If you've decided to pursue
private adoption, there will be a number of crucial decisions
you will need to make that will greatly impact your adoption
journey. How long you wait and your adoption experience is
dependant on many factors - the main one being the adoption
professional/agency you hire.
Types of Adoption Professionals
- a private agency in Canada (or individual in Ontario) that
is licensed to facilitate private or international adoptions.
Not every province and/or territory has licensed agencies/individuals
Adoption worker -
a social worker hired by a government or private adoption
agency who conducts home studies, works with adoptive parents
and birth parents, and supervises adoption placements.
- a title for social workers in Ontario who are licensed to
conduct home studies and supervise adoption placements until
finalization occurs in court.
Not all adoption agencies are
created equal. Private adoption agencies/licensees are businesses
and unlike public agencies, they charge prospective adoptive
parents for their services. These agencies are regulated in
Canada, however, their services are not cheap! The average
private domestic adoption costs adoptive parents anywhere
from $7,000 to $15,000 depending on each adoption situation.
A private adoption agency/licensee's
roles in a domestic adoption are numerous and include:
- ensuring that all the laws and regulations
governing adoption in your province are being followed
- ensuring that prospective birth parents
receive counseling about the pregnancy and all of the options
available to them (i.e. adoption, parenting the child, abortion
etc.). The agency must also ensure that the birth parents
receive independent legal advice prior to signing the consents
for the adoption of their child.
- training/educating prospective adoptive
families and conducting home studies.
- coordinating all of the documentation
and the flow of information between you, the ministry responsible
for adoption and the prospective birth mother or father.
- providing prospective birth parents with
the opportunity to review and choose from a variety of approved
- provide counsel and guidance to birth
families and adoptive parents about openness.
- placing the child with you after the
revocation of consent period has expired
- taking custody and care of the child
during the probationary period until the adoption has been
- receiving the ministry's approval
to the proposed placement
Below you will find a few
tips on hiring the right agency for your adoption:
- Research! Check out the agency online
- you can search for the agency at the Better Business Bureau,
in discussions on various message forums or through web
sites by families that have used their services. Simply
type in the agency's name on a search engine like Google
and see what happens!
- References. Ask the adoption agency if
you can speak with other families that have successfully
adopted through their agency. Any reputable agency will
provide you with references. Don't be afraid to connect
with other families - they've been through the process and
will give you the 'low down' on the agency.
- Attend any information sessions held
by the adoption agency. Ask lots of questions and if you're
satisfied with the answers, look elsewhere. Don't settle
for mediocrity or register with an agency that has workers
who don't seem to care about you and customer service.
- Interview the agency. You will most likely
have to meet with the agency's representative or coordinator
before registering. Most agencies charge a fee for the initial
intake interview but this will give you an opportunity to
get a feeling for the agency's practices and how committed
they are to families.
During your initial interview with an agency,
it's important to ask questions and become informed. After
all, these are the people who will hopefully help you find
your child! Below is a list of questions all prospective adoptive
parents should ask adoption agencies before registering:
- How long have you been in the business?
- How many adoptions have you facilitated?
- What are your philosophies on adoption?
- How many adoptions do you typically arrange
- What is the percentage of failed adoptions
- Do you conduct home studies and adoption
training? If not, can you make referrals for such services?
- Do you charge an hourly or flat rate
- What are the fees involved?
- Do you have a payment schedule?
- If our adoption fails, will we lose any
money? If so, how much?
- How many approved adoptive families do
you have actively waiting?
- Do you put a cap on the number of waiting
families you will accept?
- How many birth mothers are you currently
- What kind of 'family profile' do you
require? Can we see some examples?
- How many family profiles do you present
to prospective birth parents?
There are many private adoption agencies/licensees
from which to choose and it's important to employ the services
of one that will answer your questions, return phone calls
and e-mails in a timely manner, and offer support during this
sometimes stressful, but mostly wonderful journey. Good luck!