Kids Need Families and Families Need Support

Adoption Myth #1

"It takes seven years or more to adopt a child in Ontario."

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July 2015



Adoption Blog

Happy Pride!

This weekend Toronto will be host to the colourful and exciting Pride Parade celebrating the diversity of the LBGT community.  We want to take advantage of the buzz around this event to shout out our praise for the many LBGT individuals and families who are also members of adoptive families.  YES – LGBT parents can adopt! Attracting different kinds of families, who bring unique strengths and experiences to their parenting journey, helps us to build a strong adoption community, capable of meeting the diverse needs of the children in our care systems. 

If you are interested in learning more about LBGT adoption, here is a resource that is worth a read:

You can also sign up for a How to Adopt webinar and we can walk you through the initial outreach and preparation for adoption planning. Check out our events page to find an upcoming session.

Pride celebrations give us the opportunity to raise awareness about the many youth in our foster care system who identify as LBGT. These youth need our support and understanding in dealing with emotional and identity issues along with the challenges of life in foster care and possibly moving to adoption. 

“The National Network of Runaway and Youth Services has estimated that 20-40 percent of youth who become homeless each year are LGBT. And of the more than 100,000 youth ages 12- 18 who are in foster care, an estimated 10 percent are LGBT.” (Every Child, Rita Soronen)

We believe that all children deserve permanency. Our programs and services are open and ready to help youth and their families – foster and adoption – in a safe and inclusive environment.   

Our very own Joanne Hoffman, Permanency and Adoption Support Worker, will be walking in the Pride parade this weekend with the OASW group. If you see her in the crowd be sure to say hello!

Happy Pride Toronto! Be sure to give us a shout about any Pride events you are participating in: 

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Posted: June 26, 2015 at 06:00 AM
By: Wendy Hayes
(0) Comment/s | Categories: AdoptOntario Adoption Support Events How To Adopt Youth Network
Children and Youth in Care Day 2015

May 14th is Children and Youth in Care Day. Did you know that the province of Ontario is the legal guardian of more than 7000 Children and Youth in the province?

Invest in Building FamiliesOn my 21st birthday, instead of a card, I received what is called a “Letter of Termination” from my legal guardian. It informed me that I could no longer count on the support of my Children’s Aid, and had to try and manage without them. On that day I was also lucky enough to be standing in my home, with my family. Though I knew then I would be okay and I knew I had someone to turn to in that moment, I still got a little choked up. 

I thought about the over 7000 still in care who would one day receive this letter on their birthday, after already having been told they can no longer live in their foster or group home by the age of 19. They might not be standing next to anyone. I asked myself, who would buy them their birthday cake that year?

My sister and I were adopted when she was three, and I was fifteen. At first, it wasn’t the plan that I would be adopted, in fact I was told that at that time that I might not even had been able to keep my relationship with my sister. Luckily, the family that decided to adopt her wanted to keep me in her life, wanted me to become a part of their lives. This permanency in my life has led me to have more confidence and stability. I haven’t had to try and get an education while worrying how my sister is doing, or if I would have enough money for rent the next month. I was lucky enough to have a sense of security.

Those who age out of care are not as lucky. Back in 2011/2012, as I and my peers sifted through personal stories and experiences of those who know life in the system and tried to organize it into the My REAL Lifebook report we came up with six reoccurring themes. They are:

  • We are Vulnerable
  • We are Isolated
  • We are left out of our Lives
  • No one is really there for us
  • Care in unpredictable
  • Care ends and we struggle.

“I already had my family taken away once, and it was probably the hardest thing in my life. I didn’t know where else to turn or what I was going to do, and when I turn 21, it’s all going to happen again.”
Excerpt from the My REAL Lifebook Report, Brandon, 20, Youth in Care 

This is what a lack of stability and permanency looks like, for 7000 of Ontario’s children and youth who have been removed from their homes by a system which promised them that they would find somewhere better, somewhere safer. 

We learned that aging out was about the events leading up to it. Events that have a profound effect on who you are and your life and require the support of ongoing unconditional commitment to work through. Some people, like myself will find this through adoption.

You may have noticed that I have used the word luck several times. It’s because it’s a word I have heard a lot. How lucky, that my family wanted me. How lucky that I got to keep a relationship with my sister. How lucky I am that it worked out this way. For most, it does not work out that way.

I do not believe that this is untrue, I think luck did play a part. I just don’t think it’s what we should be relying on when we talk about the future of over 7000 children and youth in care.  Supporting the Adoption Council of Ontario means relying less on luck and more on action. It means keeping the promise that was made to us when we were removed from our homes. So please, invest in building permanency, invest in building family.



“We are, after all, YOUR children, Ontario.”
Excerpt from the My REAL Lifebook Report, Justine, 25, Former Youth in Care

Written By: Wendy Hayes

Posted: May 14, 2015 at 07:32 AM
By: Wendy Hayes
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Events Youth Network
Open For Discussion: Adoption Training for Professionals and Families

The first recorded adoption story is of Baby Moses. Because his mother couldn't keep him safe and care for him she put him in a basket and floated him down the river knowing the Pharaoh’s sister would be bathing along the way. As she had hoped, the sister found the baby and ‘adopted’ him.  

Do you also know that this is the first story of an Open Adoption? Moses’s mother attended the Queen’s court and became her son’s nurse.

I knew very little about openness adoption. It was explained very well through different points of view.
-Mental Health Professional

Research and experience tell us that openness (ongoing contact) between birth and adoptive families is good for everyone – especially for children.  In Ontario, our legislation tells us that openness should be considered whenever a child being placed for adoption has made or maintained connections with foster and birth family while in the foster care system.  

Useful to hear specific examples of how challenging situations have been managed and that openness can still work in these situations 
-Children’s Lawyer

But building openness plans is not always easy. It can be challenging to know how to orchestrate a plan - a lot of decisions about the structure, logistics and boundaries of plan have to be made while adults also learn to communicate with each other, build new relationships and anticipate how they will manage changes that will need to be made over the years. 

On Friday May 1st more than 200 Ontario adoption professionals and adoptive families met together to talk in depth about this topic – sharing perspectives and experiences about all aspects of planning for openness in adoption.

The training was a good variety of perspectives regarding openness. It was well planned for me well received to push my thinking in the area of openness.
-Adoption Worker

At the end of the day we all committed to continue our learning by sharing resources and materials on this topic including a number of great resources already available. Please have a look at our resources and share with us your resources, experiences and questions about Open Adoption. 

Posted: May 6, 2015 at 09:16 AM
By: Wendy Hayes
(0) Comment/s | Categories: ACO Education Day Events
AdoptOntario is Hiring!

AdoptOntatrio is hiring a new Clinical Coordinator on a one year contract! 

AdoptOntario is a program of the Adoption Council of Ontario that connects Ontario families with children in our foster care system who have adoption as their permanency plan. 

For more information, please see our job posting.

Posted: April 7, 2015 at 12:27 PM
By: Wendy Hayes
Comments Disabled | Categories: AdoptOntario
Believe in the Power of Family

We believe in Family! | It’s a Moral Imperative – this is the message of our Calendar for the month of February. With February being the month of Family Day and Valentine’s Day,  we think it is a good month to be renew our belief in Family and be reminded the Kids Deserve a Family – every day and all year long.

February 16th is Family Day for Ontarians. A day we take a break from our work to reflect on the importance of family and hopefully enjoy some precious extra time with our family members.  ACO has built a campaign around this event and we hope you will join us.  We have created a special button that you can wear to show that you believe in the importance of family!

Infinity Button

Buy a Button
One for $12  OR  Two for $20


The message of this button is simple – Family Forever.  The ACO Network of Adopted and Foster Youth created the design of the pin. They chose the Infinity sign because it fit with their belief that adoption gives them a family forever but as this symbol has ‘no beginning and no end’ it can also represent the importance of their birth family. They said this is what ‘family’ really means – what every child needs. 

Show Your Friends and Family!
For the month of February, change your profile picture or cover photo to show that you believe in the power of family! We’ve already made them for you! Click here to see the images. You can also take a picture of you wearing your button and share it with us on Facebook or Twitter! While you’re at it – tell us what family means to you, or what you will be doing on February 16th.

Join the Family 
Family has the greatest impact on a child’s health, well-being and potential for success. Family is the number one need for almost 7,000 Ontario Crown Wards, who are at risk of leaving government care without a family to support them.

Join Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO) and Adopt4Life (A4L) to meet this need by collectively working together to achieve our goal of:

Every Child in Ontario will leave foster care with a family
- birth, kin, adoption, guardianship- 
and services will wrap around the family to support them on their lifelong journey.

Become a member – Join our family, help us to achieve our goal and we’ll send you 2 pins that you can wear to show that YOU BELIEVE in the importance of family – for every child and youth.

“Ultimately, adoption is about the rights of the children
– they deserve a chance to thrive to their full capacity
and as adults we are charged with ensuring that chance becomes reality”
-Adoptive Parents

We have sent a letter asking that our leaders in the government wear this button to show commitment to continuing to work toward a province where all children have a family because – All Kids deserve a family – every day and all year long. Family has the greatest impact on a child’s health, well-being and potential for success. Family is the number one need for almost 7,000 Ontario Crown Wards, who are at risk of leaving government care without a family to support them.

If we work in partnership – Partnerships for Permanency – we can do it- Believe in the Power of Family!

Adoption Council of Ontario Adopt4Life    
Posted: January 28, 2015 at 03:51 PM
By: Wendy Hayes
(0) Comment/s | Categories: Adoption Awareness Month Events Youth Network

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June 26, 2015 at 06:00 AM
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