It’s all about the children.
The Ontario Child and Family Services Act authorizes Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville to assist Ontario parents who want to adopt. There is no fee involved.
Adoptions can also be arranged through private agencies or directly through the courts if the parent is a relative or step-parent. There may be costs involved in these types of adoptions.
Are the birth parents involved?
Birth parents may provide input about the kind of family they would like for their child. FCSLLG gives careful consideration to the values, lifestyle, education, cultural heritage and other characteristics that are important to birth parents when choosing a child’s adoptive parents.
There has recently been a move to create more openness between adoptive and birth families. The degree of openness a child needs, a birth parent wants, or an adopting family can accept, is carefully examined early in the adoption process. In some cases, a photo or letter from the birth parents may accompany an adopted child. In other cases, children and their adoptive families may send and receive yearly non-identifying updates, which are exchanged through the adoption agency.
What are the legal rights of an adopted child?
A child who is legally adopted in Ontario acquires the same rights as if the adopted child had been born to the adoptive parents.
There is no set waiting time or waiting list.
The length of time to place a child who is up for adoption depends on a number of factors. The main consideration is the child’s needs, and who the applicant is best suited to parent. If there is a child waiting who is an appropriate match, the placement can be made fairly quickly.
Once a match is made, there may be several visits to allow the child to get to know the new family and surroundings before moving into the new home. There is a minimum six-month adjustment period from the time a child moves into the new home until the adoption is completed. A longer adjustment period may be necessary depending on the needs of the child and the adoptive family.
Adoption is a step-by-step process.
Anyone interested in adoption should call Family and Children’s of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville at 1-855-667-2726. We will do our best to answer any questions and provide relevant information, to help an applicant decide if they’re ready to move onto the next step.
STEP 1. Complete the application form
Individuals who have completed an application form are placed on a list to attend an orientation/training program, which is offered throughout the year. Applicants must provide three references, complete medical reports, police checks and an autobiography.
STEP 2. PRIDE training
PRIDE, or Parent Resources for Information, Development, Education, is a nine-week course based on specific knowledge and skills that will help make the adoption process a positive experience. During this training, applicants for foster care and adoption listen, learn, ask questions, and decide if it’s right for them.
During PRIDE training, applicants are assigned a worker who is responsible for conducting a series of interviews at the applicant’s home and evaluating their living conditions. A variety of topics are addressed including family background, finances, religion, discipline and child-rearing practices, and the motivation to adopt.
These interviews allow the adoption worker to get to know the applicants and decide on their suitability as adoptive parents. It is also a chance for the applicants to learn more about the responsibilities of adopting a child, and to determine the best match for them. FCSLLG aims to have the home study and training completed at the same time, but this is not always possible.
STEP 3. Recommendation
After completing the home interviews, the worker provides FCSLLG with a recommendation. If the applicant is declined, the worker will discuss the reasons why. If the applicant is approved, they begin the process of waiting for a child who fits their needs and abilities.
STEP 4. Match and formal adoption
Once an ideal match is found, FCSLLG applies for a legal adoption order from the Ontario family court. This makes the adoptive parents the child’s legal parents, and the child a legal member of their family. Even though there is a fit between a child and adoptive family, it may still take time for everyone involved to adjust to the new living arrangement. In some cases, a series of visits will be scheduled to help the child make the transition from a foster home to the adoptive home. This can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the age and needs of the child.
There is ongoing support for adoptive parents.
Adoption services don’t end once the child is placed in a new family. There may be times when parents will want to consult FCSLLG for help or support. For example, older children may want to talk about their birth parents, or earlier experiences in their lives. Even though they may be able to talk freely with their new parents, we can offer additional support to help children deal with their feelings and adjust to their new life. When adopted children grow up, we can also assist them in meeting their birth parent(s), if both parties agree.
How can you find out more about adoption?
Call Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville at 1-855-667-2726 for answers to your preliminary questions about adoption. An information package will be mailed to you and you will be invited to a group information meeting.