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The latest organizational news. If you would like more information, please contact Brianna Brash-Nyberg at bbrashnyberg@bcadoption.com or 604-320-7330 ext 106. 

November 1, 2019: BC Lights Up for Adoption Awareness Month
October 21, 2019: CHOICES Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling closes after three decades
June 18, 2019: 2019 Adoption Award recipients announced
November 5, 2018: Giving the Green Light on Adoption Awareness
November 1, 2018: Adoption Basics details first steps for adoptive parents
October 12, 2018: FSGV Adoption Agency closes after two decades
September 10, 2018: AFABC welcomes new Executive Director
June 18, 2018: Adoption community champions recognized at celebration event
April 10, 2018: Bursaries help fostered and adopted kids achieve their education goals--and pay the bills, too

 

BC Lights Up for Adoption Awareness Month

BURNABY – November 1, 2019 – More than a dozen landmarks across British Columbia are lighting up green for Adoption Awareness Month this November. Together, these locations—including Science World’s iconic dome, the grandeur of the Legislature in Victoria, and beloved local landmarks in Quesnel, Fort St John, Whistler, and Nanaimo—will help illuminate the message that hundreds of BC kids in foster care are waiting for an adoptive family.

Adoption Awareness Month takes place every November in BC to draw attention to the number of children and teens who are waiting for permanent homes through adoption, guardianship, or a kinship placement. Families in BC adopted 1,400 kids from government care in the past five years, but more than 750 children and youth currently have adoption in their care plans.

Adoption Awareness Month also draws attention to the unique supports and services that are necessary in helping adoptive families thrive. Education, post-adoption financial assistance, in-home support, and events that build connections in the adoption and permanency community are all key ingredients to be a healthy adoptive family.

“Adoption Awareness Month reminds British Columbians that modern families are incredibly diverse,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Adoption fulfills dreams not just for children and youth who need the stability of long-term, permanent, loving relationships in their lives, but for the many adults who want nothing more than to be there for them as their adoptive families.”

“Every child deserves and needs to have permanency in their lives,’’ said B.C. Representative for Children and Youth Jennifer Charlesworth. “It’s important during Adoption Awareness Month to recognize that adoption is one of a number of ways to help children realize a sense of permanency – which includes relational, cultural, physical, legal and identity components – that is so important to their happiness and long-term development.”

Quick Facts

  • Adoptive families are incredibly diverse, just like the rest of BC. Any BC resident over the age of 19 can apply to adopt!
  • Approximately 750 children and youth in government care in BC have adoption in their care plans and are waiting to be adopted.
  • If just 0.4% of Canadians who have considered adopting from foster care followed through, then every child in Canada’s government care system would have a safe, loving, and permanent home.
  • 87% of the children and youth with adoption in their care plans are school aged (between 4 and 18 years old), and 35% are teenagers (over the age of 12)
  • 40% of them are part of sibling groups that need to be adopted together
  • 59% are Indigenous


What kinds of families are needed?

Adoption matches are based on the best fit for the child. That means that some adoptive families will be matched quickly, while others will wait longer. The greatest need is for adopters who are:

  • Indigenous
  • open to adopting siblings
  • open to adopting a teenager; and/or
  • open to adopting children with special needs (such as early abuse or neglect, behavioural challenges, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder).

Learn more

To learn more about adoption in BC, check Adoption Basics, a free online presentation that will answer your top questions: www.bcadoption.com/abasics.

For information about Adoption Awareness Month and AFABC’s events and programs, and for a complete list of landmarks that will #LightUpForAdoption, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/aam

We’ll also be sharing adoption facts, stories, photos, videos, and graphics on our social media channels throughout November. Find us @bcadopt on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and under the hashtags #LightUpForAdoption and #AdoptBCKids.

Share an adoption story

AFABC has a diverse list of adoptive families across BC who would love to share their adoption stories with the media during Adoption Awareness Month. Contact us and we’ll connect you!

About us

Since 1977, the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) has been dedicated to finding families for children, and to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption and permanency community. We raise awareness about adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

All our initiatives—our team of specialized Family Support Workers, the Adopt BC Kids province-wide information line, the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, AgedOut.com, Focus on Adoption magazine, and more—are designed meet families where they’re at. Many of our staff have direct connections to adoption, which is why we love to say “Wherever you are in adoption, we’ve been there too.”

Contact   
Brianna Brash-Nyberg, Manager, Communications
bbrashnyberg@bcadoption.com       604-566-8124

 

CHOICES Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling closes after three decades

October 21, 2019 – VICTORIA —Six months after reversing its decision to shut down, CHOICES Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling has announced it has closed its doors.

After more than 900 adoption placements and 30 years of service and support to adoptive families, expectant parents, and birth families, Vancouver Island’s only adoption agency ceased operations on October 18, 2019.

“With profound sadness, the Board of Directors must announce the closure of CHOICES Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling,” said CHOICES in a statement issued online. “Despite our efforts to work towards the development of a new business model and the implementation of drastic cost-cutting measures, we came to the difficult conclusion that the agency could no longer continue to operate…. Our first concern remains with the families and children that we serve. Their best interests continue to be paramount.”

CHOICES is working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to explore options and map out a transition path in the hopes of minimizing disruption to each family’s adoption journey. They will be communicating directly with those families to advise them of the process.

CHOICES was one of the first licenced adoption agencies in BC. They were committed to finding families for waiting children since before the BC Adoption Act, and their passion, commitment, and leadership has been critical to the adoption community over the years.

AFABC offers our support to CHOICES’s staff and affected families through this difficult transition. Our family support team offers free and confidential supports to all adoptive families, including waiting families. For general adoption information and support, call us at 1-877-ADOPT-07. See www.bcadoption.com/support for more information on our support programs.

For more information on CHOICES Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling and for details on how current and past client files will be handled, please go to www.choicesadoption.ca

Contact:
Brianna Brash Nyberg
Manager, Communications
Adoptive Families Association of BC
bbrashnyberg@bcadoption.com
604-566-8124

 

2019 Adoption Award recipients announced

June 18, 2019 – VANCOUVER - The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 AFABC Adoption Awards. These awards are presented to individuals and organizations that make a difference in the lives of waiting children and youth, and adoptive families in British Columbia.

Two AFABC Champion Awards were presented to Renata Ward, and Dale Mernett and Amy Pon.

Renata is a driven and dedicated volunteer in the central Okanagan. Renata has lead our waiting parent group in the Okanagan for the last two years while being a waiting parent herself, and is now transitioning her daughter home after a long journey of waiting. She has handled her leadership role with grace and wisdom and continues to commit to her duties even as she begins her parenting role. 

Dale and Amy have been volunteering with AFABC for several years. You’ve probably seen them at our lower mainland events. This past Family Fun Day they were superstars because they served all the food and….. then didn’t get any themselves! They both take a leadership role in our Waiting Parents group, and often bring donations by for our youth department. We are truly grateful for their ongoing commitment to seeing that families, kids, and youth succeed.

The Spirit Award – Individual goes to Brian Anderson. For the past two years Brian has hosted the “Laugh a Minute Challenge” at Vancouver Theatresports, where Brian donates for every big laugh that the Theatresports teams manage to earn during the show. He also attends Family Fun Day and our kids’ events as the Science Guy. Brian is a strong and long-time supporter of AFABC.

The Spirit Award – Corporate goes to Broadway Camera. For the past six years, Broadway Camera has been the sponsor of our Faces of Family photo contest. They generously donate three cameras for us to use as prizes. The impact of their donation means that we have a wonderful gallery of diverse and candid family photos to use on our materials, instead of generic and over-used stock images. By helping us share these real faces of adoption with the world, we’re able to show the importance of finding a family for every child.The Spirit Award – Individual was presented to Sonja Weissenbacher. For over fifteen years, Sonja has supported AFABC through community fundraising initiative, individual and monthly giving, and at charitable events. This kind of long-term financial support is the foundation on which AFABC can deliver consistent programs and services to our clients.

In addition to the above awards, AFABC also looks at other champions in the adoption and permanency community. These are people who make exceptional contributions to our community and to children and youth who are waiting for forever families. This year we’re pleased to present the Special Recognition award to Elli Tonn.

Elli was a foster parent for over 30 years. She fostered dozen of kids, many of whom were Indigenous or who had FASD or special needs. Her foster daughter says that she was an awesome parent, and her former foster children have found success in life in thanks to the great start that Elli gave them. Though they were adopted and are grown now, Elli is still very much in her foster kids’ lives. Many of them consider her an honourary auntie and they call her every Mothers’ Day. Thank you, Elli, for all you’ve done for British Columbia’s waiting children and youth.

Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding families for children and also to providing ground-breaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Waiting Child Toll Free Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Zone, and Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more:

For more information on the AFABC Adoption Awards, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/adoption-awards

Contact

Brianna Brash-Nyberg
Manager, Communications
bbrashnyberg@bcadoption.com
604-320-7330 ext 106

Giving the Green Light on Adoption Awareness

BURNABY – November 5, 2018 – This November, several BC landmarks will go green to shed light on adoption. On November 9th and 16th BC locations – including the BC Legislature Building, BC Place, the Royal BC Museum, Canada Place, and Vancouver City Hall– will help us illuminate the message that adoptive families make great families, and will shine a light on the reality that hundreds of BC kids in foster care are still waiting for an adoptive family.

Adoption Awareness Month is proclaimed every November in BC to draw attention to the number of children and teens who are waiting for permanent homes through adoption, guardianship, or a kinship placement.

Nearly 1,400 kids have been adopted from government care in the past five years, but there is still an ongoing need for more adoptive families – particularly, Indigenous families and families willing to take on larger sibling groups, teens, or children with significant special needs.

Adoption Awareness Month also draws attention to the unique supports and services that are necessary in helping adoptive families thrive. Education, post-adoption financial assistance, in-home support, and events that build connections are all key ingredients to being a healthy adoptive family.

“Adoption is one important way we can connect young people with the care and support that loving adults are eager to provide,” said Children and Family Development Minister Katrine Conroy. “November, Adoption Awareness Month, is a time for us to reflect on the hundreds of children and teens in BC who still need support and care, the kind that lights up lives with love.”

Thank you to the City of Burnaby, the Corporation of the District of Saanich, and the Corporation of the District of Oak Bay for their proclamations!

Locations Lighting Up for Adoption

All of November

  • City of Burnaby (corner of Lougheed Hwy and Gaglardi Way)

Friday, November 9

  • BC Legislature
  • BC Place
  • City of Port Coquitlam (City Hall)
  • Canada Place
  • Science World
  • City of Vancouver (City Hall)
  • Vancouver Convention Centre
  • Fort St John Pomeroy Centre
  • Mr PG in Prince George (until November 19)

Friday, November 16

  • City of Coquitlam (City Hall, Lafarge Lake Fountains, Pinetree Way Skytrain Pillars)
  • Royal BC Museum

Quick Facts

  • There are hundreds of children and youth in foster care in BC waiting to be adopted.
  • Did you know that this year, 49% of children in foster care who went on to be adopted were adopted by their foster families?
  • If just 0.4% of Canadians who have considered adopting from foster care followed through, then every child in Canada’s foster care system would have a safe, loving, and permanent home.

About us

Since 1977, the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) has been dedicated to finding families for children and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Adopt BC Kids toll free line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, AgedOut.com, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more

For more information about Adoption Awareness Month and events for the month, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/aam

Contact

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Team Lead
adriedger@bcadoption.com
604-897-9827

Adoption Basics details first steps for adoptive parents

November 1, 2018 -- November is Adoption Awareness Month, and British Columbians who are looking to start or expand their families now have a new, free-of-charge online resource to help teach them the ins and outs of adopting in B.C.

Adoption Basics, offered by the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC), is an interactive orientation tool that gives prospective adoptive parents the right information to help them make informed decisions about their intent to adopt, before applying.

“This tool helps demystify some of the stereotypes about adoption,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “People tend to think of adoption as a route to finding that perfect, healthy baby, whereas the greater need right now is to find homes for sibling groups, teens and children who have complex care needs. We want parents to come to this process with their eyes open and we want to ensure we’re finding the best possible fit for those waiting kids.”

This online resource means prospective adoptive families can work through the materials at a time that best suits their personal schedules in the privacy of their own homes. That means equal access throughout B.C., especially in rural locations where the face-to-face courses may not have been as accessible.

“Adoption Basics will help prospective adoptive parents answer the question: ‘Is adoption right for me?’” said Mary Caros, AFABC director of education and community engagement. “Parents will learn about the adoption programs in B.C. and about the adoption process. They’ll also hear from other parents about what it’s like being an adoptive family and will have the chance to reflect on their own motivations to adopt.”

Adoption Basics also offers individuals a realistic understanding of whether adoption is the right fit for them. It is meant to highlight the needs of the child, shifting the emphasis away from the approval process.

AFABC is a non-profit organization providing advocacy, awareness, training, education and networking events for prospective and adoptive families.

Quick Facts:

  • Any B.C. resident, 19 or older, is eligible to apply to adopt.
  • There have been 244 B.C. adoptions in 2017-18.
  • Of the children in foster care who were adopted in 2017-18, 39% were adopted by their foster families.

Learn More:

For more information about adopting in B.C. and Adoption Basics, visit: https://www.bcadoption.com/abasics

Contact:

Ministry of Children and Family Development
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 356-0233

Andrea Driedger
Communications Team Lead
Adoptive Families Association of BC
604 897-9827
 

FSGV Adoption Agency closes after two decades

October 12, 2018 – VANCOUVER - After more than 700 adoption placements and 21 years of service and support to adoptive families, expectant parents, and birth families, Family Services of Greater Vancouver Adoption Agency has announced it will close on November 1, 2018.

“There is no greater honour than to help hopeful adoptive parents realize their dream of starting or growing their family,” said Karin Kirkpatrick, the CEO of Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV), in an emailed statement. “However, ongoing global socio-economic factors have impacted adoptions agencies globally and in BC, and we have decided that it is no longer a viable program for us to offer. This closure has been a very difficult decision for the Board and leadership of the Agency. We have reviewed alternative models and service delivery methods and have concluded that there is no viable alternative for us.”

FSGV is working with the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Adoption and Permanency Branch to ensure that families who have adoption files with FSGV Adoption Agency do not experience a disruption in service. They will be communicating directly with those families to advise them of the process.

“Families remain the top priority for Family Services of Greater Vancouver and will be supported through the transition process,” says Kirkpatrick.

FSGV Adoption Agency has been a key member of the adoption community for over 20 years. The passion, commitment, and leadership of the FSGV Adoption Agency team has been critical to the adoption community over these years. AFABC offers our support to FSGV’s staff and affected families through this difficult transition.

Family Services of Greater Vancouver, FSGV Adoption Agency’s parent organization, remains open. AFABC looks forward to our continuing partnership with FSGV on events such as the Stand Together Conference we co-host every March.

FSGV Adoption Agency has encouraged its clients to stay involved in the adoption community by connecting with the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC). AFABC’s family development team offers free and confidential supports to all adoptive families, including waiting families. Our next Waiting Parents Meeting is November 29 in Vancouver. See www.bcadoption.com/support for more information. For general adoption information and support, call us at 1-877-ADOPT-07. For more intensive support needs, call our Adoption Counselling line at 1-866-902-7330.

For more information on FSGV Adoption Agency and for details on how current and past client files will be handled, please go to www.fsgvadoptionagency.ca.

Contact:

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com
604-320-7330 ext 108

AFABC welcomes new Executive Director

Anne Tower, AFABC's new Executive DirectorSeptember 10, 2018 -- BURNABY -- Please join us in welcoming Anne Tower as the new Executive Director of the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC).

Anne is a dynamic and strategic leader with a 20-year track record of measurable impact in social profit (not-for-profit) and public sector organizations, working closely with the private sector. As an adoptee, Anne also brings a deeply personal connection to adoption and the work of AFABC.

Anne comes to AFABC from Junior Achievement of British Columbia, where she spent a decade in leadership positions. Prior to that, she worked at BC Housing, the Canadian Education Centre Network, and the Vancouver Public Library. She has built her career growing organizational capacity, relationships and teams, working with diverse Boards and leaders in strategic and operational planning, and working with diverse staffs in implementation. She has experience in municipal, provincial, federal, and international contexts, with a focus on youth education and economic development.

The Board and staff are excited about the skills and passion that Anne brings to AFABC.

If you'd like to get in touch with Anne, please feel free to reach out at atower@bcadoption.com.

Please join us in congratulating and welcoming Anne to her new position as AFABC’s Executive Director!

Adoption Community Champions Recognized at Celebration Event

June 18, 2018 – VANCOUVER - The Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 AFABC Adoption Awards. These awards are presented to individuals and organizations that make a difference in the lives of waiting children and youth, and adoptive families in British Columbia.

  • The AFABC Champion Award was presented to Tara Hultin. Tara has been a volunteer with AFABC for over 5 years. The time and dedication she has put in as a Safe Babies panels and as a buddy parent demonstrates her passion for helping adoptive families.
  • The Spirit Award – Corporate goes to Social Venture Partners Vancouver. We are incredibly appreciative of SVP Vancouver’s support of our online adoption education programs which has resulted in equal access for rural communities, faster approval of families, and improved family readiness to adopt. SVP Vancouver’s generosity exceeded an amazing $80,000 and continues to help our organization deliver essential education services to families across BC.
  • The Spirit Award – Individual was presented to Sonja Weissenbacher. For over fifteen years, Sonja has supported AFABC through community fundraising initiative, individual and monthly giving, and at charitable events. This kind of long-term financial support is the foundation on which AFABC can deliver consistent programs and services to our clients.

Since 1977, AFABC has been dedicated to finding families for children and also to providing ground-breaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Waiting Child Toll Free Line, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Zone, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more:

For more information on the AFABC Adoption Awards, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/adoption-awards

Contact:

Andrea Driedger
AFABC Communications Coordinator
adriedger@bcadoption.com
604-320-7330 ext 108

Bursaries help fostered and adopted kids achieve their education goals--and pay the bills, too

BURNABY –April 10, 2018 – Two youth from foster care or who have been adopted will receive $1,000 to help them achieve their education goals thanks to the Howard Youth Legacy Fund and the AFABC Youth Bursary.

Bursary recipients can use the money to cover necessary expenses—such as school fees, living expenses, childcare, computers, or textbooks—while they attend a vocational, trade, or academic post-secondary program. If needed, the funds can also go towards school fees. This flexibility means that youth who qualify for tuition waivers or Agreements with Young Adults (AYA) funding under the BC government's new programs can still apply for these bursaries.

By reducing the stress of making ends meet and cutting down on the need to work while attending school, these bursaries increase the potential for adopted or fostered youth to excel in their studies.

Victoria grandmother, volunteer, and philanthropist Peggy Howard raised $15,000 with the help of her friends and family in 2012 to create a bursary for foster youth through the Adoptive Families Association of BC (AFABC). "I just couldn't imagine the thought of these vulnerable teens not having family support," says Howard, an adoptee herself. "I am too old to adopt, but I felt that there must be something I could do to address, even in some small way, the barriers they face."
The AFABC Youth Bursary was established in 2013, with funding from AFABC, and accepts applications from youth who have joined their family by legal adoption.
A total of 15 youth have been awarded funds since both bursaries were launched.

"I hope that this bursary will provide not just financial support but also some motivation for these youth, something that says, 'Yes, you can go to college or university!'" says Howard. "I hope it gives them inspiration and a strong belief in their own potential."

Are you a youth between the ages 17-26 who's adopted or who spent time in government care, and is applying or returning to post-secondary school this fall? Join us at AFABC's Burnaby office (#200-7342 Winston Street) on April 17th from 6-8pm for a workshop that will help you fill out your bursary application! To RSVP or for more information, contact Jenna at jdales@bcadoption.com or 604-320-7330 ext 118.

About us
For over 40 years, the Adoptive Families Association of BC has been dedicated to finding families for children and also to providing groundbreaking programs that support the entire adoption community. The Adopt BC Kids toll free line, AgedOut.com, Wendy's Wonderful Kids, the Speak-Out Youth Zone, Focus on Adoption magazine—all are designed to raise adoption awareness, raise funds to support adoption, support children and youth who are waiting for families, and to help families get ready and stay steady throughout their adoption journey.

Learn more
For more information about the Howard Legacy Youth Fund and the AFABC Youth Bursary, please visit: www.bcadoption.com/bursary

Contact
Mary Caros
Director of Education and Community Engagement
mcaros@bcadoption.com
604-320-7330 ext 150

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