Families left scrambling after sudden closure of adoption agency
Published Friday, November 15, 2019 8:49PM PST
VANCOUVER - It's been a difficult month for Beau Thompson and Kory Victor.
Just when the Vancouver couple had finally satisfied all the requirements of a Victoria adoption agency, that agency suddenly went silent.
"We just didn't know what was going on and we had to constantly email, Facebook, whatever we could to find out what's going on," Thompson said. "There was nothing."
CHOICES was an independent adoption agency. A previous board voted to shut it down in the spring, but a new board was elected and chose to carry on operations. That lasted until last month, when a "dire financial situation" forced it to close for good.
The agency's financial troubles have translated into financial troubles for families who were in the midst of the adoption process.
"Our family has invested $12,000," said Patricia Pearson, another choices client. "That's very specific to the process, to the program you decide to register in."
The provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development said it has reached out to the families affected by the agency's closure to try to answer their questions about next steps, but it stresses that it doesn't necessarily have those answers yet.
"Under B.C. adoption legislation, the provincial director of adoption licenses B.C.’s adoption agencies," the ministry said in a statement. "Licensed adoption agencies are independent, non-profits responsible for their own funding, operating decisions and the success of their businesses."
The ministry said its priority is "to provide permanent, loving homes for B.C. children in government care."
Those children tend to be school-aged. With the closure of CHOICES, there are now only two private agencies left in B.C. that help would-be parents looking to adopt infants.
Thompson said provincial licencing hasn't helped his family.
"That licencing doesn't seem to mean much, is what it comes down to," Thompson said. "There's just no one watching out for how they're running their business."
"There are a number of families who are going to have to stop the process because they just can't afford to continue," Victor added. "And we might be one of them."
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Penny Daflos