Adopting a Waiting Child
Who are British Columbia's waiting children? They are as diverse as they are interesting.
Steps to Adopt a Waiting Child
There are five main steps to bringing one of British Columbia's waiting children into your home.
STEP 1 - Find out more about adoption.
For helpful information about adopting one of BC's waiting children, Call: 1 877 ADOPT 07 / 1 877 236-7807.
Also see the pamphlet "Parenting an Adopted Child"
STEP 2 - Meet with a social worker.
You must meet with a social worker to talk about adoption and the special needs of the waiting children in British Columbia. After this meeting, if you are still interested in a special needs adoption, you can fill out an application form.
Click here to download the "Adoption Questionnaire", "Application to Adopt form" and the "Consent to Prior Contact Check form". (PDF forms require Adobe Acrobat Reader.) These forms may be filled out online, then printed and faxed or mailed in.
After you apply, your social worker will open your file. If you want to adopt a child with special placement needs, a homestudy will begin.
STEP 3 - Homestudy providing information and references.
The homestudy process is a mutual assessment by you and your social worker of your strengths and abilities with respect to adopting a child with special needs. This assessment includes an educational component which the ministry provides. To ensure the best match possible between you and the child, as part of your homestudy you'll be asked to provide more information, including a medical assessment from your family doctor and consent to criminal record and reference checks. Click here to download the "Physicians Report On Applicant form". (PDF forms require Adobe Acrobat Reader )
STEP 4 - Matching process.
Once your Homestudy is completed your social worker will begin efforts to match you with a child who needs a family.
When a possible match is made you will learn more about the child and the child's social worker will learn how you can meet the child's needs. At this point, you may be asked to meet with the social workers to discuss the situation with them.
Once you are matched and you accept the proposal of the child, you will begin preplacement visits with the child. If the child lives in a different community, you will be asked to visit the child in their community. For these first visits, a worker and sometimes the child's caregiver will be present. Over time, as your relationship with the child grows, you will begin to spend time alone with the child and have visits at your home.
You may decide against moving forward any time in the preplacement process. If you have any doubts, you should talk it over with your social worker.
If things proceed well, the social workers will make the decision about the suitability of the placement proceeding based on the child's best interests.
STEP 5 - Open your home to an adoptive child.
After preplacement visits are completed to everyone's satisfaction, the child will be placed in your home. At this point, you will fill out a Notice of Placement and once six months passes, your social worker will apply to court for an Adoption Order for you and your adoptive child.
If the child is between ages 7 and 12, a social worker will meet with him or her to do a report on the child's views of the proposed adoption. This report will form part of a package that the court will consider when completing the adoption. A child over 12 years of age must consent to the adoption and any name change.
Please note that until the child becomes a legal, permanent member of your family, the Director of Child Protection remains his or her guardian. Over the six-month period, your social worker will visit your home at least three times to ensure the child's well being. This adjustment period is a very important time. The social worker needs to make sure that the placement is "right" for both the child and the family.
The steps outlined above provide you with basic information on the adoption process. Individual situations do vary. The average time from application to homestudy usually takes a few months.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development has developed five core values that guide the practices of adoption of waiting children in British Columbia.
- Children require permanence and the earlier this happens for children, the more beneficial it is for them
- Every child needs a permanent legal family, therefore adoption must be thoroughly considered for every child as a permanency option
- All types of families and parent compositions should be actively explored as potential adoptive placements
- Children, parents, prospective adoptive parents and caregivers should be provided with an understanding of the lifelong implications of adoption and with complete information to assist them in making informed decisions
- Openness in adoption enables members of the adoption circle to maintain family and cultural connections and relationships that can assist the child in developing a strong, healthy identity. The adoption circle is defined as - pre-adoption parents, adoptive parents, adopted children and adults, extended families and other important people in the child's life