Adoption agencies hit rough patch in Canada; no Hope in B.C.

(Jan. 27, 2012)   Adoption agencies face a lean future, with fewer women placing their children in private adoptions. On the international front, countries are taking longer and longer to process adoption applications from foreigners, or ban foreign adoption completely. They prefer to have their children adopted domestically. Global adoptions have fallen one-third in six years. (For reports on different countries, see "Country News".)

Hope Adoption Services, British Columbia

A longtime adoption agency in British Columbia has just been forced to close. After 25 years helping people adopt, Hope Pregnancy and Adoption Services Society of Abbotsford, B.C. announced on Jan. 5, 2012 that it had run out of money. Hope was one of five B.C. agencies licensed to provide domestic and international adoption services. (See the Family Helper list of all B.C. agencies.)

In its closing notice, Hope Adoption Services wrote it was unable to meet its financial obligations. "We were in discussions with another larger organization to see if they could provide an umbrella under which we could continue, but that was not to be." The agency laid off its staff and shut its web site except for the Closing Notification page. It is not taking phone calls but accepts email at Families will find updates at

The Abbotsford News quoted Hope co-founder Lorne Welwood as saying that the agency needed $40,000 to $45,000 a month to break even. November brought in only $17,000. Welwood said that over the course of an adoption, a couple would pay the agency $5,000 to $7,000, as part of overall costs of about $30,000 for an international adoption.

After Hope told the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) that it couldn't keep operating, the ministry offered to help in winding up or transferring to other agencies about 180 adoption files. MCFD's Director of Adoption Anne Clayton noted that the closing did not result from bad management. "Adoption agencies are being impacted by global economic factors, decisions by foreign jurisdictions to limit and/or cease international adoptions and other occurrences, for example, the earthquake in Haiti," she said. (See "Earthquake halts new adoptions in Haiti".)

Ann and Lorne Welwood opened Hope Adoption Services in 1986. In 2006 they were honoured for their work in adoption, receiving the Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award from the Adoptive Families Association of B.C.

CAFAC, Manitoba

In a related development, the agency Canadian Advocate for the Adoption of Children (CAFAC) of Minnedosa MB has cut its staff from eight to three and announced an extra fee to help make ends meet.

In a Jan. 9, 2012 letter to clients the CAFAC Board of Directors said it is facing "significant financial challenges". To raise money it will bring in a file maintenance fee of $1,000 a year per client. The money would offset a drop in the number of children proposed to prospective adoptive parents.

The letter explained that CAFAC had long operated on about five referrals a month, but from July to December 2011 the agency received only seven referrals in all, two of which were from outside Ethiopia. (The agency specializes in adoptions from Ethiopia, which has drastically curtailed foreign adoptions.)
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