The advocacy work of Morden couple Jeff and Meghan Dyck has paved the way for other adoptive parents in Manitoba.
"I want all prospective adoptive couples to know about this, because it could make their wait time go from a year, to a matter of weeks," Meghan says. "For a lot of people that can make a world of difference when waiting to build their families."
After months of research, raising awareness, speaking with government representatives, and starting an online petition that saw over 300 signatures, the couple has seen the government relax an advertising policy, allowing potential adoptive parents to post their profiles online.
"It feels really good, it feels like a weight has been lifted from our shoulders, because we found the answers we needed," she says. "And now we feel like we're doing everything in our power to get our names out there to potential expectant mothers wanting to place their children for adoption."
Their journey began in September of 2015, after discovering canadaadopts.com, "And we were like, "wow, this is such an interesting way to get our names out there," Meghan says.
However, after contacting their adoption agency about the idea, they learned the Provincial Adoption Act banned couples from posting their adoption profile online, a caveat that Meghan says unfairly limited their chances of being found by a mother looking to place their child into adoption. Currently only prospective parents looking to adopt in Ontario, B.C and Yukon are allowed to publicly post their profile, while Alberta is reviewing the law.
"We thought, "this is unfair, why can't we do this when other provinces can?" and so we started to dig."
With the help of then Morden-Winkler MLA Cameron Friesen and then Portage MLA Ian Wishart, she says they were able to find the answers they were looking for. They've since discovered an avenue to posting their profile online, only requiring that their post first be vetted and approved by Manitoba Family Services.
She says looking back, the struggle was worth it knowing other hopeful parents will have an easier time.
"Because adoption I think is a difficult process to begin with," Meghan says. "It's a dream for many people wanting to build their families, so anything that can make that process easier I think is a huge plus, and I hope we were able to do that for a lot of people."
For more information about posting an adoption profile online, or Manitoba's advertising policy, contact Manitoba Family Services.