For almost twenty years, China has been the most popular source country for international adoptions by Canadian families. Since the peak year of 2005, however, adoption numbers have decreased while wait times have increased. The exception is China’s special needs (“waiting children”) program, which is now the largest source of international adoptions to Canadians. In this Q&A, we talk with two families who recently adopted through the waiting children program.
Edmond Kilpatrick is the proud adoptive father of two daughters. As we approach Father’s Day, we’re pleased to share his thoughts on unconditional love and the meaning of family.
Just as I was getting a handle on my whole sleep deprivation thing, I seem to be right back to square one and find myself nodding off morning, noon, and night.
You see, I've solved my sleep apnea problem; but, what has left me desperate for a decent night's sleep these days is a battle with a serious case of jet lag and our beautiful daughter, Charlotte.
I’m a mom of four children, all adopted at different ages and stages. My first child was born in the US in 1997 and adopted as a newborn. In 2006 I adopted three more children from Liberia in West Africa. They were 2, 4, and 13 years old (though the 13 year old wouldn’t actually join our family until he was nearly 19).
In 2006, Liberia was a country in turmoil, it was just a few years after the civil war had ended, the infant and child mortality rates were incredibly high, and the adoptions were being processed relatively quickly.
In December 1999, a small, wide-eyed toddler from a refugee camp in Sierra Leone, huddled in the arms of a Canadian celebrity, wary of the cameras that carried his image around the world.
Ten thousand miles away, in Coquitlam, BC, Angela Faminoff saw that fundraising appeal on TV four times that evening. After sobbing her heart out, she said to her husband, "That is our child." For Angela and Russell, that moment was the beginning of the long process of finding Joseph and bringing him home.
Joseph is now 11 years old. He was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. In his first few years, he tragically lost his birth family and ended up in a refugee camp and then an orphanage. After a three-year search and a two-year adoption process, he came to Canada to join his new family in Coquitlam. It has been an incredible journey for this young boy.
Before you travel
- Know the country you would like to adopt a child from and read up on the potential medical issues your child may have.
- Before travelling, get your own vaccinations up-to-date by making a visit to your local travel clinic (if you don't know your local travel clinic, your local health unit should have a list).
- Make an appointment with your doctor to alert them to the fact that you will be bringing a child home and some of the medical issues the child may have.
- Buy plenty of medical supplies to take with you (see sidebar on right).
I remember the noise the most. Car engines idled noxious gasses into the air; heavy footsteps snapped across well-worn concrete. The delicious yet unfamiliar smells of Asian street food filled my nostrils. I stood close to my parents, at the edge of a street corner. Together, we gazed across the road to a building. Above its doorway was a sign filled with undecipherable Chinese lettering. Despite the language barrier, we all knew it what it said. Hospital.
In 1996 we adopted our first daughter, Oksana, from Novosibirsk, Russia; she was two years old. When we returned to Canada, we had our documents translated and found a limited amount of birth family information. What we read piqued our interest and we contacted the authorities in Novosibirsk asking for more information. They declined our request.
In this five-part series, we present the diary of Mary Ella, an intercoutry adoptive mom. She shares the journey she and her husband, Wayne, took to Korea to meet their long-awaited daughter, Leelee.
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