We Met With the Adoption Agency

As promised to so many of you in my last post on adoption, here is the update on our first meeting with the adoption agency.

The meeting allowed us to clearly outline the basic steps to adoption that we will need to complete:

  • Step 1 – Meet with an adoption agency for an introductory information session.
  • Step 2/3/4* – Attend mandatory adoption weekend seminar on either domestic open adoption or international adoption or both.
  • Step 2/3/4 – Choose type of adoption – domestic open or international
  • Step 2/3/4 – Decide if adoption is a viable option for us
  • Step 4 – Initiate adoption application process – house visits, paper work, medical checks, etc.

(*Note that steps 2/3/4 can occur in any order).

Where are we in the process?

We now have officially completed step 1.

We have no idea when or if we will take step 2, 3 or 4. It is a distinct possibility that we will attend one or both weekend seminars. This will likely help us make an educated decision on what type of adoption to pursue and if either type of adoption is right for us.

So, what did we discover at our first meeting with the adoption agency?

First impressions are important. Neither of us really liked the social worker we met with. There was no particular reason, more of a feeling. She just rubbed us the wrong way.

But, we don’t think we can make a decision based on one individual, whom we may never even speak to again. The reality is, if we want to adopt, this will be the agency we use because they do over 90% of adoptions in our province which means much faster placements.

What we learned was virtually nothing! I guess that’s what I get for doing my homework and learning from other adoptive parents already (see an earlier post on what we’ve learned so far in our adoption research here). So, here are the few new tidbits of info we picked up:

  • If we choose international adoptions, they only facilitate them. This means if we choose international we will have to secure the services of another agency to work through the other countries legal requirements. We will have to guide ourselves through the process with very little help. We can chose to pursue both avenues in an attempt to speed up the process, but obviously that costs more and there are no guarantees.
  • The most popular country to do international adoption is the USA. Adoptions through the USA are also open adoptions and cost drastically more because the adoptive parents often pay for the birth mothers medical costs. Haiti and South Africa are the other current countries that people go to. International adoption can take just as long, or longer than domestic open adoptions
  • They do open adoptions for older children when the parents (for whatever reason) decide they can no longer care for the child. These children could be a few months old or even older. I had no idea this would happen.

We discussed some of our biggest fears, and they did very little to put us at ease.

  • Medical issues such as fetal alcohol syndrome or drug addictions. The response was this can happen, and may not show up until later in life. You do have the option to select the level of alcohol or drug consumption that occurred during pregnancy. And, apparently children born with drug addictions actually fare rather well in life and isn’t something we should be concerned about. This was fascinating to us, and we are not so sure that we can just trust this is fact.
  • What happens with over-bearing birth parents? Does this happen? The response was yes, it happens, and is a risk you have to accept. It doesn’t help all the time. In fact, most of the time they find the adoptive parents end up wanting more involvement then the birth parents are willing to give.
  • Providing the inner-most details of our lives to the adoption agency and birth parents – i.e. financial information and address. The response was this is just a risk you have to take if you choose to adopt.

So, the final thing we learned was that the next available mandatory weekend seminar are in July and October. The July date has one spot left. This means, we either decide to attend the seminar ASAP or we wait 3 months. A decision must be made and must be made rather quickly.

Tick Tock….Tick Tock….Tick Tock….

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29 Comments on “We Met With the Adoption Agency

  1. I find it fascinating (as someone who lives in the US) that we would be an international source. I mean, obviously there are kids in need everywhere, but I’ve always assumed the red tape of adopting an American baby was the reason so many people here adopted elsewhere.


    • We were actually totally surprised by this – in fact, so surprised that I made her repeat the sentence! For Canadians, the US is one of the easiest international countries to adopt from. From our perspective the draw back is that it would be some sort of open adoption, where as if you adopt from other countries they are almost always closed adoptions.


      • Which seems weird since as an American I can adopt a US born child and have it be closed, strange. Very bizarre.


      • That’s what we thought!! I think our initial reaction is, if we are going to adopt internationally, why would we go to the USA, when its identical to adopting here but will cost 4-5 times more?
        Needless to say, we are still confused about this one!


      • Yeah the US is hardly “international” in that sense. Either you gotta take a plane over water or it’s domestic, lol. I also find it interesting that the US even is open to other countries when the waiting list is SO LONG for Americans!


  2. From the “for what it’s worth” file…one of my three kiddos was born to a birth mom who made – how shall I put this delicately – some bad decisions during pregnancy. And while there is a risk that some things may show themselves later on down the road, I guarantee that you would not know which one it was unless we told you. Obviously, I’m no doctor, and you should clearly do what you are comfortable with, but risk factors don’t always equal reality.

    Also, we adopted our oldest when she was seven months old. While we really wanted a newborn, it turned out great. We had six months of medical history to review in our decision making process and we didn’t have to endure the “joy” of a newborn who is awake every two hours. Yet, she was young enough that bonding was never an issue and we were there for all of the big “firsts”.


    • Thanks for your perspective as an adoptive parent!
      We will definitely be doing our homework on the alcohol and drug effects so that we know where our comfort level actually falls. If there is one thing we are good at, its doing our research!
      Also, thanks for sharing your perspective about adopting a child at seven months old. I don’t think we are opposed to this, we just were not aware that it occurs through private adoption agencies (we ignorantly assumed older children would be adopted through government care).


  3. Thank you for sharing this information and your fears.

    On fear #1 and the trust you put in the answer about kids born out of drug addiction: I used to do respite care for foster kids, many of whom were born addicted to narcotics (non-prescription mostly). I’m no dr and I didn’t review medical or educational records but from personal observation I’d agree that those kids on the whole fared much better and seemed less medically impaired after one year of age than the FAS and FAE kids. I say after the first year because there can be very painful and challenging effects on infants from being born addicted to certain drugs (many drugs prevent their GI track from operating normally at first and this can be painful for the infant and challenging/time-consuming to treat and diagnose depending on the level of awareness of the birth mother’s history).

    Good luck, whatever you decide and when!


    • Thanks for sharing your experience and knowledge! If we pursue adoption, the drug addictions this is one thing we will be doing a lot of research on and talking to our doctor about to get his opinion. So, I greatly appreciate your insight!


  4. I was not adopted but I dated someone who was. They were adopted from Philadelphia (I live in Canada) it was a closed adoption but they were born addicted to cocaine. My exes mother had to stay there while the baby was going through withdrawals but after that was done ( took a couple weeks) the baby was completely normal and grew up to have perfect health. You would never have known as it played no part in their life.


    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience!! So far, almost all the comments I’ve received today have been exactly like this. Clearly we will need to do our homework to get the facts straight to ensure we don’t make a decision based purely out of fear.


  5. I’m just reading through all your comments and it sounds very promising for babies born to drug addicted mothers. I had no idea! I would have thought it would be worse than FAS/FAE not better so that sounds very promising! Your concerns about open adoption and overbearing birth parents is very valid though and I’m sorry the social worker wasn’t able to give you more peace of mind about it. Is closed adoption not an option with this agency? Sending you strength as you work through this and decide if you’re ready to start step 2.


  6. The mental strength is what you need the most. A friend of mine adopted from China, years ago. It took her about 3.5 years and she almost wanted to give up.


  7. From what I understand, there are only two states that Canadians adopt newborn Americans from at this time. Those are: New York State and Florida. And all of the newborns adopted to Canada are either African American or Bi-Racial. There may be a long list for an American to adopt an American newborn, but that list is only long because the vast majority are waiting for a Caucasian newborn (and more willing to adopt a child of Hispanic decent than African American).


  8. I’ve had a heart for adoption for a while now and have done a ton of research over the years (domestic newborn, foster care adoption and international). It is crazy to think that domestic newborn adoptions in Canada are between $12,000-$20,000 and to adopt a newborn from the US is estimated at $60,000! I have found this country chart interesting and helpful if you are exploring international options: https://www.adoption.on.ca/international-adoption


  9. Lots of comments from me today 🙂 I’m a social worker and have worked with clients with FAS and FAE. I could say so much but not sure what you already know or what you’d like to know more about. If you have questions down the road, feel free to contact me. Re: drug use… the popular opinion that alcohol abuse during pregnancy is worse than drug use tends to be true. But it’s not true for every case. What I’ve found is that those who abuse heavy drugs often also drink alcohol before or after using.


    • Thank you so much for all the information! The agency we met with didn’t mention that only 2 US states are currently available to adopt from, so that is good to know. But honestly, I don’t think we will chose to adopt from the US. If we choose international, I think we’d chose a country that at least requires us to fly over an ocean where children are in dire need. (It’s hard to believe I’m already evaluating which country is most in need – it seems weird to be even thinking that way because clearly all children need a family to love them).
      Also, thanks for pointing out that a lot of people who abuse heavy drugs also drink. That makes a lot of sense. And a really good thing to keep in mind as we continue to research FAE/FAS and drugs. Thanks for the offer for more information – I may take you up on that eventually.
      Thanks for the link – although we don’t live in Ontario, I would assume it would be close in price, if not identical. If we choose domestic open adoption through the agency we met with, it will cost between $13,000-$14,000. International can be anywhere from $20,000-$60,000. And, since we are not made of money, obviously these costs will factor into our final decision.
      Thanks again! I greatly appreciate you taking the time to provide me with such great information!


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