Adoptive Parents > Private Adoption

There are two options to adopt under the private adoption system: Domestic or International.  In deciding if either of these options are appropriate or possible for you, there are several factors to consider.  These factors include, for example, the age and health of the children available for adoption, the relationship you may have with the birth parent(s) once you adopt, and the adoption related costs.  

You do not have to decide on which option(s) are best for you before beginning the adoption process.  If you choose to work with The Adoption Source, our adoption practitioner Lori Rosove will go through these factors with you.  Choosing which options are best for you is also a final step in the adoption homestudy.

Regardless of which private option you adopt through, you will require the services of an adoption licensee or an adoption agency. They both provide the same service which is to facilitate the legal and administrative components of the adoption process.  The only difference is that a licensee is an individual and an agency is an organization.  In Ontario, the department of our government that oversees adoption is called the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) and it is this dapartment that authorizes an individual or an organization to be a licensee or an agency.


Domestic Adoption

There are many reasons why a birth parent(s) chooses adoption for their child.  Most often the decision is a result of an unplanned pregnancy of individuals who are not yet ready to parent a child.  However, there are many other factors that can lead birth parent(s) to chose adoption for their child.  No matter what the reason, planning an adoption for their unborn child is a very difficult and emotional process for birth parents.

For you as an adoptive parent, some of the key factors in considering domestic adoption are:

  • This is usually the only option for adopting a new born baby.
  • You often have the most accurate health information on the child.
  • The adopted child and you will likely have the most information about the child's birth parent(s) and most likely some level of a lifelong relationship with them.  This is referred to as "open adoption" and almost all domestic adoptions today are open adoptions.
  • The birth parent(s) have a right to change their mind up to approximately 30 days after the baby is placed with the adoptive parents.  While this does not happen often, when it does it is a very difficult experience for the adoptive parents.
  • Total adoption costs typically range from $20,000 to $25,000 or more.
  • With domestic adoptions there is no way to predict how long it will take to adopt a child as the birth parents choose the adoptive parents.

After becoming adopt ready (ie. completing PRIDE and your homestudy), you will prepare a document called your "profile" that describes who you are as adoptive parent(s).  The Adoption Source will guide you in the preparation of your profile.  You will then distribute your profile to one or more domestic licensees (click here for a list of approved licenseesor domestic agencies (click here for a list of approved agencies).  When a birth parent(s) decide to place their child for adoption, the licensee or agency they chose to work with will show them the profiles that they have of the adoptive parents that match their criteria specified by the birth parents.  If your profile is chosen by a birth parent(s), the balance of the process is as follows:

  • Your licensee or agency will contact you and inform you that the birth parent has chosen you.
  • Your adoption practitioner will then share the social and medical histories of the birth parents with you. 
  •  If you are interested in pursuing this adoption, a meeting is usually set up between yourselves and the birth parent(s), where the adoption practitioner and the birth parent counselor will be present. At this meeting, the degree of desired openness will be discussed and negotiated by you and the birth parents.  
  • Your licensee or agency will forward all necessary documentation to the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services for them to grant approval to the adoption.
  • Once the ministry has granted approval for the placement, the child can be placed in your home.
  • The birth parents are able to sign consent forms for the adoption eight days after the child is born and then have a further 21 days to reverse their decision. (While this does happen, it is rare.  If birth parent(s) change their mind, it is usually before the child is placed in your home.)
  • The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services mandates that an adoption practitioner must conduct post placement visits after the adoption is finalized.  Your adoption practitioner will visit you in your home at least three times within a six month period. 
  • Within a year from the placement, an adoption order will be issued to you that officially names you as your child's legal parents.

International Adoption

There are many countries in the world that allow foreigners to adopt a child from their country.  Often this is due to the lack of sufficient numbers of adoptive parents in their own country to adopt young children abandoned to orphanages.  In Ontario, if you wish to adopt internationally, you must use the services of an international adoption agency licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.  This also applies if you want to adopt a relative living in another country.  International Adoption Agencies are licensed for specific countries.  (Click here for the approved list of adoption agencies and the current countries they are licensed for.  Click here for a summary of the parameters of each of the international adoption agency programs.) 

There are many countries to choose from and it is best to research various agencies’ programs and talk to families who have already adopted from the countries you may be interested in. You do not have to choose a country and an agency before beginning your homestudy.  If you choose to work with The Adoption Source, our adoption practitioner Lori Rosove will provide guidance to you on the program(s) that best suit your needs.

For you as an adoptive parent, some of the key factors in considering international adoption are:

  • Is the best option for adopting a child of the same racial / cultural background as you.
  • It is the most concrete option for knowing your expected time line in adopting a child.  Typical wait times until you are matched with a child are known for each country.
  • Each agency has a limited number of assigned children from the international program.  This can result in many programs having significant wait times or programs temporarily closed to new adoptive applicants.
  • Each foreign country has their own criteria on who can adopt one of their children.  Therefore, these criteria must be reviewed to ensure that you are eligible to adopt from a given country.
  • Total costs range from $25,000 to $60,000 or more depending on the country and the program.
  • There is often little health information on the children to be adopted.
  • There is often little or no information on the birth parents.
  • The children often have minor to significant physical health issues.
  • Orphanage life can implant significant early life trauma that can manifest as mental health issues as the child ages.
  • Politics and the stability of various countries cause changes to the country's international adoption programs.  This sometimes closes the door on a country or opens the doors on another.
If international adoption is right for you, after you become adopt ready (ie. complete PRIDE and your homestudy) then the process to adopt internationally is as follows:

  • After you choose the country / agency your homestudy is provided to the agency.  
  • The agency will seek approval of your homestudy immediately with the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services and will work with your adoption practitioner to ensure it gets approved by the ministry.
  • The agency will put you on their waiting list. 
  • The adoption agency guides you through the remainder of the process and ultimately to your child.
  • Once matched, you typically travel to the country to meet your child and ultimately bring him or her home with you.  The parameters around how this happens vary significantly country to country.  Before returning with you child you will typically visit a court in that country to obtain your adoption order than names you as the child's legal parent.
  •  Most countries have a requirement for post placement progress reports that are often completed by the adoption practitioner. 

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