Anyone going through the adoption process knows that it is just that: a process. Unexpected events, delays, and new rules can be created without any forewarning. This can cause additional stress for the families attempting to adopt a child and cause additional financial expenses.

That is the nightmare for five British Columbian adoptive families who are in Japan, trying to obtain visas for their adopted children. These families thought they had complied with everything that Japan required, but now it seems the rules were changed. They traveled to Japan with plans to adopt their child and return home in approximately three weeks. Almost two months later, the families are still in Japan waiting.

Canada’s immigration minister, Ahmed Hussen, is working with Japanese officials to determine what these families need to do to be able to travel home with their newly adopted children. Hussen stated, “there’s a disconnect between what the Japanese government requirements were and what the organizations that were facilitating the adoptions were telling the families. We’ve been working with the families to make sure that they comply with the Japanese law.”

One family even had their child’s visa issued, only for it to be rescinded the next day. Attorneys are working with these families trying to reach a conclusion quickly. These attorneys are obtaining legal opinions showing that there should be nothing stopping these families from returning home with their children. One of these attorneys, Alex Stojicevic stated, “we know that they have had the legal opinions and we know that they have reviewed them. We have been waiting since then.”

All adoptions between British Columbia and Japan are presently under suspension until a decision is made on the issues. There is a saying that the biggest thing you need to take into an adoption is a sense of adventure, determination, and hopefulness. This is true in any adoption but is especially true for these five families, five families in limbo, not knowing when they can return home with their children.