Friday, November 20, 2009

BDO update

See BDO's website for an update on Nov.18th

Friday, November 13, 2009

BDO update

See BDO's website for an update on the recent trip to Ethiopia.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Retainer Agreement

Please copy and paste the link below or check BDo's website to get a copy of the Retainer Agreement:

Retainer agreements are due back by Nov.30th.

Monday, November 2, 2009

BDO update

BDO has posted an update today, Nov.2, 2009. Please see BDO's website for the update.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unfortunate News for Ghana families

Please go to the Imagine Adoption support group on Facebook under the 'discussions' to see an update provided by BDO and Imagine to the Ghana families on Friday, Oct.30/09.
I am so sorry for all of the families in the Ghana program. My heart goes out to all of you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A General Update from BDO's website - Oct.30/09

General Update Friday October 30th
Time Period of October 15th – October 28th

Prepared by the Board of Directors

Since the last update on October 14, the new Board of Directors would like to advise you of the progress made in the on-going efforts to resume the operations of Imagine Adoption. The Board of Directors met in the last period on October 19th and then again on October 26th.

Office Update

The transition to the new office has not been as smooth as anticipated and we are still without phone lines as a result of service delivery issues with Rogers as well as other vendors. This delay has had some unintended consequences and it is with regret that as a result of the delays, we have not been able to open up the formal communication with families that we were all hoping for.

Although this delay is disappointing, progress is being made with the set-up of the office and we are all committed to having the operation up and running as soon as possible.

Moving forward, here is the key contact information that you have been asking for.

Mailing Address: 382 Queen Street West
Cambridge, Ontario N3C 1G8

Phone Number: 519-267-3841 (not yet operational)

Email Contacts: Jo Ann Barber
Valerie Goodyear
Melissa Burke

Ted Giesbrecht – Communication Update

During the bankruptcy, Ted Giesbrecht was retained by BDO Dunwoody to assist with the handling of families’ files during the process of determining the future of the agency. This was a beneficial relationship and a key component to the recovery of the agency.

Since the transition is nearing completion, Ted, his firm, as well as the Board of Directors are politely asking that all future communication from families be transitioned to the new office of Imagine Adoption. We acknowledge that our communication portals have taken longer to implement then we were hoping but we ask that all families start to use the above contact points for your direct inquiries.

To close on this point, on behalf of the Board of Directors, we would like to use this communication as a public acknowledgement and a sincere thank you to Ted and his entire office for the support and ongoing commitment that they have shown during the past 4 months. Words cannot express the gratitude that we all feel.

Travel Update:

We are pleased to have finalized the travel agenda for the working committee that will be leaving for Addis Ababa on October 30th and returning on November 9th. The committee consists of Valerie Goodyear, Christine Starr and Ted Giesbrecht.

As stated in the previous update, the mission for the visit will consist of the following items:

o Establishing and renewing orphanage contracts
o Evaluating current operations
o Assisting with the cases of children currently matched with families
o Relationship building with our partners that are critical to the overall success of the international adoption process

Retainer Agreement Update:

The process of drafting the formal retainer agreement is nearing completion and we are very close to having our draft copy approved. Once this happens, it will be a priority of the staff to have these documents sent out to the families. The date by which renewal fees must be paid under the retainer agreement is November 30th so rest assured that we are well positioned to achieve this goal as proposed.

Ghana Update

There will be an update posted early next week regarding the review of the adoption program for Ghana.

Respectfully, The Board of Directors

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New communication from the new board of directors

Please see the FIA website for a communication from the new Board of Directors

Monday, October 19, 2009

BDO update

BDO has posted an update on their website:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oct.2 - General Update

General Update Friday October 2, 2009

BDO prepared in consultation with the new Board of Directors

As scheduled, BDO attended the court for approval of the restructuring proposal on September 29, 2009. The Court Order was signed and will be issued to BDO by the court office as soon as possible. A copy will be posted on this site when available. In the meantime, the organization is proceeding with the restructuring plan immediately.

There have been 2 meetings since the creditor meeting on September 21st for the Directors identified in the proposal. BDO attended the second meeting on September 29.

The priorities are clearly identified and well established by the Board of Directors to restart operations. The action plans for the coming days and weeks including the following:

Open bank accounts and identify signing Officers for cheques and liability commitments of the organization. Action commenced for October 5 start.
Legally appoint the Directors and Officers considering the incorporation articles.
Prepare and issue the family restart contract. Action commenced for October 9, 2009 release.
Hire staff. Commenced for week of October 5th start.
Obtain and set up new offices premises including furniture, telephone lines, file access and computer data base set up. Commenced for week of October 5th start.
Apply for the license renewal. Commenced including conference call with BDO and Ministry for October 11 dead line.
Contact with Ethiopia considering orphanage relationships and transition home needs. Commenced and travel to Ethiopia anticipated before November 30th.
Prepare revised cash flow for coming 4 months considering actual cost contracts.
Report to BDO as monitor as required.

Information will continue to be provided through the BDO web site for Imagine Adoption as this is currently operational and easily accessed. We will confirm on this site the new office telephone number and address as soon as these are in place.

Some questions directed to BDO during the past week include the following for clarification:

Renewal contracts, once ready, will be posted on this web site as well as being emailed to the families. There will be instructions to complete and send these either care of the BDO offices or to the new Imagine Adoption offices.
Files are expected to be handed back to the staff within the next two weeks. In the meantime, BDO is responding to emergency requests for files and forms. We appreciate that families have kept requests to a minimum until the new office is operational.

Thank you for the ongoing effort, input and patience of all involved.

BDO Dunwoody Limited/Susan E. Taves

Board of Directors/Kelly Cussons

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A blog entry by Glen Pearson - MP London North

Just Imagine - September 30, 2009 by glenpearson

Months ago, families attempting to adopt children from Ethiopia received the shattering news that the adoption agency they were working through was declaring sudden bankruptcy. Most of us recall the pain reflected in the faces and comments of the prospective parents and our hearts went out them. Their hopes were finished.

Except they weren’t. From the ashes of deep despair emerged a collective effort that turned tragedy on its head and produced hope when people believed there was none. What is remarkable about the collective effort of these parents-to-be was that they kept themselves together when anger and frustration could have split them in numerous pieces.
Imagine Adoption, and the moving story surrounding the parents, has been alluded to a number of times in this blog. I’ve written of the first meeting my wife and I had with them and how they constructed a plan in those earliest moments that hatched a truly remarkable story of how citizens who organize, share the burden, skillfully express their honest emotions, and arouse their talents can in the end even make government move with alacrity and compassion.

Under the adroit influence of a steering committee, the hopeful parents engaged media, community partners and politicians from various domains and successfully gained support for their efforts. And then just today, the news: “An international adoption agency that collapsed this summer, stunning hundreds of would-be adoptive parents … was moved out of bankruptcy yesterday” (London Free Press).

I’m not sure any of us can really understand the sheer heights these parents climbed, not so much to overcome obstacles, but to get to their children. They turned their collective grief, not to anger, but to faith and endurance. When it seemed all was lost, they could never accept that news because that meant the children in Ethiopia had lost as well. It just wasn’t good enough … and so they organized and prevailed.

Working with government, creditors and a bankruptcy firm, they succeeded in forming a new board of directors, along with an advisory board. Moreover, each family had to pay another $4,000 each to make it work. And it did. Starting at this moment, the board will hire two full-time workers and a part-time worker. At this rate, most of the adoptions will be completed.

I concluded an earlier blog on these inspirational parents by saying, “If only Ottawa worked like this.” That was just speaking of the spirit of cooperation shown by this hardy group. But now that cooperation has reaped its reward, showing us all once again that if citizens can overcome such obstacles with such cooperation and dedication, our own politicians could surely learn some lessons. I can honestly say they have taught me much, but more importantly have given me hope for what is possible.

We live in a strange world where a sports figure, who can masterfully move a small round ball into a cup on the green can be asked to dine with presidents and prime ministers. Self-serving and self-absorbed entertainers gain immediate access to the halls of power. What are we thinking? The kind of people who should be extended the red carpet into Parliament are people like these parents. They are neither masters of the inconsequential nor purveyors of their own self-image. Instead, they are what we should all emulate. Their secret of power and success was their humility and belief – the very things in such short supply in our nation’s capital these days. Well done. Enjoy your kids.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


two items:

1) BDO has updated their website:

2) the proposal has passed court!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ministry update

Please see the following update posted by the ministry of Ontario today:

BDO website updated

BDO's website has been updated with the outcome of the creditor's meeting. Please check it out or copy and paste this link:

Monday, September 21, 2009


The proposal was accepted with a resounding YES! Court has been scheduled for Sept.29th.
Congratulations everyone - we did it!


Friday, September 18, 2009

BDO update

Please see BDO's website for an update regarding Monday's agenda.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New FAQ's are up on BDO's website

BDO has updated their FAQ's today with more Q&A
Please see their link on the right of this page for more information

Some Q&A with BDO

The following are some answers from BDO to some of the questions coming from our AB families. I have relayed them as accurately as possible, the way I perceived was correct. For more information or clarity, please contact BDO. I believe most are addressed on the new FAQ's posted on BDO's website.

Q. Does a yes vote oblige you to pay the renewal fees.
A. No, a new retainer agreement will be sent out.

Q.Who is the restructuring group?
A. The proposed new board of directors are the restructuring group. They submitted a plan along with many other groups and their plan/group was deemed most viable.

Q.Why a new business? Why ask us all for an appropriate amount to complete all of our adoptions rather than rely on new clients?
A. Some people complain that the fee is too high, others that it is too low. If the agency is running smoothly, why not accept new clients? This was a decision that was made when the proposal was created.

Q. Is fund raising ties directly to this proposal? If I do not want to fundraise, will I have to pay more fees?
A. The organization itself is planning to fundraise, not the families. Families will not be required to fundraise. The organization will undertake fundraising to help reduce costs.

Q. Can you abstain from voting? If you abstain, can you jump on board if this proposal takes off?
A. Yes. If you abstain then you may decide later to pay the renewal fee and join the agency. However, if too many families abstain and not enough vote yes, then this proposal may still fail. The results of the votes will have to be presented in court after the creditor's meeting, at which time if many abstain and still less than 51% say yes, then the proposal will fail.

Q. Can you put adoptions on hold if extenuating circumstances require it?
A. Probably. This would have to be confirmed by the restructuring group, but it is unlikely that this would not be allowed.

Q. Have any applications been submitted for the new Executive Director?
A. Yes. 5 applications have come in. The executive director will not be a board member

Q. Will the transition home be shut down.
A. Unknown. If good relationships with the orphanages can be established then this could be a possibility.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

- A Message from FIA Committee


This posting regarding the filed proposal for Imagine Adoption is from the Chairs of the FIA Steering Committee.

The posting was reviewed by a representative of the proposed new Board of Directors for Imagine Adoption and in consultation with BDO Dunwoody Limited as the Trustee in the Bankruptcy.

Since the posting of the proposal on September 4th and the financial projections on September 8th, there have been questions for clarification. While some questions have been asked directly to BDO, others have been asked in open forums or directly to members of the Steering Committee.

We recognize how important it is to have the most accurate knowledge about the proposal in order to make the best decision for each family. In order to ensure that families can feel confident that they are receiving accurate information the Chairs of the Steering Committee have decided that all communications in regards to answering questions from the FIA will cease.

Therefore, please refer to the BDO web site where FAQ and other information is being provided. Also, you can submit questions to the email address of

As this is the same email as being used for Voting, please insure to place the word “Question” in the subject line. These will be forwarded to the responsible parties to provide responses on the BDO site. Alternatively, you may contact BDO directly with your questions.

Good luck as you consider the next steps for Imagine Adoption and the process of international adoptions. The creditor meeting on September 21st will conclude the status of the proposal.

Thank you.

Rob Eagleson, Co-Chair, FIA Steering Committee

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


The following information is provided since posting the proposal on September 4, 2009. Questions were directed to BDO or received from families in collective groups (steering committees or otherwise). BDO will continue to receive questions and provide clarification as quickly as possible through FAQ postings.

After I vote, how soon will BDO move forward with court approval?
Creditors have up to the creditors meeting to cast their vote on the proposal In the meantime BOO will be tracking votes as they are received. If you have decided how you will vote, you are encouraged to submit your vote as soon as possible.

If at the creditors' meeting the required voting thresholds are reached to approve the proposal. BDO will proceed with Court approval There is a minimum 10 day notice period required before a Court date. The Trustee is reviewing the possibility of expediting the Court approval process.

What are the voting thresholds required to move the proposal forward?
In order for a proposal to be accepted by the creditors 51 % of creditors holding at least 2/3 of the value of the proven claims of each class of creditors must vote in favour of the proposal as per Section 54{2) of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

What happens if I vote against the proposal, and how much money would be returned to me?
Pursuant to Section 9 of the Proposal, if the proposal is accepted by the creditors, no funds will be payable to the families (except as provided for in Section 12 of the proposal regarding the recovery of funds).

If the proposal is not accepted, Imagine Adoption will remain in bankruptcy. A dividend rate of approximately 7.3% is estimated. This amount may be reduced given the legal review that may be required throughout the bankruptcy process.

How do I vote by email?
Creditors may cast their vote by completing the voting letter and returning it to BOO by mail, fax or scanning a copy of the voting letter and returning it by email Contact information can be found on the voting letter.

There is only one signature space on the voting letter. If we are a couple, are we both required to sign the document?
No, only one signature is required on the voting letter and only one vote will be accepted per family.

Where I can find the proposal and voting letter?
All pertinent information including the voting letter can be found on the BDO website

We never received the claims form from BDO. How can I make sure I receive the proposal package?
Section 51 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act requires the Trustee to provided notice of the creditors meeting at least ten days prior to the meeting. These were mailed on September 8th.!f you have not received your package by September 12, 2009, individuals are asked to contact BDO. Alternatively all documents will be posted to the BOO website.

How long will it take to complete our adoptions and/or referrals? Will referrals occur starting immediately?
The new management will report back in February 2010 regarding adoptions, time lines and overall operations. They hope to restart referrals and concluding adoptions quickly. The will be better able to
answer these questions by February 2010.

Why is February 2010 a key date?
It was recognized that the new management would have to report to all stakeholders quickly. Four months was considered a reasonable estimate of time for the restructured company to have completed their assessments of all adoption programs and complete a comprehensive report to the stakeholders as to the status of the company. This date has been integrated in Section 14 of the proposal as the first key milestone ..

What is being done for those whose home studies are due to expire soon?
The ministry discussed this with BOO on September 8. They recognize the bankruptcy and proposal has caused a delay beyond control of the families. There will be further clarification shortly (some extension is being discussed).

When should we expect the cash flow statements?
The cash flow statements will be posted to the BOO website September 8 or 9th.

What is the $4000 recovery fee for?
This amount required by families is to provide some start up funding for operations of the restructured company. Other funding will come from the Bankruptcy estate, possible fundraising and from the balance of the fees required to complete adoptions

Why was it determined to have two installments of $2000?
The split payment of the recovery fee is to protect the families. There is no reason to collect extra funds for the first 4 months. The balance is due in March 2010 when a viable operating plan is certain.

We signed on with IA before the fee increase in November 2008. If we were to continue with this adoption, what exactly would our fees be?
Families would pay the same amount they owed before the bankruptcy in addition to the $4000 renewal fee. This is noted at Section 9 of the proposal.

Would we have to pay a higher renewal fee if we're adopting siblings?
No, the renewal fee is $4000 per family, for either single and sibling adoptions.

When is the $4000 renewal fee due?
The first $2,000 will be due upon signing the renewal contract with the restructured Imagine Adoption. The second $2,000 will be due in March 2010 as per section 9 of the proposal.

Will there be any large scale fundraising initiatives?
The new Board and management are considering this. A charitable organization is being reviewed for fundraising. The cash flows assume some fundraising with exact details still to be discussed.

Has the new Executive Director been confirmed yet?
There have been several individuals in contact with the new Board regarding their resume and interest in this position. The Board of Directors will conclude hiring the Executive Director if the proposal proceeds. It will be a formal application process. Based on our discussions to date, there are good qualified options.

Would children be referred from orphanages or would the Transition Home be re-opened and staff re-hired?
Point 14 of the proposal confirms that the status and ongoing role of the Transition Home will be assessed by February 2010. Operational issues including costs along with optimal care facilities for children will be considered in answering this question.

Has the referral process been discussed specifically?
The specifics for referrals will be decided by the Board of Directors and Advisory committee. If/when the company is brought out of bankruptcy, a board will assess and report on the referral process. A date driven selection of families for referral is anticipated. BDO will monitor this process/information.

Who decided the Board of Directors, are there conflicts, how will changes occur?
The Directors were in contact with several of the key organizers for this restructuring plan. Their credentials, experience and availability of time for this volunteer role were all factored in to assemble the Board.

Board members must always declare conflicts within an organization and during meetings. There are some families in the adoption process on the Board. They understand the conflict rules. BDO has reviewed this issue with the Ministry who indicated that some Board representation by adopting families is acceptable. A legal comment was also obtained. The Board is not all families; thus it should be balanced.

The process of changing Board members will be reviewed by the new Board. Typically, board positions are 2 or 3 year terms with options to renew.

If a family is unable to adopt from another country and has already paid their fees, will they have to pay any extra money to switch to the Ethiopia program?
If you switch to Ethiopia and the fees already paid to IA are less than those fees paid by the Ethiopia adopting families, you will need to pay the difference plus the renewal fees. This is as included in Section 9 of the proposal.

What are the conditions for helping families who are signed on to countries other than Ethiopia? Is it based on what the Ministry will allow?
Section 14 of the proposal confirms that all country programs will be assessed. This will be to determine if, how and when a Canadian adoption from the other country can proceed. If it is possible and viable, the new agency will facilitate the adoption for you.

What is the status of the Ghana program and why were there not more details outlined in the proposal?
Section 14 of the proposal confiirms that all countries will be assessed, this will include Ghana. The situation of the Ghana program is unknown and seems to be beyond the control of any Canadian agency. Therefore, it was difficult for the restructuring group to know details to include in the proposal. The Ghana program will be assessed by February 2010 at the latest.

Out of the 350 families, how many families were with the Ghana program?
There are 26 families in the Ghana program.

With the uncertainty of the Ghana program, are we able to transfer file ASAP into the Ethiopia program?
Yes. Section 9 of the proposal confirms that "if the program through a particular country is not available, affected families will have the option of transferring their adoption process to another Country and maintain the same status and priority based on their application state date of their original program country".

Would this be our original country start date? The date we signed the retainer agreement?
The start date of any file is the date the dossier was sent for a referral. This occurred immediately after all reports were provided to Imagine Adoption. This way all files will be processed in order of start date based on when families provided information.

As someone who is invested in the Ghana program, how can I possibly make any decision on voting when there is still no indication on whether or not the Ghana program will continue?
As per Section 14 of the proposal, all countries will be assessed. This includes Ethiopia, Ghana and others. However, there is uncertainty for all countries including Ethiopia. The proposal will ensure families are adopting in date order once country programs can proceed. Unfortunately, there is uncertainty for all countries at this time including Ghana and Ethiopia.

Do I have any options under the proposed plan if our adoption with the Ghana program is not possible, or if I decide not to proceed with the Ghana program?
See above. Families have the option under the proposal to transfer to the Ethiopia program and still maintain their priority based on the date their file went to Ghana.

Are there any other adoption agencies in Canada that will facilitate adoptions from Ethiopia?
BDO does not have this information. We understand that CAFAC (who also facilitates Ethiopian adoptions on behalf of Children's Bridge) has posted to their website that they are at full capacity as of September I, 2009.

Will wait listed families have the opportunity to adopt through the restructured agency if approved?
Yes. New families will be considered in 2011 to start the process.


A Message from FIA - The Decision is Yours

As we reflect over the past few days since the proposal was released,
it is very clear that we all have some very important and personal
decisions to make. On our FIA Steering Committee call this evening,
we heard the excitement, faith, worries and questions that our
regional representatives have heard from families across the country.

Emotions are high right now, which we believe indicates the passion
and commitment we all have to completing our families. It is
important that every family feels comfortable with whatever decision
they chose to make and have the information they need to make this

We all have many questions, and we encourage you to continue sending
your questions to FIA so that we can answer where we can, or forward
your questions to BDO if we do not have the answers.

This is not a decision that should be rushed, and we believe that you
should only vote once you feel comfortable doing so. But we also ask
that once you do feel confident in your decision based on the
information you have, to please vote at that time rather than waiting
until the creditors meeting on September 21. If the majority of
families do want to see this agency restructured, it is in our best
interest to have that happen as soon as possible.

We've all fought so hard to get this far, and we have faith we will
make it to the next step, which we hope will be a restructured agency
that can bring our children home.

Best Regards,

The FIA Steering Committee

BDO cashflow statements

This was just released from BDO dunwoody today.

You can find the direct link here:

There is also a FAQ section on their website to explain some of the projections here:

Questions from an Imagine adoption family

As a fellow creditor of Imagine I would like to share some questions/comments regarding the recent proposal. As creditors, we all have an important decision to make and I personally believe information is the key to good decision making. I have been consulting to the nonprofit sector for 20 years, which leads me to the questions I have about the restructured organization.

 What role will fundraising play in the new organization?
 Can a financial plan be posted?
 Who will be deciding on the next Executive Director? Will the families have input into this key decision?
 How did the Board of Directors get selected? Can we have a more democratic process going forward?
 What will be the criteria for determining if the new organization will continue in March 2010?
 What does the proposal mean when it says that if the new organization doesn’t succeed our money will be returned on a “pro rata” basis?
 What key activities will be happening between September and March 2010?
 Why have we not approached the Ontario Government to help fund the cost of starting up the organization rather than looking once again to families who have already lost a great deal financially? Why are we not asking the government to take responsibility for not properly monitoring this not for profit organization?
 Will anyone be starting a class action lawsuit against Sue Hayhow and the Board of Directors to try to retrieve some money for the new organization?
 If most of the creditors have withdrawn their claims, why has the Goodyear family not done the same, considering their hands on role with the organization?
 In most organizations, the Executive Director selects their own staff. Why have we assigned full time positions to individual without the input of the ED? Can we hire people on a contract basis until approved by the ED?
 Can staff temporarily work from home offices to keep the costs down until the organization is back on its feet?
 Can we use volunteers to help offset the costs?
 How can families get involved outside of the FIA or with the FIA?
 When will referrals begin again?
 How can we create more transparency and not repeat the mistakes of Imagine?

I also have some recommendations of a newly restructuring organization:

 I would like to know who the ED is before voting to accept the proposal. The leader of the organization will be crucial to the success of a future organization and as a creditor and someone asked to contribute another $4,000, I would like to have a voice in this. I’m going to assume that this will not be a former Imagine Canada staff.
 I believe the Board of Directors should be elected by the creditors and there should be a possibility for other families to get involved. There is a sense that a lot is happening without the comment or consent of the families.
 We should collect a summary of all of the skills and experience of the families and utilize this very willing and able group of individuals to ensure the organization succeeds. Let’s use the skills of those who are now our “family”. Some of us who didn’t make it to the first meeting might like to get involved and have an impact including those who have already adopted. Let’s get more inclusive. We all have a very big stake in the success of a new organization.
 A list should be made available with all families and their dates for submitting their dossiers and the age and sex of the child. To deal with confidentiality we could assign a number to each file rather than a name. This would help build a sense of trust with families.

I look forward to anyone’s feedback on these points.

Sandra Paquette

September 8, 2009 11:46 AM

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Updates for you as you wait - Message from FIA

Hello Families of IA,

We wanted to let you know that BDO is currently waiting for final sign off and
they're very anxious to release the restructuring plan proposal to all the
creditors before the long weekend.

We have been advised that the plan is very detailed. Along with your mailed
copy of the plan, you can expect a summary which will include financial
information, timelines and operating structure, and oversight measures.

Any questions or concerns you have regarding the *proposal* can be addressed at
the next creditor's meeting with BDO (the date is currently TBD). Until then,
you may also email these questions to any one of the FIA Committee members
listed in the contact section of the Families with Hope website:

Although we can't guarantee we'll have all the answers, in consultation with the
inspectors, we will try to provide clarity on the content of the proposal where
we can.

Questions regarding the *details of the new restructured agency*, will be
addressed by the proposed new board of directors if/when the agency resumes
operations. Please remember that because BDO is solely an accounting firm, they
are not qualified to answer questions regarding the operations of an adoption

The members of the FIA are pleased that we've reached our goal to have BDO work
with key stakeholders to create a restructuring plan proposal. Although this
situation is very unique to BDO and outside of their mandate, with the help of
the restructuring group, they managed to compile a plan within record time.

Once the plan is presented to you, it becomes your time to review the details
and to make a personal decision on how you will vote. Sue Taves of BDO has
advised that she will expedite the process for the families once she sees that
the *majority* has voted in favour of the proposed plan, instead of waiting for
100% of the votes. We're very happy with her offer to do this because it means
we can move on to the next step quickly.

After everything we've been through, we know this is an enormous leap of faith
for all of us. But we still hope that we can all be in the position of voting
in favour of the plan so we can get another step closer to bringing our children


Cilla Travassos
Chair, FIA Internal Communications

Message from FIA

Hi Everyone,

A very small win today, MCYS will be posting a Q&A on their website regarding the expected timing to get the restructured agency up and running (October 2009) to reflect the messages that they are sharing with families in letters from the Minister.
They’re also investigating the potential of extending our homestudies (including St. Anne’s). Hopefully we’ll hear soon.
Hope everyone is hanging in there.


Ellen Kalis
FIA Government Liaison

Imagine Adoption Restructuring Proposal

From BDO Dunwoody


BDO Dunwoody has posted the Restructuring Proposal on their website. Below you will find links to all the pertinent documents in the recent news section of this group. Affected families will be receiving a hard copy from BDO directly.

A general meeting of the creditors will be held at 30 Fairway S, Kitchener, ON on the 21st day of September 2009 at 10:00 o’clock AM.

For the Proposal to be accepted, the resolution must have a majority of unsecured creditors in numbers voting in favour, and of that majority there must be represented 2/3 or 66.6% of the creditors in dollars. This calculation is based on only those creditors who are present either in person or by proxy or by voting letter.

Any creditors who are present either in person or by general proxy who abstains from the vote would not be included in the calculation required to obtain the majority in numbers and 2/3 in dollars required to accept the Proposal.

Should the Proposal not be accepted, the bankruptcy of lmagine will be restored.


Video Message from Susan Taves:

Notice to Creditors of Proposal:


Report to Creditors / Instructions:

Voting Letter:

Certificate of Appointment:

Please help us share our story.

A message from FIA

Proposed Restructuring Plan offers hope for Families of the Bankrupt Imagine Adoption Agency

For the first time in six weeks, there is a sign of hope for the families affected by the July 14th bankruptcy of Imagine Adoption agency.

BDO Dunwoody Ltd, the trustee in bankruptcy, has posted a restructuring plan that proposes to bring the adoption agency out of insolvency.

On July 30 creditors voted unanimously to forgo their financial claims and instead requested that the trustee work on developing a plan to resurrect the agency. For many families this plan offers their only hope of creating or completing their families.

The plan outlines the operating structure, financial terms and monitoring parameters of the proposed new agency. Every family will be required to sign a new retainer agreement, to pay an additional $4,000 dollars in recovery fees, and once a new pay schedule is created, to pay installments of any outstanding agency fees.

The plan anticipates that it will take 36 months to complete all of the approximately 350 adoption files currently in process, whether they are at the very early home study phase or later.
“The plan has just been released and the families are only now having the opportunity to review it,” says Christine Starr; Chair - Families of Imagine Adoption (FIA) Steering Committee. “Clearly there are important issues still left to be addressed and the increased financial commitment demanded by the plan will present a challenge for many families.

Personally however, and in light of the painful reality of this situation and the limited alternatives available to us, I am pleased with the plan and feel strongly that it offers families our best hope of successfully completing our adoptions.”

Despite the difficult circumstances the affected families faced following the bankruptcy, many have much to be thankful for. The $100,000 donation by Yamana Gold made shortly after the bankruptcy was announced ensured the care and wellbeing of the children in the transition home in Ethiopia.

Minister Jason Kenney, of Citizenship and Immigration, also intervened to expedite the visas for these children and now 35 of the 47 children are in Canada with their families. Without this support the families’ hopes of salvaging the agency and completing their adoptions would have been impossible.

If the creditors approve the proposal the goal is for the agency to resume operations by October 2009. “Although there is some degree of relief now that a plan has been presented, we now have to urgently turn our attention to fundraising to help the children in the Ethiopian orphanages who have been left stranded by the suspension of agency funding,” says Starr. “These children and their caregivers are depending on us.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Proposal from BDO

The BDO website is now updated with the Proposal information!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A message from FIA

Hi families!

We're happy to share that we've confirmed with Susan Taves of BDO that
everything is still a go for the plan to be presented on their website tomorrow.
The inspectors are just in the process of one final review and sign off.

FIA Internal Comms committee


Friday, August 28, 2009

An update from BDO's website regarding restructuring proposal

Update Regarding Restructuring Proposal

The restructuring proposal documents have been drafted during the past two weeks. They were reviewed with the Inspectors during separate meetings. The last meeting was on Friday August 24th in the afternoon. The revised cash flow projections are being worked on for completion early next week considering final comments from the Inspectors.

The plan is coming together well as we try to address all scenarios for the creditors and families. The proposal documents should be signed and finalized and delivered by the end of next week. We realize that this is one week longer than anticipated at the July 30th creditor meeting. There have been several variations to consider to ensure that all issues are identified and addressed. We hope this extra time will ensure that the information is clear for your review, understanding and acceptance. We appreciate your patience.

A Message from Christine Starr, Chair, FIA Committee

Hello Families of Imagine Adoption,

As we wait in anticipation of the release of the proposed
restructuring plan, we'd like to provide you with an update on what
the FIA Steering Committee has been working on recently and to clarify
our role moving forward.

The FIA Steering Committee met on Monday evening. The main agenda item
discussed was 'Communications', and specifically on the best way we
can use our resources to communicate with families and answer any
questions or concerns you may have following the presentation of the
restructuring plan.

The meeting however began with a brief update on our attempts to seek
clarification from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services
on whether they will extend the homestudy expiry dates for families
whose homestudies have expired between the time Imagine Adoption
declared bankruptcy,
and the resumption of operations, should the restructuring proposal be

Our Government Liaison Chair, Ellen Kalis, reported that the Ministry
has advised that there are precedents in which extensions have been
granted on a case by case basis. Following a discussion on this, the
committee decided that in addition to requesting the provision of
extensions to families whose
homestudies have recently expired, that the FIA would also like a
commitment from the Ministry to extend the normal 24-month validity
timeframe to all FIA homestudies for a period that's equal to the
duration of the interruption of operations resulting from the
bankruptcy. Ellen has agreed to follow up on this
request with the Ministry and determine the process to seek the same
commitment from all provinces.

In our discussion about communications surrounding the anticipated
presentation of the restructuring proposal, it became clear that there
was some misunderstanding about the degree of input families would
have on the specifics of the restructuring plan, as well as
misunderstanding about the FIA Steering
Committee's role in the reviewing of the plan.

The first important point that was stressed during our discussion is
that the process by which the plan is to be reviewed, is dictated by
insolvency legislation and therefore controlled and overseen by BDO.
The FIA Steering Committee as a group has no say or input into this

The restructuring plan has been presented to the five inspectors that
were appointed during the creditors meeting on July 30. They will
review the plan. If they feel it needs to be revised in any way, the
plan will be sent back to the restructuring group (once again, the
restructuring group is not part of the FIA and has all along requested
to maintain their anonymity so that they can focus all of their
attention of the creation of the plan). Once the revisions are made,
the inspectors will reconvene for further review and only once the
inspectors have approved the proposal, will the plan then be presented
to the families.

We've asked our Trustee Liaison Chair, Lianne Armstrong, to request
that BDO issue a communication regarding how the restructuring plan
will be presented to families and provide an estimate of when it will
be presented. Following requests during the Steering Committee
meeting, Lianne will request that BDO
hold some sort of communication forum which will allow all families
from across the country to ask questions they have about the plan
before they vote on it. Hopefully a communication from BDO addressing
these requests will be forthcoming as we, the Steering Committee, have
no information about this matter and are therefore unable to answer
your questions or concerns.

BDO has indicated to FIA that, understanding the complexities of
restructuring proposals, the 2-4 weeks provided was very ambitious,
but initially set in recognition of, and out of respect for how urgent
and difficult a matter this is to all of us. As we near the end of the
timeframe for completing the restructuring plan that BDO initially
gave at the creditors meeting, we should prepare ourselves for the
eventuality that we may have to wait a few days longer than was
suggested. If BDO does exceed these timelines, I urge you not to draw
any negative conclusions from this, but rather, as I am convinced,
assume that
due diligence is being exercised that ultimately will be in the best
interests of all of us.

Acknowledging that we have entered a stage in this journey where the
process is now being dictated by BDO and that communications therefore
have to be initiated by them, the FIA Steering Committee has made it
clear that we are willing to assist BDO with communications moving
forward. The information that we can provide you will be contingent
upon the information that is provided to us. Please be assured that
as soon as we have information to share with you, will we will make
every effort to communicate it as quickly and as broadly as possible.

With warm regards,


Thank You Rob Eagleson!

From the seven families of Prince Edward Island we want to give our sincerest thank you to Rob Eagleson, Co-chair of the FIA Steering Committee, for taking the time to meet with the Imagine families of PEI and an equally big thank you to his family for allowing him to take an entire evening from his vacation to meet with our families.

With great assurance and clarity, Rob was able to answer many of our questions as Rob not only quelled many of our fears but also gave us hope! For the first time we were given clear indication of the status of the transition homes and a true understanding of the immensely qualified representation that stands in the steering committee. He made it very clear that the number one objective of everyone involved was to breathe new life into Imagine Adoption and make the organization stronger than ever before.

Rob graciously extended a warm invitation to a reunion in Ontario once all our families have been united and we certainly look forward to that day. We hope that one day soon, that all families that have been touched by this crisis can look back and view it as wonderful event that united our families across Canada.


Kelly Keenan


I just would like to add my thanks too - to all of the people who have come together who are working so hard to see that our adoptions can be processed. To everyone who has emailed us and offered their assistance in our cause - perfect strangers who read about our stories in the media, and whose hearts were pulled to extend their support whether it be in words or action. To the Steering Committee for working day and night on the front lines to be our voice. The the government and the trustee for giving us a chance to come up with a solution. To Yamana Gold for funding the transition home and seeing that our children are cared for. To everyone who has reached out and stood up.

I am just so thankful and so full of hope that this week we will see a plan that will offer us a solution to bring these children home. My heart is aching for these kids. They are waiting for their families.

My dream is that one day we will all look back and be able to tell them how we fought for them. How we overcame the heartache, devastation, and loss upon the announcement of the bankruptcy. We rose above the controversy and pain. We briefly got knocked down, but quickly stood up, dusted ourselves off, assembled and kept working toward a solution. We are doing it for the sake of our families. For the sake of our children who we do not know. So they will know the comfort of a mommy who can make it all better and a daddy who can shield them from pain. We are already parents to our children; we were the moment we signed our documents. We have been living and dreaming them into our lives. We have empty rooms and empty clothes, brand new toys and books and beds. We know the need. We know they need us. We know what life has in store for them if we fail. Which is why we continue to stretch our aching hearts across the world in our intrinsic need to protect them.

I am proud to be supporting this group. Moved. Thank you everyone who is working on our behalf.

Tammy Campbell and Scott Campbell
Hoping to adopt siblings under 5 years old

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thank You - Anne Scully and Faith Watson

I would like to extend a big thank you to Anne Scully (Senior Manager, Adoption and Permanency Services in Alberta) and Faith Watson (Provincial Adoption Specialist, International Adoption Program, Adoption & Permanency Services in Alberta) for the great support they've shown through this process.

Shortly after word of the bankruptcy got out, they got in touch with prospective adoptive parents via email, updating us on whatever information they had. Although I'm sure they were swamped with questions and meetings at the time, I was impressed to get a reply within a day of sending them an email with my questions.

When the International Adoption Families Association (IAFA) hosted meetings in Calgary and Edmonton, Anne made the trip to Calgary on a Saturday morning, and both Anne and Faith attended the meeting in Edmonton during the August long weekend! They were both very compassionate - you could tell that they weren't just dealing with files in limbo, but with people whose hearts and dreams were on the line. They answered many questions and helped clarify the process for us. They indicated that they had been in touch with Ministers in Ontario and were offering their full co-operation.

Thank you, Ms. Scully and Ms. Watson for the support you've demonstrated and for advocating on our behalf. You have shown compassion, sacrifice and skill and we appreciate your ongoing efforts.

Anita Schimke
hoping to adopt siblings under 5 years old

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saint Anne Adoption

Notice to all Saint Anne adoption clients - BDO has updated their website with details of the Saint Anne bankruptcy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Minutes of second meeting of inspectors

Friday, August 21, 2009

Restructuring Plan Proposal - Update

Hello Families of Imagine Adoption,

I am happy to inform you that the restructuring plan will be ready to present to you in a week or so. Following that, BDO Dunwoody will be informing us of the specifics on voting procedures. We are absolutely thrilled with this news as it represents a major step towards bringing the agency out of bankruptcy, resuming operations and beginning the process of bringing our children home.

Before you are presented with the restructuring plan and asked to vote on it, the plan will be submitted for review to both the Board of Directors, as appointed in the proposed restructuring plan, and the inspectors that have been appointed by the creditors. Three members of the FIA Steering Committee were invited by the restructuring group to be on the Board of Directors. As an appointed member of the Board of Directors I will be reviewing the restructuring plan in the coming days. In addition to strong representation by adopting and adoptive families, the board is also made up of individuals with strong business administration and financial backgrounds. The Board of Directors will also have access to an Advisory Board consisting of individuals with strong operational and legal expertise in the area of international adoption.

The review process itself will only take a few days and then BDO will proceed with the process of sharing the plan with you and organizing the voting procedures. Hopefully at that time the trustee will also be able to provide some indication of how long it will take to gain Ministry approval and submit the plan to the courts should creditors approve the restructuring plans.

Once the proposal is presented to you, members of the FIA committees have committed, in collaboration with the trustee, to be available to answer all the questions and concerns you might have about the plan and the voting process.

I have great confidence in the group of people that have created the proposed restructuring plan. I believe that once you see the plan you too will share this confidence and that we can move forward as a united group of families to accept the plan and begin the important next steps.

I wish you all a great weekend as we prepare for an exciting and hope filled week ahead.

With warm regards,

Christine Starr

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


After the last message sent out by the FIA Steering Committee, additional questions and comments were posted. As a result, we have taken those comments and concerns to BDO for clarification and have the answers to many of them.

Practitioner Completed Reports (First Three)
BDO has reviewed the requirements and have stated that as per the original guidelines set out by Imagine Adoption, these reports must be completed by the families’ practitioner. This is the requirement that is set by the foreign country so it is outside of the control of the adoption agency.

Family Completed Reports (Reminder until age 18 for the child)
Families’ reports have varied in content as each family has their own style of reporting the required information, but in general, they have all been acceptable. The recommendation from BDO is that if a family is looking for a format to use, simply follow the structure of the reports that have been previously submitted by your practitioner.

Timelines for Reporting
BDO has responded to our questions by providing the direct information that was referenced in the material received by the families from Imagine Adoption when they were doing their adoption.

We, the adoptive applicants jointly and individually fully understand, and acknowledge that we are responsible to provide the Ministry of Women's Affairs with follow up reports as follows:
• 2 months from date of return home
• 12 months following court decision
• 15 months following court decision
• Annually on date of court decision until the child turns 18 years old

We hope that this brings clarity to this issue and we thank everyone for their comments.


Rob Eagleson
Co-Chair, FIA Steering Committee

IMMEDIATE RELEASE JO ANN BARBER – VACATION - Message from FIA Jo Ann Barber will be on vacation from August 20, 2009 and will not be returning t



Jo Ann Barber will be on vacation from August 20, 2009 and will not be returning to work until the morning of September 2, 2009.

Jo Ann has spoken to all families via email or phone that have anticipated activities on their file while she will be away and feels confident that she is leaving her desk in great shape.

She has asked the families to avoid sending emails and / or leaving voice messages during her time away. As stated by her, she will find the task daunting to go through all of them at one time so please start communicating again up on her return.

Jo Ann has confirmed that any information that needs to be passed on during her absence will be communicated by the staff at BDO so please insure that you are checking for updates on the websites for this information.


Rob Eagleson
Co-Chair Steering Committee

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Contacting the Steering Committee

If you have any questions, whether general or specific to BDO, the Ministry, the
media or communications, you can now contact the chairs of the FIA Steering
Committee directly.

Visit the "Contact" page of the Families of Hope website for the appropriate
contact information you're looking for.


Chair, FIA Internal Communications Committee

BDO Dunwoody summary of activities

Friday August 14th was two weeks since the creditor meeting. There has been ongoing progress on a number of priorities and milestones. This is a summary of the activities since July 30th.

Saint Anne Corporation
This agency has been on hold since the bankruptcy of Imagine Adoption. However, there have been many discussions with families, the authorities and other stakeholders related to Saint Anne. This agency has limited funds and does not have management or a Board in place to continue any operations.

A Director’s meeting was held on August 13th to consider ongoing activity of this agency related to Ecuador adoptions. A voluntary bankruptcy was signed by the one Director, Andrew Morrow, and documents filed with the Office of the Superintendent in Bankruptcy. Notices will be mailed to those creditors and posted on this web site shortly. BDO is the Trustee of that estate.

The Ontario ministry is aware of the bankruptcy. We understand that they are reviewing adoptions from Ecuador and future steps if any. We are waiting for final direction regarding the files. BDO does not anticipate a restructuring of Saint Anne similar to Imagine Adoption because of the limited funds and the files to be managed (approximately 30). However, this will be reviewed and monitored during the coming weeks.

File Transfer Requests
There continues to be the objective of maintaining privacy and security of the family files along with their ability to obtain and/or relocated their file. Since the July 30th meeting, we have received approximately 25 requests for files. We are proceeding to release these files. Please see comments below regarding a restructuring plan should families wish to leave the file with Imagine Adoption pending further reports.

File Status Requests
BDO recognizes the emotional stress given the uncertainty of a family’s adoption status. We have received calls requesting updates if referrals have occurred, where a file is on the list for a referral, if all documents are in the file. We have attempted to respond through Ms. Barber the prior Imagine Adoption employee doing contract work for BDO as Trustee.

The overall status is that the files of no child matches are generally in the same position as at July 14 when the bankruptcy occurred. This would have been as last communicated to families by a case worker of Imagine Adoption. The continuation of the process will occur after an approved restructuring plan is in place (see below).

Concluded placements from transition home in Ethiopia
The paperwork, placements and travel home for children continues to proceed for children who were in the transition home at July 14th. The transition home costs continue to be funded with the Yamana Gold gift.

The following is the current status of the placements for these children since July 14th.

Travelled Home = 16
Ready to Travel Home by Sept 1 = 18
Waiting Visas – travel expected after Sept. 1 = 3
Court date in August = 1
Court date in October = 5
Children for other Orphanages = 3Additional Child located matched for Court process in October = 1
Total = 47

BDO ensures well being of children in transition home
A short-term priority for BDO, as Trustee, continues to be the care of the children in the transition home. During the week of August 10th, there were parent concerns raised about care and certain children.

BDO obtained a written report, dated August 12, 2009, from the doctor in Ethiopia for the children. He confirmed that there is 24 hour nursing on site, twice weekly physical checkups, menu and nutrition monitoring. They are focused on and prioritizing proper care.

He reported on two specific case concerns being low iron and malnutrition. The iron diagnosis was already identified and considered to be “physiologic anemia of infancy”. Iron supplementing at an early age is associated with increased mortality based on their reports, studies and treatment. They encourage ongoing monitoring by the adoptive family as the child develops. The malnutrition situation was evident when the child was transferred to the transition home and was being addressed.

We will continue to monitor this as concerns are identified as the childrens’ care is a priority.

Post Adoption Reports
Families should continue to send these reports to the Imagine Adoption mailing address or to the BDO Kitchener office mailing address. The Imagine Adoption mail is being forwarded to BDO. Copies are being made for the file as well as being forwarded to the appropriate country representative.

Saint Anne families should have received other instruction as of August 14th. As confirmed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, these reports should be forwarded to their offices. They will be translated and sent to Ecuador.

Possible Restructuring Plan
This priority was discussed at the creditor meeting. This is the possibility to file a proposal pursuant to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act to allow the organization to be reinstated. A timetable of 2-4 weeks was indicated. This would end at August 28th.

Since July 30th and the creditor direction, there have been numerous discussions and meetings along with shared information to address this priority of a possible reinstatement of Imagine Adoption. The financial needs along with family, creditor and other stakeholder requirements have been the focus of all discussions.

BDO along with the proposed new Board continues to work on this priority. We plan to provide a draft to certain stakeholders, including the Inspectors, within the next two weeks. This will keep us on track with the 2-4 week timetable originally estimated.

Ghana Families
There have been several discussions with one particular representative for the Ghana families as well as the Inspectors (see below). We have continued to discuss Ghana with the licensing Ministry and legal counsel/adoption expert. The Ghana program may be a concern given government statements during 2008/9 of possible child trafficking by the contact orphanage and the Canadian contact.

The restructuring plan involves many issues including assessing countries to continue with adoption relations. There has never been an adoption completed from Ghana by Imagine Adoption. Thus, Ghana may require an independent review of relations and possible future adoption activity given the lack of answers to the issues surrounding Ghana adoptions. This is being considered for the restructuring proposal.

There was a second meeting of the Inspectors during the week of August 10th. They have provided comments and direction to the Trustee in considering communication, the proposal restructuring, family considerations and other matters of this bankruptcy. We expect to post some details of these meetings to this web site shortly so that all creditors are up to date on those meetings.

Thank you for your continued patience. BDO was providing very frequent updates until July 31st. The past two weeks has seen few updates given the other ongoing work. We will update the website regularly as information becomes available and provide some comment by Monday August 24th.


BDO Dunwoody Limited
Trustee in Bankruptcy


After discussions with BDO, it has been determined that all Post Placement Reports should be completed as per the required time frame that was originally set out by Imagine Adoption. Once the reports are completed by your practitioner, they have instructed us to inform the families to forward the reports to the old address of Imagine Adoption which is as follows:

780 King Street East, Cambridge, Ontario, N3H 3N9

All mail received at the above noted address has been forwarded to BDO and all reports will land on the desk of Jo Ann Barber. Jo Ann has committed and insured us that once the reports are received, they will be copied and placed in to the family’s file and the original will be forwarded to Martha for the Ethiopian office.

It is noted that although you have paid funds to Imagine Adoption for Post Placement reports, it is likely that you will have to pay your practitioner directly for the preparation.

What is very important to acknowledge is that the Post Placement Reports are a very important part of the adoption process and not completing these follow up reports can hamper the relations with Ethiopia and could have a negative effect for all future adoptions

Lianne Armstrong
Chair, FIA Trustee Liaison Committee

Friday, August 14, 2009

Update on today's Inspectors' meeting - Message from FIA Committee

Today there was an Inspectors' meeting held with BDO. The Inspectors were
advised by BDO that the proposal is progressing and the restructuring group
still anticipate having a proposal prepared within the four week timeframe.

BDO will post a general update on their website tomorrow by 5pm, and minutes of
both Inspectors' meetings (July 30 and today's) will be posted on BDO's website
early next week.

The next Inspectors' meeting is scheduled for August 24, 2009.


Lianne Armstrong
Chair, FIA Trustee Liaison Committee

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Message from FIA Committee

I’ve had confirmation that Jo Ann’s file information for Ethiopian families awaiting referrals has been cross-referenced with information from lawyer, Ted Giesbrecht, collected in Ethiopia.

That said, before you call Jo Ann (BDO) it’s important to know that she will NOT be able to indicate where your file is vis-à-vis others. There exists no such “list” - this was a concept developed by waiting families trying to guess how much longer their wait for a referral might be.

Referrals are made based on the age, gender, number of children requested, and the date the dossier arrived in Ethiopia.

I appreciate that families may wish to suggest that list categories should be developed, but given the many other pressing issues involved in trying to take the agency out of bankruptcy, investing the time to do so is not feasible - it would extend restructuring timelines, which would increase trustee costs, and ultimately extend the time we have to wait for our referrals.

It’s also important to keep in mind that - though it’s certainly your right and choice to call the trustee - each call can slow the restructuring efforts and increase costs (as the saying goes, “time is money”). The FIA committee would be happy to collect your questions - many are similar - then get answers by making ONE call to the trustee and then sharing the answers with you.

Again, the timeline BDO provided on when we should hear information regarding restructuring plans was two to four weeks, and this Thursday marks two weeks. As hard as the wait is, we’re still on schedule, and should get information about the restructuring plans within the next two and a half weeks.

With thanks,

Christine Starr
Chair, FIA Steering Committee

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ministry Update

The Government of Ontario, Ministry of Children and Youth Services has
updated information on their website.

Below is the link to the website followed by the text that has been
"copy and pasted from the website.

Information from Government of Ontario website- Ministry of Children
and Youth Services-

Update on Imagine/KidsLink International Bankruptcy- August 6, 2009

Questions & Answers

1. What is the government doing to help families affected by the
bankruptcy of Imagine Adoption/Kids Link?

The Canadian High Commission and Ethiopian child protection
authorities are working to ensure the safety of kids in transition
homes. The ministry is working with federal Minister of Citizenship,
Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, who is assisting with
expediting visas for kids whose adoptions are completed.

The Ministry continues to work closely with BDO Dunwoody, the
bankruptcy trustee, to look into all possible options to assist
adoptive families who have been matched with children and those at
other stages of the process, including whether there are other
agencies that can help. The trustee is working to assist families in
all provinces that have been affected by the bankruptcy.

2. Can the ministry confirm that families’ confidential documents are
secure? How can families access their files?

All of the agency’s documents are with the bankruptcy trustee and the
ministry is working with the trustee to ensure confidentiality. All of
the agency’s documents are with the bankruptcy trustee and the
ministry is working with the trustee to ensure confidentiality. For
families who simply want their files, please provide instructions in
writing to the trustee as to who should get your file (yourself or
agency). The trustee will address these requests and forward files.

3. Are the children currently in transition homes being well-cared

The ministry’s priority right now is to make sure that the children in
the transition homes in Ethiopia are safe and that those who have
completed adoptions can make it safely to Canada.
The Canadian High Commission and Ethiopian child protection
authorities are working to ensure their safety. A lawyer with years of
experience in adoptions spent one week in Ethiopia on behalf of the
trustee and found that the children in the transition home are safe
and well-cared for. The trustee recently received a significant
financial donation that will go toward the ongoing operation of the
transition homes and ensure the well-being of the children staying

4. When will the trustee’s plan be ready?

The ministry is working with the trustee to look into all possible
options to assist adoptive families who have been matched with
children and those at other stages of the process. A formal plan is
being prepared. However, an exact release date is not available at
this time.

5. How can families receive up to date information on the status of
the ministry’s and trustee’s work?

The ministry has information on this website for families to get
updates and a help line at 416-326-6510 has been established to
respond to inquiries. Families are also encouraged to continue
checking the BDO Dunwoody website at

6. What is the status of Saint Anne Adoption Centre?

The ministry is working with the trustee to better understand the
relationship between Imagine Adoption/Kids Link and Saint Anne
Adoption Centre, which facilitates adoptions from Ecuador, Brazil,
Columbia and Haiti. The ministry understands that records of these
agencies have been secured, has contacted the adoption authorities in
Ecuador and is working to maintain open lines of communication.

7. What is the status of the Ghana program?

The ministry knows that Imagine Adoption/Kids Link did match two
Ontario families with children in Ghana as prospective adoptive
families. Once the ministry was informed that the orphanage in Ghana -
Hands of Mercy – was, the Letters of No Objection, provided by the
ministry and required for immigration, were withdrawn for both of the
families. The orphanage in Ghana was closed in June 2009.

The ministry is following up with the federal government to get an
update on the status of the orphanage.

8. How could Imagine Adoption/Kids Link have gone bankrupt when the
ministry renewed its licence last October? Are the government’s
licensing requirements not strict enough?

The ministry has some of the most comprehensive international adoption
licensing requirements in Canada to ensure the safety of children.
This agency was in compliance with the Intercountry Adoption Act,
which ensures that an agency has the capacity to complete adoptions in
a safe and appropriate manner.

As private corporations, international adoption agencies have Boards
of Directors who are responsible for ensuring appropriate financial
management and controls are in place in accordance with the
Corporations Act. The ministry took action as soon as it became aware
of Imagine Adoption/Kids Link’s financial situation.

9. Does Imagine Adoption/Kids Link receive funding from the Ministry
of Children and Youth Services?

No, the ministry does not provide any funding to the agency.
International adoption agencies, including Imagine Adoption/Kids Link,
operate on a fee for service basis.

10. What about the status of my home study?

You can call the Ministry’s help line at 416-326-6510 to inquire about
the status of your home study. Your home study is portable, so if you
choose to go to a different agency to continue the adoption process,
you will not have to start at the beginning of the home study process.

Message from the Steering Committee

Hello Families of Imagine Adoption (FIA),

We wanted to touch base and acknowledge how difficult it’s been not to have received news of further developments since the creditors meeting on July 30. This silence however, is not indicative of a lack of progress.

Indeed, since our unanimous vote to move in the direction of reactivating the agency's operations, the FIA committee has been working to arrange a meeting with Federal Government officials to ensure key relationships with the countries in which IA operated - in particular with the appropriate adoption authorities - are being maintained.

The committee is also exploring possible strategies to raise funds that might be needed if and when a restructuring proposal is accepted.

We’ve also been in contact with international adoption lawyer, Ted Giesbrecht - sent by BDO to ensure the children's safety and assess IA's operations in Ethiopia - to discuss the necessary key components of any viable restructuring proposal, and the status of IA's relationships/contracts with various orphanages. The goal is to collect as much info as possible so that we can share it with you and so we all can make an informed decision regarding a proposed restructuring plan.

Our relationship with the Ontario Ministry of Child and Youth Services is being maintained. They’ve assured us that they’re committed to assisting us with restructuring efforts. However, the timeframe for when the proposal that has been submitted to BDO will be shared at the discretion of the trustee. On July 31, BDO posted a statement entitled Creditor Meeting and Future Activity which speaks to the timelines we should expect:

In this statement they indicated that "the next milestone is in 2 to 4 weeks with a report regarding a future governance structure, impact on creditor claims, family/adoption file management, business and financial requirements as well as Bankruptcy Court Process."

The inspector’s first meeting with the trustee is also scheduled for August 13. If you’d like more info on the role of the inspectors please read the following handout at:

Finally, we know you have questions/concerns about the status of your files. Jo Anne Barber (former IA employee and appointed inspector), has begun to field these questions. She’s only available weekday mornings and has asked that any requests for this information be sent to her by email at Note: status info won’t include where your file is vis-à-vis or other files waiting for referrals.

Although we can’t guarantee ultimate outcomes, all efforts possible are being made to move us towards the implementation if a viable restructuring plan for all the FIA, including continuous improvement of our internal communications vehicles so you’re always updated of new developments.

Warm regards,

Christine Starr
Chair, FIA Steering Committee

Minutes of Creditor's Meeting

The minutes of the creditor's meeting are now available at the following link:

Friday, July 31, 2009



(KITCHENER) July 30 – Families impacted by the recent bankrupcty of
Imagine Adoption voted today at the first creditors’ meeting held in
Kitchener-Waterloo to work with the bankruptcy trustee BDO Dunwoody to
present a proposal to rescue the agency from bankruptcy. Work on the
proposal should be completed within the next two to four weeks.
I f the proposal is accepted by the court, the restructured agency
will continue to work to complete the adoptions of families registered
with the agency prior to the bankruptcy.
“What a moving moment it was to see all 189 people present vote in
favour of working towards taking the agency out of bankruptcy,” says
Christine Starr, chair of Families of Imagine Adoption, a group which
has been working to achieve completion of all the adoptions registered
with Imagine.
“But this is just a first step towards the completion of all files.
There is much more work to be done.”

Press contacts:

Ingrid Phaneuf: 416-710-0966
David Cotter: 519-502-5818


Article in the

July 30, 2009

KITCHENER — Hopeful families were buoyed Thursday by a plan to try to
save a bankrupt Cambridge adoption agency by bringing in new
If successful, it would mean hundreds of clients across Canada will
still be able to adopt children from overseas after investing months
of time and up to $20,000 in the process.
Would-be parents were devastated when Kids Link International Adoption
Agency, which operated as
Adoption, collapsed July 14.
But they left a Kitchener meeting in good spirits after about 200
creditors voted unanimously to pursue a restructuring effort outlined
by bankruptcy trustees from BDO Dunwoody.
“I’ve never seen so many people in one room agree on something so
quickly,” said Ingrid Phaneuf, of Etobicoke, who is trying to adopt a
child from Ethiopia. “It was fantastic.”
About six people with the necessary expertise may take over the
non-profit agency. The plan would require approval from the provincial
government, which licenses international adoption organizations.
Bankruptcy trustee Susan Taves said the plan will be explored and
developed over the next two to four weeks to see if it can work.
“I think it’s really probable – a high percentage of success here,”
she said after the three-hour meeting.
Companies, church groups, individuals and affected families have
contacted trustees with offers to help salvage the agency.
“This is a really unique file,” Taves said. “In 20 years of doing this
work, I’ve never had people call and say they’ll give money to keep an
organization going.”
The effort also has an ally in Kitchener lawyer Ted Giesbrecht, who
went to Ethiopia earlier this month to ensure children at an agency
transition home were properly cared for.
Giesbrecht, who is working for free, said staff at the home – where
children matched with Canadian families are housed – hadn’t been paid
in six weeks.
While also helping to complete adoptions that had reached the matching
stage, he cut staff and reduced expenses at the home from more than
$50,000 to $17,000 a month.
If the agency is restructured, Giesbrecht said, that will help stretch
the money Imagine still had in the bank when it went bust.
“The cost per family should be reduced,” he said. “The funds in trust
may go a long way.”
David and Holly Guistini of Kitchener paid $14,000 in fees to Imagine
and were waiting to be matched with a child in Ethiopia after
unsuccessfully trying to have a baby of their own for five years.
They were encouraged when a landscaper sitting next to them at the
creditors’ meeting told them he’d write off the money he is owed if
the agency can be salvaged.
“He said, ‘You getting your child is more important than us getting
our money,’ ” David said. “I was blown away.”
“It was a great meeting,” added Holly, who almost died from
complications during two pregnancies. “Everybody was together.”
James Ramsay, a federal judge who lives in Hamilton, was also upbeat
while leaving the meeting with his wife, Brenda.
The parents of six grown children, they signed up with Imagine and
were matched with a child in Uganda after Brenda saw a pressing need
while doing volunteer work there.
“They realize it’s not just money,” Ramsay said of bankruptcy trustees
and government officials. “They’re trying their best to make something
reasonable out of a very difficult situation.
“So far, it looks good, but you can never be sure. International
adoption is not for the faint of heart.”
Families have so far filed claims nearing $3 million. Imagine had just
$500,000 in cash left, plus about $150,000 in receivables and office
The collapse affected 415 families, including more than 200 in
Bankruptcy trustees are working with government officials to complete
about 40 adoptions, mostly from Ethiopia, that had reached the stage
where families were matched with children.
The remaining 375 clients are at earlier points in the lengthy
Nine families hoping to adopt from Ghana are in a particularly tough
spot after an orphanage there was closed over concerns children had
been improperly taken from their parents.
Jesse and Jeanette Martin of Elora had been matched with twin,
eight-month-old girls when all adoptions from the orphanage were
“To us, these are our girls,” said Jeanette, showing photos of the
children. “We won’t give up. We can’t give up.”
The orphanage was run by Hands of Mercy, a Christian charity based in
Fort Erie.
Deborah MacQuarrie, who heads the organization, attended the meeting
to talk to families trying to adopt from Ghana. With her were Melisa
and Brett Jackson, her daughter and son-in-law, whose own adoption
plans are on hold.
MacQuarrie insisted there were no serious problems at the orphanage
and said they hope adoptions can still be completed with no direct
involvement from Hands of Mercy or Imagine.
“Believe me, if we were guilty of all the things they say we are, we
wouldn’t be here,” she said. “We’d be in hiding somewhere.”
Waterloo Regional Police are conducting a fraud investigation after
two directors of Imagine alleged senior staff earning six-figure
salaries made more than $300,000 in questionable purchases with
corporate credit cards.
Included were trips, home renovations and a horse and saddle.
There was no sign at the meeting of Susan Hayhow, the former executive
director of Imagine and two related organizations, Global Reach
Children Fund and Saint Anne Adoption Agency.
Those agencies are also caught up in the Imagine bankruptcy because
money moved among accounts for all three organizations.
Hayhow’s husband, Rick, was chief financial officer of Imagine and
Saint Anne. He resigned in April after his wife began a common-law
relationship with Andrew Morrow, a board member and employee of Global
Susan Hayhow and Morrow were at the transition home in Ethiopia when
Giesbrecht, an expert in international adoptions, went there on behalf
of BDO.
Giesbrecht said they were trying to make sure the children were OK and
cooperated when he got there, giving him the information he needed to
take over.
“There was an introduction,” he said. “I met them and then I said ‘You
have no further authority here.’ ”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

IMPORTANT UPDATE - Creditors Meeting

The FIA Steering Committee, primarily the FIA Trustee Liaison
sub-committee, has been working closely with Susan Taves of BDO
Dunwoody over the last 48 hours in preparation for tomorrow's meeting.
Since Susan's recommendations on how to approach and prepare for this
meeting has only presented themselves over the past day, we weren't
able to get this information to you sooner and we still don't have all
the details. We're hoping that tomorrow, Sue will take some time to
explain the format and agenda of the meeting.
We have however, been given some direction on how to be as productive
as possible in the limited time that we have, which is three hours
1. We were asked what we thought would be the initial areas of
interest that many of the Families of Imagine Adoption would like to
see addressed. Please note that they're not limited to these, nor are
we expecting a response to all of these, but we needed to offer our
initial thoughts immediately, to help prepare and best utilize our
time and efforts tomorrow:
• Details on the location and security of our files
• Description of the interaction between the Provincial
government, Federal government and BDO Dunwoody
• Details on the status of all files, if known (e.g. the number
of files at each stage of the process)
• Details, if known, as to the funds required to complete all
active files
• Transition of funds between St. Anne’s, Kids Link and Global
• Details of the three leases
• Details of the status of the trust funds
• Information pertaining to the use of trust funds by Kids Link

• Details of assets and creditors in Ethiopia
• Details of any outstanding litigation involving Kids Link
• Any insight into the financial viability of St. Anne’s and
Global Reach
• Steps taken by the Board of Directors between their initial
concerns and the assignment in bankruptcy
• Details of submitted proposals
• The procedure for the assessment of proposals

2. From our understanding, Susan Taves will ask creditors for
suggested nominations of five inspectors. Currently, we understand
that the role of the investigator is to assist the Trustee in
supervising certain aspects of the Trustees' administration of the
bankruptcy on behalf of the creditors. We don't have full clarity of
this role and hope to get further insight on this role and the
processes tomorrow.

1. Lianne Armstrong - Lawyer with experience in insolvency matters
2. Rob Eagleson - Manager at a Financial Institution; specializing in
commercial finance
3. James Boyle - Holds an MBA and a Master Certificate in Project
4. Bernadette Quemerais - Military Officer at the Comptroller for Land
Force Central Area
5. Donna Cotter - Chartered Financial Analyst

We feel that these five have the background and skills to represent
us. Please note that we chose local representation because Trustee
meetings may need to be held in person, so the investigators either
needs to be in close proximity or willing to travel.

Thanks for your patience and for understanding this late
communication. We'll see many of you tomorrow!

FIA Steering Committee

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lucky mom thankful she beat adoption bankruptcy

Jul 29, 2009 - 04:30 AM

By Nancy Gummow

Every night since my internationally-adopted daughter has joined us 20 short weeks ago, I have taken her to her room, fed her a bottle, looked into her beautiful, deep dark brown eyes and smiled.

One night a couple of weeks ago, the routine was the same, but the significance was entirely different -- not for Gracie, but for me. Not surprisingly, it was the same day I discovered Kids Link, (also known as Imagine Adoption) the Ontario agency to facilitate my adoption from Ethiopia, filed for bankruptcy.

Filed for bankruptcy? I couldn't believe it. Forgive me for being selfish and self-centred but hearing those three words rocked my world. My disbelief quickly gave way to a heavy heart.

On that night, it wasn't Gracie's beautiful eyes I saw. It was those helpless, innocent children I saw playing so well on the floor when I visited her old room where she stayed. Little faces now suddenly and forcibly burned on my soul forever because I will always wonder if they found a mama to feed them a bottle and gaze into their eyes at bedtime.

Gracie is a lucky girl. And we are an even luckier and more blessed family to have her in our lives. My girlfriend, Cynthia, who I travelled with -- also to be joined with her cute girl Tia -- said it best: "Go and give Gracie a million kisses and be thankful she's here."

If the bankruptcy had happened only 12 months ago, it would have been me. And I think about what our lives would be like without her, how I would have felt never seeing her face, the joy I would have missed now seeing Alex and Nicholas laugh and play with their treasured sister. And I can't imagine it. I can't bear to feel the searing pain and grief. It's like breathing in a steel dagger.

Then I hear the stories of others. Parents who have waited years for the privilege of becoming a parent, one day woke up to news that must have been like a like a nuclear weapon attack on their heart, mind and spirit. Their stories will make you weep. Two days before the official news, I had to tell the rumours to a friend in Ottawa, who was with the same agency. It was a heartbreaking phone call. And who knows if the money they spent will ever be returned.

Trust me, this was not just another bankruptcy. There is a river of tears and a path of destruction from here to Ethiopia that will affect my life -- and the lives of others -- forever.

Blog Post by Glen Pearson, MP London North

Altered States – No Better Example

July 29, 2009 by glenpearson

“The future of democracy lies with what we might call strong democracy – with a revitalization of citizenship that is not collectivistic, a form of public reasoning that is not merely conformist, and a set of civic institutions that permits vital citizen input.” So said George Bernard Shaw. Even in his day there were concerns that proper citizen skills weren’t being developed or welcomed by a political order that preferred to keep matters to itself. In fretting that democracy would inevitably be weakened by an isolated citizenry, he believed citizens should themselves come together, learn the working and policies of government, and force the system to sit up and take notice – not negatively but proactively.

We have been fortunate enough in Canada to have just witnessed the kind of input Shaw was looking for. Last week I wrote about the remarkable resilience demonstrated by the prospective parents seeking to adopt through the now bankrupt Imagine adoption agency (see Adopting a New Attitude). What they have accomplished since that posting is even more remarkable.

This was a case in which, when confronted by the financial failure of a government licensed adoption agency, a group of hopeful parents sought to come together in various parts of the country, organize task forces and a steering committee, and positively engage both the media and the political process in ways that were truly constructive.

But first they had to learn. More than anything else there was the need for information. Who was responsible? What was the status of their files? Could the situation be salvaged? And so, rather than just bemoan their fate, they reasoned that for the sake of the children they hoped to acquire and for the integrity of the adoption system itself, they pulled together all their vast experience and information and sought to make it available to public officials In numerous ways they were the experts, having gone through, in some cases, years of working through the system. The information gathered, they then went to the media and offered any assistance they could to the various ministries involved. In refusing to turn their own personal torture into a media circus, they constructively “prodded” the political system by offering to assist in any way they could. Whatever complaints they had were kept in private as they publicly used the vast skills in their combined group to force politicians and the system to realize that they weren’t dealing with angry taxpayers or some kind of over-the-top fringe group, but were in fact being invited by hurting partners to make the process work better for the children.

I was there personally to witness these developments and have been inspired by the sheer professionalism of these families. And they have achieved results. Through provincial and federal intervention, some families are being united and the process is at work trying to build long-term sustainability into the future of the children themselves. This kind of remarkable action is what Mandela was alluding to when he stated:

Strong democracy creates the very citizens it depends upon precisely because it does depend on them. In many ways it forces the individual into a permanent confrontation – between the me as citizen and other citizens, thereby forcing us to think in common, act in common. Put crudely, the true citizen is by definition a we thinker.”

A large group of families, ably led and spread across the country, has just succeeded in making the political process more caring and more efficient. For this we owe them a deep sense of gratitude. They could have immediately reacted by threatening lawsuits and denigrating politicians; instead they took on the mantle of citizenship in the midst of great pain and loss. This is the way forward and these families are guiding us on the path. Now it is our turn to respond to them.

Questions for BDO meeting

I just wanted to remind all families to come to the BDO meeting tomorrow with all of your questions. This is the time to ask them.

FIA Steering Committee Meeting with Minister Deb Matthews - July 28, 2009

Meeting with Minister Deb Matthews

July 28th, 2009

In Attendance:

Minister Deb Matthews

Chris Carson – Chief of Staff

Marilyn Renwick - Administrator


Chris Shantz – Minister’s Senior Policy Advisor

Sally McGowan – Director of Children and Youth Services

FIA Steering Committee Chairs & Co-chairs

Calling of Meeting to Order and Introductions

Deb Matthews:

Hoping to gain a better understanding of what our needs are.

Wants to ensure her ministry is doing everything possible to assist us.

They will not hold anything back and will be honest with us.

Feel we have the same goal – uniting us with our children through the adoption process.

Want us to understand what they can do to help us and what their responsibilities are.


Introduction of her role and the opening statement:

Thanks to the ministry and apologies for isolated inaccurate statements with regards to comments in the media about the ministry’s lack of cooperation.

Thankful for the expedited visas but asking for more.

Concerned about the Ghana and Ecuador programs and St.Anne’s organization.

We are now asking for a clear plan to ensure that ALL files are completed from ALL programs.

We are hoping this meeting will result in assurances and concrete answers from the ministry to ensure all files are completed successfully.

This will most likely mean the ministry may have to go outside the normal boundaries of their responsibility.

We do not want false hopes but a realistic plan that we can support.


Presents our questions for answers/clarification.

These are from the questions we left with the ministry after our Friday meeting.

Minister Matthews:

Thank you for acknowledging the hard work of the ministry.

Her hope is that the creditors will come up with a solution to keep IA viable.

Can’t foresee what will happen at the Thursday meeting with BDO – but they want us to succeed.

The ministry will bend over backwards to make that happen – within the boundaries of the law.

Aware of the danger to lose accreditation with Ethiopia – but they are committed to maintaining a healthy relationship with international officials.

Should the agency be unrevivable – the home studies are portable. Therefore, those files would be transferred to another agency.

Questions for Minister Matthews from Families of Imagine Adoption

· At our last meeting, Sally McGowan stated that the Ministry is working with the other provinces to understand more about the families impacted by Imagine Adoption’s Bankruptcy outside of Ontario. We understand that an inter-provincial call took place on Friday. Please provide an update on what was discussed on the call and any decisions that were made.

· We know that the ministry is having regular conversations with HRSDC’s Intercountry Adoptions Services unit and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. What are the outcomes of these discussions? Can we feel assured that the right action is being taken at the Federal level to ensure critical relationships with the national governments in the countries Imagine Adoption worked with are being maintained?

Sally McGowan:

Citizen and Immigration, International Trade and International Affairs spoke together on a call last week. Ministry of Children and Youth Services gained a better understanding through this conversation about the process and how things are being managed on the ground.

These departments plan on communicating regularly to share information on the different country programs and on the family files from other provinces.


What exactly are you hearing from these departments? What are the conversations with regards to MOWA?

Sally McGowan:

MOWA will report back to the ministry on Friday with regards to the accreditation and licensing on the Ethiopian end.

Minister Matthews:

Have we had the opportunity to speak with other government officials?


We have had the ear of MP Glen Pearson up to this point but the other MPs are in Quebec on retreat at this time so we’re on hold with them right now.

Minister Matthews:

How about on the public service side?


No – not yet. We are only now beginning to understand this aspect of Federal government.

Chris – Chief of Staff:

Has liased with Minister Kenny’s chief of staff and have scheduled ongoing calls between those two ministers. Also liaising with Minister Finley’s office.


· We recognize that any concrete decisions on the future status of Imagine Adoption are based on BDO Dunwoody’s financial assessment of the agency, but what options are currently being considered?

· Our priority as families impacted by Imagine Adoption is to ensure that all families that have signed a retainer with Imagine Adoption are able to complete their adoptions. Is the Ministry of Children and Youth Services committed to:

1. Expediting a license, if required, as quickly as possible; and

2. Exercising the Ministry’s power to act an interim licensee to continue to facilitate adoptions while Imagine Adoption is restructured.

Minister Matthews:

We can’t speculate about what might happen Thursday.

The ministry is not in the international adoption business and is not planning to become so.

They will support plans but won’t be the plan themselves.


We understand there might be some viable options, but if there isn’t – does the ministry still feel the same way?

Minister Matthews:

Can’t speculate on all the “what ifs”.


Would the ministry give us time to group our thoughts and formulate our plan after the meeting on Thursday?



Sally McGowan:

It could be that BDO acts strictly in their position as shutting down the business of IA.

BDO has assured the ministry however, that they are willing to go beyond that to put a viable solution in place.

BDO has confirmed that they are reviewing possible plans to keep the agency viable – and the ministry is committed to expediting this plan.

Ministry has been communicating with other agencies across Canada to gain understanding and form relationships should IA clients need to transfer their files to another agency or that agency step in to assist us.

If there are possible plans for viability of the agency – the ministry doesn’t want to put any artificial deadlines in place. They are committed to ensuring any proposed plan is viable – don’t want to find ourselves in this situation again.

They do however, recognize the time sensitive nature of this situation.

· At our last meeting we expressed our concern that Dr. Palacios, Imagine’s lawyer in Ecuador would not take any action to continue to facilitate adoptions until he got clear direction from the Ministry, or Sue Hayhow. Terre Des Homme, an agency looking into the possibility of taking over our files, cannot take any action until this is resolved. Has the Ministry contacted Dr. Palacio? If not, will the Ministry take immediate action to do so?


That communication is happening as we speak.

Sally McGowan:

Have a Spanish speaking staff member who is communicating directly with Dr.Palacio and with Ecuadorian officials.

* We understand the short turnaround time between our meeting on Friday and today. We left a very specific list of questions with your staff at Friday's meeting. When can we expect answers to those questions?



Reporting fees and requirements for families who are home with their children already. Trying to fulfill the reporting requirements as required by Ethiopian authorities. Can the ministry help us with this situation?

Sally McGowan:

It has been raised with the federal government and MOWA. It has been asked several times on the hotline.

She will raise it with the high commission on our behalf.


How can we as citizens be assured that this situation will not occur again?

Ironically, we thought the risk of this process lay in the international country.


A lot of learning will happen throughout this process and I’m sure we will come to conclusions later and be reflective.

A license means that an agency will comply with the law – safety of children, 47 steps to meet before being licensed.

The ministry will look beyond the immediate crisis later.

If fraud has occurred, she is not sure the ministry could have prevented this.

Other agencies may want to strengthen the system voluntarily as the process of international adoption is taking a hit from this in general.

Sally McGowan:

What the ministry looks at when licensing (financially):

An outline of the fees paid by families to the agency.

Then an outline of the monies paid on behalf of the family by the agency.


Without a full review of financial statements, often perception and reality are disconnected. Necessary to provide accurate information.

James Boyle:

BDO is also not in the international adoption business. Who is helping them wade through this aspect of the bankruptcy?

Sally McGowan:

BDO is working with lawyer Ted Giesbreicht.

Ministry is working with BDO to ensure any proposal put forward meets the 47 licensing criteria.


Could you share with us any candidates as we have people approaching us who might be able to fill needs?

Sally McGowan:

Discussions are happening with Susan Taves.

The ministry will combine proposals etc. to help BDO put a viable candidate/proposal in place.

Susan Taves is on a steep learning curve. Ie. Donation for the transition house.

This is a spirit of the law vs. letter of the law situation.


Who should be pro-active to find the viable solution once the money aspect is sorted out on Thursday?

Sally McGowan:

BDO has people knocking at their door with regards to proposals.

This is a conversation we need to have with BDO on Thursday.

If we have people approaching us, ask them to go to BDO with it.


BDO is not representing St.Anne’s families. How is the relationship working between the three branches?

Sally McGowan:

The ministry is working on all branches simultaneously – with the understanding that BDO’s job is IA.

It is not a hierarchy for the ministry – they are working on all aspects.


How many licenses have been extended to IA?

Sally McGowan:

There are 2 licenses.


What is happening with Ghana?

Sally McGowan:

The owner of Hands of Mercy has called today and Sally will be speaking with other officials about this immediately as there is conflicting information being presented to families.

This is a priority.


Has a breakdown of files/countries for us – for Ontario.

Is available for other provinces as well.


What about families verbally matched but not referred? This is another category not listed on these numbers.

Sally McGowan:

This is a conversation we can have with BDO on Thursday.


You mentioned that accreditation is frozen at this time – will that affect the court dates of future adoptions?

Sally McGowan:

NEW ACCREDITATION is frozen – not IA’s current accreditation.

We don’t want anything to jeopardize that accreditation.


Minister Matthews:

Is the hotline and website set up by the ministry sufficient for communication?

This does not have to be the conclusion of our communication – the ministry wants to keep clear and efficient communication.


This meeting has been very helpful to us and he is hopeful we can meet again in the coming weeks.


Absolutely. She looks forward to the day she can meet these little babies in the future.


Thank you for hearing us and assisting us in this process, a process we know is long term and critical to the ongoing success of international adoption.