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Considering adoption options

Over 1,000 children waiting for adoption in B.C.

Currently, there are over 1,000 children in B.C. waiting for adoption after years in foster care and the Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) is seeking Squamish families to claim them as their own.

The process can be confusing, so MCFD is offering an Adoption Information Session on Wednesday, June 10 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the MCFD office, 1100 Hunter Place.

Allison Clarke, MCFD social worker, said adoption is easier than people think. The only requirements are that you must be age 19 or older and a B.C. resident.

"The workshops are designed to educate the community about adoption in general," Clarke said. "It can be quite daunting and often families think about it for a long time. We will discuss the process of adoption from the application stage to bringing your child home."

The MCFD supports families and children during the adoption process. Children in need of homes have been removed from their birth families for many different reasons.

"The kids waiting for adoption are living in our community in safe and nurturing foster homes but these homes are not permanent," Clarke said.

According to Clarke, children need permanency. She said they need families to claim them as their own, and also take full legal, financial and emotional responsibility for them.

"This is where adoption comes in," Clarke said. " We promote adoption because we know that there are individuals, couples and families who want to build their family through adoption."

Clarke said while many foster families end up adopting kids, there is a need for families to adopt a wide range of children - especially older ones.

"I have seen a lot of success stories over the years. We have so many stories about families claiming children in need of a home and several amazing stories of older child adoption," Clarke said.

Throughout the adoption process and beyond, Clarke said, MCFD provides support from social workers and in some cases financial aid. She added financial considerations should not prevent adoption since MCFD offers a post-adoption assistance program.

"We also provide information about the types of kids who are waiting for adoption, which can range from newborns to teenagers," Clarke said.

The goal of the upcoming information session is also to help those interested in adoption make decisions about whether a Ministry adoption is the right fit. Clarke said the session also includes a discussion about the differences between private and MCFD adoption.

"I would encourage anyone to come to the information session even if adoption has just been a lingering thought. We are not going to ask you to apply. We are just going to provide information and answer questions," Clarke said.

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