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Important Adoption Issues

Who can adopt in Ontario?

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age and over and a resident of Ontario.
  • A single person
  • A couple, married or common law
  • A spouse in the case of a stepparent adoption
  • Two persons jointly as permitted by the court (including same sex couples)

Do we need a home study to adopt in Ontario?

Yes. All applicants must complete the home study process (SAFE) and an education program (PRIDE). Ontario residents may have a home study completed by a Children’s Aid social worker or pay for a private adoption practitioner to do their home study. The home study takes approximately 2 to 4 months to complete and your social worker will explore a variety of topics with your family. These topics may include the following:

  • Motivation for adopting and understanding of adoption’s life long issues
  • Strengths and limitations in parenting styles/attitudes
  • Stability of relationships (with partners, family, friends) and sources of support
  • Financial and employment situation, health status, lifestyle, home and neighbourhood environments, interests and hobbies
  • Understanding of open and closed adoption and their implications
  • The age, ethnicity, health status and other characteristics of children that would best match the applicants.
  • Understanding of sharing adoption information with the child

You will also be required to complete documentation that includes medical reports, proof of marriage (if applicable), police clearance reports, child welfare record checks, home safe checks, letters of reference and a financial statement.

Who must give their consent for an adoption in Ontario?*

  • A birth mother
  • A birth father
  • A child who is 12 years of age or older must consent.

* NOTE: Consent for an adoption applies to situations where biological parents willingly place their child(ren) for adoption. For children who are crown wards and legally free to be adopted, the only consents required is from the Minister and the child (if he/she is 12 years of age or older).

When can a birth parent(s) consent be given?

The consents can only be signed by birth parent(s) when the child is 8 days old.

Can adoption consents be withdrawn?

Yes. A birth parent has 21 days after the consent is signed to revoke consent and have the child returned to them. A consent to adoption cannot be signed until seven days after the baby’s birth.

What about the rights of birth fathers in Ontario?

If the birth father is acknowledging paternity, has lived with or supported the mother, he must also sign the consent for adoption.

Can prospective adoptive parents advertise their desire to adopt?

Yes. In Ontario, families who are hoping to adopt can network and advertise for adoption.

Can the agency or adoptive family help with a birth parent’s expenses?

No. In Ontario it is illegal for a birth parent or third party to receive payment for the adoption. It’s illegal for an adoptive parent to give, or offer to give payment to a birth parent or a non-licensed intermediary.


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