The decision to adopt is perhaps the single most important commitment a family can make. For most, it is a decision based on emotion and the desire to build a family through adoption.
At The Children's Bridge, we understand that the commitment to adopt is never taken lightly. That's why we're with families from the outset - providing support in making the decision to adopt, immediately after the decision is made, during the actual adoption process and throughout the important support period following your child's arrival home.
The Children's Bridge has one goal:
to help you adopt internationally.
The Children's Bridge is a non-profit, federally incorporated organization licensed in Ontario to facilitate adoptions. Created in the early 1990’s, The Children’s Bridge helps families across Canada who wish to adopt from Ethiopia (in partnership with CAFAC), Jamaica, South Korea, Thailand (Regular adoptions and Waiting Children), India, Vietnam and the People's Republic of China (Relative, Expedited and Waiting Children), USA (Florida) and Domestically. To date, The Children’s Bridge has successfully facilitated more than 3,500 adoptions. The Children’s Bridge also assists authorities to meet the needs of children remaining in the Social Welfare Institutes in the countries in which we have programs.
The Children’s Bridge operates under the governance of a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors that provides oversight of its ongoing operations. The Board of Directors, comprised of primarily of individuals with significant professional financial and operational experience, also promotes the financial sustainability of The Children’s Bridge. Additionally, The Children’s Bridge strong management team includes a dedicated financial manager and operational manager. This management team, together with the Board of Directors, ensures that The Children’s Bridge continues as a going concern, in a positive financial position to fund its operational requirements. To this end, The Children’s Bridge has a sufficiently financed contingency fund, which cushions us from any unforeseen changes that may take place in the international adoption process in countries in which we currently have programs. Over the past year, despite many changes in the international adoption environment, The Children’s Bridge has been and remains in a positive financial situation and is committed to continuing in its mission of facilitating adoptions for Canadian families.
Contact Children's Bridge.....
Attend an Information Session in your region. For a current list of Information Sessions please click here.
Take out a Children's Bridge membership. For a list of benefits of taking a membership, please click here.
Retain the services of an Adoption Practioner to complete a homestudy. To view a list of approved Adoption Practitioners for all provinces in Canada, please click here.
Program Packages will outline all the documentation required by Canadian and foreign governments. We ensure that your documentation meets all necessary requirements prior to our sending it to the appropriate authorities overseas.
Attend our AdopTALK Parenting Series. For more inofrmation and a listing of seminar dates, please click here.
Connect with families in your region at our pre and post adoption events. For a current listing of events, please click here.
You may be required to be placed on a Call Back List or to
complete a Screening Process, please speak with the Program Manager for your
Our Adoption Experience
The decision to adopt formed gradually through our third pregnancy and became firm when our daughter arrived healthy and happy in December 2005. In winter of 2006 we decided to adopt from China and by spring we were fully engrossed in the paper trail. Our research suggested two main agencies, including Children’s Bridge. Everyone we asked said both were fantastic organizations, but our decision was made finally based on the fact that CB was a nonprofit and supported the Children’s Bridge Foundation. We were paper ready by September 2006 and our LogIn date with China was October 11, 2006.
During our preparation and waiting we spoke to many people in the industry including professionals, volunteers and adoptive parents. One of the reasons we chose China was that the process appeared to be very predictable and straightforward. The requirements were clearly outlined, the paperwork was extensive but specific, the timeline was becoming longer but with some consistency and at the end, there was a baby. After we logged in, that all seemed to change. The wait times continued to grow, and started to increase at surprising and unprecedented rates. In December of 2006 new ‘guidelines’ or requirements of adoptive parents were put in place by the Chinese authorities with assurance of grandfathering for those already registered who didn’t meet guidelines (we’d be included in those ‘those’). Our predictable, straightforward and safe choice was becoming anything but.
I must admit that our waiting period during the adoption was one of the most difficult times of my life, certainly a lot worse than we had anticipated it being. This was largely because of the uncertainty of all of the changes in the Chinese adoption process. I called the Children’s Bridge offices many times with questions or concerns, and more than once with nothing more specific than the need to know they were still there. Cathy Murphy and her team were professional and empathetic. I always appreciated that while they were all people who had gone through adoption, and who as professionals had facilitated hundreds of adoptions, they realized that for us this was our FIRST and LAST and ONLY adoption and treated us with the right balance of ‘kid gloves’ and professional respect. Every call was returned promptly. Every question was answered to the best of their ability, but with empathy that many of the questions had no answers at all.
In October of 2007, after a year of waiting, we decided to switch to the Waiting Child programme. We had considered it earlier in the year, but at that time we were unable to switch without “logging in” as new applicants, which would have held us to the new regulations. By October that had changed and families were able to switch or join the WC programme while still logged in with their original paperwork. Cathy offered us the opportunity to switch knowing our frustration with the wait. By that time I had come to realize that the Chinese authorities defined ‘special needs’ with much different parameters than we do in our Western society. Many of the special needs identified in the Waiting Child programme were very minor and/or easily ‘correctable’ with medical intervention. However, we came to learn that actually switching programmes was not going to be as easy and the decision to move. Living in Nova Scotia meant we were governed by a different body than Children’s Bridge in Ottawa. This meant we had to meet criteria outlined by both bodies and that Cathy had to be knowledgeable enough in both policies to work through our obstacles. With the support of other Children’s Bridge families both current and adoptive, and with Cathy’s direction, we appealed to our government to change their policy and allow our move to the Waiting Child programme with Children’s Bridge. Only through that support and direction were we successful and finally allowed to change programmes and proceed with a “special needs” adoption.
Through research in the online adoption community including blogs, and agency websites we were already familiar with several identified special needs. Cathy gave us a list of other conditions that were frequent in the Waiting Child programme. We researched each condition to determine the effect it would have on the child in terms of intervention, future prognosis, health and wellbeing going forward, etc. This research was done online and by questioning professionals with the direction of Children’s Bridge.
For the most part, my husband and I agreed on which conditions we felt we could handle with our family and which were too much. We disagreed on two conditions; we each felt we could accept one but not the other. I was very impressed during our discussion with Cathy that she was objective and firm where we could not be, omitting both of those conditions – without judgment – as she realized that our concurrence on this topic was paramount. Where we were emotionally trying to convince the other, she ruled them both out as unacceptable for us at this time. This objectivity was a huge net to protect us from emotional and impulsive decisions. Later in our wait a child became available for which a match was difficult to find. As a waiting, mother (and a human) my first instinct was to request her to be ours. In hindsight, I realize that the negative impact she would have had on our family with consideration of her needs would have been too great and unfair to our children. The objective forethought of the Waiting Child programme process and Cathy’s casual but firm development of our profile protected us and helped us find our daughter.
Our daughter’s paperwork was presented to Children’s Bridge in March. As with the rest of our adoption journey our referral was complicated and met with obstacles. Cathy knew the child was a good match for our family and proposed the match to our government official to approve. However, the child’s paperwork did not exactly match ours as we were approved for adoption through the NS government. Again, Cathy’s experience with China, her knowledge of the children and her familiarity with our family helped us navigate through this stressful time. Cathy was in touch with us late at night to assure us there was a way through. We updated our homestudy as required by the NS government and with Cathy’s guidance we asked for more information from the orphanage. Finally when the questions were answered and the NS government was appeased, we were able to accept the referral of a little girl who was meant to be our daughter. A few weeks later we received a card in the mail congratulating us on our new daughter with her Canadian name signed by the staff of Children’s Bridge. This was a very small but thoughtful touch that made the entire referral very real.
In September we travelled with three other families to China to pick up our daughters. With our complicated process to that point we expected difficulty with the travel and adoption but it was simple and straightforward. Children’s Bridge answered all my questions regarding travel, process and policy in China, organized the flights and accommodations, passed messages to the guide we’d have in China and ensured we were prepared for our trip and, more importantly, our adoption. The trip was perfect. It was everything we hoped it would be and more – a once in a lifetime experience from beginning to end. Our daughter was very much as Cathy thought she would be, which was subtly different from how I read her paperwork description –Cathy’s experience in reading and interpreting the referral was obvious when we met our daughter.
AnnaWen has been home for two years and nine months now, two months longer than she lived without us in China. Initially she had several appointments to check her health and manage issues related to her diagnosis and general institutional experience. Long term she was followed by Early Intervention, Speech and Language therapy, the Developmental and Preschool Special Needs clinics at the IWK. We saw gains at each appointment. Recently AnnaWen had her last appointment as she has now caught up with her peers and is performing in all skill areas as a typical and happy five year old girl.
Our contact with Children’s Bridge has been much less than it was before the adoption, of course, but they continue to be attentive to our needs when we call or write with a question or concern. We were fortunate to have a very easy transition and bonding period with AnnaWen, but I felt the staff at Children’s Bridge were there had we needed extra help and/or resources upon returning home. We have been in contact with Children’s Bridge families here in NS for picnics and social events. It is nice to be with families who share some of our experiences and understand some of what makes our family us in a way that others cannot.
Our adoption experience was very hard and stressful, much worse than we had thought it would be going in. But the Children’s Bridge community made it manageable and kept us hopeful when we couldn’t see our way to the end. The end result, our perfect daughter and sister, was well worth every moment of stress and fear. We are so blessed to have found AnnaWen.
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Thank You Children's Bridge!...
Our adoption journey began at the Children's Bridge in July 2006. Our foray into international adoption
began with our enrolment in the China program. We attended the wonderful AdoptTalk program and
learned a great deal from the Cathy Murphy and all the knowledgeable Children's Bridge staff and
guest speakers including medical professionals, social workers, and families with international
adoptees. The program was well-organized, informative and alot of fun. In the future, we look forward
to attending the youth programs offered at Children's Bridge for adoptees and their parents.
We stayed on track with the China program until May 2007. Much to our dissapointment, we
discovered our waiting time would likely grow unpredictably but may stretch out past 5 years instead
of the expected 1 year due to unanticipated changes in the China program. The Children's Bridge staff
was very supportive, and communicated clearly and sensitively the difficulty in predicting future
developments and timelines, laying out alternative courses of action we might consider.
Based on the advice given by various Children's Bridge staff and our age, we felt it best to change
programs to become parents sooner, and follow the more predictable process of adopting from South
Korea in the summer of 2007. Our adoption practitioner, Martha Maslen (then the Children's Bridge
Director) and Maria Fulford (Children's Bridge Korea Program Manager), and the entire staff worked
very hard to ensure our paperwork & documentation was completed properly and quickly delivered to
the appropriate authorities for approval at each step in the process. During our waiting time, we were
always kept up to date on the status of our file and our questions/ concerns were always addressed
quickly. Childrens Bridge also provided us with emotional support during our waiting time, listening to
our concerns and encouraging us to meet other couples in waiting.
Within three and half years we became proud parents to two beautiful children from South Korea. After
bringing home our beautiful daughter Olivia in June 2008, we thought it would be wonderful if we
could expand our family and give our daughter a sibling. We started the paper work for the second
adoption in March 2009 and with great joy we were given the go ahead to travel to South Korea in
December 2009 to bring home our handsome son Matthew. Olivia accompanied us on that trip and we
will always cherish the memories we created in becoming a family.
We would like to thank the staff at Children Bridge for all their support in our quest to start a family.
After having gone through infertility we never thought we'd be blessed with the beautiful family we
have and it couldn't have happened without the dedicated staff at Children's Bridge. We are grateful for
and indebted to the Children's Bridge for their dedication to building families by bringing parents and
children together. Words cannot describe our heart-felt gratitude to all the staff at Childrens Bridge who
helped to make our family dream come true!
Irene Martincic, Mark Rollins,
Olivia Heiryun Rollins & Matthew Byul Rollins
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