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Adopting in British Columbia

Agency Adoptions: Domestic Placements

In domestic adoptions, the children who are placed for adoption are often newborns or young infants. In most cases, birth parents choose the adoptive family from an agency’s list of waiting families and will often want to meet them.

At the time of placement, the agency will work with the adopting parents and birth parents to determine what kind of ‘openness agreement’ is right for them and the child. Openness can mean sharing letters and pictures through the agency or it can mean having frequent visits with birth family. The adopting parents decide on the level of openness they are comfortable with during the home study process and this is outlined in their home study for birth parents to read when they are choosing a family.

Cost of Domestic Adoptions
A domestic adoption through a licensed adoption agency is not free. With most domestic adoptions, prospective adoptive parents pay the registration fees with the agency, the cost of the home study, cost of training and a placement fee when the child is actually placed in the home. The cost to adopt an infant in British Columbia starts at around $15,000.

Agency Adoptions: Domestic Adoption Process

Below is a general outline of the steps involved in a domestic placement through a licensed adoption agency British Columbia.

STEP 1: Contact a licensed adoption agency in British Columbia and meet with the agency's Program Director or consultant.

STEP 2: Paperwork. You'll be required to complete and provide the following documents and clearances:

  • Criminal Record Checks – every adult living in the household will need to have one completed.
  • A Ministry of Children and Family Development Prior Contact Check
  • Financial Statements
  • Medical Checks – for each adult living in the household.
  • Copies of birth, marriage and divorce certificates
  • Letters of Reference – you will be asked to provide 4 references

STEP 3: The Home Study Assessment. A licensed social worker from the agency you hire will meet with your family for approximately 5 - 6 meetings over the span of several months. He/she will interview you and your family members and you'll be asked to discuss many personal issues including your childhood, your family and relationships, religious beliefs, education, past relationships and marriages, as well as your views on parenting and adoption. Being honest and upfront with your social worker is imperative so that he/she will be able to portray a clear and accurate view of your family.

STEP 4: Adoption preparation training. British Columbia's Adoption Act requires all families to enroll in adoption training. Most private agencies offer an adoption training course or seminar.

STEP 5: Create your family's profile to submit to your agency for potential birth parents to consider. Ask your agency if they have any guidelines or for some examples of profiles that have proven successful.

STEP 6: Wait! For most prospective adoptive parents, this can be a very difficult and frustrating time as there is no set time limit. Birth parents choose the family to adopt their baby and each has their own vision of the ideal family for their baby.

STEP 7: The Match! If you've been chosen by a potential birth parent, your agency will contact you with the good news. Every adoption is different; however, most potential birth parents will want to meet your family before the baby is born to ensure they're comfortable with the adoption and to establish an openness arrangement (if desired). Today, most families agree to some degree of openness and it's at this meeting where you'll discuss what type of relationship after the baby is born you'll have with each other. Some families choose limited contact (photos and letters through the agency) while some birth and adoptive families become very close and agree to meet regularly before and after the birth. Some birth mothers may ask adoptive parents to attend doctor's appointments and/or attend the birth.

STEP 8: Open your home to your new son or daughter! In British Columbia, a birth mother’s consent to the adoption of her child is only valid if the child is at least 10 days old when the consent is given. With these consents signed and with the approval of the agency, the adoptive parents may receive the child. The approval of the agency indicates that a home study was completed successfully and that required services were provided to the birth parents.

The birth parents may withdraw their consents within 30 days after signing them. A birth parent must withdraw their consent in writing and it must be received by a director or an adoption agency before the 30 days expires.


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