In communities all over North America and beyond, thousands of families are celebrating Adoption Month.

In communities all over North America and beyond, thousands of families are celebrating Adoption Month.

Adoption Awareness Month: How adoption works in B.C.

Children and young people need “Families That Fit” — people who are willing to build their families in a way that is not “traditional”

By Brandi Kennedy

In communities all over North America and beyond, thousands of families are celebrating Adoption Month.

When I was a child growing up in the foster care system and living with various family, I often stood out as the kid who wasn’t living with my parents. Most of my friends had a Mom and Dad, siblings, and pets to go home to and there was a stigma attached to being a child without a “normal” family.

This was back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Thankfully, we as a culture have embraced diversity. Our families no longer look all the same. More and more Grandparents are raising Grandkids, foster families are loving kids in need of temporary care, kids are living with Aunties and Uncles. And adoption isn’t something we are afraid to talk about anymore or have it remain a family secret.

Sometimes when we hear the word adoption or adopt, the first thing we think of is animal shelters or highways. I’m going to talk about actual people who are needing to be adopted, and explain a bit about how adoption is typically done in B.C.

British Columbia continues to have approximately 700 children in foster care who are ready to look at permanent options, including adoption. Canada has approximately 30,000, and the last number I saw for the United States was 400,000. These children are not typically newborns or infants. They have been placed in foster care through no fault of their own. The majority of children in need of forever homes are school aged, needing cultural matches, or have medical needs that vary from mild behaviour issues to neurological conditions like Autism or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

These children and young people are needing #FamilyThatFits — people who are willing to build their families in a way that is not “traditional”, people who are willing to learn about trauma and do the work to build attachment with kids who might have experienced abuse or neglect.

Even people who adopt newborns are required to learn about trauma and attachment- because it affects all children who experience parent loss. Recent trends have shown that every year, approximately 450 children in BC “Age Out” – turn 19 and become adults — without ever being adopted. Adopting through this program is perfect for people who work full-time, empty nesters, or people in general who are open to bonding with a school-aged child and experiencing many “firsts” beyond their first steps and first words. Singles, people who rent their homes, LGBTQ2S+, and gender diverse people are welcome to apply to adopt.

Of the children in permanent care, nearly half are Indigenous. More than ever, Indigenous applicants are needed to provide safe, culturally appropriate forever homes. As we learn more about Canada’s sordid past and why we are moving forward in a spirit of truthful reconciliation, we acknowledge how important it is to protect a child’s culture and sense of identity. Could you be part of this changing world?

There are many, many more children in other countries who are waiting in orphanages. B.C. has two agencies which currently handle the domestic infant (babies born in B.C. in which a voluntary plan is made to have them placed for adoption) and the International Programs (where the agency works with representatives in the child’s country of origin to ensure children are safely placed within Hague Convention guidelines). International programs usually have more restrictions on age or relationship status of prospective parents.

I also would like to acknowledge step-parents who choose to adopt their partner’s children, sometimes after they have become adults, to make their parent/child relationship “official.” This process is surprisingly easy and provides that kid or adult a sense of belonging when sharing a last name is important to them.

If someone does not feel called to adopt, they can still help vulnerable children and families. From donating your last year’s winter gear to Women’s Resource, giving respite to foster parents or parents of children with a complex diagnosis, volunteering as mentor through one of many local non-profits, sponsoring a family at holiday time, or participating in a program that helps provide for orphans overseas in developing countries; everything helps. It truly does take a village to raise a child and orphans are, in my opinion, everyone’s child.

Any other year, adoptive families would be gathering at skating events, campouts, bowling parties, or chasing giant soccer balls at the Field House. We would be sharing pizza and cake and enjoying a few laughs together. We would be packing the City Council Chambers to get our proclamation certificates. This year with Covid, we are celebrating in our own homes over virtual platforms — having family events over Zoom and exchanging coffee dates with phone calls has been a way we have all adapted. The adoption community remains as close and connected as ever and I want to wish all of my fellow adoptive parents and waiting parents a very Happy Adoption Month.

Brandi Kennedy is a Family Support Worker, Adoptive Families Association of BC

For any questions about adoption, feel free to email her at: bkennedy@bcadoption.com

www.bcadoption.com

Just Posted

The Libby Dam on the Kootenai River in Montana. The dam created the Koocanusa Reservoir, which straddles the B.C./Montana border. (photo courtesy Wikipedia)
Outflow at Libby Dam to be increased

Volume increase to aid migration and spawning conditions for endangered white sturgeon in the Kootenai River

Cranbrook City Hall. File photo.
Cranbrook municipal property tax levy set to increase by 2.35 per cent

Municipal property taxes are going up following adoption of the 2021 rates… Continue reading

A trailer was stolen from Cranbrook’s industrial area overnight, May 11.
Trailer stolen in Cranbrook

A 2003 Keystone “Hornet” travel trailer was allegedly stolen overnight Tuesday from… Continue reading

Pictured is Britany Bignham, a Cranbrook hairstylist who is one of 16 top stylists in the running for the Ultimate Stylist competition - an online international hair and beauty competition. She is pictured behind her chair at the Hair Mob. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Cranbrook hairstylist vies for top prize in international competition

Britany Bingham is one of 16 finalists in the Ultimate Stylist competition

Kimberley RCMP detachment seeking information after female teenager grabbed by masked man.
Teenaged female grabbed by masked man on Kimberley trail

RCMP seeking witnesses or information

Marc Kielburger, screen left, and Craig Kielburger, screen right, appear as witnesses via video conference during a House of Commons finance committee in the Wellington Building in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. The committee is looking into Government Spending, WE Charity and the Canada Student Service Grant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
BREAKING: Trudeau didn’t violate conflict rules over WE Charity, watchdog says

Federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion found that former finance minister Bill Morneau did violate the rules

Police investigate a fatal 2011 shooting in a strip mall across from Central City Shopping Centre, which was deemed a gang hit. The Mayor’s Gang Task Force zeroed in on ways to reduce gang involvement and activity. (File photo)
COVID-19 could be a cause in public nature of B.C. gang violence: expert

Martin Bouchard says the pandemic has changed people’s routines and they aren’t getting out of their homes often, which could play a role in the brazen nature of shootings

Tinder, an online dating application that allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other’s profiles. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. man granted paternity test to see if Tinder match-up led to a ‘beautiful baby’

The plaintiff is seeking contact with the married woman’s infant who he believes is his child

Nurse Tami Arnold prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kareem Elgazzar/AP)
B.C. adults 30+ now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Health officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon

Richard Green writes poetry under the nom de plume Rick the Poet Warrior. Homeless, Green sometimes spends his summers in Revelstoke but winters in Victoria, travelling to Ontario to visit his sister whenever he can. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke nomad pens poetry, offers insight into homelessness

Rick the Poet Warrior’s books can be found online as well as at the Revelstoke library

Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness walks beside an enormous western red cedar stump in a BCTS-issued cutblock in the Nahmint Valley. (PHOTO COURTESY TJ WATT)
Watchdog: logging practices put Vancouver Island old growth, biodiversity at risk

Forest Practices Board has issues with BC Timber Sales practices in Nahmint Valley near Port Alberni

Erik Christian Oun, who worked for the Coquitlam school district, has had his teaching licence suspended for half a year. (Pixabay)
B.C. teacher suspended after calling students ‘cutie’ and ‘sweetheart’ in online messages

Erik Oun’s licence has been suspended for half a year, a decision made by the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read