Karen Madeiros of the Adoptive Families Association of B.C. (left) and Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux (right) listen to Lt. Governor Judith Guichon describe her experience as an adoptive parent.

Lt. Governor joins call to adopt (with video)

"What I never knew is how much they would take care of me," Judith Guichon says of her experience raising four adopted children

VICTORIA – Lt. Governor Judith Guichon is sharing her own experience as an adoptive parent to encourage people to invite the 1,000 young people waiting to join a family in B.C.

At an event at the B.C. legislature to declare November Adoption Month, Guichon described her experience adopting four children to live at her Nicola Valley ranch starting in the late 1970s.

The first two children were infants, and in 1989 a relative called and asked if Guichon and her first husband would add a brother and sister who were then aged three and five. Their mother had two older twin boys and was “struggling on her own.

“Having always wanted a large family and having lots of resources such as wide open spaces to offer, we didn’t hesitate to say yes,” Guichon said. “I know that we gave these children a great home, and as a mother I worked to take care of them.

“What I never knew is how much they would take care of me. You see, when my children were 20, 16, 15 and 13, we lost their father in an accident.

“For a short time after the accident, we were all in survival mode. To say that I would not have endured without my children is not overstating the case.”

Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux and Representative for Children and Youth Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond issued a joint statement, noting that 1,300 adoption placements have been found in the past five years. But there are 1,000 more children and teens who are still waiting.

“The reality is that many of the young people in care who are waiting for adoption are school age,” they said. “They may be siblings who need to stay together. Some may have special placement needs due to difficult early childhood experiences, prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs, learning delays or other developmental challenges.”

Cadieux launched a social media campaign for November to promote adoption, including a website at www.1000familiesbc.com with adoptive family profiles and videos.

The campaign is co-sponsored by the Adoptive Families Association of BC: B.C. Federation of Foster Parent Associations: www.bcfosterparents.ca/