Alberta couple gutted by adoption agency closure: ‘We just want to be parents’

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Alberta couple gutted by adoption agency closure: ‘We just want to be parents’
WATCH ABOVE: One of the few adoption agencies in Alberta has announced it is permanently closing its doors this summer. For Edmonton couple Linda Hoang and Mike Brown, the news is another setback in their long and difficult journey to becoming parents. Nicole Stillger has their story – May 29, 2020

Linda Hoang and her husband, Mike Brown, have been trying to have a baby for six years.

“We have unexplained infertility,” Hoang explained. “They don’t know why we can’t have children — and that makes it even harder, because there’s not one thing that you can try to fix.”

After three failed intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures, the couple from Spruce Grove decided to pursue adoption.

Almost a year into the process and a couple steps away from officially being on the waiting list, the couple was feeling hopeful.

Then came the unexpected news — their adoption agency announced it was closing for good. The idea that could happen never crossed the couple’s mind.

“We were shocked, sad, surprised,” Hoang said.

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“My husband and I both looked at each other and said ‘of course this would happen — of course this would happen to us — of course the agency we chose.'”

In a letter sent to its clients Tuesday, the board of directors for Adoption by Choice (ABC) announced the decision to close as of July 30.

The agency goes back more than 30 years.

“The need for services to birth parents who are making an adoption plan has declined,” part of the letter reads.

“We know that this news will come as a shock to many; the staff and Board of Directors will be rolling out our plan of next steps for the clients and stakeholders of ABC.”

When ABC does close, three other private adoption agencies will be left in Alberta: Adoption Options, AMARIS Adoption and Family Support Services, and Small Miracles Adoption.

Alberta’s children’s services minister acknowledged the closure is “heartbreaking for prospective adoptive families.”

“While all adoption agencies are independent private operators, I will be reaching out to them so we can work to transition these families’ files over so they don’t fall through the cracks,” Rebecca Schulz said in a statement.

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Click to play video: 'Alberta could soon allow hopeful parents to post adoption profiles online'
Alberta could soon allow hopeful parents to post adoption profiles online

“We are also conducting an extensive review of all adoption-related legislation and regulations in Alberta to ensure government processes aren’t a barrier to bringing families together.”

The province says there were 44 licensed agency adoptions in 2018-’19, and 72 adoptions in 2019-’20.

Hoang estimates she and Brown have invested about $5,000 in the adoption process so far.

For now, they’ll take some time to think it through before making any decisions. They have a call set up with ABC next week.

“It’s just another obstacle in this very long journey and with each one it kind of wears on us,” she said.

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