Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/7/2009 (2892 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Public opinion on the bankruptcy, expressed in chat rooms, on blogs, and in the media, has been mixed. Some worry about the children in Ethiopian orphanages who may not have adequate care, and some people are concerned for the adoptive families who have waited so long and were ready to bring their adopted child to Canada.
Others are highly critical. They accuse families of buying babies, wonder why they don't adopt in Canada when so many children are in need here, and remark that families adopt internationally because it is trendy or because they are wealthy.
Firstly, Canada and countries such as Ethiopia are part of The Hague convention whereby each country must demonstrate it has attempted to adopt a child nationally and then follow all of the convention's rules regarding international adoption. These rules serve to protect children from child trafficking. Buying babies is not allowed. Secondly, most adoptive families have attempted a domestic adoption but the road blocks have led them to view international adoption as a more viable option.
Last year in Manitoba there were 41 children adopted through the public system, many of whom were adopted by their foster families, and 11 children adopted through private adoption agencies. Domestic adoption in Manitoba is nearly impossible, and most certainly improbable. Birth mothers are much more likely now than in past years to parent rather than place their baby for adoption. Many children in the public system are either returned home, remain in foster care (but are not placed for adoption), or are cared for by extended family members, greatly limiting the number of children available for adoption.
Another roadblock is that Manitoba families must make a difficult choice when deciding which adoption path to follow. According to Manitoba law, you cannot have a domestic and an international adoption file open at the same time, forcing adoptive families to close one door in order to open another. This is not true in provinces such as British Columbia and Alberta.
If the choice is international adoption, it is an arduous process for families. A home study must occur, which includes fingerprints, medical reports, letters to the foreign ministry, references, police checks, and child abuse registry checks. Once the home study is approved, a letter from the province goes forward to the foreign agency. Then families wait, sometimes for years, to receive a child referral.
There are also long court proceedings and visa approvals from Canadian immigration. Families pay thousands of dollars for the legitimate work of social workers, lawyers and public officials, and many take out second mortgages and loans to cover their costs.
The process is not sexy or glamorous and these families are not high rollers. They just want to be parents.
Janice Brisebois is the vice-chair of Friends of Adoption Manitoba