British Columbia

Vancouver Island's only adoption agency closes doors

The agency says the closure is due to the decline in the number of international adoptions.

Decline in number of international adoptions cited as reason for closure

The decline in international adoptions is the main reason Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling in Victoria is shutting down. (Syda Productions/Shutterstock)

Vancouver Island's only adoption agency is closing its doors, citing a decline in international adoptions. 

Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling, which operated for 30 years in Victoria, will stop providing adoption services on May 31, 2019.

Jane Cowell, the board chair for the organization, says the agency is not alone in struggling to remain open.

"There has been a declining trend in the number of children available for adoption across the world," Cowell said on CBC's All Points West.

Part of the decline, she says, is due to societal changes. There is less stigma attached to teenage pregnancy.

In addition, countries are choosing to place children within their own kinship systems and cultures.

Navigating international adoption policies — both from the country and Canadian immigration — is an increasingly arduous process.

Cowell points to last year when five Canadian families struggled to bring home their adopted Japanese-born children amid bureaucratic challenges. 

"They were actually in the country and the government of Canada decided that they were no longer prepared to support adoptions from Japan at that particular point in time," she said. 

"Those kinds of things do happen with international adoption."

The families were eventually able to bring their children home.

As her organization prepares to shut down, it will be transferring existing files to another agency or the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Adoptive families and birth parents who have open agreements will also have their files transferred to the ministry. 

The closure of the organization reduces the total number of adoption agencies in B.C. to two.

With files from All Points West


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