[A blogger recounts her journey in trying to adopt a child from Pakistan as a single woman. This is the fifth entry in a several part series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.]
They say that life can change in an instant. My "instant" arrived on a Tuesday evening. It was a random evening, not unlike any other summer night. The phone rang, and my adoption practitioner's voice crackled on the other end. I could sense the urgency in his voice, "Are you in Pakistan?" he asked.
"No, I haven't left, yet." I suddenly felt afraid.
In a series of rapid sentences, his news unfurls. He tells me that the Canadian Government has issued a Canadian ban on adoption from Pakistan. I do not understand what he is saying to me. I am not sure if it is "shock" or suspended disbelief. I ask him to repeat himself. He sighs. This is a conversation he has had with many parents all evening. It is a call he has dreaded making.
He tells me that I cannot go to Pakistan. I cannot adopt. The Canadian Government will not approve the adoption. They will not grant my baby a visa. Nor will they allow us to return to Canada.
My head spins. What? Why? He doesn't know. He has been given no foreknowledge of the adoption closure. He merely received a "courtesy" phone call in the morning from the Ministry of Private and International Adoption, and later that day they issued a formal press release. He tells me that he has many families who are preparing to leave for Pakistan - families currently in the country, some of whom who have been blessed with babies. The Canadian Government's adoption ban has left us all trapped in the pipeline.
Frantic, I call my lawyer in Karachi. She, too, is taken aback by this latest development. She tells me there has been no official government notification in Pakistan, nor have the Pakistani high courts issued any amendments to the guardianship laws. She commits to a "fact-finding" mission, and promises to get back to me with the latest news.
I spend many sleepless nights, scouring the Internet for information on international adoption bans, emailing officials, searching for answers. I cannot sleep. I feel empty.
The closure baffles all of us. As the days seep by, we still don't know why the ban was put into effect. What triggered it? Who requested it? What we do know is that this ban is specific to Canada. People residing in the UK and the US are not affected. They can and do continue to adopt from Pakistan.
In my next post, I will share the information we have been able to uncover both here and in Pakistan - and try and shed some light on the "secrecy" surrounding the adoption ban. -AnonymousUpcoming:
In Part 6, our blogger discovers why the Canadian government has banned adoption from Pakistan, and questions each reason.