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Pathways to permanency

Learn about the meaning of permanency, and different ways of creating it for children and youth. The term “permanency” means different things to different people.  Within the context of child welfare, permanency includes a concept called the Four Dimensions of Permanence, which are relational, cultural, physical and legal permanency. This video reviews each dimension of […]

Meet the McKinney family

The McKinney family of three and their dog.

Four years ago, Erin McKinney shared her story with the Belonging Network about her experience of adopting N, her second cousin. Their story continues as Erin shares updates about their lives as N transitions into adulthood. Erin’s unwavering support and commitment have nurtured N’s accomplishments, from graduating high school to landing his first job and […]

Meet Jan Radford

A person holds a piece of white paper with two rainbow handprints and a red heart painted on it. A rainbow pride flag and a trans pride flag are in the background.

Adopting from Romania in the 1990s After four years of attempting to get pregnant through artificial means, Jan and her partner at the time, Lindsey, decided to give up on starting a family. “[We decided] we’ll just spend the college fund and have fun,” Jan says of their decision, laughing. But soon after, they learned […]

How adoptees celebrate Mother’s Day

Little girl and woman at the beach

Mother’s and Father’s Day can be difficult celebrations for adoptive families to navigate. In this article Kira, a 21-year-old who was born in China and adopted by a Canadian family, shares how her family celebrates, and how they acknowledge the importance of her birth family. Origins Happy Mother’s Day to all the future, present, and […]

Regional resource guide: Connecting you to your community

A family of four, with a toddler girl holding a crayon. Both parents and their younger daughter are looking and smiling.

Welcome to our updated Regional Resource Guide! We’re gone through and updated the guide with new additions (look for the *new* marker), and corrections. This guide is split into five sections: provincial, Coast/Fraser, Kootenays/Thompson-Cariboo/Okanagan, North, and Vancouver Island. This guide focuses on community resources and not-for-profit organizations.

New Beginnings: Mini podcast series

A young girl wearing a hat and smiling with her eyes closed, one hand covering half of her face.

Tune into our podcast below to hear from Isla, a birth mom; Sam, an adoptee; and Thomas, an adoptive dad. This three-part podcast follows the experience of each character as they navigate their way through placement day.  Placement day is a complex milestone for those in the adoption process. On this day, the child moves […]

Adoption & permanency 101

A family of three--two moms and their son--cuddles together on a carpeted floor in front of a bed.

This free digital guide explains adopting through the Adopt BC Kids program, intercountry adoption, local infant adoption, and other forms of permanency, including guardianship, custom adoption, and relative adoption. You’re probably here because you’re thinking about adopting. Maybe you’ve come to adoption through unforeseen circumstances or maybe you’ve always known that adoption would be a […]

School and adoption: Navigating the education system

A group of school kids with backpacks, smiling.

This free digital guide includes information about Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings, trauma in classrooms, how to talk to teachers about adoption, and more! Learn how you can help your children cope at school, and what advice to give to teachers.

Meet the Yuen family

The Yuens in front of an "I (heart) China" sign

Tell us about your family! We have one biological daughter (who recently got married) and two children adopted from China. Our first adoption was in October 2007 when we adopted a baby girl and our second adoption was in July 2010 when we adopted a little four-and-a-half-year-old boy. What was your experience like with international […]

Adoption registries in BC

A light-skinned man with dark hair, glasses, and a goatee hugs an older man with grey hair who is balding. The younger man has a big smile on his face.

The Adoption and Permanency Branch of the Ministry of Children and Family Development is responsible for the operation of five adoption registries. These registries assist members of the public who are connected to an adoption that occurred in BC or where BC was involved in an intercountry adoption. Here’s a quick overview of the role […]

Meet the Domonkos family

The two Domonkos children.

We are so happy to announce that the Domonkos family are the first-place winners of our 2020 Faces of Family contest! Congratulations to the Domonkos’! They have won a Ricoh Theta V 360° camera, generously donated by our sponsor Broadway Camera. Visit them today for all your camera and video needs! Read more about the Domonkos […]

Meet the Keno family

Heather Keno and her two sons.

Heather always knew she would adopt. She grew up in a busy household with seven other siblings, five of them adopted. At 26 she took the plunge to adopt as a single and has never looked back. Now, with two adopted sons with down syndrome, Heather lives a full life. Here, we get a glimpse […]

Meet the Whitehead family

Meet the Whitehead family

The Whiteheads adopted their son, Thomas, as a baby, and while he was born premature and with health complications, he has grown up into a healthy, sports-loving teen. The Whiteheads have an open relationship with the birth family, and that has helped them to keep their son close to his Indigenous roots. This is their adoption story.  Can you […]

Meet the Giesbrecht family

The Giesbrecht family.

Jamie and Tyler Giesbrecht always wanted a big family, but for a while it didn’t seem to be happening naturally. They started fostering, which turned into adoption, and today they have the big family they always dreamed of! This is their adoption story. Can you briefly describe your family? We are a farm family living […]

Predictable adjustments

The back of a little boy sitting on the floor with some toys.

It is common for children who have spent time in care to release their feelings of grief and loss when they feel they are in a safe place. When the child begins to release these feelings the family will begin to feel it in the household. This feeling is referred to as inducement, you will […]

Finding (some of) my roots

Roots of a big tree.

Another adult adoptee shares here story of searching for her birth family, and finding roots that, while limited, help ground her.  I was born in December 1953, when my birth mother was almost 30 years old. I always knew I was adopted. I looked like my adopted family on the outside but I didn’t feel […]

Meet the Yrjana family (again!)

Meet-the-Yrjana-family-again.

Jussi and Colleen Yrjana adopted two beautiful daughters from Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 (learn about their adoption story in this article from the spring 2013 issue of Focus on Adoption). Now, as well as their two adopted daughters, three grown children, and five grandchildren, they are also a foster family. This is their […]

A shower of love

A photo of Heather Haynes with her daughter.

Communities of friends and family love to celebrate with one another. We celebrate graduation. We celebrate marriage. We celebrate pregnancy. But how do we celebrate adoption, especially when the child is not a baby? Here’s how Heather Haynes did it. Every family deserves a celebration As an adoptive parent, I missed having a party when […]

We Are Adopted: A community for adoptees

We Are Adopted logo

We Are Adopted is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving and promoting the interests of adopted people of all ages. They support the exploration of personal and shared experiences for adopted and fostered people through regular meetups, workshops, speakers, resources, and community connections. Visit them and connect at weareadopted.ca. We Are Adopted was created in response […]

My search story

Silhouette of a woman watching the sunrise over the ocean horizon.

This is an article about the challenges and complexities of searching and reconnecting with a birth parent, and learning to cope when things don’t work out the way you’d hoped they would. I was born in 1973, relinquished at birth and adopted as an eight month old infant. I was born healthy in all respects, […]

My life with FASD

A little blonde girl covering half of her face with a maple leaf.

People with FASD struggle with lifelong behaviour and learning problems. In this article, one young adoptee shares her story of life with FASD. All names have been changed. What assumptions do you make when you see someone in a wheelchair? Or with a hearing aid or really thick glasses? What if they have a red […]

10 lessons being adopted taught me

A young woman with long blonde hair walks into an autumn woods, wearing a jacket.

In this article, originally shared on the Lost Daughters website, Lynn Grubb shares some of the key lessons and outlooks on life she discovered as an adopted person. 1. I learned about being a minority Although my skin colour is that of the majority, I learned early in life that I was part of a minority group. […]

Tax matters: how to claim the adoption tax credit

A hand holding a calculator and a pen in front of a laptop and papers in the background.

It’s everyone’s favourite time of year again: tax time! This year a reader asked us for help understanding how to claim Canada’s adoption tax credit. In this article, adoptive dad and financial professional John Hakkarainen returns for the third year in a row—this time, to explain the nuts and bolts of Line 313. What is […]

The open adoption grid: A new dimension of openness

Lori Holden literally wrote the book on open adoption (The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole). In this article, she presents a new way of thinking about openness. How shall we think of open adoption? I bet if you asked a bunch of people who know about adoption what open […]

Fathers’ Day, shared: making room for newfound family

Two men shaking hands.

Janet was abandoned at birth outside a hospital in northern BC. In 2017, she found four half-siblings who were also abandoned as babies by the same mother. Through DNA testing, she learned the identity of her deceased biological mother and her biological father, Emil Weinreich. Janet met Emil for the first time just over a […]

Bif Naked’s adoption story: “I’ve been really lucky”

Bif Naked is a member of a lot of communities. Rock and roller, vegan, Canadian, animal lover, breast cancer survivor, humanitarian, adoptee, and author (her memoir, I, Bificus, came out in 2016 and is available from the Belonging Network’s library). Yes, Bif Naked, also known as Beth, is an adoptee and proud of it. In […]

Families with Children from China BC

Roots of a big tree.

Families with Children from China BC supports families throughout British Columbia who have adopted from China. In this article, FCCBC co-chair Sheila shares more about their story and how you can get involved. Tell us a little bit about FCCBC FCCBC was founded more than 20 years ago by David Robinson and John Bowen, two […]

Meet the Ewasiuk-Pohl family

Family of three enjoying the beach at sunset.

In BC, approximately half of  the adoptions that take place every year are foster parents adopting their foster kids. In this article, you’ll meet the Ewasiuk-Pohl family, and get a glimpse into that world. Ten kids and counting Long-time foster dad Russell Pohl sums his family up in one word: FAB. It’s short for fabulous, […]

What adoptees need from their parents

The Adopted Voice column was inspired by the #FlipTheScript hashtag campaign, which draws attention to the importance of adoptee voices, especially during Adoption Awareness Month. In this issue, we hear from Catherine Moore, who is both an adoptee and adoptive mother. Adoption is our common ground I’m the co-founder of We Are Adopted, a non-profit […]

Employment insurance and adoption

Employment Insurance form on a wooden surface.

This is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in Focus on Adoption several years ago. It explains parental benefits in Canada and why adoptive families currently don’t qualify for maternity leave. Under the current Employment Insurance (EI) legislation, biological mothers are entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave and either 35 weeks […]

Supporting LGBTQ2S+ youth in adoption and foster care

Download this free guide to learn about how to understand and help 2SLGBTQIA+ young people in your care. Approximately 20 percent of high school students today identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer (or questioning), intersex, asexual, and gender non-conforming (2SLGBTQIA+). Among youth in government care and adoptive families, the numbers are even higher. […]

Guardianship: A different option for permanency

A child of about six holds a teddy bear and smiles gently. Behind her, a man and a woman sit across the desk from a lawyer in a suit.

Guardianship is a court process based on the Family Law Act that offers a way for anyone to create permanency for a child by becoming their guardian. This article explores its many similarities to adoption and its key differences. What is guardianship? Becoming a guardian means that you are responsible for all the decisions, care, […]

Adoptees and suicide risk

A teenage girl with pink hair and a sad expression is sitting on gray stone stairs.

Adoptees are four times more likely to attempt suicide than non-adoptees. There’s no easy way to talk about this topic, but talk about it we must. As the adoptive mom of four young adults — two sons adopted as babies and twin daughters adopted at 6 years old — I know what joy adoption can […]

Parental leave for guardians: One woman’s battle for benefits

A child is sitting in front of a woman. The woman is looking at him and holding his hands in a caring way.

When a child joins a new family, everyone needs time to adjust and attach. That’s why parental leave and benefits exist. Unfortunately, not all new parents qualify for these benefits. In this article, Willow Yamauchi shares her experience and explains what needs to change so families like hers aren’t excluded in their times of need. […]

Grandmother to guardian

A grandmother hugging her teenage granddaughter

A growing number of grandparents in BC are living with and raising their grandchildren. In this story, a grandmother shares her very personal experience with becoming the legal guardian of her daughter’s child. To protect the privacy of her daughter and grandchild, names have been redacted. Stuck in the system I remember getting the call […]

Two real mothers: when openness hurts

In the last few decades, openness in adoption has become the norm. Professional research and the personal experiences of adoptees and birth parents support the idea that some degree of openness is usually best for everyone, even in adoptions from foster care. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, though. In this article, Sarah, an adoptive […]

Canadians and adoption: New study reveals what we really think

Hands of a woman and child with a family figure on a light background, symbolizing adoption.

In 2017, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption released a ground-breaking new study of Canadian attitudes and behaviours towards adoption and foster care. The comprehensive document is packed with research and insights, but since it’s also almost 80 pages long, we’ve put together this brief overview of its key findings. Canada loves adoption Awareness of […]

Somatic therapy: A new approach to adoption trauma

A pebble tower on a rocky beach.

For more than 25 years, Catherine has worked in and with the adoption community as a therapist, an adoptee, and an adoptive mom, always searching for a truly effective approach to adoption therapy. In this article, she explains an approach that she’s found to be highly effective for issues related to adoption trauma. The lasting […]

The journey of a lifetime: Why adoptive families need support throughout the years

The hands of a child on top of the hands of an adult and a senior person.

When potential adoptive parents begin their journey, they’re buoyed by the enthusiasm and support of others. Once they bring their child or children home and make it through the first few months, though, that support tends to dissolve. In this article, an experienced adoptive mom explains why adoptive families need support throughout their entire journey, […]

FASD: It’s not just the brain

A hand grasping a miniature plastic brain model.

Research reveals that prenatal alcohol exposure impacts the entire body, not just the brain. A whole-body disorder For the past several decades, the widely held assumption in the field of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) research has been that a fetus’s brain is by far more vulnerable to the damaging effects of alcohol exposure than […]

Meet the Ash family

Two young boys happily playing in the snow and smiling.

There are hundreds of teenagers in foster care who need permanent homes. In this interview Paula*, a mom who’s adopted four youth, shares her journey.*all names have been changed to protect the family’s privacy. Tell me about your family. I live in a small, coastal town. I’m a single mom. I have seven children: Naomi […]

Mother’s Day

Spring’s here, and Mother’s Day is around the corner. In this section, we offer a variety of perspectives on how to celebrate when adoption is part of your story. When Mother’s Day hurts Holidays are a natural time to reflect on family and the past. For obvious reasons, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are extremely […]

DNA tests and adoption

Image of the DNA

As we celebrate the Belonging Network’s 40th anniversary, we’re reflecting on the past but also looking ahead to the future. This article explores one scientific advancement that’s already changing the world of adoption: DNA tests. The end of closed adoptions Open adoption has been championed for over 30 years, but the level and frequency of […]

Be ready to support LGBTQ youth

Two young adults with backs turned, draped in LGBTQ flags.

For many youth, foster and adoptive homes can be safe places for care and support when the biological family does not provide appropriate care. Unfortunately, many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth are placed in foster homes where their caretakers do not understand or accept these youth because of their gender or sexual orientation. […]

Meet the Packer family

Meet the Packer family.

Editor’s note: Cindy Packer, the matriarch of the Packer family, sadly passed away in December of 2018. The Belonging Network wishes all the best to the Packer’s during this difficult time, and we know that Cindy’s kind and generous legacy lives on in her children. Three cultures plus infinite love equals one unique family! An […]

Adoption-friendly family trees

An image featuring a green plant on the left and the word 'family' on the right.

At some point, almost every child will have to tackle a family tree school project. Classic family tree assignments assume every kid comes from an intact biological family with one mom and one dad, which can leave adopted kids feeling confused, left out, and sad. These alternative family trees welcome kids from all families to […]

Caring for Indigenous families

Totem poles.

The Indigenous Perspectives Society (IPS), formerly Caring for First Nations Children Society, is a registered charitable non-profit founded in 1994. IPS has played a significant role in the delivery of training and policy development in the Indigenous child welfare field. We interviewed IPS staff about their recent move into providing support and training to caregivers […]

DNA testing 101

Wooden male and female figurines positioned on either side of a test tube.

Explore the promises and pitfalls of DNA testing and adoption. In this video, you’ll learn how to use consumer DNA tests to find your ethnic origins and biological relatives. It will also prepare you for unexpected discoveries, teach you how to protect your privacy, and explain why closed adoptions are effectively a thing of the […]

Meet the Imrie family

Woman with two children.

Meet the Imrie family: Jody is a special education teacher and foster-turned-adoptive mom who lives in Vancouver with her daughter (6) and son (7). How did you get started as a foster parent? From the time I was a teenager, I always knew I wanted to adopt children. I just always felt that there were […]

Early adversity and mental health

A little girl with two ponytails looking out the window and holding a teddy bear

This article was originally published on the Adoption Council of Ontario’s blog for Bell Let’s Talk day (a social media campaign that encourages Canadians to talk openly about mental health). We were inspired by Kathy’s insight into the connection between early trauma and mental illness in adoptees, and by her ideas on how to help […]