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Adopting in Quebec

Regular or 'Local' Adoption

In Québec, families hoping to adopt a local newborn or infant can expect to wait anywhere from 4 to 8 years. Why such a long wait? There are fewer adoptions due to a number of reasons such as many women choose to abort and others decide to parent their children as it's more acceptable socially to do so and utilize government assistance. There are also more waiting families than babies being placed with consent for adoption. Also, since it's illegal to 'network or advertise' in regards to adoption in Québec, prospective families find it difficult to connect with potential birth parents.

In the majority of cases, the Québecois children who are willingly placed for adoption are newborns but some may be as old as 4 years of age. These types of adoptions are overseen by the Centre Youth and families hoping to adopt must be registered on their local Centre Youth's waiting list. Birth families can voice their wishes as to the type of family they would like to see adopt their child, but in the end, the Centre Youth makes the final decision in regards to the child's best interests.

Adopting parents do not generally have contact with the child's biological parents until one party expresses a desire to meet with the other before the child is placed. Open adoption agreements are not legally recognized in Québec but many families do make informal agreements for future relationships.

Steps Involved in Local Adoptions

STEP 1: Contact your local Centre Youth and request to speak with an adoption worker. You may be asked to attend an information session or be sent an information package with documents.

STEP 2: Paperwork and more paperwork! Fill out all the paperwork so that your application can move forward. These documents include the application form, a self-study questionnaire, references, a medical examination, proof of employment, a statement of income, a proof of residence, and a consent form for a police check.

STEP 3: The psychosocial assessment (a.k.a. the homestudy). If you've been accepted by the Centre Youth, based on your application and forms, you will be contacted by a social worker to begin the assessment. During the homestudy, your social worker will meet with you and your family together and on an individual basis at their office and in your home over a period of approximately 6 to 8 weeks.

During these meetings, you will be 'interviewed' and it will feel as though nothing in your life is private. Such topics will be your motivation for adopting, your history of fertility/infertility, your professional and cultural situation, your personal history and your relationship with your partner if you have one, your health, your extended family, your sex life, your relationship with your children (if you already have any), your attitude toward adoption and parenthood. You'll also discuss the type of child you want to adopt and how you will cope and accept a child if he/she has any developmental, attachment or behavioural problems.

STEP 4: Psychosocial Assessment Report. Your social worker will take all of the content he/she has gathered as a result of your meetings and write a report for the Centre Youth to assess. If your family is approved to adopt, a child may be placed in your home within a few days or you may wait up to a couple of years. There are a number of factors influencing how long you will wait for a match including the strengths and weaknesses of your family, the child's characteristics (age, culture, needs if any) and the parent-child match itself.

STEP 5: Wait for a match! If you're waiting for a healthy, Caucasian newborn, your wait could be as long as 6 to 8 years. Families that have a greater range of acceptance in terms of a child's ethnicity and age will undoubtedly have a shorter waiting period.

STEP 6: The call! Once you've been chosen for a baby, your social worker from the Centre Youth will call you with the wonderful news. You will most likely receive the call and have to act quickly as most families will bring the baby directly home from the hospital.

STEP 7: A local adoption requires that the birth parent(s) consent to the adoption of the child. Consents can be withdrawn but only within 30 days of the consent being given. Once the 30 day period has passed, you can begin to breathe easier as the adoption placement can move forward to finalization.

STEP 8: Finalization! There is a minimum six month legal period before finalization of the adoption occurs. Your adoption worker through Centre Youth will visit with your family regularly to ensure the placement is successful and to gather information for the Court for finalization.

Once the court grants the adoption, your baby is now considered legally part of your family and all ties with his/her biological family are severed. Your child will get a new legal name of your choosing and a new birth certificate will be issued in that name. Congratulations!


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