Our question to you is, “Why not adopt?” Scripture tells us to look after the orphans. We have always talked about adoption, but we figured we would adopt after we had biological children. After months of infertility testing, we decided it was time to seriously pursue adoption and continue to allow God to be God throughout the entire process. In the midst of our International Adoption process our agency went bankrupt, and then through a series of God-ordained events we were approached about a private adoption which enabled us to adopt James Benjamin.
What are the different kinds of adoption you can pursue?
In Canada, there are various ways you can adopt a child.
~Public Domestic Adoption through Foster Care – Currently within our province the wait time is 7-8 years for a newborn. There are also older children who are in need of loving homes, and the wait time for them is not as long. In order to adopt through foster care you need to have a home study, meet the government requirements, and take PRIDE parenting courses. We have completed the PRIDE parenting courses, and are currently in the midst of a provincial adoption for a child who is 4 years of age.
~Domestic Adoption through an Agency within Canada – There are adoption agencies within Canada that arrange adoptions; however, the wait time can be long as well. Prospective mothers who decide to go through an agency are given a profile of prospective couples to choose from. Fees vary according to the agency and can range from $10,000 ++. The birth mom also has a legal right to change her mind according to provincial laws.
~Private Adoption – Private adoption refers to an adoption that does not take place through an agency. Private adoptions can be open (in which there is regular contact with the birth mother) or closed (in which there is minimal or no contact with the birth mother). In New Brunswick, a couple is not allowed to advertise they are looking to adopt. If a couple is approached by a birth mom or couple who would like them to adopt the baby, a lawyer has to send paperwork to social services at which point they get involved. Social services in NB are required to carry out a home study, criminal record checks, and other things that are required by the province. The only fees involved are the lawyer fees ($700-$2000 or more depending on the lawyer etc.). The birth parents also have a right to change their minds up to 30 days after the baby is born.
~International Adoption – International adoption is adoption that takes place out of country and can even include adopting from the United States. Fees are typically $20,000 ++ by the time you pay required government, agency, and travel fees. The wait time is less than adopting in country. The International adoption process within our province requires the completion of a dossier within province (required paperwork, training session, and home study took around 5 months). After your dossier is signed off by the province, it is sent with all the required paperwork (birth certificates, marriage certificates, criminal record check, Interpol police check, etc.) to the agency to be sent to the country you intend to adopt from. You then wait for a referral which can take up to a year or more. Depending on the country you choose to adopt from the process varies, but additional time is added to include travel and court dates within the country you are adopting from.
~What did you choose and why?
We originally chose to adopt Internationally. Having both been involved in mission work, this seemed like a natural decision for us. We didn’t know where the money was going to come from, but decided to step out in faith, believing that the Lord would provide. The Lord has proved himself faithful, and provided for the fees we have had to pay thus far. When our International Adoption agency went bankrupt, we were devastated and couldn’t understand why. We were early on in the process, but had invested $1500, which for us is a lot of money. We had also paid our province $2000 for our home study to be completed.
Through a series of events that only the Lord could cause, we were approached about a private adoption. This is something we never had considered before because we never dreamed someone who we didn’t even know would approach us. We developed a relationship with the birth mother, and ended up getting to know more of her family on the day of our son’s birth. It was an incredible experience, and we continue to keep in touch with our son’s biological parents. Our International home study enabled our private adoption to go much quicker thus enabling our boy to legally become a Canney 5 months after his birth.
After a failed private adoption 2 years later, we decided to update our home study to adopt a child under the age of 5 years. After a couple of years of updating the file, we decided to get a dog and figured our boy would grow up as an only child. God had other plans and we got our puppy around the same time we met our girl!
What country did you originally choose to adopt from?
For International adoption, we chose to adopt from Ethiopia. We had researched several countries and agencies, and there were various things we needed to take into consideration. All countries have a need when it comes to their children, including our own. When you decide to adopt internationally you have to look at costs, time you are to be in country to adopt your child, and the process for that particular country. You also may want to consider health factors that may be involved. Other countries we considered adopting from required you to be in them for a month or more, and with our current circumstances that was not something that could be arranged. After considering all of the options, Ethiopia was the choice for us. Other people were and still are adopting from Ethiopia within our province, and they have a social network that goes on picnics and arranges to meet with local Ethiopian communities, so we felt confident that we would be able to help preserve our child’s culture in some way with these opportunities.
What agency did you choose?
We chose an agency called, ‘Imagine adoption.’ As mentioned previously, they went bankrupt, and in a small rebuilding process for them under new leadership we were told we could continue the process for an additional $4000. Since we had been approached about a private adoption and were incurring fees from it, we decided that Ethiopia was a closed door for us. We did complete our dossier; however, which means that should be consider to pursue International Adoption again we won’t have to pay the Province of New Brunswick as large of a fee to update it.