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CDA spoilt my Christmas - Canadian disappointed that her attempts to adopt a Jamaican child still fruitless

Published:Sunday | December 27, 2015 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Francine Belliveau (right) holds the baby she is trying to adopt while spending time with two other Jamaican children on the Hellshire Beach in St Catherine.

Her Christmas wish was to have her Jamaican child. She wanted her attempts to adopt settled, but Santa never delivered and Canadian Francine Belliveau did not enjoy her Christmas.

But Belliveau is still optimistic that the new year will see her family finally getting the opportunity to take home the little girl they have been trying to adopt since 2013.

Belliveau, whose story was highlighted in The Sunday Gleaner in October, said she is devastated by the way the Child Development Agency (CDA) has been treating persons from other countries who are trying to adopt children from Jamaica through the agency.

Chairperson of the Adoption Board Patricia Sutherland has since admitted that Jamaicans are given first preference in adopting children, since not a lot of children are being put up for adoption.

Despite being pre-approved to adopt a child and fitting the criteria outlined, Belliveau was denied on two occasions. The local court has since insisted that the Adoption Board reviews her application, but not much has been done since then, and the delay has been taking a psychological toll on the Canadian, who is troubled that the two-year-old she wants to adopt is still in a children's home.

"I just want the baby home, and she is in state care for the second Christmas," said Belliveau.

"Anything that they requested we provided in a timely manner, and what I mean is that the documents are there within two weeks, but then we don't hear from them for weeks and weeks and weeks," she lamented.

 

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Belliveau and her fiancÈ, Stephen, had visited the island in 2013 and met with officials from the CDA who assured them that she had met the criteria to adopt a Jamaican child, but then they were informed later that their application was denied because there are Jamaicans who have been waiting to adopt a child from as far back as 2006.

Following this failed attempt Belliveau, who is now in her 40s, was introduced to a woman in Jamaica who was pregnant and wanted her child to be placed with a family who could better provide for her.

Both Belliveau and the mother decided to go through the CDA to make the adoption legal in 2013, once the baby was born. But instead of being given the opportunity to adopt the baby, CDA officials took the little girl away and she has been in state care since.

"I worry about her every day. There is not a day that goes by that I don't worry about her, because I got to tell you that the way the CDA runs their business is not encouraging for me to think that the state homes are run any different, and I worry about that little girl," said Belliveau, who added that the battle to adopt the little girl has left her financially and emotionally drained.