If you and your spouse decide that you want to provide a home to a child in Ontario who might not otherwise have a safe place to live, you should to apply to become adoptive parents. While the outcome of a successful adoption will provide you with a child that you will be able to love and protect, the road to becoming legal guardian can be arduous and filled with legal hurdles. The following guide can help you understand the adoption process.
Deciding on a Type of Adoption
If you want to adopt a child from within your province, you have two options: public or private. When you choose a public adoption, the child that you choose comes from a government-funded agency. The child lands in agency care after being removed from a home due to circumstances such as neglect and abuse.
Private adoption agencies provide a range of pre- and post-adoption services for families. They must be licensed by the province and can facilitate adoptions for mothers who want to find a suitable family for their unborn child.
Determining Your Eligibility
Each province has specific laws regarding adoption. In order to make sure that you are eligible to adopt a child, you should consult a family lawyer with expertise in adoptions.
Meeting Adoption Requirements
For each type of adoption, public or private, you must attend an information session with the agency and undergo a legally mandated home study and training.
Meeting home study requirements includes:
- Providing a satisfactory explanation as to why you want adopt and your expectations for raising a child
- Passing a criminal background check
- Submitting references
- Providing your medical history
- Submitting details on your education, employment and finances
- Providing a list of all of the significant people in your life
- Writing a biographical statement
After you complete these requirements, the agency employee or social worker assigned to your adoption case will submit the results to the agency for approval. Compiling all of this information and passing a home study is no small feat. Your adoption lawyer can help you prepare the required documents to satisfy the adoption agency.
Resolving Adoption Issues
If you hit some bumps in the road during the adoption process, you may need legal help from a firm like Valerie Little Law to resolve any problems you encounter. A lawyer can provide assistance with issues such as:
- Not passing a home study
- Dealing with a contested adoption if a birth mother changes her mind
- Mediating with a birth family
- Arranging a surrogate situation if you chose someone to carry your child via surrogacy
- Following laws that pertain to adopting a Native American child
- Filing required provincial and court documents
- Preparing for court hearings and meetings with adoption agencies
Getting Help Post-adoption
If you are a first-time parent, you may have many concerns and questions about raising your child. You may want to take care of legal issues such as adding your child to your will, creating a financial trust and designating legal guardians in case something happens to you.
Even if you feel you have covered all legal bases and made sure your home has everything your adopted child needs, it is inevitable that you will encounter an unexpected situation that may leave you stumped for a solution.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to adoptive parents to help you navigate creating a safe and healthy environment for the new member of your family. Many agencies provide support groups for adoptive families. Or, if you prefer, you can join a local support group to bond with adoptive families in your immediate vicinity.