in my desperation, I would not give her a bit of information.  This was one of the last times I personally spoke with her.  The last time was when she called us to tell us our court approval went through.  That was in January, 2001.  After that day, we only e-mailed each other.  We have not personally spoke since.

    So there we had it. Our complaint to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice must have been taken far more seriously, far more quickly, then we had possibly imagined at the time!

    And in response Denise had made it seem like we had deliberately caused problems for everyone else, trashed us to quite possibly all her clients, and put them all up to lying for her. Now we knew why this woman had suddenly and almost inexplicably dropped out of touch (although we had suspected what actually happened, as it turned out).

    By the way, she had had a difficult time with her adoption as well (surprise!). She and her husband had traveled to Bulgaria for their first visit not long after I had, in November 1999. Yet it wasn’t until May 2001 — 18 months later — that they were able to take their daughter home. And, as you might have expected, Denise had told her it would only take six months at most.


    It didn’t surprise us that Denise had put us on her blacklist, or even threatened her clients. What still did shock us in retrospect was that she had made her clients complicit in covering up for her, doubtlessly holding the adoptions over her head. It wasn’t enough for her to violate every principle she could, she had to drag them into it as well!

    And later on she went even further, writing a half-assed gag order into the contract itself.

    BBAS was still making this woman’s life difficult, believe it or not. At the time she wrote us, she was in the midst of doing post-placements, and by then did not trust Denise to possess her daughter’s personal and confidential information or photos of her.

    She asked us if we knew how to send those reports directly to Bulgaria, bypassing BBAS entirely, and since we had that information, we sent it along.

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