Adoption is one of the key ways to achieve permanency for a child who is not able to live with their biological parents. It is a process which brings together a child with a family and is intended to provide children with security, a sense of belonging and life time relationships. Adoption is established through a legal process. In Ontario, adoptions can be arranged through the child welfare system or Children’s Aid Societies, private adoption agencies and international adoption agencies.
At Peel CAS we welcome diversity in adoptive parents - including single parents, all ethnicities and religions, same sex couples, and those with modest incomes. People who adopt may be first time parents or already have children. They just really love kids and want to welcome a child or youth into their family. They want to be someone’s parent and are ready to make that lifelong commitment.
After you have completed an application and approved to be a potential foster caregiver (link to page 9), the transition to become an adoptive family is one that is carefully planned with the child’s well being in mind. Adoptive parents will visit the child frequently to allow the child to get to know the new family and surroundings before actually moving into their home. The child and the adoptive family receive support from agency staff as well as the caregiver throughout this emotional time.
By law, there’s a minimum six-month ‘probation’ period from the time a child moves into their new home until the adoption is completed. Depending on the needs of the child and the adoptive family, a longer adjustment period may be necessary. When everybody’s ready to complete the adoption, an application is made to the court for an adoption order. Once granted, this makes the adoptive parents the child’s legal parents, and the child a legal member of their family.
Recently there has been a move to create more openness between adoptive families and birth families. This could range from an annual photo or letter to face to face contact between birth families and children. This connection helps adoptive parents be better parents and helps reduce the trauma of separation and loss for children and youth. In some situations, the birth parents provide input about the kind of family they would like for their child or even are involved in selecting the adoptive family. If a child is old enough, they may also take part in this decision. The degree of openness a child needs, a birth parent wishes, or what an adoptive family can accept, is carefully considered early in the adoption process.
The number of children waiting for adoption, and the number of families who want to adopt, varies from one part of the province to another. Therefore, Children’s Aid Societies will often seek families from other areas of the province.
The following web sites can provide more information on adoption in Ontario:
Adopt Ontario - www.adoptontario.ca
Adoption Council of Ontario - www.adoption.on.ca
Ministry of Child and Youth Services - www.children.gov.on.ca
Canada’s Waiting Children Program - www.canadaswaitingkids.ca