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Heather Kolit-Carter of Rankin Inlet will soon be functioning again as a custom adoption commissioner in the Kivalliq region.

Kolit-Carter said she decided to apply for the position when she recently found out there were currently no custom adoption commissioners in this area.

She said the main reason she wants the position is because she knows there are a lot of kids, babies and even adults in the area who need to have their names officially changed to that of their adoptive parents.

Heather Kolit-Carter on Rankin Inlet exchanges e-mails with Vital Statistics after being accepted as a custom adoption commissioner in the Kivalliq region in February. photo courtesy of Heather Kolit- Carter

“I used to be a custom adoption commission for Coral Harbour shortly after I adopted my own son about 17 or 18 years ago and I really enjoyed the experience,” said Kolit-Carter.

“I handled a number of cases back then, including adults, and found it to all to be very rewarding.

“Some of them were really having a problem with the process back then because their biological parents were deceased.

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“So, I had to go through their relatives and confirm their information so they could complete the process and officially have their names changed.”

Kolit-Carter said the process usually entails compiling the information on an applicant’s biological parents, including the mom’s maiden name, where they were born, etc., as well as obtaining a copy of the applicant’s official birth certificate.

She said the necessary paperwork is then sent to Vital Statistics, applying for the custom adoption in whatever region the applicant was born in, whether that be the NWT, Nunavut or, in some cases, one of the provinces, often Manitoba or Alberta.

“Once I’d compiled all the necessary information on the applicant, their biological parents and the adoptive parents, I’d submit the application to the government for official approval.

“It’s been quite a while since I acted as a custom adoption commissioner and I don’t remember all the details involved – and there have been some changes to the process since then – so I’m currently waiting for the dates when I’ll travel to Iqaluit for four or five days of training to bring me back up to speed.

“I hope I get the dates soon because I’m looking forward to being a commissioner and helping people out again.”

Custom adoption is traditionally a verbal agreement between two families. While originally these adoptions were more for the benefit of the adoptive parents, now they are mostly to help biological parents who are unable or unwilling to provide care for a child.

Kolit-Carter said it’s nice to be part of a process that helps people and makes them very happy when completed.

She said having the custom adoption process officially completed also makes their lives easier in a number of ways.

“When the process isn’t officially completed, those being adopted can often have a very hard time obtaining a social insurance number or an identification card in their adoptive name, so it can be quite frustrating,” she said.

“So, once the application becomes official it just makes their lives a whole lot easier.

“It’s a good feeling helping them out and I’m looking forward to being able to do that again, hopefully, in the near future.”

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