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Adopting in Alberta

Private Adoption

On Prince Edward Island, there are no licensed private adoption agencies but that doesn't mean a private adoption can't be arranged. Expectant parents who are considering an adoption plan for their child can contact the Department of Social Services and Seniors or a licensed private adoption agent.

The Department of Social Services can assist expectant parents in finding an adoptive family for their child from their list of approved waiting families or they can refer the birth parent(s) to a private adoption agent.

Private adoption agents are social workers who are licensed by the Director of Child Welfare to arrange adoptions. These workers also conduct homestudies and ensure that expectant parents receive mandatory counseling from an authorized adoption social worker. Private adoption agents have profiles of approved waiting adoptive families an expectant parent can choose for their child or the worker can help two families who have already agreed to an adoption arrangement with the process.

Cost of Private Domestic Adoptions

Private adoption is not free. With most domestic private adoptions, prospective adoptive parents pay the cost of the homestudy (ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000), fees to register with a private adoption agent and lawyer's fees. The total costs can range anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000.

The Private Adoption Process

STEP 1: Contact the Adoption Services Program at the Department of Social Services and Seniors and ask for a referral to a private adoption agent.

STEP 2: The Homestudy process. You will meet with, and be interviewed by your private adoption agent several times (4 to 6 minimum) to discuss a variety of topics including your relationship with spouse/partner, your family and childhood, your financial and employment situation, your health, lifestyle and home, your interests, your parenting styles and attitudes, as well as your understanding of open and closed adoptions. You'll also discuss your motivation for adopting as well as the characteristics of the child you're hoping to adopt.

STEP 3: Wait for a match! Once your homestudy has been completed, your family will be considered as actively waiting for a match. 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 4: The "call" ... If you've been chosen by a potential birth family, your worker will contact you with the good news. Depending on the potential birth parents, you most likely will have the opportunity to meet with them before the placement to see if you're a good fit. It's at this meeting that you will most likely discuss an openness agreement and set the boundaries for your future relationship. Some families choose limited contact while some birth parents and adoptive parents become very close and agree to meet regularly before the birth. Some birth mothers involve the adoptive parents with doctor's appointment and even allow them to attend the birth!

STEP 5: Open your home to your new son or daughter! On Prince Edward Island , a birth mother’s consent to the adoption of her child is only valid if the child is at least 14 days old when the consent is given.* With these consents signed and with the approval of the adoption agent, the adoptive parents may receive the child.

* The birth parents have 14 days after the adoption consents have been signed in which they can change their minds and withdraw their consent. The withdrawal must be in writing and the birth parent must obtain the withdrawal form from the person placing the child for adoption. It's then the responsibility of this person to return the child to the birth parents.

STEP 6: Probation period and Adoption Study. On Prince Edward Island, it takes several months following the six month mandatory probation period for an adoption to be finalized. During this time, your social worker is required by law to complete a pre-hearing study and submit it to the court before an adoption hearing. This adoption study provides the judge with information about the circumstances of the adoption, the care the child is now receiving and if the adoptive parents' abilities can provide for the child's best interests now and in the future.

STEP 7: Adoption Finalization! Once everyone is satisfied that the adoption can proceed, the adoptive family can proceed with the finalization.

*Important * On Prince Edward Island, the adoptive family is responsible for hiring a lawyer for the adoption's finalization as well as the costs involved.



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