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  Lex Reynolds, adoption advocate, dies
By Sandra Scarth,
Lex's friend and colleague, and
President, Adoption Council of Canada

Lex Reynolds
Lex Reynolds
(May 14, 2009)   It is with profound sadness that the Adoption Council of Canada posts this tribute.

The Canadian adoption community has lost a strong advocate. Lex Reynolds, aged 54, adoptive father, lawyer and child and family advocate, died unexpectedly on Saturday, May 9, 2009. Following the golf tournament his son Tai had been competing in, Lex mentioned that he was not feeling well and asked Tai to drive home. Enroute Lex suffered a heart attack leaving the world he loved in his beloved son's arms. He leaves behind his wife Val, his partner in advocacy over their years together and their son Tai.

Lex had a personal interest in adoption. In the late 1980's he and Val traveled to Thailand where they lived while Lex attended the University of Chulalongkorn, long considered one of the country's most prestigious universities. It was while in Thailand that they met their son who joined their family through adoption. Tai, now 21, has just completed his third year of University in the US on a golf scholarship.

Lex was a man with deep convictions. He talked often about adoption reforms coming from the vision of the grass roots adoption community. The adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents most affected by the child welfare system. He believed fervently in the rights of children and youth to permanent connections to family and to their cultural community. And he did more than simply talk about it.

He advocated for the most disadvantaged children, youth and families within the child welfare and justice systems, serving many First Nations people who would otherwise have had no representation, often working for little or no pay. He made sure that their voices were heard toward re-gaining charge over their lives.

Lex volunteered hundreds of hours every year, working with boards and staff of the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC), the Society of Special Needs Adoptive Parents (SNAP), the Forget Me Not Society, the Society for Children and Youth of BC (SCY) and the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC).

A strong board member of the ACC for five years, he worked tirelessly to establish one of the ACC's strategic objectives -- a foundation in Canada to support adoption and permanency for children involved in the child welfare system. In 2003, hearing of a funding opportunity with the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, he spearheaded the ACC efforts to obtain three million dollars to set up the BC Adoption & Permanency Trust Fund.

The Ministry initially proposed a flow-through fund to increase adoptions for children in care. This approach didn't satisfy Lex who thought this type of fund would be spent too quickly. He advocated for a permanent, sustainable fund. The ACC wanted the fund to be broader than adoption, so asked for permanency to be added to the name of the fund to support and encourage support for other forms of permanent connections, for example, kinship care.

The Ministry established the BC Adoption and Permanency Fund in 2004 in partnership with the ACC and the Victoria Foundation. The purpose is to find and maintain lifelong connections for BC's waiting children. The fund is the first of its kind in Canada. It is not simply a flow through fund, but one that can grow over the years and because of Lex's advocacy, will contribute to the well being of children and youth in BC long past the time many of us will be here. To date the fund has granted $346,300 to projects to help children and youth find and maintain important connections.

Those of us who worked closely with Lex respected his ability to advocate and take tough stances when they were needed, but what we will remember most is his sense of fun and his deep commitment to the children, youth and families that he served. He lived a good life, doing what he most wanted to do. He was a decent, gentle man at heart and has left us too soon. We will miss him greatly.

Pat Fenton, former President of the board had this to say:

I always appreciated his vision, his ability to think outside the box and his determination to get results all the while keeping the children and their needs front and centre. His insights and experiences as an adoptive parent have helped many other adoptive parents.

I have found the segment that he and Val did for the AFABC on international adoption very useful in helping prospective adoptive parents better understand some of the realities of transracial adoption.

I remember Lex also as a really devoted and proud dad to his son, Tai.

The Advisory Committee of the BC Adoption & Permanency Trust Fund has established the Lex Reynolds Adoption & Permanency Endowment Fund. Anyone wishing to honour Lex can contribute to this fund by contacting the Victoria Foundation at or by contributing to the work of the ACC, More information about the fund can be found at the fund's website

You may reproduce this item with the credit:
"From Family Helper,"

Victoria lawyer and children's advocate dies at 54
From Times Colonist, Victoria, British Columbia, May 15, 2009

Victoria lawyer Lex Reynolds, whose advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children led to improved oversight of B.C.'s child welfare system, has died. He was 54.

Reynolds suffered a heart attack last Saturday while on a golf outing with his 21-year-old son, Tai. Friends and family say that he died in his son's arms.

Reynolds devoted much of his adult life to helping children and families, volunteering hundreds of hours to agencies such as the Adoption Council of Canada. He also helped establish the Victoria Foundation's B.C. Adoption and Permanency Endowment Fund to assist children and youth in care or at risk of coming into care.

But Reynolds is probably best known for representing Harvey and Rose Charlie, who demanded the child welfare system be held to account for the death of their 19-month-old granddaughter, Sherry Charlie, in Port Alberni in 2002.

For more, see Times Colonist.

A celebration of Lex's life was held May 16, 2009 at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Donations may be made to the Lex Reynolds Adoption and Permanency Endowment Fund at the Victoria Foundation.




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Updated May 17, 2009

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