Teen Adoption

CHOICES is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Children and Family Development to connect teens with permanent families through adoption.

There are no unwanted teens only unfound parents.

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Basic Requirements for Adoptive Families

The prospective adoptive parents may be single or married and must:

  • be at least 21 years of age, financially stable, and responsible mature adults.
  • complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer).
  • share information regarding their background and lifestyle.
  • provide relative and non-relative references.
  • complete an application (staff will assist you, if you prefer).
  • agree to a home study which includes visits with all household members.
  • allow staff to complete a criminal history background check and an abuse/neglect check on all adults in the household.
  • attend free training to learn about issues of abused and neglected children. This training provides an opportunity for the family and MCFD to assess whether adoption is best for the family. The family may withdraw from the meetings at any time. There is no charge for the meetings.

Some Additional Adoption Requirements

In addition to the basic requirements, families who want to adopt a teen should:

  • Give an unconditional lifetime commitment to a teen
  • Be flexible as teens need love and understanding
  • Be open to community partnerships to help support you and your teen
  • Have a sense of humour

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Teens

Youth from 10 to 19 years old can be adopted. Tweens are usually from about 10 to 12 years old while teens are 13 to 19 years old. You are never too old to be adopted. Teens who age out of foster care have often commented on how much they want to have an everyday family. Many teens have relationships with their birth family, extended family, foster families and friends. What teens need are everyday families that provide unconditional commitments. Many teens have experienced extensive grief and loss in their lives, and need permanent connections to help them reach their full potential as adults. Teen adoption is happening here on the island! Ask us how teen adoption can be a part of your life.

Estimated Cost

There are no fees in the adoption process for teen adoption.

Timeframe

The homestudy through CHOICES takes approximately three months. Once your homestudy is completed and both the teen and the family have agreed on an adoption plan, you will then begin the transition period. This transition period will take as long as you and the teen need for the adoption to be successful.

Contacts

For more information about becoming an adoptive family through MCFD for a youth, contact Kirsten at CHOICES at 1-888-479-9811 or Brendan at MCFD Victoria at 250-952-4011 or if you are in Nanaimo and North or West Island, please contact your local MCFD office.


THINK TEEN ADOPTION!

Why are children and youth placed in foster homes and adoptive homes?
Children and youth are placed in adoptive homes if efforts to reunify them with their birth families are unsuccessful. Children and youth whose parental rights have been legally terminated may be adopted by relatives, a foster family, or an adoptive family.

Children and youth are placed in foster homes because they have been removed from their own families due to abuse, neglect, or other family problems that endanger their safety. The children and youth may range from infancy through 19 years of age, and may have special medical, physical, or emotional needs. The children and youth may belong to any ethnicity or race and be a part of a group of brothers and sisters who need to be placed together.

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How do I Become an Adoptive Family?

Step 1: Attend Information Meeting

You need to attend an informational meeting in your area where you can discuss the scope and requirements of being an adoptive parent. You will get basic information and questions are welcome. Your local Ministry for Children and Family Development (MCFD) office will furnish you with this information if there are no informational meetings in your area.

Step 2: Preparation and Selection

If you can meet the basic requirements, you are invited to meet with MCFD staff to decide if adopting is right for your family. You will also be assessed through a home study process. This process furnishes you with information about MCFD and the youth who come into the foster care system, as well as about adoption issues and the lifelong journey of adoption.

Step 3: Training

You will attend training to learn more about the youth available through MCFD and to assess your strengths in parenting youth. The classes also boost your knowledge and confidence to meet the challenge of taking children into your home and to be sure you are ready to follow through on the commitment.

Step 4: The Family Study

You will also be assessed through a home study process. A social worker will visit you in your home. The purpose is to discuss your personal history, family interests and lifestyle, child-care experiences and your strengths and skills in meeting a youth’s needs.

Responsibilities

Adoptive Parents:

  • provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to youth into adulthood.
  • provide for the short-term and long-term needs of youth.
  • provide for youth’s emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs, according to each youth’s developmental age and growth.

Post Adoption Support

Post adoption support is available to adoptive families to help cover the costs of special services needed by children, such as therapy, counseling, extraordinary corrective dental treatment, or medical care and supplies. The level of assistance is based on the child’s needs and availability of resources to meet those needs.

Can foster families adopt?

Many families are interested in both fostering and adopting. They agree with the agency that the children’s needs come first. In most cases, this means helping prepare children for reunification with their birth family, mentoring the birth parents, or working toward a relative or kinship placement. When termination of parental rights is in the children’s best interest and adoption is their plan, then foster parents who have cared for the children often are given the opportunity to adopt.

Once the family has completed a homestudy the transition process will begin. Both the family and the teen have to be in agreement about the teen’s adoption plan.
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The Transition Process

The Transition Process is the protocol used to move youth from their foster placements into adoptive homes. It is a protected period of time for a youth and a family to do the work each needs to do in order to enter an adoption that all of us – youth, family and workers – can trust will be permanent, unconditional and irrevocable.

Empowered Transition

The goal of an Empowered Transition is to protect – provide protection for the youth, protection for the family (and sometimes from the family) and protection for the workers. Empowered Transitions provide protection by correcting the imbalance of power intrinsic within any adult-youth relationship. The balancing of power occurs with the empowerment of the youth which, paradoxically, equally empowers the family. A youth needs to know they never have to say yes to a family. A youth can read the home study of the potential adoptive parents and look at pictures before they give their consent to any steps of the adoption process.

Maximizing Empowerment

Time: Commit to an open-ended time frame: no deadlines.

Control: The youth must make a conscious decision about whether to be adopted by the family, they are in control.

Structure: Establish clearly defined measures of progress in meeting the challenges of transition.

“Maybe”

The idea of “maybe” is the most important concept we can give to youth and to families. It is the truth: maybe the family will adopt the youth, or maybe they won’t. “Maybe” is the foundation of empowerment. Youth referring to prospective adoptive parents as “maybe mom” or “maybe dad” will help protect youth as they experience less disappointment if the adoption placement does not go through.

(Summarized from Maris Blechner’s power point presentation “Successful Adoption of Adolescents”)

Consider long term, unconditional commitments to youth. Teens deserve to have lifetime connections with a family that can offer unconditional love and support.

Contacts

For more information about becoming an adoptive family through MCFD for a youth, contact Kirsten at CHOICES at 1-888-479-9811 or Brendan at MCFD Victoria at 250-952-4011 or if you are in Nanaimo and north or west island, please contact your local MCFD office.

This material was adapted from the National Adoption Information clearinghouse.

Posters

Adoptive Families

Teens

Social Workers