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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.

Child sexual abuse: A guide for parents 

A black girl holding a hand, looking concerned.

Detecting signs of sexual abuse—and then determining a course of action—may leave parents feeling overwhelmed. This free digital guide is a helpful starting point for adoption and permanency parents, and essential reading for anyone who parents or works with children and youth. As the parent or a guardian of a child who has been adopted from […]

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.

Parenting a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

A woman holding a young boy while sitting on he floor. Their faces are not visible.

This video offers information and practical strategies for parents of prenatally exposed children. Parenting a child with FASD: It’s a diagnosis, not a label This video covers topics such as identifying behaviors related to FASD, parenting strategies, diagnosis process and community resources for families. It includes interviews with a young woman living with FASD and […]

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 Lafortune family

The Lafortune family.

We are so happy to announce that the Lafortune family is the second-place winner of our 2020 Faces of Family contest! Congratulations to the Lafortunes! They have won a Fujifilm Instax Square SQ10 camera, generously donated by our sponsor, Broadway Camera. Visit them today for all your camera and video needs! Read more about the Lafortune […]

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 […]

Gotcha Day

A young girl surrounded by a group of people, her eyes covered by a lady's hands, with a surprise birthday cake placed in front of her.

Gotcha Day is one of the names many adoptive parents use to mark the day their child was adopted. While is it intended as a celebration, adoptee Mila Konomos shares a different perspective, along with her personal adoption story. Mila is a transracial, transnational Korean American adoptee. She has been in reunion with her Korean […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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, […]

Reflections on adoption

A teenage girl hugging her mother and both are smiling.

Being adopted isn’t easy. It can be a very scary process. That is normal for most people. I was very scared going through the whole process of adoption. It’s okay to be scared because being adopted is a very big change that will affect your whole life. I got over my fear of being adopted […]

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. […]

Mindfulness for youth: A modern take on meditation

A male teenage boy meditating near a pond surrounded by greenery

Why mindfulness? Mindfulness has become a buzzword that’s as likely to be heard in the business world as in a yoga studio, but what is it? Simply put, mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on being present in the moment without judgement, regardless of what is happening. Mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhist teachings […]

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 […]

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 […]

Shame and the adopted child

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

Catherine is the co-founder of the non-profit organization We Are Adopted/Adoptees Association. In this article she draws on her personal experience as an adoptee and an adoptive mother as well as her professional experience as a registered clinical counsellor to explain why shame and adoption are so intertwined. Shadowed by shame Shame is something that […]

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 […]

Permanency matters!

An image of permanency options for youth

Their lives, their words, their voices: why we should listen and what we can do. Permanency: a priority for youth In June, the Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks (FBCYICN) released their 2016 YouthSpeak Research Report. It’s the result of two years of consultation with hundreds of BC youth in and from foster care between […]

Social media and adoption

Tween holding a cellphone

Learn the benefits and pitfalls of social media as it relates to openness and relationship management in adoption. Adoption and Social Media: What does it means for you and your adopted child/ren? Social media has transformed all of our lives and adoption is no exception.  The pace of social media uptake has led to an explosion of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Finding family online

Hands holding a mobile phone.

All over the world, people are using the Internet to seek out information about their roots. It’s now the norm for adoptees and birthparents to use social media to search for missing pieces of their biological puzzle without any need for detectives, red tape, agencies, or intermediaries. Things have changed so fast that parents, educators, […]

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 […]

Occupational therapy for adoptive families

A female Occupational Therapist and a young boy

Find out how an Occupational Therapist can help you build your adoptive family in this informational video. Drawing on your community’s resources is a great way to build a resilient adoptive family. In this one-hour video, learn how an Occupational Therapist can help you! Topics covered will be: areas in which an OT can 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 […]

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 […]

Meet the Singer family

A young autistic boy shooting bubbles from a bubble gun, with his parents watching and smiling beside him.

The Singer family household–-home to Leo Andriy, eight, and Jack Bogdan, six-–is full of life. And that’s an understatement. Parents Aaron and Melissa frequently have to raise their voices to be heard over the chaos of the boys’ shouts and laughter. Born in Ukraine, Jack and Leo’s raucous exuberance and impulsive energy has defined the […]

What is family?

The word family is inside a heart carved on wood.

Family means many things. It can mean biological, foster, adoptive, and/or honorary. The Vanier Institute of the Family defines family as “any combination of two or more persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption or placement and who, together, assume responsibilities for the functions of the family.” […]

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 […]

Meet the Yrjana family

A shadow of family of four with sun setting in the background.

Colleen and her husband of 17 years, Jussi, live on Vancouver Island. Colleen, a former foster parent for over 20 years, also has three grown children and three grandkids. Her oldest daughter was a neighborhood kid that came for the weekend and stayed for 28 years, according to Colleen. “We have no legal paperwork, but […]

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 […]