Uniting Niagara's Sexual and Gender Diverse Community

A Family is a Family is a Family….

Oct 08, 2013

Who says a “family” must have a mom, a dad, and a white picket fence? Families come in all shapes and sizes. Single parent families, blended families, kids raised by gramma… What is most important is that kids have a family to call their own.

All children need the security of a permanent family. In most cases this is the family that you are born into. However, when children must leave their birth families, they may find permanence through adoption.

These days we are experiencing a “new adoption” with the placement of a greater number of older children, sibling groups and special needs children. There is greater openness and a greater diversity of applicants.

Whether you are single, common-law, married, gay, lesbian, straight, transgendered or bi-sexual; you can offer a child permanence through adoption. Sometimes foster parents adopt the children they have been caring for.

*Marcy and Lisa are a committed couple, established in their careers and ready for a family. After completing the adoption application process, they are now the happy moms of 3 active school age brothers – thanks in part, to their willingness to consider adopting an older sibling group.

Sometimes children are placed for adoption by young people facing an unplanned pregnancy and unready for parenthood. In other cases, children become available for adoption because it is no longer safe for them to remain at home.

While Family and Children’s Services makes every effort to keep children in the care of their parents, sometimes safety concerns make it impossible to keep or return kids home. If no relatives or kin are available, adoption may be considered to secure permanence for a child.

*Bill and his partner Mark, wondered if they would be accepted by the adoption orientation group. They were relieved to find they were readily accepted by the other couples and applicants in the group. They have since adopted a little boy with special needs and the family is thriving!

The Adoption Process.

Unlike international or private adoption, there is no cost to adopting through FACS or your local children’s aid society. All applicants are screened and trained, including a home study and other references.

The process can take up to two years with no guarantee that a child will be placed with you. We are committed to finding the best fit for each child and family. An openness to consider an older child, sibling group or a child with special needs can increase the chances of a placement, thus reducing wait time.

Special needs may arise from exposure to neglect, substance abuse or other traumas. Support is provided to address any special physical, medical or emotional needs a child may have.

What happens next?

It can take 9 to 12 months after a child is placed, for an adoption to be legally finalized. Adoption is a major life change - an adoption worker assists families through the adjustment period. For those who adopt sibling groups and children over 10 years of age, financial assistance is available.

Openness with birth family members like siblings or grandparents may be expected. This is especially beneficial to older children who have existing family relationships.

In time, most families work through their “growing pains” and can’t ever imagine life without their special sons and daughters!

Can you provide a child with a “forever family”? To find out more about Adoption, call FACS at 905-937-7731 or visit www.facsniagara.on.ca.

*names have been changed for privacy reasons

- by Bernadine Qua and Ann Godfrey from Family and Children’s Services Niagara 


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