The process of adopting a child can be lengthy and frustrating under the best of circumstances. However, 200 to 300 Ontario families' adoptions are now in a legal limbo that they never anticipated.
The problem stems from a drug testing program in which babies were tested to determine whether their mothers had used alcohol or drugs. The results of these tests conducted by Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children were used to justify taking children away from their mothers. They were given to children's aid societies. Now, there are questions about the accuracy of these tests.
The drug testing program, where babies' hair was analysed, was called Motherisk. It was shut down by the hospital in April of last year. However, between 2005 and 2015, the program was used to determine whether children should be taken into protective care.
The Ontario government has halted hundreds of adoptions while a judge determines whether the children in question should can be allowed to be adopted by other people. This has left families who were in the process of adopting some of these children "pretty stressed and frightened about the fact that their adoption is not moving forwards," according to the founder of an adoption support group called Adopt4Life.
As of now, the government has not determined how long it will take to review the adoptions already in progress. Therefore, couples seeking to adopt these children will just have to wait.
Ontario residents who seek to adopt a child in need of a good home should be encouraged and applauded. Unfortunately, as in cases like this, they may have to go through delays and frustration that anyone who wants to adopt a child shouldn't have to face. An Ontario lawyer experienced in dealing with adoption law can work to help the process go as smoothly as possible.
Source: CBC News, "Hundreds of Ontario adoptions on hold amid Motherisk drug-test scandal," Mike Crawley, Feb. 01, 2016