I wrote this post while laying in a Winnipeg hotel room and watching Something Borrowed on TLC. My husband and daughter were home in Calgary and I was in Winnipeg to lay my amazing grandmother to rest in the town in which she grew up. It’s Thanksgiving weekend and we are gathered to give thanks for having had one of the most amazing woman in our lives.
While in Winnipeg I visited with friends and family and their first question was always “what’s happening with the adoption?”, and of course my answer was always the same, “we are waiting to hear.” Sitting in that hotel room alone of course had me thinking, and when I think, it’s usually about one thing, my family. Family was a big part of my late grandmother’s life. She was invested in all that her children did, in what her children in-law did and what her grand and great-grandchildren did. She was one of the most genuine and caring people I have ever met and when I first told her about adoption all she could say was “when is she coming home.” In the late stages of my grandmother’s life many things needed to be told and retold to her; however, she remembered my mentioning the adoption back in January and asked me about it every time I visited.
In the last number of days and weeks I have had several people ask us about the process of adoption and I thought I would share the main points when it comes to adoption, and the answers to our FAQs.
- There are two types of adoption. Domestic and international or inter-country.
- Domestic adoptions are mainly open adoptions meaning that the birth parents do have some contact with the adopting parents. At the most basic level the contact would be the birth mother choosing the adopting family. Contact after the birth and placement in some cases remains and in others contact after the placement is lost.
- International adoptions are mainly closed adoptions, meaning most children have been abandoned or are orphaned and contact with the birth parent or parents is minimal if at all. In fact, in South Africa, seeking the birth parents out is extremely frowned upon. Any contact that may occur is done through the social workers. Contacting the birth family can have serious consequences in South Africa. This is not the case with all international adoptions.
- Adopting does cost money. In international adoption there is no transfer of money to the birth family for their child. You are not buying a child and I really want people to understand that. You are simply paying the overhead associated with caring and providing for a child in an institution and again for administrative costs and salaries both in Canada and in the country from which you are adopting. Cost varies from country to country and it is very important that you investigate all costs associated with adoption, be it domestic or international.
- Birth certificates, passports and all identification for a child will be changed to reflect the adopting family’s last name. The children who you are adopting are your children. You may even change their first name if you so desire.
- Adoption is a lengthy process that requires a whole-lot-of patience. We are just about at our 1 year starting date and this year has flown by and crept by all at the same time. The process involves a training session, a home-study and interviews, visits to the police and RCMP units for clearances and fingerprints, paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork.
- Yes you can choose gender and age. Keeping in mind that if you specify you may have to wait a little longer.
- You must work through an agency. There are local agencies and in the international adoption route there are also international agencies. If you choose inter-country adoption and you live in Alberta you will need to work with two agencies, one local and one other (located in Canada) depending on the country you choose. Alberta is not licensed to do international adoptions and so you will need to find an agency that adopts out of the country that you have chosen.
Like I have said before, adoption may not be the choice for every family or couple, just as children in general may not be the choice for every family. If you have questions about adoption please feel free to ask. I may even know the answer and if I don’t I’ll help point you in the right direction.