The placement of a child into an adoptive home begins the adoption probation period, which usually lasts a minimum of 6 months and is often up to 1 year.
Adoption probation is a critical period of adjustment for both the child and the adoptive family. During this time, the child begins the process of integration into the adoptive family. The probation period allows time for the family and child to adjust to each other and ensure the placement is “right”.
An adoption worker visits the child and adoptive parents in the adoptive home a minimum of 3 times during the probation period. These visits are to assist the family with any adjustment difficulties. In addition, it allows the adoption worker to provide support, coordinate support services and ultimately, to address the extent to which the child has meshed with the adoptive family and the extent to which the adoptive parents demonstrate the ability to absorb the child into the family.
Once the probation period has concluded, the adoption may be finalized which is done in Family Court. The court will only finalize an adoption if it is satisfied that the Adoption Order is in the child’s best interests. A report prepared by the adoption worker, which summarizes the adoption placement and addresses why it is in the best interests of the child to be adopted by the applicants is submitted to the court. The best interests of the child are defined in the Ontario Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) and include any factors that are relevant to the situation.
An Adoption order is final and irrevocable. On the date the court makes the adoption order, the adopted child becomes in the law, the child of his or her adoptive parents and ceases, in the law to be the child of his or her birth parents or any other prior adoptive parent.