This guest post is by Meghan Dyck, a hopeful adoptive mother.
Adoption is hard, but not in the way you may think.
When people think of adoption, some may think of the mountains of paperwork to do. Others may think about the waiting process. And others, yet, may think about the openness that may be involved.
Those pieces of the adoption process can be difficult, don’t get me wrong. But there is another piece that I found was surprisingly hard to deal with.
It has to do with being discriminated against because we live in a province where advertising our adoption profiles online is not allowed.
It is something that I feel very strongly about changing in order to help make all prospective adoptive parents feel like they have an equal chance at getting their name out there to women who want to place their babies.
My husband and I started our adoption journey three years ago in February—first through Child and Family Services, and then more recently with a private agency about a year ago.
Due to health problems on my end of things, we made the conscious decision not to have our own biological children. We decided to forego any IVF or surrogacy route.
We wanted to adopt and decided to try it through a private agency because at the time of signing up with CFS, it would be a minimum of a 7-9 year wait.
I know that I’ve always wanted to adopt. Being an adoptee myself has taught me a little bit about what to expect. I grew up with a wonderful family, and wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I never thought, though, that the wait would be this difficult, despite what my parents told us. I was placed with them as an infant through CFS, and they swear that I was worth the seven-year wait!
One of the first things we had to do when we signed up with our private agency was attend an information weekend on adoption. We got a binder full of information and it was all quite overwhelming.
One thing I did get from listening to our speakers was how important it was to network. They told us to network whenever we could because you never know who might know someone who knows someone who wants to make an adoption plan for their child.
So after that weekend, and after all of our home studies were completed (as well as all of the paperwork that goes along with that), we were ready to network.
We started telling our family and close friends. Right away, we had a friend say that they knew someone whose daughter was having a baby and adoption might be an option.
Unfortunately for us, the young woman decided to keep her daughter.
We wanted to tell more people about our plans to adopt, but weren’t sure who we should tell. What if it didn’t happen for us? The people we ended up telling would also have to be “untold” if a child never came our way.
That would be something we didn’t want to have to do. So by September of this year, I started doing searches online about how to do adoption networking.
A few websites popped up, one of which was Canada Adopts! I browsed through the website and thought, “Oh, this is a great idea!”
On a whim, I emailed our social worker to ask her if this might be a good website for us to network our profile on. To my surprise, she said that it was against the law for us to post our adoption profile in such a manner.
What? I thought, how unfair. I looked at all the wonderfully written profiles and couldn’t believe the province wouldn’t let us get our name out there like this. The internet is one of the quickest way for word to spread.
As it turns out, because we live in Manitoba, our laws restrict us from posting through online profiles. I am not sure as to the reason for this. I have tried researching for answers, but have come up empty.
I feel that this puts us at such an unfair disadvantage. Mostly because the internet is such a unique and popular tool that is used to find information on pretty much anything—including a birth mom wanting to locate potential adoptive parents for her baby.
I know that there are other provinces that are in the same situation. Alberta, from my understanding, is set to review their adoption laws this year.
I have discussed our situation with a reporter with CBC News radio. I am unsure what will come of this, but I certainly hope that it is something positive.
I am also in talks with our local MLA to see what we can do to get the word out there about what can be done to get the ball rolling about this issue.
Even if we can bring the slightest awareness to the issue of our restrictive laws, we would feel successful. I feel that it is time for our laws to catch up with our technology.
These laws were written during the pre-internet times, and so I think they need to be reviewed and revised. Why not give everyone the same fair advantage?
Adoption can be a very tough journey for all of those involved. The paperwork, costs, fear of rejection of not being matched can all contribute to the uncertainty a hopeful adoptive parent feels.
I am so happy when I read stories of people who have successful adoptions, and really hope that one day I might be able to share such a story.
But until then, I am going to hold strong to the voice in my heart that tells me it will happen.
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But it will happen.
It might take some initiative on my part, but I am willing to put in the effort when it comes to starting our family. In the end, I know it will be worth it.
Update: Thanks to Meagan’s advocacy work, Manitoba has opened up its advertising policy and will allow qualified hopeful adoptive couples from the province to advertise and post their profile on Canada Adopts! To get your profile published online, have your adoption agency pre-screen your profile and photos beforehand. Then submit the final version to Manitoba Family Services.
Meghan Dyck and her husband live in southern Manitoba with their dog, Chloe. They can’t wait to add to their family through adoption!
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