A local couple is hoping to change a Manitoba law they say unfairly limits their chance of adopting a child. Unlike residents of Ontario, B.C and the Yukon, hopeful adoptive parents like Jeff and Meghan in Manitoba are not allowed to publicly share their adoption profiles, either online or in print media.
"So in other Provinces they're allowed to make Facebook pages, hand out business cards, put up posters... in Manitoba were limited to going through agencies and word of mouth," Jeff says. "Those are our only options in Manitoba."
The couple found a website that helps facilitate the matching process, but learned they are not allowed to make use of those resources in Manitoba.
"Digging in deeper, my wife was like, "Well why can't we?" and nobody could really give us an answer," Jeff says. "So we've taken it upon ourselves to find this answer to try to seek change."
Meghan explains it can take years to adopt a child, and being unable to use online networks puts Manitoba parents on unequal ground. She says they've waited three years using adoption agencies, and the ability to post their adoption profile online could greatly increase their chances of connecting with an expectant mother wishing to place their child into adoption.
She collected her thoughts and published them in an article with Canada Adopts, describing the current plight of waiting parents and the need for the law to "catch up with our technology" she says. The couple has also started a petition to the Minister of Family Services to allow adoption profiles to be posted online. So far, the response from the community has been positive, Jeff says, adding the petition has reached over 130 signatures.
"People are signing it who are in the same boat as us," Jeff says. "I guess people have thought about this for years, but haven't done anything with it. It seems like we are going to be the face of this change."
Under the Adoption Act, which dates back to 1997, under Advertising section 125, it states: "A person shall not publish or cause to be published in any form or by any means an advertisement dealing with the placement or adoption of a child."
Parents looking to adopt in Ontario, B.C and Yukon are allowed to publicly post their profile, while Alberta is reviewing the law.
"We just want to feel like we've done everything in our power, everything humanly possible to try this... we don't want to have any regrets," he says.