Got a question about adopting in Canada or meeting a birth mother? We’ve got answers.

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.

In theory, practically anyone. Although some private and public agencies may have rules and regulations regarding an applicant’s religion, race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, lifestyle and so on, in general as long as you’re a Canadian citizen over 18, you’re as eligible as the next person. For reasons of convenience, our site refers to anyone interested in adopting a child as an “adoptive couple” or “adoptive parents” since they make up the majority of people who adopt.

Adoption is a personal decision that only you can make. In order to make a success of it, you’ll need to sort through your feelings aboutinfertility and realize that adoption isn’t a cure so much as an alternative. In essence, adoption boils down to two issues: parenting, and parenting a child who is biologically different from you. If you’re ready to do that, you’re ready to adopt.

Since you’ll be responsible for raising your child together, it’s important that you’re both on the same page. Listen carefully to what your partner tells you. If s/he says s/he’s not ready, figure out whether s/he means “I’m not ready now” or “I’m not ready ever.” It might just be a question of timing. Then again, it might be something else. Adoption can get very stressful and can take a heavy toll on even the strongest of marriages. Make sure you’re both prepared.

Gather as much information as you can. It will save you time, money, headaches — and heartaches — down the road. Take things one step at a time and don’t jump into any situation until you’ve got all the facts. 

Yes, and everyone else you know, especially if you’re interested in a private domestic adoption in Canada. Chances are, they’ll be happy for you, and they could even help you. You’ll be surprised at the number of people you’ll know who will have a connection to adoption, directly or indirectly.

There are many places, groups and resources you can turn to. The Adoption Council of Canada is a good place to start. Depending on which province you live in, some of the local branches offer How-to-Adopt seminars that are a great introduction to the process. If you know people who have gone through an adoption, speak to them. Most adoptive couples, you’ll find, will be happy to share their experiences. Also, contact agencies, public and private, individual licensees and adoption practitioners to see what they have to offer. In the meantime, crack open a book, magazine or newsletter and read up as much as you can.

Develop a strategy. Determine what kind of child you’d like to adopt — newborn, special needs or international and then, based on the information you’ve gathered, figure out how to do it. Focusing on a specific goal is important, but be prepared to pursue other avenues just in case things don’t work out. Also, make arrangements to get a home study.

A home study is the first step in any adoption journey. No matter what type of adoption you pursue, you won’t be able to get it approved until you’ve completed your study. A home study is an assessment of your skills as a potential adoptive parent. It’s also an educational tool, designed to prepare you for some of the responsibilities that lie ahead. 

A provincially-approved adoption practitioner can take you through the home study process and answer any general questions you may have. Depending on which route you take, you should also start thinking about getting an individual adoption licensee to help you with the legal side of things. Please note: Individual licensees and adoption practitioners are mainly confined to Ontario. If you’re from outside the province and you want to adopt privately within Canada, you often have no choice but to go through a private agency.(Except in Quebec, where there is no private domestic adoption, and in provinces like Nova Scotia, where there are no private agencies).

The three main choices are: public domestic, private domestic, private overseas and private US.

The main differences are the costs, time frame and the type of child available. Public adoptions are arranged through government agencies like the Children’s Aid Society. There’s usually no fee attached but the waiting period for a healthy newborn is long — about eight years. Most of the children available through public agencies are special needs children — older children with behavioural or learning disabilities. Private domestic adoptions and adoptions from the US can be arranged by provincially-licensed licensees — individuals or agencies. They’re more expensive but the waiting period for a newborn is much less — one to three years, although there are no guarantees. The costs for a private domestic adoption range from about $15,000 to $25,000+.. Overseas adoptions are arranged through private agencies. The waiting period is a few years, depending on the country chosen, and the costs run between about $30,000 and $50,000+. The children are usually a few months old and of a different race or nationality.

Adoption is a lifelong commitment. Foster care, on the other hand, is usually a short term or temporary arrangement that involves placing a child with a family while the child’s parents undergo counseling to see whether they’re able to continue parenting. Although the goal of foster care is to reunite children with their parents, in some instances the foster parents may end up adopting the children themselves.

Open adoption is any situation where the birth mother and the adoptive family exchange identifying information about each other. How much is determined by the two parties, and can include everything from swapping social and legal histories to letters and photos, and in some cases, even visits. It is the opposite of closed adoption, which until recently was the adoption standard.

A private adoption can be an open adoption. Private adoption simply means any non-governmental adoption.

Each case is different. Adoption and child welfare come under provincial jurisdiction, which means that each province has it own laws and regulations. Some are more restrictive than others. It all depends on where you live and where the child that you want to adopt lives or is born. For more information, contact your adoption practitioner or licensee or take a look at Adopting in Canada.

While the information and resources on this site can walk you through the adoption process, our Adoption Profiles can help you speed up your efforts to build or expand your family. By posting your “Dear Birth mother” letter online, you can maximize your exposure and have prospective birth mothers (or fathers) who are considering adoption for their child access you with the click of their mouse, potentially reducing your search from years to months and, in some cases, even weeks. But remember, adoption involves more than just finding a child to adopt. You still have to go through the legal steps to get your placement approved by the courts.

Anyone with access to the Internet can potentially read it. 

That’s because birth mothers are usually the ones who take the lead in finding an adoptive family for their child. Birth fathers are important, don’t get us wrong. Their consent to an adoption is crucial. However, they’re often out of the picture by the time you hear from a prospective birth mother. In fact, the break up of their relationship may be a direct result of her pregnancy.

Birth mothers are as individual as you are. There is no standard profile. About the only thing you can say with certainty is that they’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and are not ready to be parents. 

Yes, there’s a good chance they could. Think of Canada Adopts! as a bulletin board that can be viewed from anywhere in the world. Our job is simply to post your “Dear Birth Mother” letter — the rest is up to you. We don’t arrange the adoption nor do we screen the people who will be contacting you. As with anything you find through the Internet, you’ll need to vet your mail and phone calls carefully and be aware of all the risks since you never know who’s at the other end.

There are pregnant women in the US who specifically want their child to go to a Canadian home. Their reasons for doing this will vary: they may admire Canada’s social or medical system or they might just want their children to grow up in a country where the cities are safe, friendly, clean and green. As with most adoption issues, it’s purely a personal preference.

Although the chances of this happening are slight, it does happen from time to time, particularly if you live in a large city. Ultimately, it’s your call. Many adoptive parents prefer to have a arm’s length relationship with a birth mother and vice versa. However, if you anda prospective birth mother hit it off, you may decide the

If you’re wondering whether you can offer any gifts or financial inducements, the answer is no. In fact, they’re illegal. Getting a prospective birth mother to select you comes down to two things: she has to find you, and she has to like you — or at least feel that you would make good parents for her child. When it comes to being chosen, having traits, characteristics, values or interests that appeal to a broad section of people are all assets.