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July 16, 2009 permalink
Five hundred Canadian families have lost part of the $25,000 fee for adoption of a child following the bankruptcy of Kids Link International Adoption Agency, known as Imagine Adoption.
Families hit by agency's collapse
Kate Dubinski, The London Free Press, July 15, 2009
Shannon Warren's voice breaks as she tries to explain why she and her husband want to adopt a child from Ethiopia.
"For as long as I can remember . . ." she starts, the emotion preventing her from finishing.
"She wanted to adopt for so long," her husband Matthew said.
"There are six million children in Ethiopia that need a home that we could give."
The Ingersoll couple are among 500 families from across Canada devastated and caught in limbo after their Cambridge-based international adoption agency declared bankruptcy Monday.
Called Kids Link International Adoption Agency, the agency operates under the name Imagine Adoption.
It helps people adopt children from Ethiopia, Ghana and Ecuador.
"We wanted to be parents. We knew adoption and international adoption wasn't for the faint of heart, but we wanted to do it," Shannon Warren said yesterday.
"We've invested so much of our emotions into how to raise a child that's adopted. There hasn't been a day that's gone by in the last two years that we haven't thought about this."
The Warrens started their adoption process about two years ago, getting the necessary Canadian and Ethiopian documentation before being told about six months ago they'd get their child very soon.
"Blind-sided. Heartbroken and dumbstruck. Just baffled that this could have happened," Matthew Warren said of their emotions after learning about the bankruptcy. "We have come to love Ethiopia; we know all about the culture, the food."
The Warrens and other couples started hearing rumours about something being wrong at the agency late last week. A notice posted on the Imagine Adoption website from a bankruptcy trustee, BDO Dunwoody says the agency's board of trustees met July 10 and decided "it was clear that the funds in the bank accounts are not sufficient to service the families in the Kids Link Program."
Agencies like Imagine Adoption act as conduits between families who want to adopt a child and orphanages or other agencies in foreign countries
Canadian couples pay the government-licensed agencies for help with paperwork, finding credible orphanages and to guide them through the bureaucratic process, both in Canada and abroad.
The news about Imagine Adoption has floored couples waiting to be matched with children, those who already had matches and others who have gone abroad to pick up their kids.
"For ourselves, this could be our only chance to adopt," said Shannon Warren.
The couple has spent $15,000 to $20,000 for the process, and can't afford to start over.
Many couples are also worried for the children waiting for families in their home countries in orphanages."They're not going to have food, shelter or staff to look after them," Matthew Warren said.
Kate Dubinski is a Free Press reporter.
Source: London Free Press