How to Adopt
The first step of your adoption journey is educating yourself about the process and options. The good news is that you have come to the right place for that. If you decide that adoption is in fact right for you, how you proceed will depend on which type of adoption you seek to pursue.
If you are looking for more information on how to decide which kind of adoption is for you, the Adoption Council of Ontario holds a monthly "How To Adopt Webinar". This webinar will provide an overview of private, public and international adoption processes in Ontario. As well, information will be provided on the homestudy and the education process necessary to become eligible to adopt in Ontario. A panel of adoptive parents will share their adoption stories from the decision to adopt to the placement of their child. Helpful tips and strategies to ease the adoption journey will also be discussed. If you are interested in attending, please check out the events page for an upcoming date.
Unless you are intending to adopt a close relation, however, you will need to start by becoming AdoptReady.
What does “AdoptReady” mean?
To become certified AdoptReady in Ontario, a family must complete the government-mandated adoption homestudy and adoption training programs. Once that process is completed, the family can be connected with a child and the legal process of adoption can begin.
How Long Will it Take?
There are many variables that determine how long it will take to complete the adoption process. Some adoptions take much longer than others. Some of the factors affecting how long it will take include the type of adoption (public, private, international, or family), place of residence within the province, results of the homestudy, and local availability of adoption training.
In most case, it takes between six and twelve months to complete the homestudy and adoption training. Once this training is complete, a family is “AdoptReady.” Some families are then matched with a child almost immediately while others may wait months or years before a match is found.
Regardless of how long you may have been waiting, do not give up. Adoption is a lifelong journey. In time your child will come along and you will be glad you stuck it out.
What If I Already Know Which Child I Want to Adopt?
If the child you are interested in is a Crown Ward currently living in foster care, then the first thing you should do is contact the Children’s Aid Society that represents that child’s case. They will connect you with the child’s social worker and together you can take the first steps in the public adoption process.
If the child you would like to adopt is currently living with their birth parents, or if you know an expectant mother whose child you are hoping to adopt, you will still need to proceed through the private adoption system, including AdoptReady certification. Contact a adoption practitioner and let them know that you are coming to them pre-matched with a child.
How Much Will It Cost?
There are no governmental fees in Ontario for adopting a child and it is illegal for birth parents to receive any direct or indirect remuneration.
In the case of public adoption, most or all services will be provided by the local Children’s Aid Society and thus be covered by public funds. The possible exception is some costs related to medical reports and possibly out of country police clearances.
Relative adoptions can generally be completed directly at the Family Court. A private adoption licencee or a family law lawyer may be involved to assist with completion of documents and these costs are billed to the adoptive family. In cases of a relative adoption, birth parent counseling may still be recommended.
When adopting through an independent agency or practitioner however, as in the case of private or international adoption, fees and expenses will be incurred by the adoptive family.
For private and international adoptions, the cost varies depending upon the licensee or agency used, the country from which you wish to adopt, and the amount of travel required. The total cost of international adoptions will generally be higher than that of private domestic adoptions due to travel expenses and other secondary fees. To better understand the fee structure and potential costs of a private or international adoption, prospective families should consult with a adoption professional.
As with raising biological children, traits like flexibility, patience, good problem-solving skills and a willingness to take advantage of local community resources are all critical to raising an adoptive child. Children do not need perfect parents, but they do need loving parents who are willing to meet the unique challenges of parenting and make a lifetime commitment to caring for and nurturing them.
It is important early in the adoption process to do some serious introspection about your reasons for adopting and your readiness to embark on the adoption journey. Acknowledge the special gifts and abilities you have to offer a child, but also examine yourself and your support network, explore your beliefs, attitudes, opinions, self-image, goals, achievements, and coping skills.