How to Adopt

How to Adopt in Ontario

You have come to the right place to learn about the various types of adoption and the processes. If you decide that adoption is right for you the next step will be determined by which type of adoption (public, private, or intercountry) you decide to pursue.

Get started by reviewing questions to ask your agency or taking our popular How to Adopt Course! Please note the How to Adopt course is not a mandatory step in the centralized adoption intake process for public adoption. If you would like to know more information on public adoption (adoption of a child/youth through your local Children’s Aid Society), please get in touch with Centralized Adoption Intake Services at [email protected] or visit the webpage here.

Where do I Start?

How to Adopt Course

Are you looking into adoption, but are not sure where to start? This course will provide an overview of private, public, and international adoption processes in Ontario. Register for our How to Adopt Course to get started on your adoption journey!

This is a self-paced course that costs $50. Questions? Contact us today.

Register Today

Frequently Asked Questions

Once a family has completed these two mandatory steps they are legally able to have a child placed with them:

  • SAFE Homestudy: a mandatory process of 6-8 interviews.  During the homestudy an adoption practitioner gets to know a family or individual and teaches them about important information about being an adoptive family. At the completion of the homestudy process, the adoption practitioner and the applicants will arrive at a decision regarding an applicants suitability to adopt.
  • PRIDE Training: a mandatory course that is meant to prepare applicants to become adoptive and/or foster parents.  PRIDE stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education.  It is a 9-module, 27-hour educational program that is interconnected with the homestudy process. The focus of PRIDE training is to introduce foster and adoptive applicants with information about the special understanding that is required to parent a child that has been separated from their original family.

In most case, it takes between six and twelve months to complete the homestudy and adoption training. Once this training is complete, a family is “AdoptReady.”  When the homestudy is completed then an “AdoptReady” family must wait until they are matched with a child or youth. Some families are matched with a child almost immediately while others may wait months or years before a match is found. There are many variables that determine how long it will take to have a child or children join your family.

Regardless of how long you may have been waiting, do not give up. Adoption is a lifelong journey.

Using a sophisticated computerized matching program and many other recruitment events, AdoptOntario works in close collaboration with our provincial child welfare agencies (i.e., Children’s Aid Societies), to find potential AdoptReady (families who have been approved to adopt based on the successful completion of the mandatory PRIDE training and mandatory adoption homestudy) families to provide permanent care for children and youth living in the extended care of a Society.  Check out the AdoptOntario website here.

If the child you are interested in is Extended Society Care currently living in foster care, then the first thing you should do is contact Centralized Adoption Intake Services to understand the commitment that is needed to become an adoptive parents.  When you fully understand public adoption you can contact the Children’s Aid Society that represents that child’s case. They will connect you with the child’s social worker and together you can take the first steps in the public adoption process.

If the child you would like to adopt is currently living with their birth parents, or if you know an expectant mother whose child you are hoping to adopt, you will need to proceed through the private adoption system, including the AdoptReady certification. Contact an adoption practitioner and let them know that you are coming to them pre-matched with a child.

In the case of public adoption, most or all services will be provided by the local Children’s Aid Society and thus be covered by public funds. The possible exception is some costs related to medical reports and police clearances.

Relative adoptions can generally be completed directly at the Family Court if everyone is a resident of Ontario.  A private adoption licensee or a family law lawyer may be involved to assist with completion of documents and these costs are billed to the adoptive family.  In cases of a relative adoption, birth parent counseling may still be recommended.

When adopting through a private adoption agency fees and expenses will be incurred by the adoptive family.  The licensed Adoption agency should explain their fee structure to you before you register with them.

For private and international adoptions, the cost varies depending upon the licensee or agency used, the country from which you wish to adopt, and the amount of travel required. The total cost of international adoptions will generally be higher than that of private domestic adoptions due to travel expenses and other secondary fees. To better understand the fee structure and potential costs of a private or international adoption, prospective families should consult with an agency that is licensed to complete intercountry adoptions.

It is important early in the adoption process to do some serious introspection about your reasons for adopting and your readiness to embark on the adoption journey. Adoptive parenthood will require that you adjust your parenting approaches and expectations.  Acknowledge the special gifts and abilities you have to offer a child, but also examine yourself and your support network, explore your beliefs, attitudes, opinions, self-image, goals, achievements, and coping skills.

As with raising biological children, traits like flexibility, patience, good problem-solving skills and a willingness to take advantage of local community resources are all critical to raising an adoptive child. Children do not need perfect parents, but they do need loving parents who are willing to meet the unique challenges of parenting and make a lifetime commitment to caring for and nurturing them.