The process of adopting a child from a foreign country can be a long and frustrating ordeal, but for the Wien family, the Canadian government has created one of the largest obstacles to their efforts to hold their one-year-old daughter.
In 2013, the Wiens, residents of Cochrane with three biological children, were matched with a one month old girl from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
An investigation by the Congolese government stalled the initial meeting between the girl and her adopted parents, as all exit visas for adopted children were suspended while a review was conducted into the care children received in their new homes.
The girl’s current country of residence and her soon-to-be adopted country of Canada are also engaged in a Catch-22 scenario over the issuing of documents.
Representatives from Congo will not issue an exit permit for the legally adopted girl without a Canadian immigration visa and the Canadian government refuses to issue a visa without an exit permit.
Craig and Janelle Wiens expected the adoption to be a trying process but assumed they would have the support of the Canadian government
"We were prepared for (delays), we know with international adoptions, there's hiccups like that,” said Janelle. “We knew fairly early on that out time length would be longer but we didn't know necessarily that Canada would play a role in making that timeline longer.”
The Wiens are not alone in their attempts to bring an adopted Congolese child home to Canada. Currently, there are approximately 30 Canadian families involved in similar situations.
Adoptive families from Italy and the United States have received assistance from their respective governments fast tracking the process of uniting them with their children.
CTV Calgary has placed numerous calls to Citizenship and Immigration Canada over the last three weeks asking for an explanation into the current obstacles the Wiens are facing. Officials with Citizen and Immigration Canada have not returned the calls.