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 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 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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Better adoption transitions

Mom and a girl toddler working with color pencils on a notepad, engaged in a creative activity together.

We must never forget that moving a child into a new family is a life-altering event for the child. Focus on Adoption magazine asked social worker Judy Archer for her top three recommendations for transitioning children into a new family. It is almost impossible to narrow down my recommendations to just three. As you know, in my […]

Foster mom puts kids first in adoption preparation

A daughter holding her mom from behind and both are smiling.

Long before I met my children, their foster mom, Vickie, gallantly bestowed upon me the title “Mom.” To the children, this was a significant title indeed. Before the pre-placement visits started, Vickie also started to refer to herself as “Auntie Vickie,” instead of Mom—when there are other birth children in the home, foster children easily […]

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 […]

Casey worth the five year wait

A couple smiling looks at the newborn. Mom holds the baby, while dad places his hands on mom's shoulders.

The decision Celine and husband Dan Green live in a small town nestled in the BC mountains. Like many, they could not produce children biologically and found the intercountry adoption option too costly. However, they were sure about one thing: They wanted children. As independent business people well connected to their small community, said Celine,”we […]

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 […]