Cathy Loptson, Administrator of FSGV's Adoption Agency, is clearly committed and enthusiastic about the efforts her agency has made to offer adoption and birth parent services to as wide a range of people as possible.
explains that it involves a much deeper commitment.
"When you are trying to serve a wide range of people from different cultures, you have to be open to all the different ways that people walk through this world," says Cathy
"In some cultures, adoption is arranged far more informally than we do it in Canada. In China, for example, it has been the custom for relatives wanting to adopt a family member to place their thumbprints on a document outlining the adoption.
This is considered to be solidifying the adoption arrangement.
While, of course, we have to work within our adoption framework, we must also work in a way that respects and is inclusive of such rituals.
This may include widening the narrow "western" view of what immediate family might look like; many clients will list aunts, uncles, and cousins as part of their immediate family, whereas the "white" view of close family might include only partners, parents, brothers, and sisters.
also explains that navigating different cultures and adoption traditions can be difficult.
explains that while she
never underestimates the level of privilege that she
as a white person has, paying attention to the importance of "diversity is becoming second nature" when the Agency develops its services.
recalls one colleague explaining that serving a diverse range of people is "not just about food and folk dancing.
The Agency makes sure that they attend important community and cultural celebrations like Lunar New Year and were delighted that an article in the Chinese newspaper Ming Pow
resulted in enquires about adoption from readers.
With the right workers in place, the Agency cannot only attract these families, it can also serve them well.
This level of accommodation isn't one way, either.
describes one family who were extremely resistant to the idea of openness.
Having a social worker who could speak to them in their own language, who shared their same culture, and who would understand how to approach and present the topic, made all the difference.
Eventually the prospective parents' ideas around openness changed and they were willing to embrace it.
Commitment to diversity is not, of course, just about language, it's also about different ways of living.
is immensely proud of the fact that since 1997 the agency has helped 10 same sex couples, mostly men, adopt a child or children.
Last year she
participated in the TV series Adoption Stories that profiled a same-sex couple the Agency worked with.
hoped that doing so would spread understanding of same-sex adoption amongst the wider community and within the gay and lesbian community.