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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Private Adoption

All private adoptions involve a adoption professional who is working for the family, a counsellor who is working with the birth parents, and an adoption licensee who manages the placement and facilitates the legal process. All private adoption placements are referred to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services Private and International Adoption Unit for approval.


Private Adoption

All fees for activities involved in the adoption process are covered by the adoptive family, with the Ministry providing clear guidelines about what costs can be billed. Counselling and support is provided to the birth family at no charge. It is illegal in Ontario to offer any sort of financial incentive to birth parents.


For Prospective Adoptive Parents, the general process of a private adoption placement will be as follows:

  • Prospective adoptive parents will contact a adoption professional to find out about possible placements.
  • They will undergo a preparation and homestudy process with an  adoption professional of their choice.
  • The prospective adoptive parents must also complete the mandatory adoption training program, ideally (but not necessarily) concurrent with their homestudy.
  • They may optionally prepare a picture profile of themselves and submit it to AdoptOntario in order to increase their opportunities for finding a match.
  • Once a potential match is found, the potential adoptive parents review the social and medical history of the birth parents and their families with the adoption practitioner who completed their homestudy.
  • In most cases, the prospective adoptive family will then meet with the birth family before any final decisions are made. It is common for this to happen while the birth mother is still pregnant with the child to be adopted. At this time, the prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents will discuss and come to an agreement on ongoing openness with the help and support of their adoption professional and counsellor.
  • A proposal of adoption is submitted to the Ministry for approval including: information from both the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents, the homestudy report, a memorandum of how the match was made, and any agreements related to placement plan.
  • If approval is granted in time and the birth parents request a direct hospital placement, the adoptive family will take the child home directly from the hospital. In some cases, the child may need to go to an approved private foster parent home for a short time while legal and other issues are sorted out.
  • Once the child is 8 days old the birth parents may sign the Consent to Adoption forms in the presence of a lawyer. Once the consent forms are signed, there is a 21 day period during which the birth parents may change their mind and have the child returned to their care.
  • Once the 21 day period has ended, the adoption placement is registered and the adoption probation period begins. There will be several follow-up meetings between the adoptive parents and the adoption professional over a six month period of time.
  • At the end of the six month period, the adoption professional will submit a report to the Ministry for approval, at which time the adoption will be finalized in family court and the adoptive parents will become the full legal parents of the child with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.

For the Birth Family, the process will be as follows:

  • The birth family will generally contact or be referred to a adoption professional to discuss adoption as an option before the child is born.
  • They will receive free counselling to provide support and information, review options, discuss rights and responsibilities, and determine if adoption is the best choice for their baby.
  • All possible medical and social information will be collected from the birth parents for future reference by the child and their care providers.
  • They will review family profiles of prospective adoptive parents provided by the counsellor, with all identifying information removed. The adoption professional will help the birth parents review the medical and social histories of the prospective adoptive parents.
  • In most cases, the birth family will opt to meet with prospective adoptive parents to get to know them before making a final decision. The adoption professional will outline with both families the issue of openness and support them in making decisions related to openness agreements.
  • A proposal of adoption is submitted to the Ministry for approval including information from both the birth parents and the prospective adoptive parents. If the Ministry has approved the placement prior to birth, the baby may be placed directly from the hospital if all parties agree.
  • The birth parents will sign Consent to Adoption forms in the presence of a lawyer. This step cannot be undertaken until 8 days after the birth of the child.
  • Once the Consent to Adoption is signed, the birth parents has 21 days to revoke consent and have the child returned to them.