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Anyone who has a reasonable suspicion that a child is or may be in need of protection must contact the society immediately

We serve the children and families of Huron and Perth Counties, with offices in Stratford and Goderich

Goderich 1-519-524-7356 or 1-800-265-5198
Stratford 1-519-271-5290 or 1-800-668-5094



Adoption in Huron-Perth

Somewhere in Huron-Perth, a child is waiting. In fact, not just one child, but many, all waiting for their forever families – for the parent or parents who may adopt them and welcome them into a permanent and loving home. There are many options that are close to home for families who are interested in adoption. Some babies, toddlers, children, and youth in the foster care system are eligible for adoption but remain in foster care for months or even years, waiting for a permanent family. There is no better time than now to contact the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society to learn more about adopting a baby, child, or teen from the foster system.

What is Adoption?

What is Adoption?

What is adoption and how does it benefit children and families Adoption is a process which unites a new family with a child where the birth family can no longer care for him or her. It is intended to provide the child with permanence and security.

In Ontario, adoptions can be arranged through Children’s Aid Societies (CASs), private adoption agencies or directly through the courts if the parent is a relative or stepparent. The Huron-Perth CAS is responsible for adoptions locally.

Benefits of Adoption for Children and Families

To experience healthy development, and create a sense of their own self-worth, children need to have roots and feel they belong to a family that cares for them. Unfortunately, some parents cannot provide their children with adequate care because of conflict or illness in the family. Some parents believe they cannot provide the kind of upbringing they want for their children. They may chose to make an adoption plan for their child. Individuals and couples who cannot have children of their own often want to adopt children. Parents who already have children may want to adopt to enlarge their families.

Who are the Children?

Who are the Children Available for Adoption?

  • Children of all ages and stages of development can be adopted, but the majority are aged three and older.
  • These children come from a variety of cultural, racial, ethic and religious backgrounds. Some are brothers and sisters, waiting for a family who can adopt them together.
  • Most of the older children waiting to be adopted have had painful experiences and need time to adjust to a new home. Others may have developmental or physical challenges.
  • Each child is different, but all can benefit from becoming part of a warm and loving family.

The Adoption Process

The Adoption Process

Adoption must be in the child’s best interests The number of children waiting for adoption, and the number of families who want to adopt, varies from across the province. A provincial adoption resource exchange helps bring children and prospective families together.

Not all children in the care of CAS are available for adoption. Many are living temporarily with foster families while efforts are being made to help their own families function better so they can live at home again.

Others stay in long-term foster care as a matter of choice. Either they do not want to try adoption, or a judge has granted access to certain people in their birth families. This happens when it is thought that visits with relatives are more important to the child’s well-being than breaking ties and starting a new life in an adoptive family.

Since CAS workers have the opportunity to really know and understand the children in their care, they help determine if adoption or long-term foster care is in a child’s best interests. If a child is old enough, he or she also takes part in this decision.

The Adoption Process

How long does it take to complete an adoption?

Adoption placements are based on the child’s need, so the waiting time depends on an appropriate match between a child needing adoption, and a family approved for adoption. Therefore, there is no set waiting time or waiting list. Once the match is made, there may be several visits to allow the child to get to know the new family and surroundings before moving into the new home. By law, there is a minimum six-month adjustment period from the time a child moves into the new home until the adoption is completed. A longer adjustment period may be necessary depending on the needs of the child and the adoptive family. This is the time when any problems that might arise in the relationship can be worked out. When everyone is ready to complete the adoption, the CAS applies to the court for an adoption order. This makes the adoption parents the child’s legal parents, and the child a legal member of their family.

Support for adoptive parents and adopted children

After completing the adoption process, there may be times when parents will want to consult the CAS. For example, older children may need to talk about their birth parents, or earlier experiences in their lives. Even though they may be able to talk freely with their new parents, the CAS can offer additional support to help them deal with their feelings and adjust to their new life. When adopted children grow up, the CAS, in conjunction with the Adoption Disclosure Register in Toronto, can assist them in meeting their birth parent(s), if both parties agree.

Are birth parents involved in the adoption process?

Prior to the adoption process, the birth parent(s) may provide input about the kind of family they would like for their child. The values, lifestyle, education, cultural heritage and other characteristics that are important to the birth parent(s) are considered carefully when choosing the child’s adoptive parents. Recently there has been a move to create more openness between adoption families and birth families. The degree of openness a child needs, a birth parent wants, or an adopting family can accept, is carefully examined early in the adoption process. It could range from a photo and/or letter to go with the child upon adoption, to yearly non-identifying updates, which are exchanged through the CAS.

How can I find out more about adoption?

Call the Huron-Perth Children’s Aid Society for answers to your preliminary questions about adoption. An information package will be mailed to you and you will be invited to a group information meeting. Once you have attended the meeting, you will have the opportunity to complete an Adoption Information Form. After the form is received by the agency, a resource worker will meet with you to discuss adoption in more detail. At that time you will be invited to attend training for adoptive applicants, which is recommended for all adoptive applicants. This training of six weekly sessions, gives you the opportunity to meet other families who are interested in adoption, and to discuss ideas and experiences with them. At the final session, you will meet families who have already adopted children, as well as adult

Once you have attended the training, you might wish to have a home study completed. During the home study you will be encouraged to assess your own attitudes and abilities. You will be asked to provide the names of character references, have an adoption medical completed by your family physician and authorize a criminal record check.

By working together through the process, a decision can be made about whether adoption through the Children’s aid Society is right for you.

Adoption Disclosure

Adoption Disclosure (how, where, when)

Adoption Disclosure is a process, people who have been involved in adoption whether they were adopted or a birth parent to request information regarding the adoption.

Adoption Disclosure Register:

The Adoption Disclosure Register (ADR) is maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. The ADR provides two essential services:

  • A register for those adult adoptees, birth parents and birth relatives (siblings and grandparents) who wish to contact each other and /or exchange updated information.
  • Conducts searches for birth parents and specific birth relatives at the request of an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older.

How the Disclosure Register Works:

If you are an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older, a birth parent, an adult birth sibling or birth grandparent:

  • You may place your name on the Adoption Disclosure Register if the adoption was finalized in Ontario.
  • You will be informed and presented with options for contact if the person you are seeking is also registered.
  • Your name will remain on the register and you will be contacted should any one register for you in the future.


If you are an adult adoptee and the person you are seeking is not registered, the Adoption Disclosure Register will search for your birth parent or a specific birth relative if you wish.

  • The ADR will place your name on a waiting list and you will be contacted when the search for your birth relative is to begin. You will have an opportunity to ask your questions and discuss your concerns.
  • If successful in locating your birth relative, the ADR will contact that person to determine whether he/she is willing to have contact with you.
  • Searches are assigned according to the date of registration.

Adoption Reunions:

If and when contact between you and your birth relative becomes possible, you will be provided with information and assistance.

Counselors will be available to talk to you about your concerns should you wish. No identifying information will be released without your consent.

Non-identifying Information

Children’s Aid Society:

The Children’s Aid Society, which arranged the adoption, has information about your family or the child’s adoptive family.

The Children’s Aid Society can share non-identifying information with you or assist you with a reunion.

Non-identifying information may include:

  • Physical description
  • Medical history
  • Religion
  • Ethnic origin
  • Ages of the parties
  • Education
  • Reasons for the adoption
  • Type of employment

Non-identifying information does not contain names, addresses or any information that may lead to identifying the birth family or the adoptive family.

The amount of information available varies according to what was recorded at the time of the adoption.

Private Adoptions:

Information about private adoptions completed after 1985 can be obtained by contacting the licensed agency or individual that arranged the adoption.

For information about private adoptions completed before 1985 contact the ADR.

Should you not know who arranged the adoption, contact the Adoption Unit of the Ministry.

Support Groups:

Other services, which provide support and search assistance may be available through, volunteer organizations.

You may be able to obtain more information about services available in your community by contacting your local Children’s Aid Society, Chamber of Commerce or Public Library.

Special Situations:

When information is necessary to protect any person’s health, safety or welfare, the Registrar can assist by granting an immediate search. Adoptive parents, birth relatives and an adoptee can make these special requests.

Detailed written information from a professional, such as an attending physician, is needed to support the request.

Contact the ADR for an application form to request this service.

More information may be obtained by contacting your local Children’s Aid Society.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I Adopt?

In Ontario there are three routes to adoption which are Children’s Aid Society, through a private domestic adoption involving a social worker and licensee (see terms below) or international adoption.

Who can adopt?

The two main criteria are that you must be 18 years of age or more and a resident of Ontario. Marital status is not a criteria. The most important factor is your ability to meet the needs of the child or children you wish to adopt. The client in the process is the child, and the best interests of the child are determining factor.

How much will it cost?

This depends on the route chosen as indicated above. The costs can range from nothing for a Children’s Aid Society adoption to $25,000 for some international adoptions.

How long will it take?

This will depend on many things including the route chosen.
The main consideration is the child or children you feel that you can parent. If a child is waiting for whom you are appropriate it can be a fairly quick process.

Anyone considering adoption should get in touch with an adoptive parent support group in their area for advice and support. If there is non, contact the Adoption Council of Ontario or the Adoption Council of Canada for more information.

Adoption Disclosure

How do I search?

The route taken to search depends on where the adoption placement occurred. If an Ontario Children’s Aid Society did the placement you should

  • Contact the Children’s Aid Society, which did the placement to request your non-identifying information. Telephone numbers are given for all Ontario agencies in the following directory.
  • Contact the Ontario Adoption Disclosure at 416-327-4730 and ask for the forms to register. In Ontario a search will be carried out on behalf of the adoptee for his or her birth parents if one is requested but there is currently a wait of many years. For birth family who register, the Ontario register is a passive register.
  • Contact a Search & Reunion Support Group. These are listed in the directory by region.

For adoptions, which took place in another jurisdiction, you should register with Adoption Register in that jurisdiction. Canadian Adoption Registers are at the back of the directory. For private Ontario adoptions, register with the Adoption Register and contact a Search group in your area for assistance.

Adoption Terminology

Active Register – The individual registering can request that a search be carried out for the other party to the adoption. Some registers are active for adoptees and passive for birth family.

Passive Register – One in which no active search will be made on behalf of the person registering unless the other party to the adoption has registered as well. Some are passive for both adoptee and birth family.

No contact veto – Filed when the individual does not want to be contacted by the other party to the adoption. Most jurisdictions with no contact vetoes have time limits associated with the veto.

Disclosure veto – Filed to prevent the sharing of identifying information with the other party to the adoption.

Non-identifying Information – Details about the life of a party to adoption which give the sense of what that person’s life has been like without providing enough information to locate the individual in question. That can include a physical description, ethnic background, Vocational information, hobbies, information about other family members, medical information, etc.

Open Adoption – This describes a broad range of arrangements. Some adoptions are fully open which means direct contact between birth family and adoptive family. But there are many less open arrangements in place. There can be face-to-face meetings between adoptive parent(s) and birth parent(s) prior to placement with no last names used. This can be followed up by sharing on a regular basis of photos and letters. For older children placed on adoption it can mean contact with other siblings, birth grandparents, foster parents, or in some cases birth parents.

Life Book – A book, which gives the child details on many aspects of his or her life. It can provide reasons why adoption was necessary and who the significant people in that child’s life have been. Frequently, it contains photographs of many of these people. It is not unusual for a child to have a life book that has pictures of birth family members, foster families, and special occasions. The purpose of the life book is to help the child understand who he/she is and how he/she got here. This can be important information for children who feel that they have had no control over their lives. If a child doesn’t have a life book it is a good idea to create one, with the child’s help whenever possible. The book can be added to after adoption when other significant people and events are added to the child’s life story.

Public Adoption – Adoption through a publicly funded agency. In Ontario that means one of the more than 50 Children’s Aid Societies or Family and Children’s Services organizations. In Ontario a family wishing to adopt through a publicly funded agency must deal with the agency within whose jurisdiction they live. There is no fee for service charged.

Private Adoption – In Ontario this means adoption using one of the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS) approved social workers to do the home study. There is a fee for service charged for the home study. Private home studies are approved by MCSS.

Licensee – These are the only people outside of the Children’s Aid Societies and Family and Children’s Services who are allowed to place Ontario born children for adoption. Licensees work with birth parents who wish to place their children for adoption. They are required by law to offer many of the same services that the Children’s Aid Societies offer, such as birth parent counseling, foster care arrangement if a child is not placed immediately, etc. They also handle all the paperwork, and legal requirements. It is common for families who have their home study done by a private worker to send copies of their profile to several licensees. It is possible for families from other provinces to adopt children in Ontario through Ontario licensees.

Consent – In adoption terms consent may be given by a birth parent to allow their child to be placed for adoption. In Ontario the child must be 8 days of age before consents can be signed and the birth parent(s) have 21 days after that in which they can revoke the consent. If consent is revoked the child must be returned to his/her birth parents(s).

Crown Ward, – A child for whom parental rights have been granted to the government. This usually happens when children are apprehended by the child welfare system.

Access Order – An access order attached to a crown wardship means that someone from that child’s past, birth parent(s), siblings, extended family have the right to contact with the child. The Building Families and Supporting Youth to be Successful Act, 2011, which amended the Child and Family Services Act (CFSA), came into force on September 1, 2011. Under the amendments, all access orders (including those made under Part III of the CFSA) automatically terminate upon adoption placement. The amendments also provide for openness orders to be made where a society intends to place a Crown ward for adoption and an access order is in effect.