Quebecers wanting to adopt children from outside the province have only 17 countries to chose from, a far cry from what’s offered to parents in other parts of Canada.
Ontario, for example, offers the option of 27 countries.
“The rights of other Canadians are not the rights of me as a Quebecer,” said Marissa Sidel.
The 41-year-old Cote Saint-Luc woman is outraged that the Quebec government isn’t doing more to help potential parents like her adopt internationally.
She’s been waiting six years for a child and doesn’t understand why the province isn’t opening more opportunities.
“Effectively what they’re doing, they’re shrinking the availability for international adoption in Quebec and we have no where else to go,” Sidel said.
The story is making waves in Quebec City, where the minister responsible for international adoption calls it “complicated.”
“It’s not only a matter of number of countries, we’ve got to get the right parents for the child,” Lucie Charlebois said.
Charlebois wasn’t able to explain exactly why Quebec is closed to more countries than Ontario, what she does say is that the organisation responsible for international adoptions (SAI) is working with agencies who are trying to develop options in other countries.
“We want to make sure that we protect children from a lot of problems that can happen in the adoption process,” Charlebois said. “It seems simple but it’s not.”
The Quebec Federation of Adopting Parents calls Marissa Sidel’s case unfortunate but not typical.
The federation agrees that the Quebec government needs to do more to help facilitate international adoption, but more importantly, they want the government to give adopting families equal rights.
These would include the same maternity and parental leaves as biological parents are entitled to.
“It’s very sad obviously but it’s not uncommon,” said Yannick Munger of the federation.
“When you adopt a child there’s no guarantee and unfortunately sad stories like this will happen.”
Yannick Munger is the proud adoptive father of two children from China and South Korea. He feels the bigger battle is to get more help for children after they’re adopted.
“All the experts in the adoption world agree on one thing – the adoptive children should spend at least one year with the new family to create bonding and to create attachment – and currently we only have 37 weeks,” Munger said.
So if and when Marissa Sidel ever gets to adopt a child, chances are it will be the first of many hurdles her family will face.