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How do I find a licensed adoption agency where I live?
You can find a licensed adoption agency in the phone book, online through search engines or you can also find a comprehensive listing of agencies in each province or territory on this web site. Simply click on the province/territory on the left menu and you will find contact information for adoption professionals in your area.

Can I talk to someone about adoption before making up my mind?
Yes. The adoption agency must provide you with professional counseling services as well as access to a lawyer who will explain your rights in regards to adoption where you live. Don't be afraid to speak with a professional and utilize their services as they're free and can help you understand all of your options while providing you with unbiased and non-judgemental advice.

Do I have to pay a private adoption agency for their services?
No. Private adoption agencies do not charge potential birth parents for their services. Prospective adoptive families pay for all of the services (legal expenses and counseling services).

How does a child become legally free to be adopted?
Depending on your province or territory, you can sign the consents for adoption after a certain number of days after your child's birth. Once the consents have been signed, you will have a specific timeframe in which you can change your mind about the adoption. Once this period of time expires, your parental rights are terminated and cannot be reinstated.

Can I change my mind about the adoption?
Yes. You can change your mind and revoke your consent to the adoption up until the revocation period expires. For example, in Ontario, birth parents have 21 days after signing the consents in which they can change their mind. If you do withdraw your consent for the adoption, your child must be returned to you.

How are adoptive parents screened?
All prospective adoptive families must have a completed and approved home study by a licensed social worker before they can adopt a child. During the home study, the social worker discusses a variety of topics with the family to ensure that they have the ability to raise a child in a safe and loving home. Adoptive families must also complete a medical check by their doctor to ensure they are in good health and submit financial statements to prove they have sufficient income to raise a child. Also, families must have a police check completed and provide several references by friends, co-workers and/or family. Adoptive families most often have to attend adoption education seminars and training (depending on what province/territory they reside in) and become educated about all aspects of adoption.

Can I choose the adoptive family?
Yes. If you use a private adoption agency, you will be given the opportunity to review 'family profiles' and even meet with several to decide on who will adopt your child. Depending on where you live in Canada, you may have to use the public adoption agency as there may be no licensed private agencies in your area. Most public agencies that work with expectant parents who are planning an adoption will involve them in choosing a family.

How do I know what family is the right one for my child?
That's a tough question! Only you will be able to 'know' when you've found the right family for your child. The adoption agency you're working with will provide you with profiles of approved waiting families to review. These profiles often contain a letter and photos of the family. Read them over, think about what you want for your child and if you're comfortable, ask someone you trust to help you review the profiles you like the most.

If you're narrowed down the families but can't make a decision, ask the adoption agency if you could meet with the families so that you can get a better 'feel' for who they are and to see if you make a connection. Remember, you're in the driver's seat and this is your choice. Don't let anyone push you into choosing a family that doesn't feel 'right' to you.

Can I meet the adoptive family I choose for my child?
Yes. The adoption agency will arrange a meeting (usually held at the agency's office) with you and the prospective adoptive family. There will also be a social worker present to help navigate through the meeting to ensure everyone's comfort.

Can I see my baby in the hospital?
Yes! You are the parent of your child and until you sign adoption consents and the revocation period expires, you have all parental rights to your baby. Hold your baby as much as possible and make sure that you adoption still feels like the best decision for you and your baby. Not all potential birth parents want a lot of contact with their baby, but you must do whatever feels right for you. Don't let anyone rush the baby away from you and if you're comfortable, have someone take some photos/video of you with your baby so you have that keepsake.

Can I give my baby gifts or pictures of myself, the birth father and members of our families?
Yes! This is definitely acceptable and very much encouraged. Most adoptive families will be thrilled to have such mementos of you so that they can explain to their child who you are and how important you and others were in them joining their family. Your child will also be able to see, and be reminded of, who they look like instead of wondering about who gave them their blue eyes or freckles.

Can I stay in touch with the adoptive family and my birth child?

Yes. You can have an open adoption with the adoptive family and your birth child. An open adoption and its terms are typically discussed BEFORE the birth of the child and consents have been signed. When entering into an open adoption, most families create an open adoption agreement or 'covenant', in written or verbal form, that details the type of relationship and contact everyone agrees to continue for the benefit of the child(ren) involved.

Some families agree to a semi open adoption where they exchange photos and letters only (last names and contact information are generally withheld). Others exchange photos and letters but also meet once or twice a year. A fully open adoption occurs when the families know each other's full names and are part of each other's lives on a regular basis.

Do I have to have an open adoption?

No. Not every birth parent wants to stay in contact with the adoptive family.

Are open adoption agreements legally enforceable in Canada?

No. Unfortunately, adoption agreements are not legally binding and the Courts cannot enforce one party to stay in touch. That's why it's very important for everyone involved to be open and honest at the beginning since these agreements are based on trust, respect and honesty.



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