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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Openness in adoption

Roots of a big tree.

Are you new to adoption and the topic of openness? This introductory video will help you understand the terms and definitions of openness in adoption. What is openness? What is the history of openness? What does openness look like in an adoptive family? What is an openness agreement? Does openness change with time? What is […]

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 […]

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 […]

Mail brings unexpected connection

A black mailbox.

When Chelsea was adopted, her young birthmom gave a letter, photo, bracelet, and blanket to her daughter. At first, her adoptive parents sent letters and photos via their social worker. Then each family moved and contact was lost—until now. When I was a little girl, I used to love to jump out of the car […]

Openness agreements—building bridges between people

Openness in adoption enables members of the adoption circle to maintain family and cultural connections and relationships, and assists the child in developing a strong, healthy identity.” This is one of the five core values guiding the adoption practice for BC’s Waiting Children, and one that is contributing to the changing nature of adoption. Led […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Open adoption for birth parents

Newborn holding his parents' hands.

A guide that covers the basics of openness and adoption for birth parents. Birth parents matter Sometimes you might not feel like it, but you are important to your child. Even if you are not parenting your child, it doesn’t mean you can’t play an important role—you can. Kids usually want to know where they […]

Finding lost family through the Internet

A family using a laptop and a mobile phone.

As I prepared to adopt, I knew there was a “right” answer when it came to openness. Openness was good, and I needed to come across like I believed it. The truth was, openness scared me silly. What I really hoped was that any child we adopted would have an unfortunate, yet complete, lack of […]

What I’ve learned about openness and adoption

Little girl holding the hands of her two moms.

Karen Madeiros, former Executive Director of the Belonging Network, shares her insights as an adoptive mother of two children from the US. Having personally experienced and witnessed the evolution of openness in adoption, she reflects on the valuable lessons learned from her journey. Why did you open up your adoptions? Like many prospective adoptive parents, […]