and Immigration Canada) are from 2009, which
show 2,122 children from other countries adopted
into Canadian families. The countries are, in order,
China (highest at 451), the United
States, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Haiti,
Russia, South Korea, the Philippines, Ukraine, India, Kazakh-stan, Colombia, South Africa and
Jamaica (lowest at 30).
The number of actual orphaned children worldwide is
debated because the definition is
different for each statistic. Numbers are as high as 120 million,
but those – particularly UNICEF
– who define an orphan as “a
child who has lost one or both
parents” cut that number down close to 20 million. That’s still a huge, almost insurmountable
number when you consider a wealthy country like
Canada only welcomes 2,000 of them a year – and
the number of children worldwide needing homes
continues to grow.
Many Christians who think of adoption as a
calling generally also start from the premise that
“this child needs a home,” not “this home needs a
parents are much
to welcome a
of children rather
than trying to build a
child.” Such an approach is dramatically different
from the many high-profile celebrity adoptions we
see flashing across TV screens.
It also means these adoptive
parents are much more likely
to welcome a wider variety of
children rather than trying to
build a designer family.
a lifelong Journey
Kendall and Tamara Schmitke
of Owen Sound, Ont., wel-
comed their son Donovan
from China into their family
last spring. Donovan is now
four years old and is an active
pre-schooler whom they de-
scribe as gentle, extremely charismatic and goofy.
“Donovan has a way of making friends wherever
he goes,” says Kendall, excited to share what he’s
learned about his son over the past year.
Donovan’s adoption took less than two years
because he was part of what’s known as the Waiting Child Program in China. Children classified as
waiting are on the list because of mild or correctable ailments such as hepatitis B, facial birthmarks
the Christian community can be an invaluable support to parents who are
adopting a child, according to several parents who have adopted from China.
By Melony Teague
ometimes we look all over for signs and won-
ders, miracles or supernatural events to show
us god is at work. All we need to do is look
at a family who have adopted and embraced a child
from a foreign country to see a miracle, the miracle of
transformation that takes place as a family loves and
accepts these little ones unconditionally.
this truth has hit home for me as I have seen a
number of people adopt children from China. since the
People’s Republic of China introduced its “one child”
policy in 1979, many Canadians have been adopting
infants from China. the numbers have slowed some-
what since 2007 when China placed further restric-
tions on families wanting to adopt children internation-
ally. In 2009, for January to september, there were 101
children adopted into Canada from China. According
to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 19 were boys
and 82 were girls, the majority between the ages of one
and four. Most came to Ontario and Quebec.
It might seem as if adoptive parents are doing a
wonderful thing for their children, but in fact the parents feel as if they are the ones receiving the greater
blessing, according to the ones I interviewed. Often
the decision to adopt internationally is a literal “leap
of faith,” but the parents say the rewards far outweigh
any sacrifices they’ve made.
the bonding starts when prospective parents
receive a photograph of and descriptive information
about the child. to these parents, the moment they
receive their precious child in their arms is very much
like they have physically given birth to this child themselves.
After months of anticipation and waiting, parents
are rewarded by holding their living, breathing child.
the child, however, often goes through an initial period of mourning their foster parents or caregivers.
they have formed a normal attachment to their old
life, which is a positive, healthy thing, but then move