Private Domestic Adoption:
Private Domestic Adoption in Canada
Private domestic adoption refers to any adoption within Canada that is
not arranged by a public agency. "Private" in this context doesn't
mean that the adoption is done quietly or in secret. In fact, most private
domestic adoptions nowadays are open
Adoption in Canada comes under provincial jurisdiction,
which means that the laws vary from one province to the next. Some provinces
are flexible, others are not. Listing all the rules and regulations province
by province would require a separate website, one that would need to be
updated on an ongoing basis since that's how often the laws themselves
seem to change.
The key to a successful private adoption is to find out
everything you can about your province's restrictions and limitations
- What adoptive parents can and can't do to find
- The fees and expenses prospective adoptive parents
can pay, and who they pay them to
- The requirements regarding who must consent to
the adoption, as well as when and how that consent can be signed
- The notifications and approvals needed before a
child can be placed in the prospective parents' home
- The time frame when the final adoption order can
In many cases, adopting from another province is possible.
It simply adds an extra layer to the process since in addition to meeting
the requirements governing adoption in your province, you need to meet
the laws of the province in which your baby lives or is born. But this
isn't something you need to worry about now. Your licensee
or agency can
explain all the legalities in more detail when the time comes.
For the time being, bear in mind that despite all
the legal barriers and obstacles that exist in Canada today, prospective
adoptive parents and birth parents find their way around them every day.
And with a little bit of patience, perserverance and luck, you can too.
from a few differences, the private domestic adoption process has much
in common with the public one. The key difference is that in private adoption
the wait for a healthy newborn is much shorter and prospective adoptive
couples (and birth mothers) have much more control over the process than
with public adoption.
Rather than having the agency choose a child for you, in some provinces
you have the option of finding one yourself. And our Parent Profile Writing Service, Parent Profile Design Service and Waiting Parents Registry can help speed things up, saving you time and money.
Here are some of the steps you'll need to go through:
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- Get a home study completed
- Find a prospective birth mother considering
placing her child for adoption
- Have her and the birth father undergo
social and legal counselling
- Review their medical and histories
- Meet the birth mother and birth father
- Have child placed (usually occurs
directly from the hospital, prior to birth parents signing their consent)
- Wait for the birth mother's revocation
of consent period to expire
- Undergo a probationary period (follow-up
visits from adoption practitioner)
- Submit a post-placement report to
the provincial ministry in charge of adoption
- Receive an adoption order from the
Adopting privately could take a year or it could take
many years. A lot depends on you, and how quickly you can complete a home
study, find a child and, finally, get your file processed.
home study could be completed in three to six months. If everything is
in place, the processing of the adoption could be done in a few months
as well. In terms of the wait, the biggest question mark will be the search.
For some waiting parents, finding a birth mother could take just a couple
of days. For others, it could take months or even years. Then again, it
may not happen at all. Luck definitely plays a role but remember, in adoption
you make your own luck.
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The fees for a private domestic adoption vary considerably
and can run anywhere from about $10,000-20,000. The variation
depends on how quickly or easily you can find a child, what method you
use to do this, and where the child lives. Conducting your own search
through the Internet or newspaper classifieds, for instance, will in most
cases be less expensive than going through a private agency. But in some
provinces, direct advertising and placement may not be possible so make
sure you speak to your individual adoption licensee
or agency first.
down more than one road at a time--say, signing up with an agency and
an online service like Canada Adopts!--will add to your costs, but it
will also increase your chances of finding a child.
Like many people, you may choose to search for your child
yourself, but have an agency finalize the adoption or conduct the home
study for you. Whatever route you take, eventually you'll need to get
your adoption finalized by an adoption licensee, whether s/he works independently
or through an agency.
In fact, that's where most of your fees will go--to cover
legal and administrative costs. Depending on where your child's birth mother lives,
there may also be some travelling and lodging expenses involved. Remember,
the birth mother does not get paid for the placement nor is she allowed
to receive any kind of incentive, gift, financial inducement or compensation
for making her decision. You can't even buy her a cup of coffee or flowers
at the hospital.
Also remember that as the prospective adoptive parents,
you will be responsible for covering all of the birth mother's and father's
counselling fees, whether or not they decide to go through with the adoption.
So make sure you're confident of your choice of birth parents.
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Most waiting couples choose private domestic adoption because they want
a healthy newborn. If your biggest concern is your baby's health, then
this is probably your best route. As part of the process, you'll have
access to the medical and social history of your child's parents. If you'd
like, you can ask them questions about it and in many cases you'll even
As a result of your open relationship with your child's
parents, your child's heritage will never be in doubt. You--and eventually,
she--will know who her parents were and how she came to be part
of your family. This will be important later when your child grows up
and starts asking questions about her identity.
Besides being medically less risky than an
overseas adoption, a private domestic adopion could be less expensive
as well. In the end, it will all hinge on:
- how fussy you are
- the kind of child you're interested
- your time frame
- your financial resources
- plain dumb luck
If you live in a province where advertising is permitted,
you also have the option of having more control over the process and in
facing a potentially shorter waiting period.
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The biggest downside to private domestic adoption is the lack of available
newborns. The vast majority of women today who have an unplanned pregnancy
either terminate it or decide to raise their child themselves.
Nobody knows exactly how many birth mothers in Canada place
their newborns for adoption each year. It's been said that we keep better
track of our used cars than we do of our children. The number is thought
to be in the hundreds rather than in the thousands, with the lion's share
originating in Ontario.
If you really want to be a parent and you have a low threshold for risk, then this isn't the route for you. International adoption is.
Then again, don't get too discouraged. Sure, there may not be many birth
mothers available. But remember, all you need is one to start a family.
The other major risk is, of course, that the birth mother
could change her mind and decide to raise her baby herself. There are
restrictions as to when she can do this, but for many hopeful parents
that's not enough of a safeguard. In fact, many people feel uncomfortable
about going through an open adoption
and knowing that their child will have another set of parents.
And lastly, as with any baby, there's no guarantee
that yours won't have health problems.
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Ten Common Mistakes
Adoptive Parents Make When Adopting Privately in Canada
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- They don't research the adoption laws
in their province enough.
- They look for guarantees.
- They invest too much of themselves
too early in the process.
- They make snap decisions based on
- They don't know when to walk away
from a situation.
- They don't treat their birth mother
like a real person.
- They afraid of asking their birth
mothers hard questions for fear that they'll scare her away.
- They don't realize that even though
the birth mother may live faraway, her child's connection to her will
- They don't realize that birth mother
will become part of their extended family.
- They make promises they have no intention
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