Family faces closing of second adoption agency

Some families hoping to adopt children are in limbo after a Victoria adoption agency announced its closure in mid-October due to lack of financial viability.

It’s the second time this year Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling Agency has said it was closing its doors, but this time, the building has been emptied.

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Kory Victor and her husband, Beau Thompson, are among Choices’ clients left uncertain about the next step.

“Now we are left in limbo,” Victor said. “We have no idea what to do.”

The best-case scenario for the Vancouver couple is if the Ministry of Children and Family Development transfers their file to one of the two remaining adoption agencies in the province.

North Vancouver’s Sunrise Family Services Society and the Adoption Centre of British Columbia in Kelowna continue to provide domestic and international adoptions to potential parents, as well as services to birth parents looking for adoptive parents.

But Victor isn’t sure if she and her husband are willing to trust another agency.

The couple started their adoption process in the fall of 2018 with an agency in Vancouver that closed down just a couple of months after they signed up. Like Choices, Family Services of Greater Vancouver closed for financial reasons in November 2018, Victor said.

The couple’s file was transferred to Choices by the ministry.

“Who’s to say Sunrise or Kelowna won’t go bankrupt as well?” Victor said. “The harder uncertainty is being on our second adoption agency. You have no choice but to go through these agencies and then they just abandon you.”

Victor and Thompson have put about $12,000 and more than a year into trying to adopt a baby. It’s something Victor always planned on doing.

“I’m one of those people that’s pretty serious about not adding people to the planet. I think there’s enough people in the world. And I think there’s a lot of kids that could use adoption,” she said.

But she’s not sure she can continue the process with no guarantee she’ll become a mother. Victor said they might start looking into the foster system if the ministry chooses not to transfer their file to another agency.

She, like other former clients of Choices, is questioning why the province reinstated the agency’s licence after the non-profit announced it would close at the end of May due to failing finances.

After declaring a shutdown, the Choices board of directors changed, and the new board voted to remain open. The province then reinstated the agency’s licence.

In an emailed statement, the ministry said the licence was reinstated because the director of adoptions “accepted the new board’s decision and continued to work with the new board.”

But Victor feels that the province let her and other Choices clients down by allowing the agency to continue operating even when 2018 tax information showed their finances were in the red.

With only two adoption agencies still operating in B.C., she wonders what will happen if they fail financially, as others have.

“If they all fail, what’s the ministry going to do? Start dealing with birth parents that want to make an adoption plan for their kids?

“I mean, that’s a lot of extra work for them, too,” Victor said.

regan-elliott@timescolonist.com

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