If you're thinking of placing your child for adoption
Placing a child for adoption is an important decision: it
influences birth parents, adopted children, and adoptive families
for a lifetime. The decision to place your child for adoption
may therefore be difficult and confusing. Consequently, as the
birth parent, you have the right to carefully
consider your pregnancy options before
making this important choice. No one has the right to pressure
you into putting your child up for adoption.
If you're considering adoption,
you'll need to make an adoption plan for your child. It may
help you to find a doctor who understands your needs and who
can help you devise an adoption plan and support you through
the adoption process.
Your adoption plan will involve contacting various adoption
agencies to learn how they operate and how they will find a
suitable family for your baby.
Types of adoptions
You will need to decide whether to place your baby up for
public or private adoption. Public adoptions are set up by
organizations such as Family and Children's Services; private
adoptions are planned by lawyers or social workers. Bear in
mind, however, that not every lawyer or social worker can
arrange an adoption. People and agencies dealing with adoption
must be licensed.
If a public adoption is your preferred choice, you can call a
placement organization to speak with a pregnancy counsellor or
social worker. This agency adoption worker will help you by discussing
your pregnancy options, supporting
your decisions, and providing balanced, non-judgmental information
about the adoption process and about alternatives to adoption
(i.e., medical options such as abortion).
The adoption worker may also ask whether you've thought about
caring for your baby with the assistance of child support or whether
you can leave your baby in the care of family members.
In other words, these questions are asked to ensure you are making
an informed decision about adoption. Understand that the agency
adoption worker is your advocate: he or she advocates for
birth parents' choices and will help you in making a decision
that is in your best interest and in the best interest of
Ultimately, if you choose to place your baby up for adoption,
the adoption worker will advocate for you in selecting adoptive
parents for your baby. The final decision, however, is always
yours. In Canada, public adoptions are free and confidential.
Unlike a public adoption that is facilitated by an agency or
by an organization, a private adoption is an arrangement
between the birth parents and potential adoptive parents. This
arrangement is facilitated by a licensed lawyer or social worker.
In Canada, all licensed lawyers and social workers working in
private adoptions must first be approved by the Ministry in
their province. The provincial Ministry gives final approval
to all private adoptions: because all private adoption must
adhere to specific guidelines, and because all licensed
professionals working in private adoptions are required
to abide by specific requirements, private adoptions are
as safe as public adoptions.
What to expect from your adoption worker
When you've decided to place your baby for adoption, the
adoption worker assigned to you will discuss your emotional
reactions to placing your child for adoption. Understandably,
you may experience a great sense of loss. Your adoption
worker will be able to assist you in grieving this loss and
in dealing with the myriad strong emotions you may experience.
He or she may also refer you to supportive services designed
to help you with these feelings.
In addition to providing you with information and emotional
support, the adoption worker will also discuss with you your
continued involvement in the adoption process. When birth parents
participate in the adoption process, it helps ensure the adoption
is carried out in the best interests of the child. As the
birth parent, you can become involved in the adoption process
in a number of different ways:
- You can assist in the selection of an adoptive family for
your child. You'll look at a number of profiles of people—usually
couples, but not always—interested in adopting a child.
Once you've chosen a few profiles you're comfortable with, the
potential adoptive parents are given a profile of your child.
As the birth parents, you and your partner are entitled to non-identifying
information about the potential adoptive family. If what you
as birth parents are looking for is compatible with what the
adoptive parents would like, the terms of the adoption are discussed.
- As birth parents, you and your partner will be required to
provide the adoptive parents with detailed information about
your baby's birth family, including a medical and social history.
The medical history helps the adoptive family identify any
possible genetically transmitted health conditions your baby
may have inherited. The social history may include information
about family history and/or a letter to your baby explaining
why you (and your partner) as the birth parent(s) chose to
make an adoption plan. This information is kept on file in
the event your child, at a later date, requests it. Such
information can be important in helping your child develop
a healthy sense of self as he or she grows up.
- You can become involved in key decisions about the relationships
you and other significant people will have with your child after
the adoption. Plans that deal with ongoing post-adoption relationships
are called openness agreements. Openness makes it easier
for birth parents and adoptive families to exchange information.
Similarly, openness between adoptive families and members of
a child's birth family help the adopted child develop a healthy
sense of self and of belonging.
- If you are your child's legal guardian, you may be required
to sign an adoption consent in order to finalize the adoption.
Before a family can adopt a child, a home study must be
conducted. A home study consists of a series of interviews
between an approved social worker and the potential adoptive
family. Through these interviews, the social worker
investigates potential families' income, overall health, and
emotional stability. These investigations are done to ensure
the child being placed for adoption will have a good home and
a loving environment in which to grow up.