Those of us who have not been through the experience of adopting a child sometimes wonder what motivates the many British Columbians who spend years working their way through the red tape commonly involved in international adoptions.
I got some insight into the source of that determination when reading about the recent closing of the Hope Adoption Services in Abbotsford. One of their clients is Barry Penner, the former Attorney General and four term MLA. Describing his experiences with children in Thailand, Mr. Penner was quoted in the Globe and Mail making this simple observation: “What I expected was that the children would cry when a stranger picked them up. It was the opposite – they cried when you tried to put them down. I wasn’t ready for that.”
Hope is one of only five licensed adoption agencies in B.C. As the Globe writer observed, the agency’s closing is both a blow to prospective parents and an indicator of a possible shift in the landscape of international adoptions. Countries around the world are tightening the rules governing international adoptions, which can aid in reducing questionable adoption practices but raises the cost and delays involved for legitimate agencies and prospective parents.
Hope announced its closing on its website early in January, stating that the Provincial Director of Adoption would be assisting the agency in completing its current files or transferring them to other agencies.
For most of Hope’s existing clients, that likely means more waiting. It would be comforting to believe the difficulties facing agencies like Hope are a result of a decrease in the number of children out there who cry when a stranger puts them down. Sadly, I doubt that it is the case.