What types of adoptions are there?
There are five main types of adoptions in BC. The first is Domestic adoption, which usually refers to the private adoption of a newborn when a birth mother chooses the adoptive parents. Next there are Direct Placement Adoptions, which are also done privately, and usually involve the adoption of a family member or known child. International adoption is the private adoption of a child outside of Canada ranging in ages from newborn to 18. The final private option is embryo adoption, when a family adopts an embryo, goes through pregnancy, and births the child. The public route, known as Ministry Adoptions, is when children are adopted out of the foster care system through the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Children are typically between the ages of 3-18, but younger children are occasionally available, and special needs are common. All private adoptions in BC must be completed through a private adoption agency, and public adoptions must be completed through the Ministry of Children and Families. Websites for these agencies are available on our links page.
How much does adoption cost?
There are many factors that can affect the cost of an adoption, such as the type, the country, and more. Ministry adoptions are the only route that requires no fees. These are done through the government and usually having nothing more than small fees such as a criminal record check or occasionally travel, if you are matched with a child outside of your community. Domestic adoptions are done through private agencies and can range from $15,000 up to $30,000 depending on the circumstances. International adoptions vary the most. Depending on the country, these adoptions can run from roughly $20,000 all the way up to $80,000. The average cost, however, is usually around $30,000. There are many financial solutions such as grants, fundraising, and loans, that are available to assist with these costs. For more information on finances please contact us or Abba Canada.
How long does adopting take?
This can differ drastically depending on the route taken. In general, most adoptions can be done in roughly two years. Some factors may lengthen or shorten this time period. Certain countries have long waitlists that are several years long, and domestic adoptions have been known to have long waitlists due to the high rate of waiting adoptive parents and the low rate of newborns coming up for adoption. For more specific timelines we encourage you to research your specific country of choice or contact us for more information.
What are the requirements to adopt?
Each type of adoption has different requirements and they often change. It is recommended to research various routes and their requirements. For example, Ministry adoptions have a minimum age requirement of 19, while some international countries require you to be 30. Some countries allow single parents to adopt, while others do not. Some require certain financial requirements and health requirements, and again, others do not. Some countries will only work with parents who have no children; some have limits of 2, while others have no limits. It is important to ensure you meet the requirements before you move forward.
What does the adoption process look like?
Most adoptions begin with an education component. Each route approaches this differently, from an online seminar, to a weekend workshop, to a 10 week long course. This information is vital in equipping parents to navigating the many complexities involved in adoption. Once the education piece is completed, a formal application to adopt is completed. Once the application is completed, a home study is done. This can take between 3-6 months and involves a series of interviews, usually in the home and/or agency office, getting to know the parents, their history, their beliefs, their parenting styles, and their desires related to adoption. Once a home study is completed in the Ministry route, they are placed on “active” to be matched with a child. In domestic adoptions, a family binder is made up for prospective birth parents to review when choosing adoptive parents. For international, a “dossier” is prepared, including translation, medical and financial documents, legal documents, photos of the house, and more. This is then forwarded to the country of choice where the dossier is inserted into an active wait list waiting for a match. Each route and each country may differ slightly but this is the general process. Once a match is made parents carefully make the decision whether to accept the referral, and then move forward with placement. Some countries require several visiting trips before children can come home. Once a child is home, several post-placement visits are usually required, including a social worker visit and recent photos.
Are there any health concerns when adopting a child?
Before moving forward with an adoption, parents discuss which health concerns or special needs they are open to. Many needs, however, are unavoidable. There are certainly healthy children available for adoption, but many international adoptees suffer from the effects of institutionalization from living in an orphanage. Common health concerns and special needs to be aware of include: malnutrition, parasites, global delays, HIV +, institutionalization, FASD, down syndrome, cleft palate, missing digits, or club foot, to name a few. In Ministry adoptions FASD is one of the most commons special needs. Health concerns and special needs are usually included in referral documents and parents can bring these diagnoses to their pediatrician for review before moving forward.
Are children waiting for adoption actually orphans?
Many people think that only orphans are available for adoption. By definition, and orphan is technically a child with only one living parent. There are many reasons, however, why children come up for adoption. Orphan status from the death of both parents is certainly one reason, but there are many other reasons both locally and internationally. Some parents lose custody of their children due to abuse or neglect. Some parents choose not to parent for various reasons, and many parents are unable or unwilling to parent children with special needs. There are various reasons children come up for adoption but it is always important to research each individual case in order to ensure ethical adoptions.
How long do kids in care typically stay with you?
Kids coming into foster care can stay anywhere from 1 day to 18 years. The average stay in care of most children, however, is two years. The goal of foster care is always to try and achieve reunification with family, and when not possible, permanency is sought. When committing to foster care it is important to remember that there are no definitive answers on how long a child might stay.
How old are kids in foster care?
Children in foster care can be as little as newborn and as old as 18 years old. Children one years old and younger must be placed in a Safe Baby approved foster home, and kids with special needs are placed in specialized “leveled” homes with more training and experience. Foster parents can state a preferred age range they are open to fostering. Some homes prefer to foster teens, some babies, and some young children. In addition to specifying age, foster parents can also specify gender.
Why do children come into foster care?
Children come into foster care for many reasons. Sometimes a family might be in the hospital and have no extended family or friends to care for them during their illness. Other times families may voluntarily place their children in foster care during a challenging season of life. Other times, however, children are brought into care due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. Whatever the reason, they are all children who require a safe, stable and loving environment to care for them during their time of need.
What do I need in order to be a foster parent?
The main requirement to become a foster parent is to have a separate bedroom with a window, to complete and have approved a home study, and be able to show you are a capable home for providing care to a child. Training is provided before and immediately after becoming a foster parent, with addition training expected long term.
Are foster parents paid?
Fostering is not considered employment income and fostering should not be considered a replacement for employment. There is a maintenance payment provided to foster families to cover the direct cost of raising a child and specialized foster parents are provided with an additional payment. To see a rate schedule please go to for more information.
Can foster parents adopt?
Often a child in foster care is unable to return home and may become available for adoption. Foster parents are often considered when making an adoption plan due to their attachment with the child. Other factors are also considered and it is important to be aware of this from the beginning. When a foster parent chooses to adopt, the child does not have to undergo any further transitions and it is a beautiful opportunity to maintain a bond. It is important to note, however, that if you are purely interested in adoption, foster-to-adopt is not the most appropriate route. Foster parents are specifically trained to work with birth families and reunification is always the primary goal. If your goal is to adopt rather than to foster, then please refer to our adoption FAQ.