While the operators of an Ontario adoption agency were allegedly squandering their clients’ money on vacations, a horse and clothes from Holt Renfrew, food was running out for dozens of children living at the agency’s Ethiopian “transition home.”This isn't a charity doing the best it can with limited resources -- we often hear those kinds of stories in orphan care. But this isn't orphan care, this is a BUSINESS that squandered its resources and ignored the kids. Sad sad sad.
Kitchener lawyer Ted Giesbrecht arrived at the complex in July 2009 to find a mountain of unpaid bills, adoption files in disarray and 46 children existing on “a kind of grain.”
“I would say they were not getting enough to eat,” Giesbrecht said in a recent interview after fraud and breach of trust charges were laid against Rick Hayhow, 46, and Susan Hayhow, 45.
* * *
“We knew it was bad,” Giesbrecht said. “There were allegations of food running out. Liquids running out. Certainly money had run out long ago.”
After landing at Bole International Airport, he went straight to the home, in a residential section of the city. “The facility was in good shape physically and was a modern, spacious, clean and bright place for children to live while waiting for their adoptions to be completed.”
“The courtyard and play areas were also well-outfitted and clean.”
But “it was true they were lacking food and lacking supplies and (staff) had not been paid for a considerable period of time,” Giesbrecht said.
The children, who were living at the home during the final stages of the adoption process and waiting to fly to Canada with their new parents, were between three months and three years old.
* * *
Employees of the home were bringing their own food to keep the children from going hungry, but were really in no position to do so because the agency hadn’t paid, he said.
Still hoping for change
2 months ago