Families left in limbo as Vancouver Island’s only adoption agency closes its doors

WatchThe news came as a blow to 140 families waiting to adopt a child. On Friday night, an email informed them that Vancouver Island's only adoption agency abruptly closed its doors. For months, Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling struggled to remain open. But Mary Griffin reports, the families only want answers on what happens next.

Patricia and Aaron Pearson’s three-year-old daughter, Emma, keeps them busy.

“What did you have to do to get the boat? Did you have to clean up garbage on the beach?”

They want to expand their family. And chose adoption. They knew it would take time when they registered with the Victoria-based Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling. But Pearson said everything was fine when she called last month.

“We found out about 5:30 yesterday evening. Yeah, just getting ready for dinner, happened to check my email. Had received an email from both the ministry and Choices as well,” Pearson said.

That email told Pearson and 139 other families on the agency’s wait list that Choices was closed. Their adoption dreams over.

“What do you do now?”  “I don’t know.”

Choices is only one of three adoption agencies in BC. But since the beginning of year, the non-profit struggled financially.  In April, board member Jane Powell pointed to a 39% in international adoptions over the past five years.

“The numbers of both domestic and international adoption have declined very significantly over the past years,” Cowell said.

In the spring it rallied with a new board, and new direction, according to board member Barbara Scott.

“We’re really excited to get going. Get to work, and make this organization the best it can be.  We’re really happy,” Scott said on April 14th.

Now families like the Pearson are left wondering if they will be reimbursed for expenses. They don’t know, because other than an email, no one has contacted them.

“What I’ve heard from a lot of families from Choices since last night, is that they are disappointed in the closure,” Pearson said.

No-one with the Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling or the Ministry of Children and Family Development responded to requests for an interview.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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