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Adoption Process

It’s all about the children.

The Ontario Child Youth and Family Services Act 2017 authorizes Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville (FCSLLG) to assist Ontario parents who want to adopt.

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 considers the values, lifestyle, education, cultural heritage, and other characteristics that are important to birth parents when choosing a child’s adoptive parents.

In Ontario, there has recently been an emphasis on providing 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. There is a range of openness options however, the goal of openness is to support continuity of relationships, community and culture for the adopted child. All these considerations are based on the needs and best interests of the child. We are looking for adoptive families who value and will maintain these connections for the adopted child

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.

There is no standard timeframe for a placement. The time can vary depending on the child(ren) being referred for adoption and your own family’s strengths and experiences. However, the more flexible a family is to the age and needs of a child, the more likely a match may occur.

There are currently more applicants wanting to adopt than there are children available for adoption given FCSLLG’s emphasis on finding placements for a child within his/her own extended family network.

Once a match is made, there will 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. In addition, and if applicable, an adoption cannot be finalized without the court process being completed that addresses openness with the child’s birth family, including siblings.

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.

Following the referral call to the First Contact team who will gather relevant biographical information, prospective applicants will be sent an application package by mail. The application package includes requirements for references, medical reports, police and child welfare records checks,and an autobiography. The applicants will be assigned a worker who will connect with them by phone to schedule an inquiry visit to discuss their application and any questions that they have related to the adoption process. Individuals who have completed the documentation and screening process will be placed on a list to attend an orientation/training program, which is offered throughout the year.

PRIDE, or Parent Resources for Information, Development, Education, is a minimum 27 hour course that provides an overview of knowledge and skills that are required and 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.

Following completion of the PRIDE training, applicants are assigned a worker who is responsible for conducting a comprehensive home study referred to as SAFE (Structured Analysis Family Evaluation) home study. This is a series of assessment interviews at the applicant’s home which will assist us in further evaluating your eligibility, readiness, and suitability in understanding and meeting the needs of prospective children placed. A variety of topics are addressed including family background, personal characteristics, support systems, finances, religion, discipline and child-rearing practices, motivation to adopt and ability to understand and maintain important connections for the child with their family of origin.

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.

There is no set time frame for the completion of the home study process as it is dependent on several factors related to the unique characteristics of the applicants who are participating in the assessment.

After completing the home study interviews and assessment, a decision is made as to whether FCSLLG will approve the home study. If the applicant is declined, the worker will discuss the reasons why and discuss areas that need to be addressed for future consideration, if applicable. If the applicant is approved, they begin the process of waiting for a child who fits their needs and abilities.

Your adoption worker will present your profile at adoption planning meetings for children whose needs they believe you would best match. Some of the areas that we may consider in determining a match include:

  • Prospective applicant’s strengths and abilities
  • Experience with children and dealing with difficult situations
  • Extended family support
  • Parent’s ability and willingness to cope with child’s needs now and, in the future
  • Experience with adoption
  • Ability and willingness to accept natural family involvement if in best interest of child
  • Culturally similar background as child
  • Ability to work within agency structure

This process has no fixed time limit, as our focus is on finding the right family for the child.

Once an ideal match is found, FCSLLG will develop a transition plan that will involve several visits between the child and adoptive family before a formal adoptive placement is made. This plan is based on the needs of the child. It will take time for everyone involved to adjust to the new living arrangement and the adoption worker will continue to visit the child and family after the adoption placement. This is referred to as the period of adoption probation and this can be from a minimum of six months to longer depending on the needs of the child and adoptive family. 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.