A brother or sister for Emma is something Patricia and Aaron Pearson always dreamed of.

The couple struggled for years trying to have their first child, so when it came time to expand their family, they turned to the CHOICES adoption agency.

When they were approved, it was a feeling like no other.

“It was exciting. It’s a lot of work to get to that point,” says Aaron.

“It’s a relief, but it’s the waiting game that starts after that.”

It’s a game the Saanich couple will have to get used to. Their adoption agency – the last one on the island – is closing.

And that’s left the Pearson family, and nearly 150 other hopeful families, blindsided.

“It’s frustrating because we kind of feel left out of the loop,” says Aaron.

“I wasn’t expecting the note and obviously I had to read it twice. It was shocking.”

The adoption centre is closing because more and more, countries are adopting children within their own borders,

“Both domestic and international adoptions have declined very significantly over the past years,” says Jane Cowell with CHOICES adoption agency.

It’s left an excess of adoptive families, and fewer children available for adoption internationally, and for CHOICES, there is no way to be able to keep their doors open.

Now, the future of Pearson’s little family will be in the hands of the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“Our commitment to the affected families is that we are working to make this transition as seamless as possible without creating additional costs for them,” says the ministry in a statement.

“We’re also working to get a better understanding of where each family affected by this closure is at in the adoption process.”

And with only two remaining agencies in the province, they’ll likely be put back to the bottom of the list.

“We feel like we’ve gone from a limited pool to an even more limited pool,” says Patricia.

At this rate, no one knows how long it’ll be before two-year-old Emma gets the best buddy she’s looking for.

“Most of her stuffed animals and dolls are her brothers and sisters now,” says Aaron.

Aaron Guillen