When 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.

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.

Adoption is a major, 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.

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 Canada, pregnancy crisis centres, private and public adoption agencies, individual adoption licensees and support groups. Just remember, you’re not alone. You have choices.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Financial support of any kind is strictly prohibited, and it out jeopardize an adoption from going through.

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.

 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.

Private adoption is any adoption that is not arranged by a public or government agency. Most private adoptions in North America are open adoptions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

That’s up to you. Obviously, the more details you offer, the easier it will be for the adoptive couple to make a decision.

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.

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.

Unless you’re under age, the only other person who needs to be informed is the birth father.

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.

You don’t need to. Your adoption practitioner can do everything for you.

He has the right to have his own adoption practitioner. And like you, he also has the option of having his own legal counsel.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

You’re free to find another couple. All it means is that you have to start the process all over again.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

You do. Even if you plan to place the child with some else, you’re still responsible for giving your baby a name.

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.

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.

No. All you need to do is to inform your adoption practitioner or lawyer of your decision in writing.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.