Pick Me ::: An Adoption Series
Article #2 – Doing the Homework
Upon making the decision to add to your family through adoption, choosing the agency and becoming “adopt eligible” are the next steps.
In Canada, adoption is regulated by provinces and territories and so, differs accordingly. The availability of children up for adoption in Ontario is based on birth parents that have gone forward with an adoption plan, or an Ontario court has removed a child(ren) permanently from their birth parents, for a number of reasons.
The public adoption process has a registry of children that the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) manages as well as helps a family through the adoption process including making them eligible. There is no cost for adopting through CAS and financial subsidiaries may also be available fro CAS in certain circumstances.
Public adoption is not set up as a “first-come, first-serve” system. The process in place assists the family and the child being places in fact, the importance of matching a family with a child properly is emphasized.
It is important to remain as open minded, at least try to. Not all children are going to be infants; in fact, many are beyond the age of infancy. The timeframe to adopt may be six (6) months to two (2) years or more, but the time of waiting may be shorter if you are willing to commit to a child that is older, one that has special needs, or siblings.
Within the registry, children are of different races and ethnicity. It is important to note that due to earlier experiences, children are coping with emotional, mental and/or behavioral problems. This is not to turn you away from the idea of adoption but to simply understand that children need to feel loved and secured in order to overcome certain challenges that will lie ahead, and occasional race and ethnicity play a role as well. Thankfully, support services are available and will continue to be available, to the child and to the family.
Meeting with CAS
Once connecting with a local CAS office, an orientation session is required to find out more about how to adopt through public adoption.
After the orientation, an application form is filled out. This form allows the one to outline any preferences that may be important such as age, gender, etc. Remember the importance of a good match as one fills out this application.
There are two (2) phases to the approval process and an adoption case manager is assigned to each case.
A comprehensive set of tools and techniques are used during a homestudy in order to analyze and evaluate perspective parents. This is known as SAFE, “Structured Analysis Family Evaluation”. This is essentially a homestudy that examines the capability as adoptive parents and assist in a better understanding of what is and what will be involved in becoming an adoptive family.
The discussions pertaining to the homestudy will evaluate parenting style, beliefs and values, and further discussion on the motivation behind the desire to adopt, family background, relationships, and experiences with children. Be aware that financial circumstances are also discussed and analyzed.
The homestudy does have a step-by-step checklist to follow and there is a requirement to provide character references. All family members within the household over the age of 18 will be required to undergo medical examination, child welfare and police checks.
Once the homestudy is completed In Ontario, prospective parents are to complete the PRIDE program. PRIDE, the “Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education” is a mandatory, standardized training program. It assists prospective parents in understanding the responsibilities of raising an adopted child – it would be ideal with this was mandatory for all parents wanting to start a family, adoptively or biologically!
PRIDE consists of a 27-hour curriculum; SAFE and RIDE complement one another. Once both are completed and approved, one has achieved the eligible status to adopt.
The majority of children placed through private adoption are newborns. Ontario has several private domestic agencies to choose from that have been considered approved.
A private agency (or adoption licensee) has a charge for their services and it is quite large, ranging from about $15k to $25k.
Remember the desire to have a newborn and the amount of families seeking a newborn are high in comparison to newborns available for adoption. Adoptive parents must also be prepared to deal with the birth parents’ right to a 21-day period where they have the legal right to change their mind about the adoption. This can certainly be an emotional roller coaster.
In the private adoption process, the SAFE homestudy and PRIDE program also applies to this process to be eligible.
In an international adoption, children can range in age and it is likely that some time was also spent in an orphanage. International adoption agencies can charge as low as $25k and as high as $50k for their services.
There is a lot to consider when looking into the international adoption route; chances are the adoptive parents will need to travel to the country of the child’s origin. This may be required more than once. If matched, the child will most likely have to stay within their home country until the immigration and adoption process is complete.
You will be required to contact a Ministry approved adoption practice and an Ontario licensed International adoption agency. Once those are selected, an orientation is required along with the SHARE and PRIDE programs. The difference here is that neither can be done until a country has been selected that one prefers to adopt from and the agency will start the process from there. Note that once an agency has been chosen, a service agreement needs to be signed by both parties.
For private and international adoptions, the Ministry is involved in the approved. Once approved, it is finalized in writing and valid for 24 months.
There is a lot to consider when looking at the types of adoptions to pursue. There is a lot of legwork involved but it doesn’t stop there. The work continues after the match is made and placement occurs. Our next adoption series article will go over that puzzle piece fit and making it stick.