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Getting Started with Your Adoption

Image of Child Once you have made the decision that adoption is your best option for starting or enriching your family, you will face the often daunting task of choosing an agency and an adoption program. Note that the basic procedure is similar in most adoption situations involving a licensed, non-profit adoption agency. CHOICES Adoption is one of six licensed adoption agencies in BC.

To Adopt or Not to Adopt

Many parents come to adoption after years of the fertility roller coaster. The effects of infertility can be devastating on your heart, your marriage, your wallet, your mental health, your friendships, and ultimately, on your desire to parent. We encourage those of you dealing with infertility to fully explore your grieving process before starting the adoption process. It may take a while for the full effect of your infertility to take its place within you. You, your child, your partner will be best served if you do not rush into adoption until you’ve worked to accept your fertility situation. Adoption should not be seen as a cure for infertility.

Adoption may be another option for starting a family, and for the vast majority of those who adopt, it is a wonderful solution. Nonetheless, adoption cannot replace the desire to carry a child in your womb, nor should it. Adoption is an ancient and glorious way to form a family. You may believe you were meant to love and raise the child you adopt. If you believe in destiny, you may have no trouble with the idea that this was the only way you were meant to have your child.

Many parents come to adoption having already given birth to one or more children. We applaud these parents equally as we do the others. And yet we ask parents considering adoption out of humanitarian duty to think and proceed with caution. A child for life is not best addressed as a humanitarian endeavor. A large part of raising a child might be to fulfill your desire to be a parent. A larger part should be child-focused. Adopting a child should have less to do with good deeds and more to do with parenting a child.

The following are some questions we encourage you to ask yourself before you begin the adoption process:

Why do I want to be a parent?

For some, parenting is a life-long dream. The impulse starts in childhood and continues to grow throughout adolescence and early adulthood. For some, parenting is a desire that comes later in life, or may be triggered with the arrival of a partner with whom you wish to share a family. We encourage you to think carefully about the origin of your desire to parent, and what that parenting role looks like for you. Think about your role, your partner’s role (if applicable), your extended families’ roles, and the role of the child. How much of your dream to be a parent is connected to your desire to see your own progeny and carry on a family legacy? If this is the case, will your adopted child fit into this world comfortably? Will you and your family be able to accept your new child with all the mystery and richness he or she brings?

Have I spent enough time around and alone with children?

Do you have an accurate picture of the ongoing demands of parenting? Reading is an important part of parenting, but there is no substitute for hands on experiences. If you are unsure if you are up to the challenge, consider “borrowing a child of a child or relative for a weekend.

Do you know how you respond-physically as well as emotionally to prolonged periods of sleep disruption and other environmental stressors?

New parents wanting to adopt more than one child may want to consider carefully “spacing” placements to allow time for bonding and adjustment.

What commitments do you have at present? (ie. exisiting immediate and extended family needs, work or educational goals, etc) How will a child affect these commitments? Will one parent stay home?

Children need a significant period of time to form strong attachments to their primary caregiver.

What kind of child do I see myself raising, and why?

This question is important as you should make sure that your vision of the child fits the reality of the children available for adoption. Rather than focusing on certain details, try thinking about the general joys of parenthood and raising a child. How does it feel to be open to all the unknown joys and challenges your child will bring?

Have you decided what age and/or gender of the child you feel best able to parent?

We advise strongly against disrupting the birth order and will only make the exception in unique circumstances.

If the child is part of a sibling group, is additional support available to ensure that each child gets enough individual “bonding” time with their new family?

You need to consider if one or more sibling have extraordinary emotional or physical needs that make it difficult to meet the needs of the others.

Are your friends and family generally supportive of your decision to adopt?

You need to really discuss with them their views on adoption and if they are willing to lend practical assistance as needed. Adoption is most successful when friends and family are supportive and able to offer practical support.

What are my expectations of and for this child?

Of all the questions you might ask yourself, this is the biggest and the one that either helps or hinders adoptive parents. How fair is it to have expectations of a child that you’ve never met, and who you have not yet had the pleasure of loving? What do your expectations have to do with the specific needs of your child? We encourage you to expect lots of hard work and rewarding changes to your way of life, and we encourage you to expect to be amazed every day by how much a child can bring to your life.

Adopting a child

The complete adoption process includes two main components: (1) a comprehensive adoption preparation process which includes an adoption education program (this includes a mandatory one day in person seminar); (2) a family assessment and child placement and adoption completion. The adoption preparation process helps you prepare for adoptive parenting. It also helps you and the social worker to assess your readiness to adopt and raise a child. We offer counselling at all stages of the process.

What is the purpose of the adoption preparation process?

  • to help you and your assigned social worker decide whether adoption is an appropriate means for you to become a parent
  • to help you understand the effects on all parties involved in the adoption constellation
  • to help you clarify your short and long-term parental responsibilities
  • to prepare you for the lifelong experience of being parents
  • to ensure that the best interests of the child are served

Our adoption preparation materials meet the requirements of the Adoption Act and Regulations. It includes a preparation manual, which is mandatory reading and will be reviewed throughout your home study with your social worker, and a one day in person seminar.

Our role is to assist and support you in your adoption process, from start to finish.

CHOICES does not have control over decisions made by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, authorities in other countries, other agencies or organizations.

CHOICES contracts with facilitators to assist with our international adoption programs. These facilitators cannot place or arrange the placement of a child with you, or receive payment directly from you.

Each country that is party to The Hague Convention must designate a central authority to monitor requests for inter country adoption. As adoption falls under provincial or territorial jurisdiction in Canada, each province and territory has its own central authority. The federal central authority co-ordinates matters between the federal departments and the provincial or territorial central authorities for adoption. It also assists the provincial and territorial authorities with the implementation of the Hague Convention. The central authorities of the receiving province or territory and the country of origin must agree to the child's placement.

After Placement:

To register for a social insurance number, click here

To register for child tax benefit, here

For excellent medical information, as recommended highly by a family physician, visit

For BC medical services plan information:

For Employement Insurance Plan / Parental Leave information:


Adoption financing is available through the National Bank of Canada. The cost may be financed over a period of time up to 15 years.

The application is better made after you have completed the homestudy. Applying to soon results in having to resubmit documents. The bank requires confirmation that the homestudy led to approval before processing.

Parental Leave Information

For information about parental leave under the Employment Insurance legislation, prospective adoptive parents should go to

Our accountability

To ensure that we maintain high standards in our comprehensive client-oriented services, a board of dedicated volunteer directors oversees our operations. The board includes various professionals in adoption as well as birth and adoptive parents.

We have a comprehensive set of professional guidelines and standards and an up-to-date professional information service. We operate according to professional standards and guidelines set out by government licensing authorities and professional associations.

Dedicated, experienced professionals

Our social work staff and contracted social workers at CHOICES are experienced in adoption and registered with the BC Board of Registration of Social Workers.

Confidential support

We provide unbiased facilitation in the process of making well-informed decisions. Throughout the adoption process, we provide respectful, discreet support and respect each person’s right to privacy, ensuring your confidentiality.

Qualification for service

We can serve anyone who is eligible to adopt. However, we cannot guarantee approval for adoption or placement of a child.