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Important Notices

The Children’s Bridge Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held via Zoom November 21, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm (EST).

The AGM is open to all active members of The Children’s Bridge (TCB). An active TCB membership is required in order to vote at the meeting or by proxy. Please find the proxy form HERE.

Advanced registration is required through Eventbrite HERE (you will be provided the Zoom meeting link after registering.)

Dear Families,

Please note that our offices will be closed Thursday, September 30 in order to commemorate Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Our agency would like to take this time to acknowledge the pain and suffering experienced in the past and present by Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island, and in particular, to deeply honour all who have been affected by the legacy of Residential and Day schools across Canada. We also will be using this time to reflect on how we might take meaningful action to begin to right the inequities present in the Child Welfare System that disproportionately affect Indigenous children and families.

Thank you for your understanding and we will get back to you once we are back at our desks.

From the TCB Staff

Hello Families! 

Did you know that in Canada, adoptive parents are not eligible for as much EI leave as birth parents?

Our government has created a survey for families to “Share your thoughts: Help us build a better EI program”.

If you would like to participate, please follow the link HERE.

 

Adoption Council of Canada-

The Adoption Council of Canada’s May 2021 Newsletter is now available

 

Anti-Asian Racism in Canada

A great Op-ed from the Ottawa Business Journal:
How businesses can include Asian-Canadians in their anti-racism work 

Resources for Families Parenting Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

This extensive list of resources for families parenting a child who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) was recently shared with us by Autism Canada.

These valuable resources can be found on our website HERE.

Anti-Asian Racism in the time of COVID

Many of you have now heard about the brutal massacre of eight people, six of whom were Asian women, at a massage parlor & spa in Atlanta, Georgia last week. This is not an isolated incident, but is a disturbing acceleration of increasing anti-Asian racism around the world. The Children’s Bridge would like to acknowledge and honour the memory of these eight individuals here.

Soon Chung Park:

  • 74-years old
  • Led a healthy and active lifestyle
  • Survived by her daughter and son-in-law

Hyun Jung Grant:

  • 51-years old
  • Loved karaoke and dancing
  • Survived by two sons

Suncha Kim:

  • 69-years old
  • Loved to line dance and volunteer her time to various causes
  • Wife, mother and grandmother

Yong Ae Yue:

  • 63-years old
  • Loved to cook traditional Korean food and enjoyed Korean karaoke
  • Survived by two sons

Delaina Ashley Yaun:

  • 33-years old
  • Married for less than a year
  • Survived by her 13-year-old son and 8-month-old daughter

Paul Andre Michels:

  • 54-years old
  • Worked as a handyman for the spa
  • Enjoyed riding dirt bikes and summers at the lake

Xiaojie Tan:

  • Owner of the spa/massage parlor
  • 49-years old
  • Dreamed of travelling the world
  • Survived by one daughter

Daoyou Feng:

  • 44-years old
  • Recently started working at the spa, was quiet and reserved

Elcias R. Hernandez-Ortiz:

  • Survived the shooting but is in critical condition after being shot in the forehead, lungs and stomach
  • 30-years old
  • Originally from Guatemala
  • Has lived in Atlanta since 2015 with his wife and 9-year-old daughter

[source]

Click HERE for educational resources and anti-Racist measures you can take today

 

INDIA PROGRAM UPDATE

Please Note: Karyn Arnauld-Bakelaar will be away on holidays from April 6th until April 16th, and back at my desk on Monday, April 19th. For families in the India adoption program, you may contact Lenore Cork-Lemay at (613) 226-2112, or Lenore.cork-lemay@childrensbridge.com during her absence.

OCI Status News:
India has recently announced changes to families of Indian of origin who maintain OCI status (OCI citizens are of Indian origin, however, they are foreign passport holders and are not citizens of India). Those with OCI status will now be considered of equal status to NRIs (non-resident Indians) in relation to intercountry adoption:

“According to PTI, another major change the new notification is going to bring in is by making OCI cardholders’ par with Non-Resident Indians in the matter of inter-country adoption of Indian children subject to the compliance of the procedure as laid down by the competent authority for such adoption.”

Click HERE for the full story.

Families who believe they may be eligible for OCI status can verify this HERE.

Program Staffing News:
We are extremely pleased to have been able to welcome two new Canadians from India since travel restrictions have been lifted in India. Congratulations are extended to Amy and Matt on the arrival of their son, K. Further congratulations are sent to Meredith and Paul, who returned from India with their new daughter, G., this past weekend.

We have begun working with a Travel Coordinator in India to assist families to plan travel and to provide support while in-country. COVID has made travelling somewhat more complicated, and we welcome Jamal Murshed to our team to help guide and assist our families. Jamal’s services are entirely optional at this time and can be discussed closer to time of travel for an estimate.

Root Family Searches in India:
Karyn recently came across these two interesting and informative articles regarding root family searching in India. The first, entitled “Root Search by Adopted Children: Issues and Challenges” was issued by CARA, and can be found HERE.

The second is titled “How Foreign Adoptees are Finding Their Indian Birth Parents” and can be found HERE.

General Program Information:
We are currently accepting applications for this adoption program. We currently have 31 families in process to adopt from India and can work with adoptive families across Canada (except for Quebec.) This program is open to families of non-Indian descent, as well as those who are Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) or those with Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI). Families who have NRI or OCI status are prioritized by CARA, but all families who meet the requirements are welcome to apply.

Our India program is open to families who wish to adopt a child living with special needs, and those planning to adopt via the mainstream program.

Most of the children are 18-months+ at time of child proposal. Special needs of the children in the Waiting Child program vary widely, and can include (but are not limited to): hearing and/or vision issues, HIV, Hepatitis B, developmental delays, Down Syndrome, heart issues such as ASD or VSD, etc.

If you would like more information about the process to adopt a child from India, please contact Karyn.arnauld-bakelaar@childrensbridge.com, or see our website (Mainstream Program | Special Needs Program) for requirements, cost and estimated timelines.

Children's Bridge

A note from Karyn Arnauld-Bakelaar– Executive Director, Children’s Bridge

STAFFING CHANGES

Bruno: We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Korea and USA Program Manager, Bruno Jung-Millen for his time and dedication shown to all of our families throughout his 2.5 years with The Children’s Bridge. Bruno has recently completed his MSW, and has accepted a position in his field. His last day with our agency was Friday, March 19th, 2021. We wish you all the best, Bruno!

Darlene: Darlene Catton will be assuming the USA adoption program as of March 22nd, 2021. Darlene has been with our agency for the past 2 decades and has been managing various intercountry adoption programs, including our Florida, USA program for the past 8-months. Darlene can be reached at (905) 836-6776 or Darlene.catton@childrensbridge.com. Darlene’s current hours are Monday to Thursday from 9:00AM – 4:00PM.

Lenore: Please join me in congratulating Lenore Cork-Lemay, who has accepted the role of our South Korea Program Manager. Lenore has been with TCB for 1.5-years, and is ready to take on new challenges! Lenore can be reached at (613) 226-2112, or Lenore.cork-lemay@childrensbridge.com. Lenore’s current hours are Monday to Friday, from 9:30AM – 3:30PM.

Emily: Emily Catton’s hours have been expanded as she assumes much of the Administrative Assistant role with TCB. Emily can be reached at (613) 807-4238 or at Emily.catton@childrensbridge.com.

We are aware that changes to programs in the middle of an adoption process can be stressful for families, but please rest assured that your file is in great hands with either Darlene or Lenore!

I am also on hand to answer any questions or concerns about these staffing changes, and can be reached at (613) 226-2814, or at karyn.arnauld-bakelaar@childrensbridge.com

STAFF PHONE NUMBERS

As part of our efforts to ensure we are able to continue to work remotely during this time, our team has moved from landlines to cell phones. Please see our website or the list below for current numbers.

  • Lenore Cork-Lemay – India Program Administration & Korea Program Manager: 613-226-2112
  • Darlene Catton – Thailand and USA Program Manager: 905-836-6776
  • Emily Catton – Administrative Assistant:  613-807-4238
  • Karyn Arnauld-Bakelaar – Executive Director/India Program Manager:  613-226-2814

EMAIL ADDRESS CHANGES

Please note that several of our general email addresses have changed. These will be updated on all of our paperwork and website, but for now, please make note of the following:

  • etransfers@childrensbridge.com has been changed to TCB-families@childrensbridge.com
  • admin@childrensbridge.com has been changed to Lenore.cork-lemay@childrensbrige.com
  • Accounting@childrensbridge.com has been changed to wendi.mosher@childrensbridge.com

 

Job Opportunity with Adopt4Life

Adopt4Life is expanding in more regions, and are also adding a provincial bilingual role! If you know anyone who may be a good fit, please share with them.

Those exciting job opportunities are optimal for people with direct lived experience with adoption, kinship, customary care and/or fostering, who have familiarity advocating for supports for their children and/or providing peer support in their community.

Are you interested in partnering with families, service providers, children’s aid societies and First Nations, Indigenous, and Métis, child and family well-being agencies to provide support and guidance to adoptive, kin and customary care parents on their lifelong journey parenting their children? Are you passionate about family engagement and providing needed supports to parents and caregivers, reducing isolation and normalizing their experience? Do you have a strong relationship building capacity and a keen interest in ensuring permanency for children? If flexible hours and the opportunity to work with an organization committed to supporting marginalized communities are important to you, then Adopt4Life is looking for you!

There a few Regional Parent Liaison openings:

  • Agent de liaison provincial bilingue (français et anglais) pour les parents adoptifs*en Ontario à temps partiel (15heures) détails
  • Regional Parent Liaisons, Toronto and the GTA (15/20hrs) details
  • Regional Parent Liaison, Northern region – Parry Sound/Sudbury (25hrs) details
  • Regional Parent Liaison, Western region – Hamilton (25rs) details

Happy New Year TCB Families!

For all families looking at travelling during this COVID time, please refer to the link below regarding the new pre-departure COVID-19 testing policy announced December 31, 2020 by Transport Canada.

Pre-departure COVID-19 testing policy

Starting January 7, 2021, all air passengers five years of age or older, including Canadians, will be required to show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to boarding their scheduled departure to Canada.

Unfortunately, the central authorities in the country of your respective adoption program cannot assist you with personal health and travel matters. Kindly review your signed COVID-19 risk waiver. Please contact the local health authority and/or private clinics in the respective countries to inquire about rapid PCR tests.

FOR KOREA FAMILIES ONLY – For your information, Incheon International Airport has a rapid testing centre which offers PCR tests (visit site here ).

We know that this is adding another challenge to an already stressful situation. Please do not hesitate to contact your program manager with any further questions.

Stay safe and well,

The Children’s Bridge

 

INDIA PROGRAM

Please note that our Agency is currently not accepting new applicants to the India Program.

Our India Program has grown rapidly over the past year, and we are thankful to have the opportunity to work with our families. However, with the increase in families and the added strain of COVID closures and backlog with Consulates and Central Authorities, our Agency has made the decision to focus on our current families and ensure that they are not being “lost in the process” during this time.

Our Agency will be lifting the hold and accepting new families to the India program in the new year. We will continue to answer inquiries regarding the India program, and look forward to staying connected with interested families.

September Update

Our latest update is now available in our Month-at-a-Glance section (under the About menu!)

 

Dear Families,

We are writing to inform you of an update received from our India In-Country Coordinator.

CARA recently appointed a new CEO who held a Q&A on August 26, 2020. The issue of families waiting to travel to India was addressed. Unfortunately, CARA confirms that the India Government has decided that no special/emergency visas will be issued at this time. Adoption families will have to wait until travel restrictions are lifted and a window to travel opens.

Italian and American families have been advocating for special/emergency visas to be issued; however, the India Government continues to reject all requests.

As your adoption agency, we are frustrated for our families and can understand when families communicate their unhappiness to us. Please know that we continue to monitor the situation as COVID continues to evolve and change on an almost daily basis it seems.

Please take care of yourselves during this time. We will continue to provide updates as we receive them.

Sincerely,

The Children’s Bridge
International Adoption Agency

To all families in the USA (ASC) Adoption Program:

I would like to introduce you to Darlene Catton who will be managing all cases in the program effective Thursday, July 23rd.

Darlene is a seasoned adoption professional who has been with our agency for over 20 years. She currently oversees the Thailand program and now the ASC program will be transferred to her portfolio. Darlene is based in Toronto, ON and can be reached by email at darlene.catton@childrensbridge.com or on her work cellphone at (905) 836-6776.

Darlene and I have been working on this transition diligently over the past few weeks including reviewing your file and overall program structures. ASC has also been informed of this personnel change.

I have enjoyed every step of the way in supporting your adoption journey and collaborating with ASC. I have been given the opportunity to designate more of my time to manage cases in the USA (HAI) program which is expanding beyond our anticipation, along with the South Korea program.

I would like to kindly ask that you direct all communications to Darlene regarding your file. If your post-adoption file is open for an exchange agreement, Darlene will follow up with you closer to your exchange timeline.

It has been my absolute pleasure in getting to know you and your family. I wish you all the best with your adoption journey!

Sincerely,

Bruno Jung-Millen
Adoption Program Manager, Korea & USA (HAI)

NEWS UPDATE FOR JUNE 2020

Please find our most current news update HERE.

Volunteers Wanted: Children’s Bridge Board of Directors

The Children’s Bridge is seeking volunteers to join the Board of Directors. Anyone with an interest in furthering the Bridge’s mission of “Making Families Happen” is invited to put their name forward.

Some of our on-going projects include:

  • Identifying new adoption programs
  • Expanding educational and post-adoption services
  • Finding new ways to connect with our members
  • Supporting overall organizational sustainability

Adult adoptees, first/birth families, adoptive parents and/or members with a professional experience in law, human resources and/or financial accounting will be given priority.

To find out more, please contact Andy Thompson at andy.thompson@childrensbridge.com

Please note: Individuals currently in-progress will need to wait until their adoption is finalized before joining the board.

News Update for April / May 2020

Please find our most current news update HERE.

Message from the Children’s Bridge Foundation

The Children’s Bridge Foundation is recruiting new Board Members! CBF is a Canadian charity dedicated to supporting health and education programs for orphaned and abandoned children in the developing world. Started in 2003 by a group of adoptive parents, our charity is run by volunteers who have a passionate desire to help improve the lives of children who have so little and deserve so much more.

The Children’s Bridge Foundation is a completely volunteer-based charitable organization (CRA Charitable number: 895155208R0001) that has no religious or political affiliation. Over the years, we have helped support children in China, Kenya, Zambia, Thailand, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Syria and Vietnam.

Our mandate is to raise funds and partner with efficient and accountable local organizations to assist them in offering support to orphaned and abandoned children. Support ranges from medical programs to educational support to training or resources for caregivers of orphaned and abandoned children to help these children to break the cycle of poverty.

Please visit our website at www.childrensbridgefoundation.com to learn more about our programs. If you are interested in donating, or in joining us, please contact Board President Dahlia Stein at dahliastein@childrensbridgefoundation.com.

We are particularly in need of anyone with accounting, communications or fundraising experience!

 

A Message from our Executive Director: Travel Advisories/COVID

Response to COVID-19: A Message to Families

Dear Families,

During this unprecedented time, we are writing to express our support as you proceed through your adoption journey. As adoptive parents ourselves, we are very aware that this is already a time filled with uncertainty and great excitement while waiting for news of travel to meet your child or to complete the adoption process — without these additional health and travel concerns.

We ask for your patience, and to know that staff will do their best to ensure that each family’s adoption process is completed as expeditiously as possible, while also respecting the directives being issued from our own government, and our overseas partners and authorities. This means that some family travel dates and/or court dates will be postponed and/or rescheduled, and we ask that you please follow the direction of staff for the well-being of current and future children and families participating in the program.

The Board wishes to thank our staff who work tirelessly every day to support our families, even more in the face of these challenging circumstances. Last year The Children’s Bridge invested in collaboration tools and technologies to allow our staff to better work remotely, and we will make use of those technologies during this time. We ask for your understanding if response times are a little longer than usual while staff also deal with their own disruptions and alternative working situations (working with kids at home!).

In addition to reducing the number of staff in the office, AdopTALK and other events planned for March and April will be rescheduled. Details will follow.

We continue to follow the recommendations of public health officials and government officials to guide our approach. The Board strongly encourages both our staff and families to stay informed and follow the advice of health care officials. As the situation evolves, we will continue to support you to the fullest of our ability, and will keep you informed as new information becomes available. Please visit our Travel Advisories & Restrictions page, as staff will continue to update this page regularly.

Sincerely,

John Sutton
Chair, Board of Directors

Karyn Arnauld-Bakelaar
Executive Director

Time to Attach – We Need Your Help

During the past two years, The Adoption Council of Canada, Adopt4Life, and Western University have together advocated for the introduction of a new 15-week attachment benefit program for adoptive, kin, and customary care parents, through a campaign titled #TimeToAttach. Through this ongoing effort, they have worked towards the implementation of this additional parental benefit leave under the Employment Insurance program to support healthy and secure attachment for adoptive families.

Currently, adoptive families are not eligible for the 15 additional weeks of maternity benefits that birth and surrogate mothers may access. The adoption community faces certain additional challenges in building their family through adoption or through a customary or kinship care arrangement. In particular, adopted children need time and support to build an attachment relationship with their new parents or caregivers. Attachment benefits should be delivered in parallel to maternity benefits, which would recognize the unique challenges our families face, just as maternity benefits do for families formed through birth.

These organizations have been engaged with policy makers and stakeholders across party lines, urging the swift implementation of a new attachment benefits program in Budget 2020. Policy makers have indicated that a determining factor in this decision is a demonstration of a strong show of support from across Canada, representing multiple sectors and communities. A strong show of support would be a determining factor in whether the new attachment benefits program becomes part of this fiscal budget, and a reality for families.

If you feel like this is a campaign that you would like to support, the movement could use your help. Adopt4Life and the Adoption Council of Canada is planning to send the letter provided in the links below to Minister Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, along with her office, demonstrating the extensive support for #TimeToAttach. They are asking for support from individuals who may be affected by this and would like to add their voice to the campaign. Families can do this by engaging with the available social content, offering letters of support, participating in research, sharing their own parenting stories, etc.

If you would like to add your name to the letter being sent to Minister Qualtrough, please send a short email to julie@adopt4life.com confirming she can include your family name in the final version of the attached letter. Please feel free to spread the word of this campaign to your contacts, and/or on social media platforms, etc.

Julie (Adopt4Life) is happy to answer any questions that you may have on this campaign, so please feel free to email her if you require additional information. Additional information and current updates on #TimeToAttach, can also be found HERE.

#TimeToAttach – letter in English | #DuTempsPourSAttacher – lettre en français

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