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

Friday, August 28, 2009

BDO Update

The restructuring proposal documents have been drafted during the past two weeks. They were reviewed with the Inspectors during separate meetings. The last meeting was on Friday August 24th in the afternoon. The revised cash flow projections are being worked on for completion early next week considering final comments from the Inspectors.

The plan is coming together well as we try to address all scenarios for the creditors and families. The proposal documents should be signed and finalized and delivered by the end of next week. We realize that this is one week longer than anticipated at the July 30th creditor meeting. There have been several variations to consider to ensure that all issues are identified and addressed. We hope this extra time will ensure that the information is clear for your review, understanding and acceptance. We appreciate your patience.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Can't you just taste the good news that has got to be on it's way soon?

FIA posted a little update on the much anticipated proposal.

"I can see the light that is coming
For the heart that holds on,
There will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes,
Still I will praise You
Still I will praise You..."

Monday, August 24, 2009


My father-in-law sent a link to a cool looking pair of shoes this morning. Turns out they are made in Africa, specifically Liberia and Ethiopia, using only African materials. The "huge potential" in Africa is what got the entrepreneurs going. They are also 100% natural so there's no harm to the environment.

The first store in is Oakville but of course they are also available for purchase online.

I think the blue ones are pretty, how about you?

Everyone and everything is treated fairly, respectfully, responsibly, and honestly.

From Canada to Africa and back again.

Global responsibility at it's best.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Restructuring Plan Proposal - It Really Is Coming

Hello Families of Imagine Adoption,

I am happy to inform you that the restructuring plan will be ready to present to you in a week or so. Following that, BDO Dunwoody will be informing us of the specifics on voting procedures. We are absolutely thrilled with this news as it represents a major step towards bringing the agency out of bankruptcy, resuming operations and beginning the process of bringing our children home.

Before you are presented with the restructuring plan and asked to vote on it, the plan will be submitted for review to both the Board of Directors, as appointed in the proposed restructuring plan, and the inspectors that have been appointed by the creditors. Three members of the FIA Steering Committee were invited by the restructuring group to be on the Board of Directors. As an appointed member of the Board of Directors I will be reviewing the restructuring plan in the coming days. In addition to strong representation by adopting and adoptive families, the board is also made up of individuals with strong business administration and financial backgrounds. The Board of Directors will also have access to an Advisory Board consisting of individuals with strong operational and legal expertise in the area of international adoption.

The review process itself will only take a few days and then BDO will proceed with the process of sharing the plan with you and organizing the voting procedures. Hopefully at that time the trustee will also be able to provide some indication of how long it will take to gain Ministry approval and submit the plan to the courts should creditors approve the restructuring plans.

Once the proposal is presented to you, members of the FIA committees have committed, in collaboration with the trustee, to be available to answer all the questions and concerns you might have about the plan and the voting process.

I have great confidence in the group of people that have created the proposed restructuring plan. I believe that once you see the plan you too will share this confidence and that we can move forward as a united group of families to accept the plan and begin the important next steps.

I wish you all a great weekend as we prepare for an exciting and hope filled week ahead.

With warm regards,

Christine Starr

Small world: Crofton Couple Waiting On Ethiopia Adoption News

Unfortunately, in the original article there are three crucial stats in here upon which we were misquoted. (They've been edited below for my peace of mind.)

I'm dealing with it.

Adoption firm bankruptcy hits home

Small world: Crofton couple waiting on Ethiopia adoption news

Lexi Bainas, The Citizen

Published: Friday, August 21, 2009

The collapse of an adoption agency has left a Crofton family in limbo but still hopeful that all will go well with their application to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia.

Ashleigh, 29, and Ben Keizer, 32, and their two small sons, two-year-old Tait and four-year-old Noah, had been preparing for good news about a baby sister when the Imagine adoption agency announced its bankruptcy in mid-July.

Like many others across Canada, the couple had an application in the works.

Ashleigh and Ben Keizer play with their two boys Tait and Noah. The family is waiting to hear whether they’ll be able to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia as planned, as the agency they were dealing with has gone bankrupt. Ashleigh and Ben Keizer play with their two boys Tait and Noah. The family is waiting to hear whether they’ll be able to adopt a little girl from Ethiopia as planned, as the agency they were dealing with has gone bankrupt.
Photograph by : Lexi Bainas, Citizen

They had hoped to adopt a little girl and were looking at hearing in September or October that they had been approved.

After deciding to complete their family with an adopted child, the Keizers chose Ethiopia and began working with Imagine in April 2008.

It was not an easy decision.

Ben said, "It's what we felt we needed to do to complete our family. So we began the quest. We knew at the time it would be a journey, not necessarily knowing it would take this turn, of course, but we were ready for whatever came."

Asked how they came to choose Ethiopia from all the countries of the world, Ashleigh said, "Different countries have different regulations, guidelines on who can adopt. For instance, for China you need to be 30 or your income needs to be a certain amount. A lot of countries allow for adoption by relatives only. In India, you have to be at least partially of Indian descent. But, that said, there were still several choices for us."

Only a few African countries allow adoption and Ethiopia is one of them.

"The statistics really grabbed us," she said. "For example, one in six children die before their fifth birthday. There's a ratio of one doctor for 24,000 children. We found that kind of thing hard to digest."

Some people here have asked why they didn't consider adopting a child from Canada, but there were some important reasons for their decision, Ben said.

"I think for us there were a lot of things that make that kind of adoption harder. One of them being the fact that up to six months after the adoption happens, the family can take the child back. We weren't really ready for those six months of uncertainty. That was scary for us. We have kids, too. Already the kids don't understand what has happened. We have requested a girl as our preference and the boys are already asking where their baby sister is because we started prepping them in advance. Of course, we had to."

Important details like not seeing mommy's tummy growing before the baby arrived and the race of the hoped-for daughter were aspects that had to be explained carefully to a pair of pre-schoolers, the couple said.

However, supported by the prayers and good wishes of friends, the Keizers have significant hope following a meeting in Ontario to deal with the bankruptcy.

"The important thing for us is there's still a lot being done in the background from families and people who are quite concerned about the situation and who are trying to bring the company back out of bankruptcy. We were actually on a conference call with some of the families just talking about this. They are really positive, focusing on how we can make this better, how can we work together to bring these children home," Ashleigh said.

"It may be to start or complete families but it also gives these children opportunities they might not otherwise have. It's been neat to see all the families and the other creditors and stakeholders come together to see them say they will do what they can," she said.

The Imagine bankruptcy came out of the blue to the Crofton family and the agency they had been dealing with in Victoria.

Up until then they had done their homework and been expecting to hear of a matching child this fall. Then the little girl would have gone into the Imagine transition house in Ethiopia for the final six months or so of processing paperwork.

That transition house, which can house up to 40 children, is unusual and had helped Imagine streamline its adoptions; some of the money from the $14,000 in adoption fees was used to support it while the rest went towards the maintenance of orphanages and their connected agencies in Africa.

On top of those initial fees, of course, is the cost of getting the child home to Canada but the Keizers were prepared for all of that.

"We're hopeful that this is still a viable option."

The couple don't expect to hear anything from Africa. Any news will come from within Canada but Ashleigh said she's buoyed by the knowledge that there's a positive relationship between Ethiopia and the Ontario officials.

The family has a blog about their adoption journey. It's been running over the year and a half and Ashleigh hopes to turn it into a "life book for our daughter."

The content of the site has evolved but it's important to show her, when she is older and perhaps feeling culturally homesick that the decision to bring her to Crofton and make her part of their family was not taken lightly, Ashleigh said.

Ben said the family is optimistically looking towards the new year and hoping that any news they receive is positive.

On the website of BDO Dunwoody, who are handling the bankruptcy of Imagine, the following brief notice is all the news at the moment: "Effective July 14, 2009 Kids Link International Adoption Agency is bankrupt. Update From Ethiopia: BDO has had discussions on July 20 and 21 with our representative in Ethiopia. The children and conditions are all good with proper supplies for all as needed. BDO continues to assess ongoing financial and other needs to ensure proper and complete care."

Ben said, "The bankruptcy trustee has been phenomenal. Part of the job for us is trying to decipher the information that's around on the Internet, to determine what's really happening. It was a lot of waiting up until they had the first creditors meeting in Ontario, so it's just trying to keep emotions under control and wait. Out of that meeting there was a unanimous decision to try to bring Imagine out of bankruptcy. That's where it is right now. There's a group that's trying to come up with a plan to bring them out. Of course there has to be a settlement of creditors in that proposal."

However, in the interim, the couple are ensuring they spend all the time they can with Noah and Tait.

"We have to focus on our kids. It's not fair to not enjoy our time with them now. It passes so quickly," Ashleigh said.

Family and friends from the Warmland Community Church have been prayerfully involved, offering a lot of support and encouragement during a difficult time of waiting, they say.

© Cowichan Valley Citizen 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Goings On

Apart from the "Hurry Up And Wait" aspect of the bankruptcy and adoption process, it's been busy around here.

Other than the usual hum the summer and camp brings, we've been going at what feels to be 90 mph for quite some time.

Between head lacerations and hospital visits, (bless the scientist who came up with the ingenious idea to concoct "super"glue for small sliced skulls, instead of the cursed needle and thread idea); seminars which grip the heart and teach of leadership both in a work setting and in one's own journey; with family visits and childhood fevers; it's been go-go-go.

As the weeks now number less than 3 until the end of summer (and an annual trip to the States!), it seemed a few pictures were in order.

Aside from the adventures above Family Camp held some fun especially on Carnival Day.

Face Painting Butterflies and Yellow Dots

There will never be any concern over the youngest going with a flow...he's a fully independent, march-to-the-beat-of-my-own-drum kid. Fiercely concerned with personal generosity and equal sharing as of late, Tait is becoming an absolutely sweet toddler. He's also got a temper which I know will give us a run for our money in years to come - wait, it already does.

We've been shallow-water fly fishing.

Reaping the labours of our harvest.

And simply put, enjoying these lazy days of summer.

All this is not to say I don't anticipate the outcome of the meeting this Monday the 24th. The proposal is coming closer to completion and I can simply pray it is in our favour. Thank you to those of you who constantly remind me of your faithful prayers. They are felt and they are coveted.

Monday, August 17, 2009

BDO Update

BDO Dunwoody has posted a new update. Please head over there to read it for yourself.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I was inspired by an article written by another family in the same Imagine situation as us. It appeared on FIA's site and if you want to read it in it's entirety, head here.

Catherine & Aasif’s story

My wife and I are one of the 35 families who had signed up with Imagine, and were patiently awaiting our home study approval. In June our home study was finally approved – just in time for the announcement of Imagines’ bankruptcy.

We know that one solution the Ministry has suggested to all families in our situation is the return of our files but we have decided that it was in the best interests of Ethiopian children, our best interests and the best interests of all FIA families not to do so.[...]

Since the Ethiopian adoption program was open, [...] we decided on Ethiopia. This decision was later confirmed when we visited Ethiopia in 2005 and had a chance to visit local villages and literally experience Ethiopian culture - but the most moving aspect of our trip was witnessing 10 North American families travelling back to North America with their adopted Ethiopian children.

We had to decide on the agency that would help us with completing our family and we chose Imagine Adoption. The overwhelming factor in the decision was that Imagine’s Transition Home had a great reputation for the care it offered to orphaned and abandoned infants and children; as well, our social worker and other adoptive families raved about the fact that the children in the Transition home were well cared for, healthy and happy.

Given our lengthy deliberations we were devastated by the news of Imagine’s bankruptcy. The very considerations that lead us to choose Imagine in the first place, however, have guided our decision to keep our file where it is.

The biggest drive for our decision to continue with the current process was the overwhelming push by most (if not all) the current families to resurrect Imagine – like a phoenix rising from the ashes! If Imagine can be resurrected, and the Transition Home maintained, our prospective child will continue to receive the quality care which was our very reason for initially choosing Imagine. Moreover, since the quality of care in the Imagine’s Transition Home was by all accounts excellent, and that infrastructure is still in place, there is good reason to think that Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s affairs will continue to work with the proposed reconstituted agency once a new Executive Director is appointed.

[...] Pulling our file would mean that we choose another country and that would mean compromising on what we have very much wanted to do for a very long time. There would also be no guarantee of a shorter waiting period in another international adoption program. On the contrary, we know many international adoption programs run to many years, the current waiting period for China being a case in point.

In terms of finances, it may be that families who stay with the current process will be asked to invest additional monies, which may or may not be subsidized by donations, gifts, etc. But, most if not all other international programs are substantially more expensive; so, moving the file to another agency and to another country would require an additional financial investment anyway.

[...] No action is without risk, but without risk there will be no gain.

Lastly, a very important consideration in our decision to leave our file where it is, is that both Catherine and I believe in the principle that “united we stand, divided we fall”. To elaborate, we are mindful of the fact that if a substantial number of us were to decide to pull our respective files, the remaining families would be required to put in substantially greater amounts of money. Such an increased financial investment may be beyond the means of many families – families who would otherwise be capable of meeting the more limited funds injection required if files had not been pulled. Families not able to meet the increased demand for funds would then themselves have to pull their own files, creating a domino effect. Such a domino effect would likely spell the end of the plan to resurrect Imagine, and the death of all of our adoption dreams. In contrast if we stick together as a united group, and stand behind FIA’s message, “No child forgotten, no file left behind”, Catherine and I believe that we will all have our children.
(bold characters mine)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Inspectors Meeting and Conference Call

There was both an Inspectors Meeting (involving the 5 who are representing Imagine Families), and a BC Conference Call which Ben and I were a part of, yesterday.

I am a bit disappointed to relay the message that there wasn't a lot of information learned. However, we are hoping to see a draft proposal (this would be "the plan" used to bring Imagine back out of bankruptcy) within the next 7-10 days.

There are so many steps needing to be completed to have everything "fall into place".

Once the proposal is put forth, it will then need to be approved initially by the Ministry of Youth in Ontario.

If the Ministry accepts it, the Inspectors would then be privy to it. Upon acceptance by them, it would be put forth to the Creditors, (in case you are sure who that is - it's yours truly...and approximately 226 other families, stakeholders, landscapers, car dealers, etc).

Upon acceptance at this third step, the proposal would then be put forth by the courts to enable the bankruptcy to be resolved.

If/when the restructuring proposal makes it to the Creditors, we will vote on whether or not to accept it. A vote of 50% + 1, as well as a dollar amount totaling or exceeding a representative of 2/3 of the monies represented would be needed to "activate" the proposal.

Following? Complicated, I know. (For example, for sake of ease say there are 300 creditors representing $3 million. We would need a vote of 151 creditors in favour of the proposal, as well as $2 million represented by all these creditors in order for the proposal to go ahead.)

This is stressful. I know everything was determined, decided, and known long before we ever even started this journey. I know I need to let it go and have faith. But, I am human and full of flaws - over-thinking and worrying about such life-changing things as this is one of them. I am constantly encouraged and overwhelmed by the people who talk about "when" our daughter comes home. It gives me confidence to know that they feel God is leading this way.

So, if you could please continue to pray for a timely decision and favourable outcome we would be so grateful.

I can only imagine the party we will have when we bring her home.

And through all this, the only thing asked of me from On High is to have mustard seed faith.

Monday, August 10, 2009


On Thursday, the Chair of the FIA will be meeting to discuss the restructuring plan proposal. In it's most basic descriptive form, this would allow the doors of Imagine Adoption to re-open and allow for all the files to be matched. This is the first official meeting with the Trustee of BDO, since the Creditors meeting on July 30. This will be 2 weeks exactly, from that first meeting. Everything is on time as far as scheduled proposal meetings.

Please continue to pray that this will turn out for good. We are cautiously optimistic and faithfully, prayerfully hopeful.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BDO Creditors Meeting Minutes

The minutes to The Meeting on July 30 in Kitchener, Ontario have now been posted. If you'd like to view them - and please feel free - they can be located here.

There have been other details floating around the rumour mill so please please pray that the info outlined from the creditors meeting is accurate and truthful...and that the rumours are just that.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day By Day

We take this waiting period day by day. I've not felt encouraged to blog lately as I don't feel there's anything new to share.

However, yesterday's activities were pretty freakin' cute so I thought I'd throw them up here for anyone still checking in.

In case you are wanting to know when we will know something (!!), we should have a clue about what's going to transpire within the next 1-3 weeks. The FIA Committee will be working with many others to put together then proposed plan to keep Imagine going until all files are seen to completion.

And while the waiting, some days seems near impossible, I am encouraged by those who are concerned. I am motivated to pray more by those who remind me that they are praying. I am uplifted by those who are angry partially by what is happening with us but even moreso with the big picture of the injustice to the children in our world, especially in the developing world. And, I still hold to hope. A good friend summed it up perfectly when she wrote the other day with the reminder:

"'...but there's hope, dear, LOTS of hope...MORE than hope! Aslan is on the move'"

- The Chronicles of Narnia