For many Canadian couples, adoption is a dream they can never achieve. But, if you’re determined, you may be able to adopt the child you’ve always wanted. Here are some tips to make the process a little easier.
Get Ready For Paperwork
Before a child ever steps foot into your home, you’ll have to fill out a lot of paperwork and go through a long process to prove that you’re fit to adopt a child. You’ll have to choose the type of adoption that appeals most to you, the agency or facilitator for the adoption, and complete a home study where a representative comes to your home and interviews you.
Waiting for placement can be excruciating, since this tends to take a long time.
The process is finalized when your waiting child is no longer waiting – when he or she finally steps foot into your home.
When Your Waiting Child Stops Waiting
A pivotal point during the adoption process is the home study. Beyond all the paperwork, here’s where things “get real.” A home study is where an agency or facilitator has reviewed your application and accepted it for adoption.
The goal of this process is to evaluate your home environment and help you better understand and prepare for the arrival of the child.
There are several different ways to meet this requirement, which is normally enforced by the state. Your agency, lawyer, or facilitator will advice you on which one will take place in your home, and may request that you take some educational classes with other adoptive families.
You will also be required to have your fingerprints taken, you will need to undergo a physical examination, and have a background check.
Expect this process to take up to 2 months.
Your Relationship With The Birth Parents
Most of the time, there are no visitation rights in an adoption. The idea is that the birth parents give up legal rights to the child when they place said child up for adoption. This differs according to the case, and in some cases adoptive parents make visitation agreements with the birth parents. Foster LLP is a law firm that specializes in visitation and family issues, including divorce and other related legal matters.
If you want the birth parents to have visitation rights, you’ll need to arrange with it the court and a lawyer. Of course, there’s no obligation on your part to give the birth parents visitation.
Finding Out What Your Adopted Child’s Life Was Like
After the adoption process is complete, it’s time to figure out what life was like for your child prior to joining your family. This is a process that is slow and will happen over time. If your child is older, he or she may want to talk about it freely.
If you adopted a baby, then you will have to be the one to do the research yourself. In some cases, court records are sealed so that it may be difficult to figure out the history of your child beyond what the agency has on file.
Loving Your Child
The biggest mistake adoptive parents can make is treating the child differently from any other children you might have that are biologically related to you. It’s fine to have the discussion when the child is old enough to understand the concept of adoption, but remember that you are asking the child to become part of your family. After the adoption process is over, it’s over.
The child isn’t really an “adopted child.” That time has passed. It was an event. The child is now your son or daughter.
And, at first thought, it seems obvious, but it doesn’t usually sink in right away.
Giving Yourself Time To Relax
It’s easy to forget about yourself during the process, and even after. But, as you’re taking care of your child, don’t forget to get some shut eye yourself. It’s important to give yourself a break now and then. If you are married or have a partner, take turns taking care of baby.
If your child is older, it’ll be a bit easier during the night. Now is also a good time to lean on your support system – whether it’s friends, family, or neighbors.
You don’t have to go it alone, and it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience if you don’t want it to be. And, it will be good for the child if it isn’t.
Sasha joined Foster LLP as a summer student in 2013, after summering with a prominent litigation boutique in 2012. Sasha practices in all areas of family law and is passionate about obtaining efficient and cost effective solutions for clients. Sasha has appeared before the Provincial Court of Alberta and the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.