Don’t Give Up
Kirsten* and Joseph* are the lucky adoptive parents of a 5 year old and a 1 year old. After trying to learn about adoption through research, they officially started their journey with a phone call to their local CAS. Excited to be making this step they were soon deflated as they were informed that to adopt an infant or toddler could take 7-10 years. Unfortunately no time was taken to help Kirsten and Joseph understand better the ages and needs of the children in care. New to adoption Kirsten and Joseph had much to learn and this opportunity was lost by the agency who merely advised them to pursue private or international adoption.
Five months later Kirsten and Joseph contacted their local CAS again with a privately completed PRIDE Training and homestudy in hand. They were told, “just because you can afford a private PRIDE training and homestudy doesn’t mean you should be able to be considered ahead of a family who may not be able to afford to do the same. We will contact you when you come up on our list to go through our intake and homestudy process”.
Determined to grow their family and feeling like age was not on their side, they concluded they needed to explore other options. While looking at international and private adoption, they decided to also attend Adoption Resource Exchanges (AREs) hoping that the child/ren they were meant to parent would come to them if they opened enough doors. As it turned out they would learn about their first adopted son at the ARE, coming home to them at 22 months of age, 11 months after they had their homestudy completed.
A year and a half after adopting their son and knowing they wanted a brother or sister to grow up with him they approached their private adoption practitioner to have their homestudy updated, as they expire after 2 years. Once their homestudy was completed they reached out to their local CAS to provide them with their updated homestudy and to let them know they were still interested in being considered as prospective adoptive parents. Again they were advised they were on the list and would be contacted for intake and a homestudy conducted when their name came up. Having been through a public adoption, Kirsten and Joseph could not understand why another homestudy would be necessary if they already had one. After all, their homestudy had been accepted by the CAS that they adopted their son from.
Given the wait indicated, they once again started to explore other options, attending an ARE and also distributing profiles to private adoption agencies and licensees. Eleven months after having their homestudy updated, Kirsten and Joseph were selected by a birthmother to adopt her baby boy. They could not believe their good fortune to be able to welcome another son into their family. A week after meeting their second adopted son, their local CAS finally contacted them for intake – more than three years later.
Kirsten and Joseph are extremely grateful for their family and have no regrets for the steps they took to welcome these boys into the hearts and home; however they feel there are improvements to be made to the public adoption system. From their experience, they would like to see more responsiveness and education provided to prospective parents that contact CAS. They would also like to see an adjusted lifespan of homestudies enforced to require post-match re-evaluation across the province. Currently, it seems to be adhoc and creating a costly and unnecessary burden on the system where homestudies expire years in advance of a match. Also, they recommend centralization of Adoption Application Intake to better serve awaiting prospective adoptive parents and awaiting children. With the advanced technologies and communication channels available today, restricting adoptive parents to dealing only with their regional CAS seems archaic when in a different CAS somewhere in the province there may be a child/ren they would be an ideal match for. These collective changes would help to match more expediently children in need of forever families with prospective qualified awaiting parents, reducing the number of qualified, competent families that give up on the process and reducing the number of children aging out of the public system.
*A pseudonym has been used in this story
Disclaimer "These stories are the perspectives of awaiting parents. Adopt4Life aims to give parents a voice, and as such stories remain unchanged even if they may appear controversial. It is the hope of Adopt4Life that by bringing awareness to the thoughts and feelings of families, together we can work to bring change that benefits everyone."