Deciding to carry on with your pregnancy and release your child for adoption can be a major decision. You will need to think about your future and imagine how your decision will fit into your overall life plans.
Are you unsure? Take the time you need to make your decision.
Planned Parenthood Toronto is pro-choice. We believe people have the right to make their own choices about pregnancy and have the right to factual and non-judgmental information about the three options available: parenting, adoption, and abortion.
There are many myths about adoption. Some people have strong opinions about adoption and may try to pressure you into a decision. To make your own choice, it is helpful to have all the facts.
What is adoption?
- Adoption is a legal and social process that takes place when a child becomes a part of a family that is not their birth parents’ family.
- All adoptions in Ontario are approved and regulated by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.
Am I old enough to choose adoption?
- Anyone who gives birth in Ontario can choose to release their child for adoption.
Who can adopt a child in Ontario?
- Anyone over 18 in Ontario can apply to adopt a child, including a single person, common law couples, and same sex couples.
Will I have mental health problems if I choose adoption?
- No. Putting a child up for adoption can be a very serious decision that may make you feel sad and as if you have lost something. This is a normal way to feel and does not mean you have mental health problems.
Do adopted children adjust to life as well as non adopted children?
- Yes. Many different studies have shown that there are no differences between how adopted and non-adopted children adapt and respond to their life.
If I choose adoption, will I ever know what happened to my child?
- This depends on what type of adoption you choose. There are many different kinds of adoption arrangements. As the birth parent, you will have an important role in developing an adoption plan that works for you.
What are the different kinds of adoptions?
- Public adoptions in Ontario are arranged through Children’s Aid Societies.
- Private adoptions are managed through a licensed agency or individual.
- International adoptions are managed through a licensed non-profit organization.
Can I get paid for giving up my child?
- No. It is against the law in Ontario for a birth parent or anyone else to get paid in any way for releasing a child for adoption.
Can I just give my child to someone?
- No. It is against the law in Ontario for a birth parent or anyone else to give a child to someone else without going through the adoption process.
What kind of adoption arrangement should I choose?
- A confidential/closed arrangement means that you will have no contact with the child and the adoptive family.
- Information about your name or address will not be given to the adoptive family. They will only receive information such as your medical history through the agency or person who arranged the adoption.
- You might choose a closed adoption if you need privacy or closure. There will be no responsibility to communicate with the adoptive parents or be involved in the child’s life.
- A semi-open arrangement means that you will have no direct contact with the child and the adoptive family but you may be able to receive some information about the child through cards, letters or pictures through the agency or person who arranged the adoption.
- Only non-identifying information about you (such as your medical history) is provided to the adoptive family through a third party.
- Non-identifying contact between you and the adoptive family and child can be made through cards, letters and/or pictures, through a third party.
- You might choose a semi-open adoption if you want to know about the child without having to communicate with the adoptive parents or be too involved in the child’s life.
- An open arrangement means that you will meet the possible parents before they adopt the child.
- There will be direct contact between you and the adoptive family and the child. The identities of the birth parents and the adoptive parents will be fully known to each other.
- You might choose an open adoption if you want to be involved in the child’s life or expose them to their racial, ethnic or cultural heritage.
How do I release a child for adoption?
- Birth parents must register the birth of their child within 30 days of the birth. This gives the child a legal identity and ensures that your child will get a birth certificate, passport and other documents.
- The birth parents must sign (in front of a lawyer) a form which will consent to the adoption anytime after the child is 8 days old.
- If you do not know both birth parents, if one has disappeared or if the child is a result of a sexual assault, the absent parent’s rights can be waived through a court process and the adoption can proceed.
Will my child ever contact me in the future?
- The birth information and adoption records for all children who were adopted in Ontario after September 1, 2008 can be accessed by the adopted child when they turn 18. This information will include the names of both birth parents.
- The birth parents or the adopted child can apply for no contact notices if they do not wish to be contacted.
What are my legal rights?
- The person or agency who arranges the adoption must give you a chance to get legal advice before signing the consent. If you are under 18, this process must be handled through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (416-314-8000).
- After signing, both parents have 21 days to change their mind. In the meantime, the child will be placed in temporary care.
Where can I get more information about adoption?
- The Adoption Council of Ontario (416-482-0021)
- Toronto Children’s Aid Society (416-924-4646)
- Catholic Children’s Aid Society (416-395-1500)
- Jewish Family & Child Services (416-638-7800)
- Native Child & Family Services (416-969-8510)
Download Planned Parenthood Toronto’s info pamphlet on this subject: Adoption