What You Need to Know About Canadian Adoptions

Canadians have several options for adopting children, including:

  • domestic adoption
  • private
  • through provincial social services
  • through Children’s Aid Societies (Ontario)
  • international

Note: Since adoption falls under provincial legislation, specific requirements and regulations vary from province to province and territory to territory. Domestic private adoption is illegal in Qu├ębec (legal in a few provinces), so please do check laws and procedures in your province in our section on Provincial Adoption Resources.

The Home Study
One common requirement for all adoptions is a home study, no matter where one lives within the country. Home study is completed so prospective parents can clarify their motivations about pursuing adoption. The cost of home study is generally $1000.00 to $1500.00, except in the case of adoptions through Children’s Aid Societies.

Private Domestic Adoption
After the homestudy, private agencies or “licensees” can be approached. After meeting with the licensee, the person creates a “profile” about her/himself including pictures, family background, parenting values which can be given to expectant parents. From these profiles, birth parents choose the person or people with whom they wish to place their child. Expectant parents may wish to meet with the prospective parent(s) before finalizing their choice. When a match is made, the expectant parent(s) may receive independent legal advise, mental health counselling or other services for which the prospective adoptive parent(s) will be billed by the agency.

After an infant is placed with the family chosen, the mother may not sign the adoption papers until at least 9 days after the birth. Some agencies place the children in foster homes until the papers are signed, but some will allow the baby to go home with their new family. After the adoption papers are signed, this starts another 21 day wait during which the birthmother may legally change her mind. If the birthfather has not signed adoption papers already, he must show that he supported the birthmother financially and emotionally during her pregnancy and that the pregnancy was the result of an ongoing relationship in order to establish paternity rights. Visits from the social worker must occur during the first 30 days and again a minimum of 3 times before the child is 6 months old. After this a final report is submitted to the Ministry for approval for adoption finalization. The cost of private adoption within Ontario can range from approximately Cdn $5000 – $8000.

Public Domestic Adoption
Those who choose to adopt through Children’s Aid Societies (CAS) must undergo a CAS homestudy (no fees attached) and often are required to take adoption classes for approximately 8-10 weeks. Though adoptions of newborns do occur through CAS, many adoptions involve older and sometimes hard-to-place children. There are special considerations if the child has siblings, including adopting the sibling group or, if placed separately, the level of contact that will be maintained between siblings in different adoptive families.

International Adoption
International adoption is another route taken by some Canadians. Requirements include specialized homestudies specifically for international adoption. Other requirements and processes may vary depending on the country from which children are being adopted and the agencies involved in both Canada and in the home country.

In order to navigate the adoption process, many people need the support of a good social worker and others who have adopted before them. It also requires a great deal of patience and hope that, in the end, the dream of being a family will be realized. Adoption networks and support groups may be of great assistance during the waiting period and after an adoption placement has occurred.

Source: Adoption Media, LLC

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