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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 […]

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 […]

Racism and your child

A sad boy holding a book. He is in a classroom.

When kids experience racism, what can their parents do? Here are some resources and tips from an experienced adoptive parent. Editor’s note: Some of these tips are aimed specifically at white parents. The Belonging Network recognizes that adoptive families are incredibly diverse, and that transracial adoptive families include parents from all backgrounds, heritages, and experiences, […]

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 Thai-Abel family

Picture of: The Thai-Abel family

Vince and Eric’s journey to adoption was long. But when they finally met their son, J, for the first time, they knew their family was complete. This is their adoption story. Can you briefly describe your family? We’re a family of four: Vince, Eric, J, and Coco, our 10-year old Shih-Apso. We live in a […]

Dads can do it all

Black father and daughter sitting at a table, looking at a map, both smiling.

Adoption has been an option for same-sex couples for years now, but stereotypes about who and what makes a family persist. In this article, a gay adoptive dad shares some thoughts on the unique joys and challenges of being part of a two-dad family. Family: a dream come true If you’d asked me at the […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, […]

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. […]

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 […]

Opinion: Black lives matter in Canada, too

The back of a woman of African descent wearing a pink t-shirt.

Racism: a Canadian reality Here in Canada, anti-black racism is usually denied, ignored, and played down. The classic response from non-black Canadians to mentions of systemic anti-black racism and injustice is “well, there is more racism in the US than there is here”. This irks me to my core because it shuts down conversation and dismisses […]

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 […]

The power of cultural connection

two gray and white feathers over some grey pebbles

In this article, we explore how families and professionals can work together to support adopted Aboriginal kids. Kids need culture In today’s diverse adoption community, the majority of parents strive to embrace and nurture their adopted children’s birth cultures. It’s a complicated but rewarding task that can bring children closer to both their culture of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Meet the Alexander family

Meet the Alexander family.

Three years ago, Dave and Juanita Alexander found themselves halfway around the world with 18 suitcases, 12 carry-ons, a year’s worth of supplies and four children. Dave and Juanita, have collectively lived and worked in five countries (including Canada), and have four beautiful children through adoption. In 2012, they uprooted their lives to move to […]

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, […]

Changing your child’s birth date

Toddler's birthday celebration.

Do you need to change your child’s birth date? It may seem odd to give a child a new birthday, but it’s a good idea for some internationally adopted children. In the 10 years I’ve practiced adoption law, I’ve been asked by parents of children from Nepal, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for help in correcting their child’s […]

Adopted Voice: It’s not about gratitude

Image with the following text: "#FlipTheScript A full understanding of adoption cannot be had without listening to adoptees' first-hand perspectives."

My adoption story Prior to my adoption, I lived in Tennessee with my birth mother (in utero) and then spent one year in foster care. Doctors’ assessments of my potential medical issues deterred black families from adopting me, so a white couple with experience parenting children with special needs was selected. I moved across the […]

Cultural planning

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

What’s the process for adopting Aboriginal children in BC? Find out in this video with BC’s Director of Adoption, Dr. Anne Clayton.  This video covers the process of adopting Aboriginal children & youth in BC, the role of the Exceptions Committee and the importance of cultural planning. Due to significant legislative changes around Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare, some of the information in […]

Unexpected challenges

Image of Darryl, Ian, Oliver, and Elizabeth

My desire to explore the unexpected led me to talk to two sets of parents about their journeys through adoption and into being a family. When adopting, these couples experience trials they had never have imagined. Some of the unique hurdles they faced were predictable, while others were completely unexpected. Frances, Gaynor, and Scott Frances […]

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 […]

Identity Matters

Two little boys and their dad holding hands in the park.

Receive practical and concrete suggestions on how to help your child develop a healthy and positive racial and cultural identity. Identity Matters is a two-part video series that discusses how to create and/or maintain a positive racial and cultural identity for your adoptive child and cross cultural family. This workshop provides indepth information to help you better understand […]

Meet the Hobbs-Perry family

Photo of the Hobbs Perry family.

Wow, we are the parents of two children that just celebrated birthdays. Our daughter just turned three and our son just had his first birthday. The journey to become parents began when I turned 40, and my parental clock went into overdrive. It became clear to me, if I was wanted to make my dreams of […]

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 […]

Jared’s dads on the building blocks of parenthood

Smiling gay couple with a small boy.

Jared is a happy, active toddler. As I visit with his parents, Jared amuses himself with various toys. When he tires of playing alone, he climbs onto a parental lap and plays “Got your nose” or tries to engage in a game of tickle or playful roughhousing. In between interacting with or checking on Jared, his parents lovingly […]

Academy of pediatrics supports adoption by same sex parents

Happy gay couple with a smiling small boy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says children who are born to, or adopted by, one member of a gay or lesbian couple deserve the security of two legally recognized parents. A new AAP policy statement supports legal and legislative efforts that provide for the possibility of adoption of those children by the second parent, […]

New parents demonstrate unconditional love

A family of three in the park, with mom and dad holding their baby boy's hand. All three facing backward.

Doug and Lonnie are devoted parents to their beautiful, healthy two-year-old son, Nathan. There must have been times, when they first adopted Nathan as an extremely premature and very ill baby from a hospital in Chicago, when it was hard to imagine that they would celebrate a relaxing Christmas with their little son. Doug and […]

Adoption against all the odds

A man comforting a young girl, holding her hand and talking.

The following story is far from typical-most BC families that adopt from the US have a much easier experience. This story speaks to the immense strength of the desire to become parents. Despite the enormous difficulty of their journey, the couple we feature here persevered. That is a characteristic of many adoptive families-it is a […]

Conceiving Family: A filmmaker’s journey to adoption

Young boy and girl, happily laughing, holding onto their parents.

A BC film explores the bravery, determination, and humour it takes to rise above the legal systems, societal prejudices, and personal fears inherent in starting a family through adoption. Nelson, BC-based filmmaker Amy Bohigian’s documentary film, Conceiving Family, follows her and partner Jane Byers’ journey to becoming a family, and combines personal interviews, intimate footage and […]

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 […]

Explaining the need to know my birth family

A young girl stands in front of a mirror, her reflection showing a sad and confused expression. She appears to be deep in thought, perhaps contemplating something troubling.

“If I were an adoptee, I think I’d want to search for my birth parents. I’d be curious, I think,” Cathy tells me. “Oh, no, I wouldn’t want to,” says Joanne. “I was raised by my biological parents and I may look like them, but I am nothing like them in personality. Who cares whose […]

Let’s celebrate!

An Indian family with two little girls and their parents celebrating the festival of Diwali, joyfully holding diyas (traditional oil lamps).

Incorporating cultural traditions in your new family Adopting a child is a time to celebrate. But beyond the initial celebration of the arrival of your new child, how can you incorporate new traditions and celebrations into your life? If your child has another country or culture in their background, it is important to share the […]

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 […]

Why Romania has stopped adoptions

The permanent ban on adoption from Romania highlights the political nature of international adoption. Romania is a country from which many Canadians adopted throughout the 90s to 2001, when the government brought a moratorium into effect. The Romanian government has faced pressure from all sides, from countries whose citizens are eager to adopt, and from […]

Hair and skin care for kids: A guide for parents of black and bi-racial children

Happy Black girl with beautiful braided hair

When Kelly Martin brought home her 21-month-old daughter, Kendall, there were all the common new-parent concerns: “How will I ever cut such tiny nails?” laughs Kelly. But Kendall is Haitian, and caring for black skin and hair was to be an additional learning experience for Kelly. Undaunted, she says, “I knew it was something I […]