A Victoria family says the Ministry of Children and Family Development failed to support them as adoptive parents, and did not disclose their adopted son's history as a victim of sexual abuse.

The CBC is abiding by a court-ordered publication ban protecting the identity of the couples' son.

'We had already fallen in love with him and spent a year getting to know him' - Victoria mother of adopted son

The parents described their son's tragic early life in an interview with the CBC's Jo Ann Roberts, where they said their son was born in Romania, and adopted by Canadian parents, who moved the boy to Ottawa and then Victoria. But the parents say the first set of adoptive parents chose to abandon the boy in Libya, before adopting another child.

They say when he was discovered he was sent back to Victoria and held in the care of the ministry, and after several years and eight foster homes he was adopted by his now parents at the age of 11.

History of abuse discovered

A year later they discovered their son had been sexually abused while with one of his foster families, and they are angry that information was not fully disclosed by the ministry in the adoption process.

"It wasn't the whole truth. It was only alluded to," his mother said.

Once the family discovered the extent of the abuse, the father called RCMP, and the case went to trial. The father says he had no support from the ministry during the trial, and ministry officials warned against suing them.

The parents say knowledge of the abuse would have helped them prepare to look after their son, and helped reduce the trauma of the subsequent trial.

His mother said if the ministry had been fully honest with them it wouldn't have changed their decision to have him in their life.

"We had already fallen in love with him and spent a year getting to know him," she said.

The CBC asked Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux about the case. She said she could not comment on a specific case.

"It is our imperative, and part of the work that gets done, is to inform families of everything we know about the child that we are potentially adopting," Cadieux said.

"That said, sometimes we don't know things at the time a child is adopted, and sometimes a child, once they feel safe, and loved and in a home where they feel there is permanence and the ability to disclose, that is when they disclose."

"So if that's the case, then we need to be there for the family at that point in time to ensure we can provide them with the support they need to support their child."


  • An earlier version of this story said Minister Cadieux had not responded to a CBC request for an interview. In fact, she had, before the web story was published.
    Nov 20, 2014 12:33 PM PT