Meet the Yuen family

The Yuens in front of an "I (heart) China" sign

Tell us about your family! We have one biological daughter (who recently got married) and two children adopted from China. Our first adoption was in October 2007 when we adopted a baby girl and our second adoption was in July 2010 when we adopted a little four-and-a-half-year-old boy. What was your experience like with international […]

Meet the Domonkos family

The two Domonkos children.

We are so happy to announce that the Domonkos family are the first-place winners of our 2020 Faces of Family contest! Congratulations to the Domonkos’! They have won a Ricoh Theta V 360° camera, generously donated by our sponsor Broadway Camera. Visit them today for all your camera and video needs! Read more about the Domonkos […]

Meet the Keno family

Heather Keno and her two sons.

Heather always knew she would adopt. She grew up in a busy household with seven other siblings, five of them adopted. At 26 she took the plunge to adopt as a single and has never looked back. Now, with two adopted sons with down syndrome, Heather lives a full life. Here, we get a glimpse […]

Meet the Yrjana family (again!)


Jussi and Colleen Yrjana adopted two beautiful daughters from Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 (learn about their adoption story in this article from the spring 2013 issue of Focus on Adoption). Now, as well as their two adopted daughters, three grown children, and five grandchildren, they are also a foster family. This is their […]

Tax matters: how to claim the adoption tax credit

A hand holding a calculator and a pen in front of a laptop and papers in the background.

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year again: tax time! This year a reader asked us for help understanding how to claim Canada’s adoption tax credit. In this article, adoptive dad and financial professional John Hakkarainen returns for the third year in a row—this time, to explain the nuts and bolts of Line 313. What is […]

Families with Children from China BC

Roots of a big tree.

Families with Children from China BC supports families throughout British Columbia who have adopted from China. In this article, FCCBC co-chair Sheila shares more about their story and how you can get involved. Tell us a little bit about FCCBC FCCBC was founded more than 20 years ago by David Robinson and John Bowen, two […]

Meet the Alexander family

Meet the Alexander family.

Three years ago, Dave and Juanita Alexander found themselves halfway around the world with 18 suitcases, 12 carry-ons, a year’s worth of supplies and four children. Dave and Juanita, have collectively lived and worked in five countries (including Canada), and have four beautiful children through adoption. In 2012, they uprooted their lives to move to […]

Finding family online

Hands holding a mobile phone.

All over the world, people are using the Internet to seek out information about their roots. It’s now the norm for adoptees and birthparents to use social media to search for missing pieces of their biological puzzle without any need for detectives, red tape, agencies, or intermediaries. Things have changed so fast that parents, educators, […]

Health issues in international adoption

Young boy sitting on a couch and holding a globe.

Are you considering adopting internationally? Are you interested in learning about specific health issues facing children coming home to Canada? If so, this video is for you. This video will review common health concerns including infectious conditions such as tuberculosis and intestinal parasites, immunizations—both home and abroad—and review laboratory testing to consider with your family practitioner […]

Meet the Singer family

A young autistic boy shooting bubbles from a bubble gun, with his parents watching and smiling beside him.

The Singer family household–-home to Leo Andriy, eight, and Jack Bogdan, six-–is full of life. And that’s an understatement. Parents Aaron and Melissa frequently have to raise their voices to be heard over the chaos of the boys’ shouts and laughter. Born in Ukraine, Jack and Leo’s raucous exuberance and impulsive energy has defined the […]

Inter-country adoption and Canadian immigration

Traveler's passport displaying various stamps from different destinations around the world.

After all, the adoption has been legalized in the foreign country. Isn’t it now legal in Canada too? Isn’t it my right as a Canadian citizen to have my child granted status? The reality is, at least in Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s view, there is no absolute right as a Canadian citizen to have your […]

Handling culture shock and intercountry adoption

A black woman holding a baby in her arms and smiling while the child giggles.

Over the years, psychologist Dr Peter Hotz has worked with scores of adoptive families. He tells me that he has seen adoption from every angle. I’m at his Vancouver office to talk about international, cross-cultural adoptions. Dr Hotz has worked with several the Belonging Network’s families. I can tell immediately that he has synthesized all […]

Jared’s dads on the building blocks of parenthood

Smiling gay couple with a small boy.

Jared is a happy, active toddler. As I visit with his parents, Jared amuses himself with various toys. When he tires of playing alone, he climbs onto a parental lap and plays “Got your nose” or tries to engage in a game of tickle or playful roughhousing. In between interacting with or checking on Jared, his parents lovingly […]

Reunion in international adoption

Teenager at an airport.

“Aren’t you interested in visiting Vietnam?” “Don’t you want to look for your birth parents?” “As soon as I save enough money, I’m planning to go to Bangladesh to search for my birth family.” These are a few of the questions and comments directed at our 22-year-old son, who up to that time had never […]

Adoption against all the odds

A man comforting a young girl, holding her hand and talking.

The following story is far from typical-most BC families that adopt from the US have a much easier experience. This story speaks to the immense strength of the desire to become parents. Despite the enormous difficulty of their journey, the couple we feature here persevered. That is a characteristic of many adoptive families-it is a […]

The complexity of adoption ethics

A couple sitting in a park with three smiling kids.

In this discussion paper, I hope to open a door for reflection and discussion within the adoption community, meaning adoption agencies, support services, and adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. It is time to examine our underlying values and biases in adoption, and address how the adoptive system advantages some, while disadvantaging others. When my husband and […]

Romanian adoption research

Three children sit on a wooden log, backs turned, legs dangling.

These are the findings of Dr. Elinor Ames’ research on the Development of Romanian Children Adopted to Canada. In 1990, Dr. Ames, an adoptive parent and professor of developmental psychology at BC’s Simon Fraser University, began her research on the effects of institutionalization on children adopted to BC from Romanian orphanages. That same year, 1013 […]

The homestudy explained

Man and woman sitting at a table; man holds papers, woman looks at them with a pencil in hand; notebook on the table.

Social worker Carol Blake demystifies what can seem to be a nerve wracking and intrusive process-the adoption homestudy. Quick! Vacuum the rug, dust the furniture, alphabetize the spice rack, the social worker is coming over! The day has finally arrived; your social worker is coming over to start the homestudy. What does she want to […]

Know the risks: Adopting an institutionalized child

The back of three young boys looking out the window. There's a playground covered in snow outside.

The most difficult area in adoption medicine is predicting the needs of children adopted from orphanages. We are only beginning to understand how these kids are doing.  Studies have been too few to say with certainty what percentage is normal (even if we could define “normal”). Also, the situation changes with time. Some children resolve […]

The reality of child trafficking and adoption

A girl sits on the floor, holding her legs in front of her body and covering her face.

On November 19, 2004, Lauryn Galindo, a Seattle intercountry adoption facilitator, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for the child trafficking of hundreds of Cambodian children. Galindo denied child trafficking charges but pled guilty to money laundering and visa fraud. She admits to falsifying children’s names, dates of birth, places of birth, and family […]