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.