Hopeful adoptees arrive in Ontario

Date: 2009-07-30

By IAN ROBERTSON

About a dozen Ethiopian children whose adoptions were delayed after a Cambridge agency collapsed are now in Ontario as government officials scramble to unite others with new families.

And Ontario Youth Minister Deb Matthews yesterday revealed $100,000 was provided by a gold company. Funds from the owner of Yamana Gold Inc. financed a lawyer's successful trip to facilitate adoptions, she said.

Matthews said 46 kids are in transition programs, awaiting clearance to Canada.

'HEART-BREAKING STORY'

"The issue is a really heartbreaking story," she said a day after meeting with prospective parents left worried since the July 14 bankruptcy of Kids Link International Adoption Agency in Cambridge, also operating as Imagine Adoption Agency.

"The most important task is an attempt to reconstitute Imagine through the bankruptcy process," Matthews said, adding the province will consider licensing requests if the agency is relaunched.

It was the only one Ethiopia licensed to arrange adoptions in Ontario, she said. It won't license others here, "but has not pulled the accreditation."

During her recent talk with Jason Kenney, Matthews said the federal citizenship and immigration minister assured her of help, "and several of those kids are on their way" or already arrived.

About 170 Ontario families paid up to $20,000 each to adopt youngsters.

Financial documents from BDO Dunwoody Limited, the trustees in the bankruptcy, say Imagine owed $800,000 to 400 families across Canada.

Waterloo Regional Police fraud officers launched a probe after two Imagine directors July 22 claimed the operators paid themselves lavish salaries. The first creditors meeting with trustees is tonight in Kitchener.

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