Currently, there are about 6,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted in Ontario, a figure that doesn’t account for the thousands of young people waiting to be adopted in other provinces and territories.
For these kids in foster care or in the child welfare system, adoption means giving them a family unit and someone to rely on for emotional support; it’s instrumental in securing a brighter future.
In partnership with the Adoption Council of Ontario, the Children’s Aid Foundation is promoting Adoption Awareness month to spread knowledge and understanding of the adoption process.
This page includes information and helpful tools and links to aid you in learning about adoption in Canada.
- Step 1: Begin your search
- Step 2: PRIDE Training
- Step 3: Home Study
- Step 4: After you are AdoptReady
- 80% of people surveyed were intimidated by the paperwork process, costs and bureaucracy involved with adoption
- It will be too hard for a sense of family to develop with adoptive children
If anybody asks, Karen and John say they have 3 wonderful children. Beynon is 26 and has lived with John since he was one. He was a foster child and has never wanted to be legally adopted but that doesn’t make him any less of a family member. John also has a daughter Emma, who is 18. Karen joined the family just over 12 years ago. And finally, Anthony joined the family two years ago at the age of 4 in an adoption from the Children’s Aid Society. As John and Karen will tell you, sibling bonds can happen in lots of ways as long as they are held together by the love of parents – the love of a committed family.
A key message Karen would like to share is for the government to be aware of how critical every moment is in the life of children in foster care. Beynon, while growing up as a foster child, struggled with labels put on him at school and in the community. At the time both Karen and John did not understand the depth of his challenges or how they could have better helped him. They are more prepared to help Anthony, partly because Beynon’s past has helped them to understand. They wonder if newly formed foster and adoptive families will know how to seek out information and support.
Karen and John are proud of their growing family. At the end of the day, John and Karen take each day as an adventure with all of their children. They take joy in watching their children grow together as siblings and share the experience of being in their family.
For more information on the adoption process, please visit:
- Teens don’t want to be adopted – it’s too hard for them to fit into a family
"For a very long time, my husband and I joked that 5 was our “lucky number”. We got married after being together 5 years, in the year 1995, which in the Hebrew calendar is 5755. We figured that was a lot of “5” and vowed that we would renew our wedding vows every 5 years. Well we did manage to do that one time (2000) but I don’t think that at the time we figured that 5 would also be the number of kids in our family. But here we are, 2013, a family of 7—4 biological kids ages 6, 8, 11 and 15 and our newly adopted daughter who is 17.
One night while sitting in the bathroom watching one of my sons in the bath, he asked why we were planning to adopt. It was a good question. Our family is already quite large by today’s North American standards and it wasn’t like we found it easy to parent 4 kids; it was a challenge to have the time, patience and finances for 4 kids. I said to him “Well, I think that having a family, whatever that looks like to you, is a basic human right, just like shelter and food. And if we can offer that to a child who did not have that, why wouldn’t we?"
Aviva Zuckerman-Schure, adoptive parent
Here is a video made by youth with advice for adoptive parents
- Some of the ‘waiting children’ are in sibling groups – How does this work?
"My husband and I already had two teenage sons when we adopted a sibling set of four children from foster care in 2011. Three daughters, ages 3, 5, and 7, and a son, age 9, joined our family. Looking back, I realize I had bought into two adoption myths—myths that contradict each other. I believed that parenting adopted children would be easy. Yet, after our children moved in I feared what others had warned, that adoptive parenting would be impossible. I was very wrong on both counts.
Attachment happened, even with our son who had been diagnosed with attachment issues. Just like our biological children, our adopted children snuggle, share secrets, offer hugs and kisses, plan futures, and fully accept our love. They understand the solidarity of our family, our unfaltering commitment, and I am confident they love their parents as much as we love them. They now believe our family to be a little army—one for all and all for one. We stick together no matter what."
Christen, adoptive parent
- How do I know if a child with special needs will fit into my home?
Melissa wanted a child to share her life with, a little person to love and care for. Melissa ‘met’ her daughter Evalyna through the AdoptOntario program. Evalyna was placed for adoption privately by her birth parents. She was born with special needs and that made the Adoption Resource Databank of AdoptOntario the best resource to search for that special family and ensure a timely placement. Over a year later Evalyna (16 months) is just beginning to walk, and is very proud of this accomplishment. She is always looking for applause as she makes her way around the room. Like many little girls, she loves hair accessories, jewellery and sparkly shoes!
Melissa started her adoption by exploring all of her options – private, international and public. She was discouraged as she learned of barriers that were in her path. Very few countries would accept her as a single applicant. Melissa forged on and kept in close touch with the AdoptOntario program. “AdoptOntario really opened my eyes to the types of children who were in need of a forever home” says Melissa.
Melissa has opened her heart to Evalyna and will do everything in her power to advocate for her through some of the unknowns in her future. Evalyna will thrive because she has the love of a mom who will always be there for her - to be her family.
For more information on adopting a child with special needs, please visit:
AdoptOntario Special Needs: //www.adoptontario.ca/understanding-special-needs
- What happens if I need help after adoption?
Loretta’s heart melts every time five-year-old Alex gives her a spontaneous kiss. Their journey to connection through adoption started over five years ago when Loretta completed an adoption as a single parent.
Like many adoptive parents, Loretta was prepared to find supports to help her son overcome any issues in development and attachment. Loretta has sought out relevant information and programs that are not always easy to find or access for her son as early trauma adds a unique dimension.
As Alex originates from Kazakhstan, Loretta and Alex often connect with other adoptive families for social outings and to celebrate the culture and special holidays they would have experienced in Kazakhstan. One of Alex’s closest friends in the GTA also originates from west Kazakhstan.
Despite the hurdles of parenthood and the ongoing need to find supports to ensure the best outcomes for her son, these are outweighed by the blessings of being a parent to this wonderful boy and Loretta would not change her life. “My son is the joy of my life and adoption has enriched the lives of my whole extended family so much” explains Loretta. She continues to be the best advocate she can for Alex to ensure his success, and continues to learn as she goes.
Organizations like the Adoption Council of Ontario can help you if you need help after adoption.
The Ministry of Children and Youth Services also includes helpful information on their website about supports for adoptive families.
Adoption Council of Canada: //www.adoption.ca/
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: //davethomasfoundation.ca/
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC): www.nacac.org
Evan B. Donaldson Institute on Adoption: //www.adoptioninstitute.org
Adoptive Families Association of B.C.: www.bcadoption.com