exposing the dark side of adoption
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Alexandra Austin

1991 Jan 1


In 1991, Alexandra Austin was nine years old when an Ontario couple, Joseph Austin and Silvana Marisa Di Giacomo, convinced her mother to let them adopt her and take her to Canada, even though she was not up for adoption.  After five months,  all the papeworks making the Austins legal parents were completed, but the Austins sent her back alone to Romania, two days after they adopted a Romanian baby girl.

Alexandra found herself back with her surprised mother, but in legal limbo and stateless. Canada had accepted her as a landed immigrant when the adoption was approved. But as she left the country before her adoptive parents filed a citizenship application, she never became Canadian.  The Austins had never cancelled the adoption and the child's documents had been altered, as is customary in such cases, to show her birthplace as Canada. As a result, Romanian authorities refused to recognize her and she was denied access to schooling and health care and to use her original name, and her mother had no parental rights or benefits.

In 2005, Alexandra has launched a $7 million lawsuit against her adoptive parents.

The government of Canada granted Alexandra and her now 2 children Canadian citizenship, and she returned to Canada with them in June 2009. 
A settlement was reached with the adoptive parents in 2010.