Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

    1. Planning for a permanent family
    2. What is adoption?
    3. Who can adopt?
    4. Who are the children?
    5. Making the best match
    6. How do I adopt?
    7. More about adoption?
    8. Make a difference in a child's life
    9. Older children and youth need lifelong connection too
    10. What is openness in adoption?

Planning for a permanent family
Children and youth need to have roots. To experience healthy development and create a sense of self-worth, children need to feel a sense of belonging, with a permanent family who cares for them.

The reality is that for some kids, this is not possible, and children come into the care of Children’s Aid. Sometimes it is because they have parents who are not able to provide a safe living environment.

The initial focus of child welfare work is on ensuring child safety while maintaining the child in the family home whenever possible. Children’s Aid Societies (CASs) and social workers provide support to families to prevent the child from coming into care.

If a child does come into care, CASs continue to provide support so that the family, if possible, can be re-united.
When a child comes into the permanent care of a CAS, the CAS must immediately begin to create a Permanency Plan for the child’s extended future. This plan may include living with kin, legal custody or adoption.

Customary care is also an option for First Nation, Métis and Inuit children, which allows a child to live with a caregiver identified by the child’s community that may include relatives, Aboriginal community members, or adults with whom the child has a bond.

In Ontario, once you have completed training and home study and have been approved to adopt, you may adopt through the public system (local CAS) or by working with an inter-country adoption agency or private adoption agency. Ontario has a portable system to enable families to be matched to a child anywhere in the provincial foster care system and complete a public or private adoption.

Foster parents also play an important role in helping provide families for children.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

What is adoption?

Adoption is a compassionate gift of family to a child (by “child” we mean children and youth up to the age of 18) in need of a permanent, loving relationship. Adoption creates security and acceptance. Adoption is the legal process that gives children a new family when their birth families are unable to care for them. It is intended to provide children with the stability and lifelong security that comes from a permanent home.

In Ontario, there are several ways in which you can adopt, and people often explore options in all three systems:

  • The public adoption system (Children’s Aid)
  • A private adoption agency
  • An inter-country adoption agency

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

Who can adopt?

People wanting to adopt understand the importance of providing children and youth with a safe, loving and nurturing environment – a home where children can reach their full potential. Adoptive parents can be individuals and couples, people unable to have children of their own, parents who already have children and want to add to their growing family, as well as adults whose first choice for building a family is through adoption.

People from diverse cultural backgrounds, single people or same-sex couples are encouraged to consider adoption. People who are open to parenting special needs children, sibling groups or older children are also encouraged to consider adoption.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

Who are the children?

Children range in age from infants to teens and come from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds. Some are siblings, waiting for a family who can keep them together. Others are special needs children who require parents willing to learn the skills to care for them. Sixty percent of children available for adoption are over the age of 13. Although some children may have challenges, they all have one thing in common – a need for a safe and loving home and lifelong connections.
For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

Making the best match

Adoption placements are based on the child’s needs, so the waiting time depends on the best possible match for the child and the adoptive family. If the match is right, the process can happen very quickly!

Once the decision is made, there are several visits to allow the child to get to know the new family and surroundings before actually moving into the home.

By law, adoptions are legally finalized typically six months or more after the child moves into his or her new home. The length of time depends on the needs of the child and the adoptive family. This adjustment period allows the child and family time to work out any challenges that might arise.

When everyone is ready to complete the adoption, the  CAS or private adoption practitioner applies to the court for an adoption order. After the court order is made, adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents and the child is a legal member of their family.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

How do I adopt?

To find out if adoption is right for you, contact your local Children’s Aid, private adoption practitioner or By working together, a decision can be made about whether adoption is the right plan for you as well as the kind of child(ren) or youth you could parent.

The process for adopting a child is one that is carefully planned with the child’s well-being in mind. Parents will undergo a home study that involves several visits to their home . During the home study period, parents will be encouraged to assess their own attitudes and abilities. Training, education and ongoing support will be offered to parents to make sure the adoption process is successful.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

More about adoption

Every child and youth deserves a family that will love and nurture them always. For some children, the family they need comes to them through adoption.

It’s all about the right match.

Matching the needs of the child to the family and vice versa.

You don’t have to be rich to adopt.

You do not have to be wealthy to adopt; you just need to be sure that you can meet the needs of the child(ren). CASs do not charge fees for the homes studies, training or finalizing adoptions.

Every child needs a family.

Race, culture and ethnicity are some but not all of the factors assessed when trying to determine the best match for a child.

Every child wants a family.

Children want and need families and lifelong connections.

Every child is unique.

While every child is unique, the one thing that each child has in common is the need for a family and lifelong connections.

Everyone benefits from adoption.

There can be nothing as rewarding as providing a child with a permanent home.

It takes time.

To find the right match, a home study and training must be completed.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

Make a difference in a child's LIFE

  • Adoption may be an option for almost 7,000 children and youth in care.
  • In 2013- 14, there were 977 adoptions finalized.
  • Almost 2,300 children are on paths to permanency through legal custody, kinship care and customary care.
  • Of the children adopted 67% were ages 0-5, 19% were ages 6-9, 9% were ages 10-12 and 5% were ages 13+
  • Older children need families too. Sixty percent of the children and youth available for adoption are age 13+

Statistics sourced from OACAS data

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

Older children and youth need lifelong connections too

While 60% of the children and youth available for adoption are age 13 and up, this age group constituted only 5% of the children and youth adopted last year. Older youth may have experienced challenges, but they too need families to care for them and help them transition successfully to adulthood.

For more information on adoption in Ontario, check out these links:

What is openness in adoption

Openness in adoption is about creating positive relationships for the benefit of the child or youth. Through the use of openness orders and arrangements, Children’s Aid and families can help limit loss of relationships to help children and youth maintain connections with the important people in their lives. Openness within adoption is a way to preserve and nurture meaningful relationships with family, friends and individuals who are significant and prominent figures in the child or youth’s life.

For more information about adoption, contact your local Children's Aid.

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Find out more about the types of adoption