It was a pretty daunting task to figure out exactly how we were going to adopt. The adoption "market" in Canada is pretty shallow compared to the big 'ol USA, given that we're less than 10% of their population. It doesn't help that some provinces - not mentioning any specifics, but I'll just say that I'm glad we don't live in Ontario - restrict residents to only using local agencies. If that was the case, we in dirty Manitoba would be limited to only three private agencies - CAFAC, Eastern European Adoptions, and Adoption Options.
We knew as well that we had to work with a local agency for our homestudy. We knew that EEA was out based on our preferences, and for the past year CAFAC has been acting like that goldfish you had when you were twelve; belly up one day, swimming around happily the next. No telling what might happen in there or if we'll end up circling the drain once we ante up. That left us with Adoption Options, who we dutifully contacted, signing up for their next information session.
At the information session, we learned of their program for the Democratic Republic of Congo, which impressed us with it's lower costs and shorter times than Ethiopia. We had many questions for the representatives there, but were not able to extract much information. Most responses to inquiries indicated that information would be available and we could go over all our options once we sign the contract with them. For people like us, this had the same effect as putting a plate of steamed broccoli in front of a toddler and calling it dessert. The information session proved it's value though, when they mentioned that intercountry adoptions can also go through CFS - Manitoba Child and Family Services, the socialist version of the CPS. I say socialist because they do the same job as the private agencies, at break-even costs, and are government staffed, providing the same services as the CPS as well.
After that we connected with A Love Beyond Borders, which by most accounts is a wonderful for-profit (scandalous!) private agency in Colorado. They will be our facilitators, and CFS will take care of our homestudy, and post-adoption reporting. Savings going with CFS over Adoption Options will be close to $5000.
So now we're looking at a few other equally daunting tasks. Namely, of networking with other adoptive families, particularly transracial ones. This is the issue of the shallow pool again - but we're hopeful and have google on our side. The second thing to look into will be post-adoption support and care - pediatricians, developmental and speech therapists etc, basically trying to anticipate every possible need our children could have upon arrival. Good news on this front is that CFS also has a handy list of resources for adoptive parents, and the province covers the cost of any and all developmental, psychological, psychiatric, and educational support - assisting as well in coordinating with school staff to develop individual specific education plans. So we've got the taxpayers behind us on that one as well.
More to come on the state of the adventure....