Monday, 11 November 2013

What happened to our International Adoption?

I haven't updated in a while, as we had to really think about the path we wanted to take and which direction we want to go.

Back in April, we received a letter from our agency in the US asking us to sign and acknowledge that there are difficulties with the DRC Adoption Program for Canadian Families. And, the program may be terminated or delayed at any point and that there would be no reimbursements for families in the process, should this occur.  We were hesitant in signing the document, because they kept confusing the Province of Saskatchewan with Customs and Immigration Canada.  We sort of felt that an agency handling foreign adoptions should know the policies of the countries that their families are from.  Furthermore, it was disheartening that they didn't seem to know the difference between the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Government.

As we're from Alberta, we decided to just ignore this letter and we stayed in the program.  By ignore, I mean, we didn't sign it and send it back.  I had actually called the Director of Alberta Children's Services and had a lengthy discussion about this with her.  She had suggested to make sure that we had all the facts before accepting any matches (i.e. asking for complete and translated medical records, have the abandonment certificate and know who dropped the child off and why, ask for a copy of any birth records, etc.).

So, we continued to wait to see what would happen, as we had already invested so much time in this program.

The third week of September, I had sent an email to the Director of the DRC program with our agency asking whether there were any updates.  She asked me a couple of questions, which I thought she should know, had she ever looked at our file.  Then, that afternoon, she emailed over a photos of a potential match, the most adorable sibling pair.

However, we had many questions about this match and the missing information.
1) Why were there medical records for the girl and not the boy?
2) Why were the documents not translated?
3) The children appeared to be much older than what they were claiming.
4) They believed the children may be siblings, but they had no idea.  I asked for a DNA test or some sort of verification and this is not possible until after we accept and pay for the match ($14000 USD) and then pay for the DNA testing after.
5) There was no record of who dropped the children off at the orphanage.

After reviewing the papers, sending the medical information to a High School Colleague who is a medical doctor and fluent in French, and engaging in a 2 hour conference call with the Director of Alberta Children's Services, we had decided that, should we get some of the missing information (which the agency said they were looking for), we will accept the match gladly.

Then, the agency stopped corresponding with us for a couple of days until, we finally received a BCC email that went out to every family in the program informing us that the program has been shut down for at least 12 months.  This email was sent out at 10 pm on the last Friday of September.  It indicated the decisions to suspend the program went through on the Wednesday and they waited to the weekend to inform the families, whilst their office was closed.

So, we had not accepted the match, did not pay for the match, and the odds were that this would likely never go through, especially since Alberta Children's Services have stopped accepting new applications to adopt from DRC in Spring.  This was absolutely devastating and we were highly disappointed in how this was handled by our agency.  I have to admit, I didn't leave the house the entire weekend.

So...what do we do now?

Bob was leaving for Albania on Tuesday and I was going to be alone for a couple of weeks.  Monday Morning, Bob got on the phone with Alberta Children's Services and discussed our situation and we made the choice to close our International Adoption File.

I had then contacted our agency and asked for them to send our dossier back to us via Fed Ex and close our case.  They didn't ask any questions and we received our file back 3 days later with all of our paper work.

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