Quebecers who want to adopt children are often forced to look outside the province and even outside Canada. But the list of available countries for international adoption is shrinking and one woman is blaming the Quebec government for failing to develop more options.
“People should know that your government is not working for you,” Marissa Sidel said.
The 41-year-old Côte Saint-Luc resident is sounding the alarm after she says she lost $10,000 to government-approved agencies that failed to deliver.
“The roadblocks are non-stop and the problem with the system is that nobody’s accountable,” Sidel said.
After several failed attempts with assisted reproduction, Sidel decided adoption would be her best option.
She suffers from endometriosis and has come to accept that she will likely never become a mother naturally.
She never imagined the road to building a family through adoption would be so painful and long.
“You used to be able to adopt a baby from China in under a year,” Sidel said.
“They have a nine-year waiting list today. All of this has to do with Quebec because if you go to Ontario, you can adopt from the United States and many more countries.”
She started the adoption process six years ago and feels the Quebec government and some of its nine approved agencies are giving her the run around.
Sidel was approved to adopt from Russia before that country closed to singles.
She then turned to Bulgaria where she was promised a little girl who turned out to be too sick.
By then she had lost $10,000.
Now she’s been waiting for a child from Africa for close to two years and is starting to lose faith in the system.
She has contemplated a lawsuit against the government but was told that could cost $50,000 — money she would rather spend on the adoption process.
“I don’t want to fight with anybody. I just want to be a mother, that’s all it boils down to. I wish my government would help me,” Sidel said.
The number of international adoptions has been on a steady decline in Quebec over the last decade. The Secretariat de l’adoption internationale (SAI), the government branch that oversees the process, claims it’s out of their control.
“People wanting to adopt must meet the country of origin’s requirements, which are increasingly selective and restrictive – such as age and civil status,” the SAI explained.
Global News reached out to the minister for comment on this story but she declined and directed us to the SAI.
“She’s been absolutely tortured,” Marissa’s brother Noah Sidel said.
“I’ve been watching her bounce from country to country, agency to agency. They’ve taken tens of thousands of dollars from her for absolutely nothing.”
Sidel works alongside her brother and father, who have both witnessed the emotional roller-coaster.
“Here’s a willing and able person who could be a loving and caring mother to a child and that child can’t find his or her way to her house. It makes it extremely frustrating,” Gerald Sidel said.
Marissa says she recently reached out to the minister in charge of international adoption, Lucie Charlebois, only to be dismissed by one of her workers.
“I said I’ve been waiting six years. He said: ‘Great. Is there anything else you need? No?’ click.”