P.E.I. building obstacles to international adoption, families say
New policies on P.E.I. are blocking international adoption, some families complain, and they've formed a group to lobby for change.
They're urging the premier to step in and change his government's policies. They fear without a change, they will lose their chance to adopt.
"All of us feel that the province does not support international adoption. That's why we're coming forward," Tammy MacKinnon, spokeswoman for the P.E.I. Adoption Coalition, told CBC News Friday.
"We want to know why it's being made so difficult."
The issue is with China's Waiting Child Program, which places children with medical problems, sometimes very minor ones. Because of the difficulty of successfully placing these children, the Chinese program uses agencies in Canada to help select families. Four P.E.I. children were adopted under China's Waiting Child Program.
But in 2005, China became part of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The P.E.I. government believes this requires the province to take a more direct role in the adoptions, and it has cut the Canadian agencies from the process, causing lengthy delays.
The agencies are accredited provincially in Ontario and Quebec. P.E.I. is the only province in Canada that has stopped using the agencies for the Waiting Child Program, because it believes it is illegal to use them.
The P.E.I. Adoption Coalition disagrees with this opinion.
Vicky and Alan Shipman say the government's position has put their application to the Waiting Child Program in jeopardy.
They want the government to immediately reverse its position so their adoption can go ahead. The couple accuse provincial officials of being insensitive in their handling of the issue.
"This is not just a legal piece of paper," said Vicky Shipman.
"This is my husband and I, this is our life. We have no other way of having children. And they seem to be just putting so many obstacles in our way."
The P.E.I. Adoption Coalition is scheduled to meet with government officials Tuesday. It is also wants the government to create clear guidelines for international adoption and an appeal process.