Canadian adoption?
June 12, 2005 11:14 AM   Subscribe

My wife and I are considering adoption in Canada, but I need to know the costs and pitfalls. What are people's emotional, financial, _______, experiences with adoption? Feedback from adopters and adoptees is welcome.

I (Canadian) and my wife (American landed immigrant) have been married for almost 3 years, and are considering adoption. My family is a genetic mess, and my wife -may- be unable to have children, though we have not really tried (because of my problems and a desire to make it a purposeful decision, mostly).

We do OK financially, but are by no means rich. We rent an apartment in the city and own 5 acres of land in the country that we eventually want to build on and live.

We've wandered between never having kids, risking the genetic problems, and adoption, and are currently thinking that it's either adoption or never. We don't want to burden a child with unsolvable problems.

We don't (really don't) want to spend ridiculous amounts of money to an agency or government for adoption, when that money would be better served raising the child. A friend of ours adopted 20 years ago and it was free, but now it appears that the fees are high for many (all?) types of legal adoption.

So any advice would be appreciated...what mental frame should we be in to make this decision? What are the problems we are likely to face? What forms of adoption are most likely to result in the best case scenario for the child and us?
posted by Kickstart70 to Human Relations (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Some of the answers in this previous thread may be helpful for the 'mental frame' part of your question.
posted by purplemonkie at 11:34 AM on June 12, 2005

purplemonkie: thanks, excellent thread! That helped quite a lot.

We still have a lot of unanswered questions, but even more "questions we don't know exist yet".
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:16 PM on June 12, 2005

Glad to be of assistance! Unfortunately I can't really speak to your more procedural questions, but if there's anything else you'd like to hear about from an adoptee's perspective please feel free to drop me an email.
posted by purplemonkie at 8:54 PM on June 12, 2005

Adoptee's view:

Seems likely this is comes automatic these days, but, do whatever you can to be sure your adopted child has, at the very least, a good medical history from their birth family. The possibility to find his birth family in the future is also a good thing. And when your child asks about such things, don't feel abandoned. It's a very natural thing to want to know, and with genetics being so advanced today, the questions will pop up sooner.

When you raise an adopted baby, you are the parents, from the view of the child. Nothing is going to change that. I can't speak for older adoptees, but I think that when you give even an older child a loving home, you're going to be that child's parents, regardless of the child's desire to know their birth history.
posted by Goofyy at 1:49 AM on June 13, 2005

We are Canadians (in Ontario) in the process of adopting a child from China, so I can only address your first two questions. Whether you are adopting internationally or domestically, there are some basic hurdles you need to go through:

- Homestudy. The fee is upwards of $2,000 but I believe it is waived for domestic adoptions. A social worker will poke and prod you for at least 3-4 visits (ours took 7 to complete). You will be asked all kinds of questions about your reasons for adopting, your family background, medical history, financial situation, relationship, and anything he/she wants to ask you. We required references from 5 family/friends plus our employers. The purpose of this homestudy is to determine whether you will be potentially "good enough" (our social worker's term) parents so he/she can make a recommendation (since we adopted internationally, we had to pay ours -- talk about conflict of interest!). Be prepared to bare all aspects of your lives to a stranger -- we found it to be an emotionally taxing process.

- Criminal record checks and medicals (including blood tests), all of which will cost you upwards of $500 since none of this is covered by health care. Make sure you have a doctor who is prepared to do the extra paperwork for you (you will most likely be charged for this).

Friends of ours adopted domestically and once they were approved, they were offered a toddler almost immediately (waits are much longer for infants). They found, however, that the Children's Aid Society social workers were heavily overworked and gave them limited information (to the point of misinformation) about their child's medical history. I think part of this is due to the fact that they indicated on their application that they were open to adopting children suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I guess the bottom line is to not expect a lot from CAS. I've heard the government is working on improving services though (but with no extra $$ added, as far as I know, so I'm not expecting much to come of it).

As well, be prepared to deal with legal issues that may arise with domestic adoptions. I've heard horror stories about biological parents changing their minds before the legal paperwork is completed. According to this FAQ, it takes at least six months from placement before the adoption is completed, and this can be a stressful time for adoptive parents.

One of the reasons why we are adopting internationally is the extra services provided by agencies, such as Children's Bridge. They know the process well and they arrange everything for you. They also provide pre- and post-adoption seminars as well as play-groups, get-togethers and other activities to assist you and your child. According to their site Children's Bridge estimates the total cost of international adoption can run you $17,000 - $28,000, depending on the country you're adopting from. The fed. government just announced that up to $10,000 in adoption fees (domestic or international) are tax deductible, however, and the Ontario government just dropped the $925 application fee for international adoptions.

Bottom line: When deciding domestic vs. international, there are other factors to consider beyond the fees. While domestic adoption is certainly very economical, it can have some serious drawbacks that you have to be prepared for. As well, think carefully about your decision before starting the process because it will get intense very fast and move very quickly once you get started. We found it helpful to attend free seminars provided by CAS and adoption agencies to make the right decision for us.

All the best as you make this important decision!
posted by RibaldOne at 9:02 AM on June 13, 2005

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