Adoption Disclaimer & Definitions

Disclaimer:

It is important to note that our adoption was the first adoption between Alberta and Guinea. Because of this our overall experience has been marked with miscommunication and misunderstanding (on our part) in regards to appropriate process and steps needed to be taken. With that said, we have learned much and hope that our experience will provide help for you and your potential adoption from Guinea. We hope that many children from Guinea will find new homes with loving parents here in Alberta.

While we will try to be as thorough as possible, this document may contain errors and is in no way an official document and is not endorsed by any government or official agency. This is only our personal experience and hope that it may be a resource to you.

This page will include the following.

Organizations:

Christian Adoption Services:

  • Perception of Responsibility: CAS is a licensed adoption services organization which exists to help both international and provincial adoptions. In international adoption cases, they play a vital role in helping facilitate any preparatory steps an adoptive family needs to take. This means, they act on your behalf and help facilitate any steps the family needs to take within Canada and Alberta.  They DO NOT help facilitate any steps that need to be taken outside of the country. They are not licensed to do this. As of this writing, no adoption services organization in Canada is licensed by the Guinea government to work within the country. They also do not process any immigration applications, but may be able to help provide you with initial direction.
  • Personal Experience:  We have found CAS to be completely professional, kind and helpful in every way. We would recommend them to any family considering adoption. Wendy and Sandy have not only a professional work ethic, but a true heart for these little children and potential adoptive families. They went over an above on numerous occasions to help us discern and try to figure out what steps we should be taking.

Alberta Adoption Services:

  • Perception of Responsibility:  ADS is the Alberta government branch that provides legislative authority and oversight for all adoptions in Alberta. This is the agency which has the responsibility to ensure that there are clear steps and process that an adoptive family must take in order to have and process a legal adoption. Ultimately this is the agency that must be convinced that all proper due diligence has been taken as they give the final approval for all adoptions. (In order to adhere to Hague guidelines) If all protocol and process is followed correctly, there should be very little contact that a family will have this agency. This is a significant reason that families must use adoption service agencies such as CAS, as the AB government does not want to become the agency that deals directly with families.
  • Personal Experience: At first, we were very apprehensive regarding our own government agency. Anne Scully is the lady in charge and her designate is Sheeba Matthews. The reason for our apprehension was that many people’s personal opinion of them was somewhat negative. Bluntly put, the often heard opinion was that ADS was on a “power trip”, were difficult to work with, and were not overly helpful to adoptive families.
    • One must always remember that this is a Western government agency tasked with the responsibility of ensuring guidelines are followed in order to protect children and families from unscrupulous practices. Because adoptive families work through an adoption service such as CAS, (this is part of the AB Gov. protocol) most interaction and communication with them is limited and usually only comes as you send in your required paperwork and applications. They were very formal with their written correspondence. Again, this is to be expected as they are a government agency. My personal opinion is that they do their job well and I am glad they are there to help protect children.
    • Because of our unique situation we had perhaps more than normal correspondence with ADS as we together tried to determine proper steps with the Guinea government. In an effort to move things forward more quickly, I have reached out and have carefully communicated with them to try and figure things out.  As is often the case, once a person gets to know an individual, our hearts tend to soften towards them, and I have now found the team, especially Sheeba who we primarily worked through, to be helpful, courteous, all the while maintaining professional standards.

Source of Life

  • Perception of Responsibility:  It is important for an adoptive family to distinguish between the orphanage and an international representative. Source of Life is the orphanage where our daughter was taken care of. They have authorization from the Guinea government to handle international adoption cases.
  • Personal Experience: Working with Colette has been very positive. Being a pastor, it has been encouraging and special to work with one of our international workers. Because Source of Life is one of many responsibilities that Colette is directly or indirectly involved with (not including the various missions teams that come to help that she must facilitate) there were delays in communication as other priorities arose.
    • We have very much appreciated getting to know Colette and know she has felt just as frustrated as we have at times with some of the lack of clarity in what steps needed to be taken. We are thrilled that we have completed our adoption are that the steps needed to be taken are much clearer.

International Agency

  • Perception of Responsibility: While there is an official term for this, I can’t remember it. An agency is someone who works on behalf of the adoptive family in the foreign country. In our case this would be Colette working with and for us in Guinea. What makes this situation unique is that Source of Life and Colette are connected and act in both capacities for the adoptive parents. (For instance, in China, an adoptive parent never communicates or has any interaction with an orphanage) This person or agency is different from the local (Canadian) adoptive agency. This is most often a fee based service. This agency will act on behalf of the family on any international steps needed by the foreign (guinea) government. This often includes attendance at meetings, translations, help/instructions with visa applications, etc.  Colette has been acting as our IR.
  • Personal Experience: Being the first time Colette has worked an adoption in Alberta, her responsibilities in regards to what she provides to us as our agency was unclear to her and thus unclear to us. We now have a better understanding of all steps involved. The Ab government forwarded our completed dossier to the Central Authority of Guinea who then notified Colette as they continues the process of working on our file.

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