How to Begin the Adoption Process?

baby foot in sandThe Adoption Process has many parts to it.  Hopefully, this overview of the private adoption process will answer some of your questions, provide you with a road map through this kind adoption, and bring you some comfort. It is the role of your licensee and adoption counselor to guide and take you through these steps. This is not a journey you have to take alone.

ARCS is a private adoption service.  We help expectant parents plan an adoption for their child.  Unlike Children's Aid Societies, a public adoption service, ARCS only facilitates adoptions that are voluntarily made by the birthparents.  ARCS works independently from CAS as it is not a child protection agency.

If you decide to place your child privately and with ARCS, these are the steps to be taken:

Step 1 - Contact ARCS

  1. Contact ARCS for information about its services for birth parents
  2. Request an ARCS' Open Adoption Info kit.

Step 2 - Connect With Your Licensee

Planning an adoption requires a team. One member of your team is Jennie Painter, your adoption licensee. She is the team organizer. She will spend time getting to know you, answer your adoption questions, and explain the adoption process. She will work with you throughout the adoption.

Step 3 - Birthparent Adoption Worker

You and Jennie will then choose a birthparent adoption worker in your area to:

  1. Write your biography for your child and help you complete adoption forms
  2. Answer your adoption questions
  3.  Provide you with support before and after the adoption
  4. Discuss pros and cons of open, semi-open and closed adoption
  5. Provide info (profiles) of ARCS' families hoping to adopt
  6. Arrange an opportunity for you to meet adoptive parents that you are considering as possible parents for your child

Step 4 - Choosing Adoptive Parents-ARCS' Options

This is a major and important decision. At ARCS, we have tried to create a process that provides you with many options and choices.

  1. Birthparent Letters: All of the couples on ARCS’ waiting list have written a 2-page letter for birthparents to review. These 2 page letters contain a chart listing the adoptive parents favorite interests and a description of a defining moment in their lives. These defining moments will give you an idea of their values and how they handled an important challenge in their lives. Providing you with these letters will helps clarify what characteristics you want in parents for your child and what couples you want to learn more about.
  2. Adoption Profiles: All of the adoptive applicants have also created an adoption profile for you to review. These booklets contain all kinds of pictures and info about them, their families, their interests, their jobs, their pets and much more. Couples usually spend hours and hours perfecting these profiles.
  3. Adoption Interviews: ARCS  provides you with the opportunity to interview couples before making a final selection. 

Remember these are options. You choose what options suit you.

Step 5 - Building a Relationship

Match Meeting

After you have selected adoptive parents for your child, ARCS will arrange a Match Meeting. This is an opportunity for your to get to know one another better and to plan how you will continue to get to know one another before the baby is born. Your adoption worker will be present to support you.

Spending Time Together

By spending time together, you will have a chance to build your relationship with one another. Time is spent doing things together and talking about your adoption and relationship expectations.

Vision Meeting

A Vision Meeting is held to create an Open Adoption Agreement. This agreement outlines the relationship expectations you and the adoptive parents have of one another. Jennie, your licensee, usually facilitates this meeting.

Step 6 - Hospital and Placement Plan

Your adoption worker will outline the childcare plans available for patients during your stay at the hospital. She will also help you decide where and when you want the placement of the child to occur.

 Step 7 - 21 Day Revocation Period

  1. You must wait a full 7 days after the birth of the child before you can sign a legal adoption consent form.
  2. Your adoption worker will arrange an appointment for you with a family lawyer to receive independent legal advice about signing an adoption consent form. She can, if you wish, accompany you to this appointment

Step 8 - Post Placement Planning

After the child is placed with the adoptive parents, your adoption worker will:

  1. Meet with you weekly during the revocation period. She will be there to listen to your thoughts, and possible doubts about placing your child for adoption. She will help you figure out how to respond to people that ask you questions about the baby.
  2. Help you organize a time to visit with the baby and adoptive parents, if you so wish. 

Step 9 - New Role as a Birthparent (relative with special status)

Your adoption worker will help you:

  1. Keep lines of communication open with adoptive parents
  2. Determine your readiness to hear child addressed by new name
  3. Help you decide when to visit the child and adoptive parents in the child's new home
  4. Encourage you to discuss with the adoptive parents what childcare activities they feel comfortable having you and other family members do
  5. Prepare to meet relatives and important friends of adoptive parents
  6. Continue to communicate and visit with adoptive parents and child
  7. Share any need you may have to take a break from the relationship
  8. Arrange a date to reconnect at a later date if you do take a relationship break 

Step 10 - Rebuilding your Life

ARCS gives you the option of receiving ongoing support/counselling for at least 6 months following the placement of the child. You can continue to work with your adoption worker or see a family therapist not involved with the adoption planning.

Suggestions for Rebuilding Your Life:

  1. Surround yourself with emotionally supportive people
  2. Return to an activity that makes you feel competent and brings you joy
  3. Establish a daily routine that includes adequate sleep, nutritious food, and moderate exercise
  4. Use your adoption experience to help you have greater understanding of others, bring comfort or help to someone else
  5. Remember that you are and always will be a special person in your child's life
  6. Find ways to support the adoptive parents in their new role as parents

child with birthday cake