The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Further To The BDO Creditors Meeting

Hopeful families were buoyed Thursday by a plan to try to save a bankrupt Cambridge adoption agency by bringing in new management.[...]

They left a Kitchener meeting in good spirits after about 200 creditors voted unanimously to pursue a restructuring effort outlined by bankruptcy trustees from BDO Dunwoody.

“I’ve never seen so many people in one room agree on something so quickly,” said Ingrid Phaneuf, of Etobicoke, who is trying to adopt a child from Ethiopia. “It was fantastic.”

About six people with the necessary expertise may take over the non-profit agency. The plan would require approval from the provincial government, which licenses international adoption organizations.

Bankruptcy trustee Susan Taves said the plan will be explored and developed over the next two to four weeks to see if it can work.

“I think it’s really probable – a high percentage of success here,” she said after the three-hour meeting.

Companies, church groups, individuals and affected families have contacted trustees with offers to help salvage the agency.

“This is a really unique file,” Taves said. “In 20 years of doing this work, I’ve never had people call and say they’ll give money to keep an organization going.”

The effort also has an ally in Kitchener lawyer Ted Giesbrecht, who went to Ethiopia earlier this month to ensure children at an agency transition home were properly cared for.

Giesbrecht, who is working for free, said staff at the home – where children matched with Canadian families are housed – hadn’t been paid in six weeks.

While also helping to complete adoptions that had reached the matching stage, he cut staff and reduced expenses at the home from more than $50,000 to $17,000 a month.

If the agency is restructured, Giesbrecht said, that will help stretch the money Imagine still had in the bank when it went bankrupt.

[One couple] of Kitchener paid $14,000 in fees to Imagine and were waiting to be matched with a child in Ethiopia after unsuccessfully trying to have a baby of their own for five years.

They were encouraged when a landscaper sitting next to them at the creditors’ meeting told them he’d write off the money he is owed if the agency can be salvaged.

“He said, ‘You getting your child is more important than us getting our money,’ ” [the husband] said. “I was blown away.”

“[The bankruptcy trustees and government officials] realize it’s not just money. They’re trying their best to make something reasonable out of a very difficult situation."

“So far, it looks good, but you can never be sure. International adoption is not for the faint of heart.”

“We won’t give up. We can’t give up.”

There was no sign at the meeting of Susan Hayhow, the former executive director of Imagine and two related organizations, Global Reach Children Fund and Saint Anne Adoption Agency.

Susan Hayhow and Morrow were at the transition home in Ethiopia when Giesbrecht, an expert in international adoptions, went there on behalf of BDO.

Giesbrecht said they were trying to make sure the children were OK and cooperated when he got there, giving him the information he needed to take over.

“There was an introduction,” he said. “I met them and then I said ‘You have no further authority here.’ ”

-courtesy of The Record

-Brian Caldwell

Tomorrow holds a call with the Government (MOWA) in Ethiopia. Please pray for cooperation, respect, and acceptance of this new plan of organization!

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