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Hopeful parents plan trip to Africa

BILL KAUFMANN, SUN MEDIA
Jodi and Joel Thurmeier are hoping they can soon be holding their adopted baby
from Ethiopia. The couple's adoption plans were left in limbo after the
adoption agency they were using suddenly went bankrupt. They are hoping Ottawa
will come through with a visa approval. (Jim Wells, Sun Media)

Jodi and Joel Thurmeier are hoping they can soon be holding their adopted baby from Ethiopia. The couple's adoption plans were left in limbo after the adoption agency they were using suddenly went bankrupt. They are hoping Ottawa will come through with a visa approval. (Jim Wells, Sun Media)

Couples burned by the collapse of an adoption company are rebounding, with at least one pair of Calgarians ready to head to Africa to claim their baby.

Fast work by federal immigration officials and a lawyer working to salvage the bankruptcy last month of Ontario-based Kids Link has placed Joel and Jodi Thurmeier on the brink of finally holding their Ethiopian infant, said the soon-to-be adoptive mom.

She said Edmonton-area couples who were further along in the process returning with their children this week has added to their confidence.

"It's what keeps our hopes up -- it makes us very hopeful all the people with referrals will get through the system," said Jodi.

The Thurmeiers were among about 400 adoption applicants across the country shocked when Kids Link suddenly collapsed, leaving huge questions over legalities and paperwork involved in adopting children from Ethiopia and Ghana.

But with the help of Ottawa and immigration lawyer Ted Geisbrecht, the couple is hoping to receive a call from authorities that their baby's visa is has been issued.

"We don't want to be overconfident," said Thurmeier. "But we're packing this week."

Some couples have poured in as much as $18,000 into the endeavour, with the Thurmeiers so far spending nearly $10,000.

But she said the couple considers all the money well-spent, some of it going to support a first prospective adoptive child whose father ultimately claimed him.

BILL.KAUFMANN@SUNMEDIA.CA