FAQs If You’re Pregnant and Considering Adoption

girlonbenchWhen it comes to adoption, the questions often outnumber the answers. Here’s our attempt to kind of even the score.

For specific questions about the adopting process in Canada, click here. Got more questions? We’ve got more answers. E-mail us anytime at info@canadaadopts.com and we’ll get back to you.

Questions:

  1. What’s adoption?
  2. How do I know if I’m ready?
  3. Is there anyone that can help me?
  4. How can Canada Adopts! help me?
  5. Can the couples on the Adoption Profiles page give me advice?
  6. Once I find a couple I like can I just give them my baby?
  7. What’s the difference between finding a couple through Canada Adopts! or finding one through an adoption agency?
  8. Is there any advantage to using Canada Adopts! over an agency?
  9. How do I know if the couple I choose on Canada Adopts! will be good parents?
  10. What kind of fees do I need to pay for an adoption?
  11. Are the adoptive parents allowed to help me financially?
  12. What’s the difference between adoption and foster care?
  13. What’s open adoption?
  14. What’s private adoption?
  15. What’s domestic adoption?
  16. What’s the first thing I should do if I find a couple on this site that I like?
  17. What should I say when I contact them?
  18. What should I say on the phone?
  19. Will they judge me?
  20. Should I give my phone number out if the adoptive couple asks for it?
  21. What if, after talking to the couple, I’m still not sure what I want to do?
  22. What if I decide that I like them?
  23. Why does the adoptive couple have to know my family and medical history?
  24. Do I have to tell the adoptive parents everything about my past?
  25. How detailed does the information have to be?
  26. Will everything I discuss with my adoption practitioner be passed on to the adoptive couple?
  27. How much will I get to know about the adoptive couple?
  28. Will anyone else — my family, for instance — need to know of my decision?
  29. What happens if the birth father and I are no longer together?
  30. What if I don’t want to talk to the birth father?
  31. What if the birth father doesn’t want to deal with my adoption practitioner?
  32. Do I still need the birth father’s consent even if the birth father supports my decision?
  33. My relationship with the birth father isn’t good now, but I’m wondering if keeping the child will bring us closer together?
  34. How long does the adoption process take?
  35. Can I make requests about the way I want my child to be raised?
  36. What if I change my mind and decide I want to raise my child myself?
  37. Is there a nice way to tell the adoptive couple that I’ve changed my mind?
  38. Do I have to tell the couple myself that I changed my mind?
  39. What if I change my mind about the couple but I still want to place my baby for adoption?
  40. When do I actually place my child with the adoptive couple?
  41. Will I have a chance to meet the adoptive couple?
  42. Should I invite the adoptive couple to the delivery?
  43. After the delivery how much contact should I have with the baby?
  44. What if the child is born with a defect?
  45. Who registers the child’s birth?
  46. When do my rights as a parent end?
  47. What if I change my mind after I sign the consent?
  48. Do I have to go to court?
  49. What if I change my mind after the revocation period expires?
  50. How do I let my child know I didn’t abandon him/her?
  51. Will I ever see my child again?
  52. How will I feel after the placement?
  53. Is there anyone that can help me after the placement?

Answers:

  1. What’s adoption?
    Adoption is a legal and social process. It involves the transferring of rights over a child from a set of birth parents to a set of adoptive parents.
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  2. How do I know if I’m ready?
    Adoption is a huge, life-altering decision that will affect the future of many people. As a result, you’ll need to collect as much information about it as you can in order to make an informed decision based on your child’s best interests.
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  3. Is there anyone that can help me?
    There are many people you can turn to. Adoption Practitioners can explain your options in more detail, as well go over the nuts and bolts of the adoption process, including your rights and responsibilities. You can also get answers from the Adoption Council of Canadapregnancy crisis centresprivate and public adoption agencies, individual adoption licensees and support groups. Just remember, you’re not alone. You have choices.
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  4. How can Canada Adopts! help me?
    The information and resources on this site can give you an overview of the adoption process, from start to finish, and point you in the right direction. But it’s only a start. Ideally, you should consult a professional directly. If, on the other hand, you’re comfortable with your decision to place your baby for adoption, then by all means visit our Adoption Profiles.
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  5. Can the couples on the Adoption Profiles give me advice?
    All of the couples listed in the Adoption Profiles are there because of their desire to adopt. While they may know more about adoption than the next person, they’re not experts. Nor should you rely on them for impartial advice. Everything they say will be coloured by their own needs and experiences. Because of that and the fact that adoption is such a highly emotional and volatile process, you should only contact them if you’re seriously considering them for your child.
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  6. Once I find a couple I like can I just give them my baby?
    No. In fact, it’s illegal to do so. Finding the right set of parents for your child is only part of the adoption process. There’s still another one, independent to it, that you have to go through in order to get the adoption approved. The exact steps will vary according to the adoption laws in your province and the province where the waiting parents live. 
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  7. What’s the difference between finding a couple through Canada Adopts! or finding one through an adoption agency?
    Think of our Adoption Profiles as a search tool — an electronic bulletin board. It’s no different than if you were to find someone through a classified ad. Once you come across a set of parents that appeal to you, our role is over. The main difference between Canada Adopts! and an agency is that an agency can arrange an adoption. We can’t. We can only help you with the first step — finding a family, which for many birth mothers is often the hardest and most nerve-wracking part of the process.
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  8. Is there any advantage to using Canada Adopts! over an agency?
    Canada Adopts! allows you to contact the parents of your choice directly, in the comfort and privacy of your home, without an intermediary. Consequently, you’re free to choose whomever you please. Some agencies, on the other hand, have strict rules, regulations and guidelines. Although we don’t, we carefully screen all of our applicants. In order to be part of our Adoption Profiles page, each parent must have completed a home study, which means they have been judged fit to adopt by a provincially-approved adoption practitioner.
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  9. How do I know if the couple I choose on Canada Adopts! will be good parents?
    All of the parents on our Adoption Profiles have the emotional and financial resources to become parents. Whether they’ll be good parents is something you’ll have to decide yourself after reading their letter, speaking to them, and perhaps meeting them.
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  10. What kind of fees do I need to pay for an adoption?
    Adoption is free for birth mothers. Once you choose a couple, they’ll be responsible for all of your — and the birth father’s — legal and counselling fees. It doesn’t matter whether you change your mind and decide to raise your child yourself.
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  11. Are the adoptive parents allowed to help me financially?
    Unless you live in certain parts of the US, financial support of any kind is strictly prohibited, and can jeopardize the adoption from going through.
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  12. What’s the difference between adoption and foster care?
    Adoption is permanent, whereas foster care is a short term or temporary arrangement. With foster care, you have the option of placing your child with a family for a limited time while you make a decision regarding you and your child’s future. In the end, you may choose to raise your child yourself.
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  13. What’s open adoption?
    Open adoption is any adoption where you and the adoptive couple know of each other and exchange identifying information. The actual degree of openness is determined by you, and can include everything from exchanging social and legal histories, to letters and photos and even visits.
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  14. What’s private adoption?
    Private adoption is any adoption that is not arranged by a public or government agency. Most private adoptions in North America are open adoptions.
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  15. What’s domestic adoption?
    Domestic adoption is any adoption where both the adoptive parents and the birth parents live in Canada. By contrast, international adoption refers to adoptions that takes place outside of Canada, including the United States.
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  16. What’s the first thing I should do if I find a couple on this site that I like?
    You have a few options: You can e-mail them, you can call them, or you don’t have to do anything at all. A contact address and phone number is posted at the top of each letter. Contacting the adoptive parents will set you on a course that could change your life forever, so think it through carefully before you contact them.
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  17. What should I say when I contact them?
    If you’re sending an e-mail message, you may just want to introduce yourself and briefly explain your situation. Depending on their response, you may want to follow it up with a phone call.
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  18. What should I say on the phone?
    The key is to be yourself and to say what you really feel. If you’re nervous, prepare a list of questions and keep it by the phone. There is no right way to speak to an adoptive parent, but there are some dos and don’ts you should keep in mind.
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  19. Will they judge me?
    Every adoptive couple understands that this isn’t the easiest time for you. Far from judging you, they’ll be happy to hear from you. 
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  20. Should I give my phone number out if the adoptive couple asks for it?
    Although it’s a nice gesture, there’s nothing that says you have to. If you’re not ready, simply tell them so. If, on the other hand, you do give it out, be prepared to be called at a later date.
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  21. What if, after talking to the couple, I’m still not sure what I want to do next?
    That’s fine, there’s nothing that says you have to rush into anything. Just because you’ve spoken to a couple doesn’t mean you have to place your baby with them. Find out whatever you can about them and perhaps speak to other couples. It will give you a point of comparison and put some of the things you discussed with your first couple in context. 
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  22. What if I decide that I like them?
    Depending on how far you are into your pregnancy, they will probably want you to speak to their licensee and see a adoption practitioner. These are the adoption professionals you’ll need to deal with, no matter whether you find a couple through Canada Adopts! or an agency. They can answer any questions you have, and go over your rights and responsibilities. You’ll also need to fill out your medical and social history.
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  23. Why does the adoptive couple have to know my family and medical history?
    Adopting a child is a lifelong responsibility. The adoptive couple have the right to know as much about you as you know about them. Reading your history will help them get a better idea about you and enable them to make a more informed decision. It will also benefit your unborn child later on by providing him with details about you and the reasons why s/he didn’t grow up with you. It could also benefit him/her later if, for example,s/he has a genetic predisposition to a certain illness or disease.
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  24. Do I have to tell the adoptive parents everything about my past?
    No. The forms you’ll need to fill out are not there to pry into your private life or to judge your lifestyle or to expose embarrassing details about you or your family. Adoptive parents are only concerned with things that could have an impact on their ability to adopt and raise a child.
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  25. How detailed does the information have to be?
    That’s up to you. Obviously, the more details you offer, the easier it will be for the adoptive couple to make a decision.
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  26. Will everything I discuss with my adoption practitioner be passed on to the adoptive couple?
    All of the information from your counseling sessions and your social and medical history forms is strictly confidential. Nothing can be forwarded to the adoptive couple without your consent.
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  27. How much will I get to know about the adoptive couple?
    In an open adoption, you set the parameters. You decide what you need to know and what your comfort level is. As part of the process, you’ll get a copy of their home study, which among other things will tell you more about their background, their relationship, their ideas about parenting and adoption, and their hopes and dreams for the future.
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  28. Will anyone else — my family, for instance — need to know of my decision?
    Unless you’re under age, the only other person who needs to be informed is the birth father.
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  29. What happens if the birth father and I are no longer together?
    Birth fathers rights are complicated and vary from province to province and state to state. So a lot depends on where you live. Your adoption profiles can address all of your concerns, depending on your circumstances.
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  30. What if I don’t want to talk to the birth father?
    You don’t need to. Your adoption practitioner can do everything for you.
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  31. What if the birth father doesn’t want to deal with my adoption practitioner?
    He has the right to have his own adoption practitioner. And like you, he also has the option of having his own legal counsel.
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  32. Do I still need the birth father’s consent even if the he supports my decision?
    No matter what his attitude toward the adoption is now, he could change his mind later. Getting his consent to the adoption is always advisable.
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  33. My relationship with the birth father isn’t good now, but I’m wondering if keeping the child will bring us closer together?
    That’s something you need to discuss with the birth father and your adoption practitioner. It’s a known fact that in order to flourish, a child needs a loving, stable home. If you don’t think you can offer that, you need to re-evaluate your decision.
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  34. How long does the adoption process take?
    It all depends on how quickly you and the prospective adoptive couple can get everything in order. If all goes smoothly, it shouldn’t take more than a few months.
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  35. Can I make requests about the way I want my child to be raised?
    Yes. As a birth parent, you have the right to take an active role in your child’s adoption plan. This is something you’ll need to discuss with the waiting parents prior to the placement. The plan can be agreed upon informally, through discussion, or officially, in writing. Most parents don’t mind your input. In most cases, you’ll find they’ll encourage it.
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  36. What if I change my mind and decide I want to raise my child myself?
    Prior to the placement, there’s nothing that stops you from doing this. In fact, it’s recommended that you make this decision sooner than later since the longer you wait, the harder it will be for everyone. For now, go slowly and to take things one step at a time.
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  37. Is there a nice way to tell the adoptive couple that I’ve changed my mind?
    No matter what you say, they’ll be hurt and disappointed. But don’t let that influence your decision. If you don’t think they’re the right couple for your child, you owe it to yourself — and your child — to let them know. They understand this is one of the risks they have to take.
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  38. Do I have to tell the couple myself that I changed my mind?
    No. If you’d rather have someone else tell them on your behalf — say, your adoption practitioner or their licensee — they can do it for you. Once you’ve made up your mind, don’t delay. 
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  39. What if I change my mind about the couple but I still want to place my baby for adoption?
    You’re free to find another couple. All it means is that you have to start the process all over again.
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  40. When do I actually place my child with the adoptive couple?
    In most instances, the placement occurs immediately after the baby is born, directly from the hospital. That is, provided all the paperwork has been completed and approvals received. This allows the bonding process to begin and gives you a chance to get on with the rest of your life. 
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  41. Will I have a chance to meet the adoptive couple?
    It’s not mandatory, but most birth mothers do. In fact, you’ll find that the closer you get to the placement, the more you’ll want a face-to-face meeting. After all, these will be the people who will be raising your child. You’ll want to know as much as you can about them and that you’ve made the right decision.
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  42. Should I invite the adoptive couple to the delivery?
    The choice is yours. It all depends on your comfort level. You may want them there for emotional support. Or you may just want them there for symbolic reasons.
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  43. After the delivery how much contact should I have with the baby?
    Nobody can tell you what’s right for you. You may want to hold the baby, or you may want to look at him/her. Then again, you may not want any contact at all. There are advantages and disadvantages to every alternative. Obviously, the more time you spend with your baby, the more attached you’ll get and the harder it will be to let go.
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  44. What if the child is born with a defect?
    Adoption is a personal decision and a disability isn’t necessarily an obstacle. Waiting parents are anxious to open their hearts and homes to any type of child.
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  45. Who registers the child’s birth?
    You do. Even if you plan to place the child with some else, you’re still responsible for giving your baby a name.
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  46. When do my rights as a parent end?
    Within days of the child’s birth, you will be asked to sign a consent. A consent transfers your rights to the child to the adoptive parents. The exact time frame varies, according to the province where the child is adopted. In Ontario, for instance, it can take place any time after the baby is eight days old.
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  47. What if I change my mind after I sign the consent?
    Depending on which province you live in, there is a period of time where you can revoke your consent and have the baby returned to you. In Ontario, for instance, the period is 21 days.
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  48. Do I have to go to court?
    No. All you need to do is to inform your adoption practitioner or lawyer of your decision in writing.
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  49. What if I change my mind after the revocation period expires?
    If the child has already been placed with a couple, there’s not a lot you can do. Your parental rights to the child will have been terminated. 
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  50. How do I let my child know I didn’t abandon him/her?
    There are many ways you can do this. Giving the adoptive parents a journal or photo album is one of the best gifts you can pass on to your child. It will make you more real to him/her, and answer questions about who you were and why you made the decision you did. Your social history will also explain the reasons behind the placement, as will any letters you write over the years.
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  51. Will I ever see my child again?
    Yes, you can. It all depends on what you and the adoptive parents agree to in your adoption plan. You also have the option of registering with the Adoption Disclosure Register. If both you and your child are registered, you have the chance to meet one another after your child turns 18.
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  52. How will I feel after the placement?
    You may feel relieved, but mostly you’ll feel sad. Many birth mothers talk about experiencing a sense of loss and going through a kind of grieving process. However, they point out that with time the hurt subsides — to a point. Although you can never forget your decision, you will start to view it in a different light. Some of the pain, you’ll find, will be offset by the realization that you did the best you could for your child and that s/he is being raised in a loving, stable home.
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  53. Is there anyone that can help me after the placement?
    Your adoption practitioner is available for free counselling sessions if you desire it. Just make sure there’s a provision for these sessions in your adoption plan.
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