Summer News 2020

Date: July 27, 2020 Author: Communications Contract Staff Coordinator Categories: Adoption Newsletter
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A Black and White woman holding hands in protest.

As we live in the warm, sunny and long days of summer it can be that time of year where we relax more and enjoy activities outdoors, go to the beach or just take a stroll through park or forest. This summer is different with some restrictions from COVID-19 being lessened. Public health still tells us we need to be careful and that our social distancing, hand washing and the wearing of masks to protect others is critically important.

Wearing masks seems simple … when you wear one you are statistically less likely to pass COVID-19 on to someone else. A caring and respectful action for others …in a time where it seems that caring and respect should be everyone’s priority.

And yet it is during this time that the world has also witnessed horrendous violence and systemic racism. I want to acknowledge this reality and send my personal sadness and compassion as well as that of the Board and staff of the ACO, to all individuals of race, cultural and ethnicity who live with fear, intolerance and racism.

As I watched the protesters yet again have to mobilize to action, I was not only sad but angry that this is not just their fight. It has to be the fight that all of us take on. Systemic racism and violence leaves people living in fear for their lives and experiencing a sense of shame about who they are. Shame about the core sense of self can result in feeling invisible to who you are.

Invisibility is not acceptable and racism is intolerable…

We all have a commitment to work together to change this reality. As professionals, individuals and families our work starts within adoption.

We have work to do to ensure that children living in permanency are not made to feel or be invisible. When we omit original families from the lives of children in adoption and permanency, we render those children invisible to whole parts of themselves and their history. If those children are black, indigenous, multi-racial or multi- cultural, they are also rendered invisible to that part of their race and cultural identity and may learn to be ashamed of it. 

The sad truth is that all of that can occur without us ever having to say a word. Children know what invisibility says and means…. And they know what racism is and how it changes their lives. It can be another form of secrecy in multi-racial or ethnically or culturally diverse families in adoption that is not seen or given voice to.

We at the ACO have our work to do ….

As we expand our lens to be more inclusive of original families and adult adoptees, we must do it knowing that we cannot ask them to fit into our organization but rather how we can see and make them and their needs visible within the ACO. We must look at the structure, make up and approach of our organization and listen to the voices and perspectives of all races, cultures and ethnicity to see and hear their needs and the ways we need to change and respond.

On behalf of the Board, staff, volunteers of the ACO and those living their lives in adoption and permanency, we make this commitment.

Dianne Mathes, 
Executive Director, Adoption Council of Ontario 

Rey from Rise of Skywalke Close up of white woman with headphones in



"When I came to live with my adoptive family, it meant living a half-life."

Especially in media where the hero has experienced the loss of their biological parents, it’s easy to find themes related to permanency and adoption journeys. This can include loss, trauma, and identity.

Submitted by an adult adoptee, Identity, Adoption and the Rise of Skywalker explores these themes in the most recent Star Wars trilogy. The write speaks to the complexities of openness (an lack there off), identity, and trauma.

Warning! Spoilers ahead for those who have not seen the Rise of Skywalker.


To make more learning opportunities easily and conveniently accessible to our adoption and permanency community we recorded several recent panel discussions and conversations we had with some great professionals - many of whom have living experience of permanency journeys. One session is about parenting adopted teens; another is about learning and school during Covid; and the other is about developmental trauma & Covid. The recordings are all available on our webpage to listen to. Grab your headphones and go for a walk, take a drive or sit in your backyard and have a listen. Enjoy the conversations and please let us know what other topics you'd be interested in learning more about!!


Illustrations of young kids being active. A black couple looking at a computer together



Due to popular demand, we have expanded our Kids Hang Out sessions to weekly summer get togethers by age group throughout July and August. Sign up for all 8 sessions or just a few!

The kids are having a blast, our Pathways childcare workers love it and we hear really great things from our parents too. The teen group has now set up their own schedule to meet. Please tell your kids about these sessions and invite them to meet some other great kids from across Ontario and join in on the fun!!


Our free webinars have been a huge hit! In the first two months we offered them free, we had over 750 people attend them, doubling the number of people who attended our webinars all last year. Thank you for your interest in learning more about adoption and permanency journeys! You'll be happy to know that we are offering ALL of our live webinars over the summer and adding a really great new one about the Importance of Permanency to our Children and Youth. A few others are available on demand as well. Please join us for these great learning opportunities!


Family of four in the autumn time. Group of professionals.


We're currently offering our Pathways training program over the summer months to families in a virtual format. We have decided to do our Fall Pathways in a virtual format as well. Offerings are available for adoptive, kinship and customary care families from across Ontario, with some special offerings for kinship families, families parenting teens, LGBTQ families and families raising kids with FASD, among other general Pathways offerings.

Want to better understand why this training is important.

To learn more about the Pathways training, visit our website or watch this great video about Pathways.



ACO has been thrilled to offer its ACT training program to over 75 Ontario professionals over the past few months. When the pandemic hit, we moved all our training on-line. With some support from MCCSS, we were able to offer a Spring and a Summer virtual ACT at reduced rates. The response we've had to date from both front-line CAS staff and supervisors, as well as other professionals has been fantastic. We will offer our ACT training program again in the Fall.

Want to better understand why this training is important.

Listen to our Executive Director Dianne Mathes in this short video or visit our website.

Interested in taking ACT this Fall or Winter? Please email us at



Register Today!

WANT TO SHARE YOUR STORY! Are you interested in sharing your story, or being a guest blogger for the ACO? We want to hear from you. Tell us about your experiences with adoption at.

Adoption Council of Ontario
The Adoption Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit providing outreach, support and education to all adoptees, adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents, birth families, and adoption professionals in Ontario. We deal with public adoption, private adoption, international adoption and relative adoption. Since 1987, we have been working towards a provincial community where all children have families forever.

Copyright 2020 Adoption Council of Ontario. All Rights Reserved.