Expectant parents who are exploring adoption as an option have lots of questions. It is important to know that you can ask these questions without fear or pressure.
Expectant parents can call either a private adoption licensee or a local Children’s Aid Society to explore the options and ask questions before making a decision. You will be given information and assistance from a birth parent counsellor who will not pressure or sway your decision. The birth parent counsellor is responsible for ensuring you have an understanding of all the options available to you, including parenting the child.
After these discussions, if you feel that adoption is the best plan for your child, the counsellor will help you determine many factors towards the best plan for you and your child, including what sort of adoptive family would be best suited for your child. The counsellor will also explain the concept of openness and help you decide if you are looking to place your child in an adoption with an openness agreement. The birth parent counsellor will also gather information about you, the prospective birth father and your families, such as social and medical history information. This information is important for your child to have a sense of who you are, and what sort of medical or genetic background run in the family.
The counsellor will review profiles of prospective adoptive families with you.. Most of the time, a meeting between you and the adoptive parent(s) is arranged prior to the birth of the child. Following this meeting, if all are in agreement with the adoption plan, the licensee will submit all required information to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services adoption unit requesting permission to proceed with the placement. This info includes the birth parent medical and social histories, the homestudy report completed by the adoptive parents, and a memorandum of understanding explaining how the match was made and what plans for ongoing openness have been agreed to. The permission requested at this stage is still conditional on your continued desire to place your child for adoption after the child is born.
Birth parents are not allowed sign their consent for adoption until the child is at least 7 days old. The purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that you have had time to think through this important decision. Adoption consents are signed in the presence of a lawyer.
You will have 21 days after signing the consent to change your mind(s). If you no longer consent, the child must be returned to your care immediately. After the 21 days have passed, you are no longer able to request the return of the baby. The adoption placement will continue to be supervised by the adoption licensee and/or CAS for at least 6 months before the adoption is finalized by a judge.
If the Birth Father is Uninvolved
Sometimes an expectant mother is not in contact with the birth father during the pregnancy. This will be discussed in counselling and with the licensed adoption professional to determine the best course of action.
If One or Both of the Birth Parents are Under 18
When one or both of the expectant parents are under the age of 18, their own parents may wish to make plans for adoption on their behalf. All decisions related to the child and the adoption, however, remain the sole responsibility and prerogative of the expectant parents. Counsellors may include your parents in the counselling if you so desire, but they will also work privately with you to ensure that you fully understand the decision you are making. The office of the Children’s Lawyer will also meet with you to ensure that you are making all decisions without coercion.
If the Expectant Parents Already Know Who They Would Like to Adopt Their Child
Sometimes expectant parents hear, through a friend or family member, about a family who would like to adopt their child. This is called a matched placement. The potential family must still become AdoptReady by having anadoption homestudy completed and attend an adoption training program. The expectant parents will still be counselled about other placement options. Great care will be taken to ensure that you are not pressured to place your child in a home you are uncomfortable with simply because the family is known to you.
How Much Will It Cost?
There are no costs to the expectant parents for any of the services that are provided in the course of preparing the adoption placement. It is important to understand that no money can be given to the expectant parents by any party for any reason related to the adoption, whether it be to cover medical costs, living expenses, or a direct payment for potential placement of the baby.
Potential Next Steps
- If you are interested in adoption as an option contact a private adoption practitioner or your local Children’s Aid Society to discuss this option further. Remember, you will not be pressured to make any immediate decisions by making these calls.
- You may wish to read the Memorandum for Birth Parents for a more in depth understanding about the process.
- If you have any questions about the process or questions about the information here you can Ask An Adoption Professional or your can call 416-482-0021
This information has been excerpted from the Adoption Council of Ontario