There is so much to learn about various aspects of adoption. The questions below have been grouped together under headings to assist you in finding answers to your adoption questions.
But there is another way to have your questions answered. Contact me directly at ARCS. The ARCS' phone number is 613-542-0275. I am in the office Monday to Thursday from 1pm to 4pm. I check my messages on a daily basis. You can also send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can contact ARCS several ways. You can call 613-542-0275. I can also be reached via email at email@example.com.
You will be sent an open adoption information package. This package has some forms for you to complete and return to ARCs. If you would prefer to fill out the questionaire with me, we can arrange for us to meet or have a phone conversation to complete these forms.
After you return the required forms, we will begin the first step in adoption planning.
When an expectant parent first calls ARCS, she is often just looking for information and doesn't want to commit right away to an adoption plan or arrange to see an adoption worker. We understand this. ARCS is a service dedicated to helping expectant parents make informed decisions. We welcome your calls and your questions. Our goal is to give you information so you can make the decision that is right for you and your child.
Private adoption is an adoption facilitated by a private adoption licensee. A private adoption is a private legal arrangement between you and the prospective adoptive parents. The licensee, usually a lawyer or social worker, is licensed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to place children for adoption. The licensee at ARCS is Jennie Painter.
What is a Private Adoption Licensee?
Every private adoption in Ontario has to be facilitated by a licensee. Jennie Painter is ARCS’ licensee. Once you contact Jennie, it’s a bit like one-stop shopping. It is her job as licensee to educate you about the adoption process. It’s also her job to hire other professionals who help to facilitate an adoption. For example, ARCS will arrange a lawyer to provide you with independent legal advice and to review adoption consent forms, an adoption worker for you and an adoption worker for the adoptive parents.
If the birthfather is considered to be a legal parent, he must be contacted by your licensee and sign a form consenting to the adoption.
If the birthfather is not a legal parent, he does not have to be contacted, involved in the adoption planning, or sign an adoption consent form.
Who is a legal parent ?
b) A male person with whom the birthmother was cohabiting in a relationship of some permanence at the time of the child’s birth or within 300 days before the child’s birth.
c) A male person whose name appears with the birthmother’s name on the child’s birth certificate.
As the child often wants information about both his mother and father, the involvement of both parents in adoption planning is in the child’s best interest.
Sometimes, however, this is not possible. There are some legitimate reasons for the birthmother not involving the birthfather in the adoption planning. These reasons include:
2. Birthfather’s identity is unknown due to a brief sexual encounter.
3. Cases where the emotional or physical security of the birthmother would be threatened by the birthfather’s involvement in an adoption plan.
When possible, ARCS recommends, that you give ARCS permission to send a registered letter to the birthfather informing him of the adoption plan for the child.
Not allowing your licensee to notify the birthfather of the adoption plan may be problematic.
1. When your child is more than 6 months of age, your licensee will go to court to request that the adoptive parents now become the legal parents of the child. If there are no legitimate reasons for not informing the birthfather of the adoption placement, the judge may not grant the adoption order unless the birthfather has been notified.
2. If the birthfather is not notified, becomes angry at not being notified, he may hire a lawyer to obtain custody of the child. It is better to know his intentions before a child is placed with adoptive parents.
3. Your child may need medical information about the birthfather or his family members to help your child identify the cause of a developmental or medical problem of his or her own.
4. When your child becomes an adult, he or she may want to search for the birthfather. If there is no identifying information on the birthfather or if the birthfather does not know of the child’s existence, the child’s efforts to find his/her birthfather may result in a sense of loss and/or rejection.
No. The Children’s Aid Society is a government funded child protection agency. ARCS is a private adoption service which works with birthparents who voluntarily place their children for adoption. It is directed by Jennie Painter.
If you are in one of these situations and are considering placing your child privately, please call ARCS to discuss possible private and open adoption options.
ARCS has worked cooperatively with various Children's Aid Societies throughout Ontario to assist parents in planning an open adoption, private placement of their child with one of the couples on ARCS waiting list.
Things you need to know:
1. Some Children's Aid Societies in Ontario are willing to work with ARCS to help you plan a private adoption for a child in their care.
2. Contact between ARCS’ director and your CAS worker is essential.
3. Before contacting CAS, ARCS will need your written permission to do so.
4. If you decide to parent your child, you and ARCS must inform CAS of your parenting decision.
5. Contact Jennie Painter for more information.
Do you only do open adoptions?
ARCS facilitates all kind of adoptions: open, semi-open and closed. It is up to you to decide what kind of adoption suits you best. However, ARCS only accepts adoptive parents who would welcome you in an open adoption relationship. This gives you many options. No matter what form of adoption you choose (open, semi-open or closed), you can be assured that the adoptive parents will welcome any amount of contact that you are comfortable with.
Who pays for the services?
The prospective adoptive parents pay for all services (e.g. counselling, legal services etc.) regardless of your final decision. There is no financial cost to you, a birthparent.
How are adoptive parents screened?
Before a child can be placed in an adoptive home, the prospective parents must be interviewed several times (home study) by a social worker approved to perform this task. The social worker must be satisfied with their ability to parent an adoptive child. They must be in good physical health, have enough income to ensure the child's future and the ability to guide the child to maturity. They are required to attend educational sessions to learn about all aspects of the adoption process, with emphasis on the special role of adoptive parents. The home study also includes references, police checks, financial statements and medical reports.
How does ARCS determine whether a couple really wants an open adoption?
If a couple wants to join ARCS, they must attend ARCS one-day workshop on open adoption. After attending this workshop, some participants decide that open adoption is not for them. For those that do want an open adoption relationship, the next step is for the adoptive parents to arrange a three hour interview with Jennie Painter. During this interview, Jennie assesses whether or not the couple is ready, willing and able to provide an adopted child with opportunities to maintain a relationship with members of his or her birth family. If the couple understands and values the importance of open adoption in their child’s life, Jennie will add their names to ARCS' list of waiting adoptive parents.This would be a most difficult interview for anyone not interested in open adoption. Those that have any doubts about open adoption usually withdraw their appoication or are not accepted by ARCS.
What can I know about the adopting parents?
You will be given a birthparent letter which provides a picture of the couple and information about their interests and values. For those couples that you are seriously considering as adoptive parents for your child, you will be given an indepth profile covering all aspects of the adoptiove parent's lives. If you have further questions, Jennie will do whatever she can to find answers to your questions.
How many adoptive parent profiles can I review?
ARCS is the only adoption service in Ontario that encourages birthparents and provides an opportunity for birthparents to look at all of the couples on our waiting list.
All adoptive parents on ARCS’ waiting list prepare a 2 –page birthparent letter about themselves. There may be up to 15 letters as this is the maximum number of couples that we work with at one time. These letters contain information about a defining moment in their lives, and how they hope to develop a relationship with you. They contain pictures of the couple, a chart of their “favourites” (activities).
People can differ in interests, attitudes and backgrounds but if they do not share the same values, it is difficult for a relationship to survive. These birthparent letters will give you a good idea of your compatibility with all of the couples on ARCS’ waiting list.
After you have reviewed all the birthparent letters, you are then asked to choose at least 3 couples. You will then be given what is called the “profile” of each of these couples. These profiles are created by the adoptive parents and will provide you with a wealth of information about all aspects of their lives.
Once you have chosen a couple to parent your child, a Match Meeting is arranged. A match meeting is where you are introduced to the couple by your licensee or social worker. All couples registered with ARCS look forward to meeting with the birth parents. This first meeting is usually held in the ARCS' or a social worker's office.
Although some doctors and friends like to facilitate an adoption match, it is not good adoption practice to have people’s roles overlap. Your doctor should be solely focused on providing you with good medical care rather than facilitating an adoption relationship between someone he or she knows and you.
What do I need to know about the adoption process?
Any time after the child is a full seven days old, the birth parent(s) can sign a Consent to Adoption. This consent must be signed in the presence of a lawyer. If the birth father has lived with or financially supported the birthmother during the pregnancy, he must also sign the consent.
Following the signing of the consent, the birth parents have 21 days in which they can change their minds and withdraw their consent. The withdrawal must be in writing and the birth parent must obtain the withdrawal form from the person placing the child for adoption (the Licensee). It is then the responsibility of this Licensee to return the child to the birth parents.
The person arranging the adoption of your child must offer you the opportunity to seek counselling and independent legal advice before you sign the consent. If the birth parents are under 18 years of age, in addition to signing the consent, you must also be seen by a representative of the official guardian so that all your rights are explained to you and you fully understand what you are signing. Your social worker or the licensee will arrange an appointment with the representative of the official guardian in your area.
Can I change my mind?
You can change your mind about placing your child for adoption at any time up to the end of the 21 days after signing the Consent to Adoption. No one should pressure you about your decision. Your adoption worker is there to help you sort out whatever decision is right for your child and you.
What happens if the Birth mother and Birth father disagree on the placement?
There are many different types of relationships between birth mothers and birth fathers. Ideally, it is best if the birthparents agree and participate in the adoption process together; however many birth parents find this difficult and some are no longer in contact with one another. Over the years, we have gained experience and expertise working with many different and sometimes challenging situations. We will be able to advise you regarding your specific circumstances.
Yes. You are the parent of the child and have all the rights of a parent. However, birth parents differ in the amount of time and kinds of contact they feel they can manage with their babies. There is no right or wrong way to be. Whatever is comfortable for you is the right way.
Will my baby be placed from the hospital directly into the adoptive home
Yes, if this is what you choose to do. Where or when you place your baby with the adoptive parents is up to you. The actual placement can occur wherever you feel most comfortable. Many placements occur in the hospital but some occur in the birthparents' home, church, our office, etc. In addition, some birthparents wish to have some kind of ceremony to celebrate the child's birth and the love that the birth and adoptive parents have for the child. Your social worker will have ideas about adoption ceremonies.
Talk to your adoption worker about your wishes. ARCS requires all adoptive parents to make arrangements to provide you with pictures and letters for the first year after placement. If the birth parents do not want to have these pictures or letters immediately, they are kept on file and may be obtained at any time in the future.
Can I give my baby a gift, or pictures of myself, the birth father and members of our families?
Yes, this is possible and very much encouraged. Not only might it be helpful and reassuring for you to do this, but it may be beneficial to your child.
Will I know when my baby's adoption has been completed?
ARCS will inform you when the adoption has been finalized by a judge in Family Court. It takes nine to ten months before an adoption is finalized in court. During this time, the adoptive couple's social worker is visiting the adoptive family to offer support and to see if the baby is thriving. A recommendation to finalize this adoption by this social worker is made at least six months after placement. This report is reviewed by the licensee, the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the court. If everything is in order, the adoption is finalized.
After the adoption is finalized, will I ever be able to see my child?
In an open adoption, contact among the child and adoptive and birth parents is maintained on an ongoing basis.
However, if you arranged a closed or semi-closed adoption, you may initiate contact with your child when he/she reaches 18 years of age.
In Ontario, there is an Adoption Disclosure Register in the office of the adoption coordinator in the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. When the adopted child is 18 yrs. old, he/she may register with the Register to access post-adoption information.
The birth parents may also register after their adopted child is 18 for post-adoption information. Both birthparent and child must be entered in the Register in order for contact to be possible and for each party to select how they would like to be contacted. The adoptive parents are advised of the Register during their home study process so they will be aware that this is possible after the child's 18th birthday. For further information about the Register, contact www.ontario.ca/en/residents/111872 or call 1800-461-2156.
What if I need someone to talk to after the child is placed?
You may need support for a period of time after placement. You may be sorting out a variety of feelings and emotions as well as needing some practical assistance. Some examples of counselling issues for birthparents are: maintaining the relationship with their child and the adoptive parents, getting comfortable with your role as birthparent, preparing for the first visit with your child in the adoptive parents’ home and re-connecting with work or school or your social network. ARCS provides counseling for you until the adoption is finalized. This is usually a nine-month period (after placement). If further counseling is needed, your adoption worker can help you connect with a counselor in your area.
So do you have to have a counsellor? Do I have to receive counselling?
You are not required to receive counselling when you place a baby for adoption. However, there are various forms that must be completed. In order to complete these forms, you will be assigned an adoption worker. The primary goal of this adoption worker is to help you complete the forms and to educate you about the adoption process.
ARCS also offers each birthparent the opportunity to receive counselling. Sometimes, your adoption worker is also a counsellor. You may want to continue working with this person in a counselling capacity. ARCS also gives you the option of working with a family therapist/counselor, whose focus is grief and loss issues and one that has not been involved in the adoption process.
You will have a choice of recieving or not receiving counselling and the choice of working with your adoption worker/counselor or a grief and loss therapist.
The adoption worker will meet with you to complete your biography. This information is gathered for your child. You will be asked questions about yourself, your family, and the birthfather. These questions are based on the many questions adult adoptees have about their birth parents.
You will have a chance to review this biography and make any changes that you feel are necessary. You will be given a copy of this biography.
The adoption worker will review adoption options with you.
The pros and cons of open, closed and semi-closed adoption will be reviewed.
The adoption worker will review various adoption planning options with you.
Do you want to name the baby? Do you want the adoptive parents to retain this name? If male, do you want the child circumcised? Do you want to care for the child in the hospital? At home? Where and when do you want the placement to occur?
These and other adoption planning questions will be discussed with your adoption worker.
The adoption worker will help you identify the characteristics you want to find in adoptive parents for your child.
She will arrange for you to review birthparent letters and profiles of ARCS couples hoping to adopt.
The adoption worker will introduce you to the adoptive parents you have chosen for your child.
She will also be with you when you and the adoptive parents meet to write an open adoption agreement that will outline your relationship expectations of one another.
The adoption worker will meet with you after the baby is born at the hospital to review your current plan for your child.
Placing a child for adoption is a very important decision. After your baby is born, you will probably review your adoption decision again. Your adoption worker is there to support you.
The adoption worker will accompany you to a lawyer’s appointment where you will sign a consent form agreeing to place the child for adoption.
This usually happens 8 or more days after the baby is born.
The adoption worker will meet with you weekly during the 3 week revocation period to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your adoption plan.
During this pre-placement or planning stage of adoption, you may want to discuss your feelings and thoughts about various aspects of your life with your adoption worker. This is up to you.
After the child is placed for adoption and the 21-day revocation period has ended, you may want to receive individual counselling. You can receive counselling from your current adoption worker or you may want to receive counselling from another counsellor or family therapist. ARCS will gladly arrange this for you.
Necessity versus options
Counselling is optional. Preparing for an adoption is necessary and must be done with an adoption worker.