The Island’s only adoption clinic, Choices Adoption and Pregnancy Counselling Agency, closes its doors on May 31 after 30 years of placing 1,000 children with families across the province.
According to Jane Powell, chair of the board, the closure is a result of a decrease in the number of children available for placement internationally and domestically along with the financial viability of the clinic.
“It’s definitely a double edged sword,” she says. “The decision was based on the the financial viability — can we exist or can we not — and the bottom line is no.”
Besides financial difficulty, Powell says policy changes that have led to fewer children being placed for adoption and better supports for single parents are the main reason behind the closure.
“Thirty years ago there was a lot of stigma attached to being a single parent, particularly for young women, and all that has just completely changed,” says Powell.
The clinic currently employs less than a dozen full time staff, who will be out of a job at the end of May.
“I’m hoping they will be able to come up with something and hoping we can assist them in that,” says Powell. “But we’ll see.”
As of now, the clinic is involved with helping 140 families whose files will either be transferred to the Ministry of Children and Family Development or to other adoption agencies. There are only two other agencies in the province located in Vancouver and Kelowna.
Powell says while there are no firm commitments now, the work is being done to make the necessary adjustments.
“We want to reassure the families that we are involved with, planning is underway and at the end of the day people will have ongoing service.”
Powell recalls last years Christmas party as one of her fondest memories with the clinic.
“There was just all kinds of adopted families and all kinds of babes — it’s just a wonderful thing to see.”
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