When an adoptee turns 18 and becomes a legal adult, they gain the right to request post-adoption information from the provincial government. The information disclosed will include their original birth certificate and a copy of the adoption order. Identifying information on their birth parents will be included. The adoptee’s birth parents will also gain the right to request post-adoption information about the adoptee, including identifying information of the adoptive parents, although not until the adoptee’s 19th birthday. The reason for the one year disparity is to give the adoptee ample time to file a No Contact Notice, Notice of Contact Preference, or (in the case of adoptions finalized before September 1, 2008) a Disclosure Veto. It should be noted that only the adoptee may file for such a veto or notice, not the adoptive parents.
The outlook for Crown Wards and foster children turning 18 is considerable less rosy. Upon their 18th birthday, these children are turned out into the world under their own recognizance with no family or support network. This is referred to as “aging out of care.” While some former Crown Wards are able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and lead successful lives, many more (even those who had been successful in school and shown promise for their future) flounder and end up homeless, dependent on drugs, or in prison. The difference in life prospects for an adopted child (even one adopted at 17 years of age) and a child who ages out of care is difficult to exaggerate. This is the reason why it is so important to consider adopting older children through AdoptOntario or your local Children’s Aid Society.