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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Filling in the blanks

A hand holding a pen and white paper featuring hand-written text.

Storytelling can help your child receive a more accurate assessment. Introducing Cat In 2006, Cat went to Liberia, West Africa, to adopt a little girl and planned to spend six months working on opening a health clinic. This experience was life changing, though she witnessed only a small portion of the trauma suffered by the […]

Adopted voice: If they could turn back time…

A child handing a yellow flower to his parent.

What adoptees want parents to know If we could go back in time and, with the wisdom of hindsight, ask our parents to do things differently, what would adopted people request? It’s a dream question, of course. What person wouldn’t want the chance to set their parents straight? To help me answer this question more […]

History lessons

A pile of old photographs.

As we open our hearts to the future, we can learn from the closed adoptions of the past. Adoption’s early days Before the 19th century, what we now think of as kinship, clan, or custom adoption—compassionate adults incorporating orphaned children into their families—was essential to many cultures. For example, when Irish immigrants died of typhoid […]

Openness: The realistic choice

Feet of a child and two adults. One of the adults is wearing socks with the colors of the gay pride flag.

Open adoptions can be tricky, but they’re the most realistic choice for adopted children, says an adult adoptee. Out of the shadows  In 2015, the Donaldson Adoption Institute published a major report called the Modern Adoptive Families Study, which focused on the experiences, perceptions, and needs of non-heterosexual adoptive parents as well as other issues related […]

Trauma matters

A girl of African descent is seated on a windowsill. She's holding her legs.

Advice from a counsellor on how to recognize and help wounded children and youth. Trauma: adoption’s shadow Many children and youth who are adopted have been exposed to highly stressful situations and traumatic events; however, the resulting special needs these children can experience aren’t always recognized or supported. It’s vital for caregivers and professionals to […]

Ka oopkitmashook’: Métis adoption

Three Metis children playing outside.

Who are the Métis? The Canadian Constitution includes three peoples in its definition of Aboriginal: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. The Métis emerged as a distinct people and nation on the plains of western North America during the fur trade in the late 1700s. Many of the European traders established familial relationships with First Nations […]

Adoption in Islam

Muslim couple in the park

Like any newly married young couple, we (Nazima and Riyad) loved to dream about the next stages our life together. We enjoyed the strong family-oriented upbringings we both experienced, and knew we wanted to have kids ourselves early in our marriage. Unfortunately, within the first year of our lives together, Nazima was diagnosed with advanced […]

LGBTQ adoption series: History and challenges of same sex adoption

Feet of a child and two adults. One of the adults is wearing socks with the colors of the gay pride flag.

Are you wondering about your options for LGBTQ adoption? Explore the stats and facts on LGBTQ adoption in Canada through this video series. What does LGBTQ adoption look like in Canada? Find out in this one-hour informational on-demand webinar. Learn the specific issues and statistics surrounding LGBTQ adoption, and some of the challenges faced by […]

Adopted voice: Whose son, whose daughter

The back of a young man sitting on the grass with his dog.

The question of a lifetime The complexity of my adoption story makes it a challenge to tell, but telling it is, I think, essential. It’s a way to preserve memories of the living and dead, to lend their lives some meaning, and to give thanks for the good fortune of having been raised by loving […]

Adopted voice: Looking homeward

The back of a young woman with brown hair looking at the horizon.

I remember the noise the most. Car engines idled noxious gasses into the air; heavy footsteps snapped across well-worn concrete. The delicious yet unfamiliar smells of Asian street food filled my nostrils. I stood close to my parents, at the edge of a street corner. Together, we gazed across the road to a building. Above […]

Inuit custom adoption

A black and white photo of an inukshuk.

In the beginning For thousands of years, the customary practice of Inuit families giving their babies to other Inuit families to love as their own has been intricately bound to Inuit culture, worldview, and the kinship system. If a couple couldn’t conceive, they would be humbly and lovingly given a baby. If a child died, […]

Health issues in international adoption

Young boy sitting on a couch and holding a globe.

Are you considering adopting internationally? Are you interested in learning about specific health issues facing children coming home to Canada? If so, this video is for you. This video will review common health concerns including infectious conditions such as tuberculosis and intestinal parasites, immunizations—both home and abroad—and review laboratory testing to consider with your family practitioner […]

Adopted voice: Finding silver linings

The back of a woman with black hair looking at the ocean.

Sticks and stones Remember that rhyme you learned as a child? “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Obviously words can’t cause physical harm, but I’ve learned they definitely can cause emotional pain, the kind you hold in your heart and wear on your sleeve. The kind that leaves […]

Our journey

It’s been hard to see my things destroyed, my personal space obliterated and my patience shattered. It’s been an adjustment to keep up with multiple appointments, lack of information and countless phone calls. It’s been a struggle to not ask too much, push too hard or back off too far. We’ve been through nightmares, perfect […]

Adult adoption: My journey

Bianca Bujan and his adoptive parent

A story of two unconventional adoptions This is the story of an adoption that seemed like it would never happen, but that worked out almost miraculously in the end. I was adopted twice. In the first year of my life my adoptive mother and I were united in an unconventional way. At the age of […]

Mother’s Day and the adoptive Mom

Mother’s Day brings to mind fresh flowers, blueberry pancakes and homemade cards. It’s a day to be spoiled and fêted by family. But for me, an adoptive mother, it’s never as simple as the Hallmark holiday it’s touted to be. Don’t get me wrong: I feel deep joy in my role as mom to my […]

Caring for Indigenous children

A small white Indigenous hand drum sits beneath a yellow drumstick adorned with red details.

Hn’ skʷést Npànkìtc a (My traditional name is Npànkìtc a) and my English name is Loren Sahara. Nłeʔkepmxkn Scw̓éxmxkn ncéweʔ (I am from the Nłeʔkepmx Nation – people of the creeks). As an Indigenous person, a Caring for First Nations Children Society (CFNCS) instructor, and an adoptive parent, I have been witness to a powerful journey of […]

How one adoptive family handles racism

A shadow of two adults and two kids on dry grass.

In our experience, the best lessons we can offer are those that teach our children to externalize racism and assure them we will always be there for them. Externalizing racism Because my husband and I do not share our children’s racial or cultural backgrounds, we work extra hard to help them develop skills and strategies […]

Journey to recovery

Mountain retreat

This powerful story was the keynote speech at Growing Together: a retreat for parents of persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in January 2010. Hi, my name is Nicolas. First of all, I’d like to thank the organizers of this retreat for asking me here to share with you. I’d also like to thank […]

The grandmother clause

A grandmother and granddaughter drawing together at a table.

The impact of including grandparents in the adoption (and post-adoption) process. The impact of open adoption on birth and adoptive families is only beginning to be understood. Recent research explores the perspectives of birth grandmothers who had direct contact with their birth grandchildren. The findings clearly demonstrate some of the benefits and challenges of open […]

The homestudy explained

Man and woman sitting at a table; man holds papers, woman looks at them with a pencil in hand; notebook on the table.

Social worker Carol Blake demystifies what can seem to be a nerve wracking and intrusive process-the adoption homestudy. Quick! Vacuum the rug, dust the furniture, alphabetize the spice rack, the social worker is coming over! The day has finally arrived; your social worker is coming over to start the homestudy. What does she want to […]

Living openness: On showing up

Parent and child holding hands at beach

Getting to know you Someone once said that “ninety percent of life is showing up.” This is particularly true in open adoption – something I learned from my son’s birth dad, William. We met William, and his very pregnant girlfriend Sierra, four years ago. He was late, and we were nervous. Sierra’s mother had blown […]

Navigating anxiety

A young woman is holding his face with her hands. She seems to have anxiety or depression.

I have always been anxious. I didn’t recognize it until my mid 30s, when I went through full-blown, severe anxiety and depression. After months of hell, I saw the pain as the message it was: “you need to change.” During a lengthy process of growth and learning, I looked back and saw the patterns of […]

The truth about confabulation

A young boy is sitting on the floor and pretending to use his hands as binoculars.

Is it lying? No, it’s confabulation and there’s a big difference! Time and time again we hear from adoptive parents that one of the hardest behaviours to take is children lying to them. They experience the lie as a personal affront, a show of disrespect, and a harbinger of anti-social behaviour to come. There are […]

What is open adoption?

A child's adoptive family and birth family looking at the sunset.

Ask five people what their definition of open adoption is and you are likely to get five answers. Some may think that allowing an expectant parent to choose the prospective adoptive parents from a profile of non-identifying information is an open adoption. Still others may say that those who met prior to placement and who […]

BC transracial adoptee shares her story

Hands of different ethnicities.

Why did you write the book? The inspiration (this is one of a series of books) stems from my own experience and from talking to adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. Throughout my life I’ve had to answer so many “why?” questions: “Why is your skin so dirty?” “Why don’t you look like your mom […]

Help your child: Focus on strengths

A blond kid, wearing a yellow T-shirt and jeans, is playing on the sand with a yellow and red truck.

Tara Webber, Registered Clinical Counsellor and adoptive mom, provides her tips on building a struggling child’s self-esteem. If you ask children what they do well, there is usually a long pause as they search for an answer. Ask them what they don’t do well, and they have an instant list. When I was working as […]