Adoption is a legal and social process which establishes a parent-child relationship, providing permanence and security for the child.
Adoption has changed over the years to reflect changing patterns in our society. Not long ago, adoption was considered appropriate only for babies. Currently the children available are from all age groups, some of them with special needs.
Ontario's adoption rate has declined over the past years for a number of reasons. It is now socially acceptable for a young single mother to keep her baby and more single parents are raising their own children. Also, the birth rate is lower due to birth control measures and services which help keep families together have improved.
Years ago, children could be adopted with few formalities. Frequently, a child simply took the adoptive family's name and lived as "one of the family". In many ways this was unsatisfactory for both child and parent. It provided little security for the child, whose legal rights and past identity could easily become lost. As well, the adopting parents' relationship with the child remained unprotected and could be disrupted.
Adoption today is a well structured, legally binding procedure. The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) details the legal process of adoption in the province. The intent of this legislation is to protect the rights of every party involved in an adoption.
Children may become available for adoption in Ontario through one of three ways:
- Under the CFSA, and order of Crown Wardship is made that specifies no access to the birth family;
- By consent of the child's birth mother and any other person who has parent status according to the statutory definition; or
- By order or other recognized release for adoption under the laws of another province or country.
Birth Parent Involvement
The Children's Aid Society of Brant encourages birth parents who relinquish a child for adoption to be involved in the planning process to the extent that they wish.
Birth parents relinquishing a child for adoption may participate in the process in any of the following ways;
- Through the expression of hopes and preferences for their child or particular qualities they would seek in an adoptive family.
- Through attending an adoption placement conference and discussing potential adoptive families.
- By meeting the prospective adoptive parents to exchange wishes for and feelings about the child.
- With the agreement of the birth parents and adoptive family, the Society may act as an intermediary for the exchange of information such as letters, or pictures.
- Through the provision of gifts, letters or keepsakes for the child at the time of adoption placement.
- Sharing information about themselves to ensure the child has a family history.