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What to know before you adopt

Adopting in Ontario

In Canada, provincial law regulates adoption. This means that the rules for adopting a child in Ontario are different than other provinces or territories.

There are five different ways to adopt in Ontario. Each type of adoption varies greatly in cost and length of time it will take to adopt a child.

There is no set length of time to adopt and it is not a first-come, first-served service. The goal is to match a child with a family that meets the needs of both the child and the adoptive family, and this can take time.

Becoming an adoptive parent

To become an adoptive parent, you must be over 18 years of age and a resident of Ontario.

Adoptive parents come from many different backgrounds regardless of their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or whether they are an individual or a couple. Having the desire and being capable of providing a safe, loving home for a child is one of the most important criteria for becoming an adoptive parent.

If you’re interested in becoming an adoptive parent for any type of adoption, you are required to:

  • Complete a Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) homestudy conducted by an adoption practitioner to assess your skills and readiness to raise an adopted child. Adoption practitioners are approved by the ministry.
    • The homestudy process includes assessing your home environment, and discussions on being a parent and the specialized aspects of parenting an adopted child.
    • The homestudy will help decide whether you are ready to be an adoptive parent and what type of child you are best suited to adopt.
  • Complete a 27-hour training program called, Parent Resources for Information Development and Education (PRIDE). PRIDE helps to prepare you for the responsibilities involved in raising adopted children.

Where to get started

For public adoptions, you must work with a children's aid society to discuss your interest in adopting. There are also other supports available such as the Adoption Resource Exchange and AdoptOntario that focus on matching children in need of adoption with the appropriate family.

For a private adoption, you must work with an Ontario agency or individual who is licensed to place a child for adoption.

For international adoptions, you must work with an Ontario agency licensed to facilitate international adoptions and a private adoption practitioner. However, a child is usually selected by authorities in the child’s country of origin based on the recommendation provided by the approved adoption agency and practitioner you are using.

When choosing an agency, you can attend information sessions given by private licensees. Private licensees are approved by the ministry to place children for adoption in Ontario or to facilitate the adoption of a child outside of Canada.

Be sure to ask for references from agencies or adoption practitioners. Follow up and talk to other families who have used their services and generally to other families who have recently adopted.


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