“Almost seven million Canadians are affected by adoption, and yet adoption remains one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized social phenomenon in our country,” she argues. “When a family opens their hearts and homes to a child that may otherwise not have had another chance at another family and a normal life, a positive change is made that lasts for generations to come.”
Along with her adopted daughter, Geisbrecht and her husband have two birth children, are foster parents, and they are looking to adopt again. It could take a while, as due to a “bottleneck” in the system, adopting a child can take up to two years.
“There’s currently quite a long wait time,” she explains. “Part of that is the government-mandated training. People are waiting seven, eight, nine months just to get into the training modules, so currently [the wait is] probably 18 months, possibly two years.”
Giesbrecht adds that out of the approximately 40 local employees of the Ministry of Children and Family Development, only one is an adoption worker. In addition to wait lists for training, that means delays in getting a safe home study.
Hearts for Adoption recently met with Minister Stephanie Cadieux, where they were told she needs to hear from residents that they are concerned about the length of the adoption process. That prompted Fort St. John City Council to write a letter themselves, stressing the need to expedite adoption services in the province’s north.
The Adoption Council of Canada also reports that of the more than 78,000 children in Canada’s child welfare system, 30,000 are eligible for adoption, with the average age of children waiting for adoption being eight years old.
“One of the most critical challenges we face in Canada is the number of children in our child welfare system, that are eligible for adoption, who are waiting desperately for a loving family to call their own,” maintains Giesbrecht. “Sadly, according to Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, the B.C. Representative for Child and Youth Welfare, only 20 per cent of these children waiting in foster care in Canada will ever be adopted.”
Anyone interested in learning more about adoption is encouraged to contact the local Ministry of Children and Family Development office.