Your home study is complete, you've taken
the required training and you're now officially on the 'waiting
list' with an agency. You're probably wondering: "Now
what do we do?" If you're like most prospective adoptive
parents, you'll find waiting for a match to be the most difficult
part of the adoption process.
Most social workers and other adoption professionals
will tell you that there are few babies available for adoption
and that you'll wait years for "the call." Don't
despair! While there may be fewer babies than say, 30 years
ago, there are still many adoption opportunities in Canada
and abroad. But you just can't sit around and wait for an
adoption opportunity to knock at your door. You must
be persistent and proactive in your approach.
Educate yourself about adoption in your
province or territory, how the process works and tell everyone
you know about your dreams to adopt. Find out if your province
or territory allows prospective adoptive families to advertise
their desire to adopt. Some provinces/territories have strict
laws in regards to adoption advertising so proceed carefully
and ask your social worker(s) what's acceptable.
The following are a few suggestions if you
plan on adoption advertising or 'networking':
Create a Family Profile
Most adoption agencies, whether public or
private, will require you to create a profile of your family.
This profile will be shown to birth parents who are considering
adoption for their child as well as to social workers who
are looking for families for children on their caseloads.
A family profile usually includes a letter
you've written describing your family, why you want to adopt,
your views on parenting as well as adoption. You'll also want
to include lots of photographs of you, your extended family,
pets and home. The point of a profile is to connect with potential
birth parent(s). There's no right or wrong when it comes to
profiles and some families go to great lengths to create elaborate
scrapbooks or media presentations. Others, use word processing
software to format their letter and photos. The most important
thing to keep in mind when creating your profile is to be
honest and to be yourselves.
You just never know what the potential birth
parent(s) will connect with in your profile. It might be a
photo of your family, something funny or heartwarming that
you've written or just the overall feeling they get when they
read your profile that compels them to choose you.
Here are a few tips we've compiled from
various sources about creating a profile:
- Be yourself! Don't exaggerate the size of your house or
pretend to be someone you're not. Birth parents and/or social
workers are NOT looking for the Jones' or perfection.
- Include lots of photos. The old saying, 'A picture says
a thousand words" is very true! Incorporate lots of
photos in your profile and ensure that they're clear and
a decent size. Make sure to include captions or anecdotes
- Be respectful. Many agencies are now advising waiting
adoptive families not to address the letter as: "Dear
Birth Mother" or "Dear Birth Parents". This
is because the person who is viewing your profile is not
yet a birth parent - they are an expecting parent until
they have made and followed through with an adoption plan.
An opening like "Dear Expectant Parent" or a sentence
like: "Hello! Our names are Jane and Jack and we're
hoping to adopt a baby" are considered more appropriate.
Ask the adoption agency you're working
with if you could view some of the other profiles or those
that have resulted in successful matches.
Create a Web Site About Your Family!
If your province/territory permits adoption
advertising, an excellent way for 'getting the word out' about
your desire to adopt, is to create a web site that could potentially
reach millions of people. Many waiting families buy a domain
name (www.yourfamilyname.com) and convert their hard copy
profiles into a web site. In fact, this domain, www.adoptiveparents.ca,
was used for this very purpose once upon a time!
With a web site, you can edit your content, add or delete
material as often as you like! You can then e-mail everyone
you know about your web site and even submit it to search
engines like Google and Yahoo! You just never know who could
stumble upon your profile and make an instant match. If building
a web site seems like a daunting task, click here for more
information about how we can design your web site with your
"Parent Profiles" at www.adoptiveparents.ca
Adoptiveparents.ca now has a section for
prospective adoptive parents to post their profiles. For just
$200, you can have your family's "Dear Birth Mother"
letter and photographs posted in the "Parent Profiles"
section of this web site. Click
here for more information.
Network, send e-mails, call professionals!
Networking for a domestic adoption (private
or public) can be done quite easily if you have access to
the Internet and some time. Your first priority should be
to create a profile that can be sent through e-mail or converted
into a web site. Next, once you ensure your profile is in
order, your next step is to research and gather contact information
for people who can connect you with possible adoption opportunities.
E-mail is the most cost effective means
of reaching lots of people (sending your profile in the mail
can get pretty expensive!) and it's also the fastest. Write
a brief and concise letter explaining your desire to adopt
a child, a short rundown on you and your partner (if applicable)
and attach your profile. Make sure to include your phone number
as well as your social worker's contact information if the
party has any questions about you or for future reference
should an opportunity arise.
Some people and/or places to contact include:
Many of these professionals/organizations
are online with e-mail addresses. Create a database of contacts
for each type of professional you're contacting. We strongly
advise you to personalize your e-mails so that your email
is not regarded as SPAM or worse, a scam.
* NOTE *
If you're adopting through a government agency like the Children's
Aid Society in Ontario, send your profile with a cover letter
to adoption workers at all of the agencies in your province.
Ontario's CAS agencies are not linked together so only your
region's CAS will have your profile and information. So, if
you want to increase your chances of adopting, send your family's
profile to many CAS agencies. Before doing so, call each agency
and find out the name of the adoption worker and ask him/her
if they'll accept your profile to keep 'on file.' Most adoption
workers will accept your profile but will only look at it
if they cannot find a family in their region for a particular
Also, if you're hoping to adopt through
the government system in your province, keep in mind that
most social workers have lots of families on their caseloads.
Don't get lost in the shuffle! Create and submit your profile
and contact your worker regularly to 'check in' with them.
Be proactive but don't be overly pushy.
If you've sent your profile to other agencies,
private or public, check in regularly with the adoption workers
so that workers will remember you should any potential matches
arise! Good luck!