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Facing an unplanned pregnancy is undoubtedly one of life's most difficult and emotional experiences. But, you don't have to do this alone - there are organizations and professionals that can help you with an adoption plan.

Adoption Practitioners (a.k.a. Licensed Social Workers)
An Adoption Practitioner is someone who has been licensed by the province to counsel and support potential birth parents, conduct home studies for prospective adoptive families and supervise adoption placements until finalization in the Court occurs.

Adoption Practitioners work for both private and public adoption agencies. These individuals are there to counsel you about every step in the adoption process, educate you about your legal rights, the consquences of adoptions as well as show you profiles of approved and waiting families that are hoping to adopt.

If you're planning on making an adoption plan for your child, it's very important to find the adoption practitioner who is right for you. This person will be very important in your life as he/she will someone who should be there to lean on and support you. You don't have to commit to using the first person you contact - find someone who you feel comfortable with and who is compassionate for your situation.

Adoption Licensees
An adoption licensee is an individual who has been licensed by the province to complete the legal work required for an adoption. Licensees are often lawyers or social workers. As a potential birth parent, you, and your child's birth father, are entitled to legal counsel at no cost.

Private Adoption Agencies
A private adoption agency is an organization that is licensed to arrange adoptions in the province. No two adoption agencies are the same; each agency has its own rules and regulations and some operate under different philosophies (i.e. Christian based). Private adoption agencies also offer potential birth parents counseling and support services at no expense.

Do as much research as possible and ensure that you're comfortable with the adoption agency's rules and views. The following are several questions you should ask the agency:

  • How many families do you have on your approved waiting list?
  • How long has the agency been in business?
  • What kind of services are available?
  • Can you speak with other birth parents that have used their services?
  • What kind of supports do they have in place before you give birth and post placement?
  • What is the agency's philosophy on adoption and open adoption?

Private adoption agencies have numerous adoptive families that are waiting and approved to adopt. Once you've decided to use the services of an agency, a social worker will meet with you on several occasions to counsel you on your options. If you've chosen adoption, the social worker will explain the process of adoption and he/she will also want to gather some information about you and your pregnancy. You'll also be given the opportunity to view profiles of prospective adoptive families that are registered with the agency. Most private agencies will have a wide variety of families from which to choose; don't feel pressured to choose a family right away - this is a big decision and it's important you're comfortable and confident in your decision. Check out the tips on "Selecting An Adoptive Family" section.

Public Adoption Agencies
A public adoption agency may be the only organization available to you in your province or territory when it comes to making an adoption plan. These are provincially run agencies and will offer you a variety of services; licensed social workers will provide you with counseling services (at no charge), information about your options and if you chooose adoption, they can provide you with the ability to choose an approved family from their waiting families. In the past, public agencies did not promote openness but this is now changing and many open adoptions are arranged through public agencies throughout Canada.



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