Imagine adoption client finally brings son home
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2009 10:26AM EDT
A Canadian mother who just returned home from Africa with her newly-adopted son calls herself one of the lucky ones, as hundreds of families who were clients of the now defunct Imagine adoption agency are still waiting for the children they were promised.
Carolyn Scharf, who was also a client at the Cambridge, Ont.-based Imagine, returned to Canada on July 30, bringing her new 18-month-old son William along with her.
She travelled to Ethiopia last month against the advice of the Canadian government. Scharf said she needed to take immediate action to complete the adoption process after Imagine filed for bankruptcy on July 13.
The bankruptcy left hundreds of families across Canada in financial ruin and emotional limbo.
"I was really lucky because my process was pretty much through the courts," she told CTV's Canada AM on Wednesday. "It was approved so I was just waiting for my travel papers."
Scharf, who is a single mom, said the worst part was dealing with all the rumours that were circulating about how the children were being treated while they waited for their Canadian families.
"There were so many rumours going around and not enough information was coming through," she said. "We kept hearing stories about children not being fed in the transition home.We heard stories of them being sent back to orphanages where they had come from.
"I've been to those places and it's what you would expect from a Third World orphanage," she said. "They do their best but they certainly don't have funding like we do here."
She said although she's happy to have William home, she can't help feeling sad for all the families who may never get to connect with the children with whom they have been linked.
Many of the families had already been sent pictures of their child and were in the process of going through the courts, after already having spent around $20,000 for the entire process.
It is still unclear how the African and Canadian governments will handle the families' adoption applications.
"It's devastating to think of them there, especially the babies who had the opportunity to be adopted. When you think of these children being stuck there it's pretty sad," she said.
Scharf said called the process a "long, tough road."
"It's not a process for the faint of heart," she said. "People tell you that when you're starting out, but you don't believe it until you're halfway through it."