WATCH: Families hit by the closure of Vancouver Island’s only adoption agency are feeling cautiously optimistic tonight. After an overwhelming response from the community, CHOICES may not close their doors after all. Aaron Guillen reports.
It all began with one Facebook post.
But little did Victoria Mitchell, an Esquimalt woman, know what would happen next.
“It’s extraordinary. This isn’t usually how it ends,” says Mitchell.
At the start of the month, CHOICES announced it would be closing at the end of May, blaming significant drops in international adoptions.
As a young mother who placed her own son up for adoption, Mitchell had a special connection to CHOICES.
And she wasn’t going to let the agency close without a fight.
“We shouted to the world, no! Choices is going to stay open essentially,” she said.
“We’re not just gonna lay down and die, right?”
She created a Facebook group called “Keep CHOICES Adoption Open!”
And then a petition that was signed by more than 1,200 people.
The result, an important meeting with the CHOICES board that could reverse the decision.
“People are very interested in keeping choices open and they have all kinds of ideas,” says Jane Cowell, Board Chair at CHOICES.
“When you get that groundswell of support… that’s why we’re bringing people together.”
This news comes as a relief for Patricia and Aaron Pearson who are on the adoption waiting list.
The last time CHEK News spoke with them, they thought they were out of options.
But now, Pearson has a glimmer of hope.
“Yeah it feels good, but we’re cautious,” says Patricia.
“Certainly for us and those other 140 families, we’re really excited that there’s this opportunity.”
Dubbed the “Extraordinary General Meeting”, the CHOICES board will hear from those who want to save the centre and potentially nominate new board members, like Mitchell.
The big meeting takes place next Wednesday at 7 p.m. at CHOICES’ office (850 Blanshard Street, Victoria).
Until then, Mitchell will continue building support one signature at a time.