Adoption in Canada – The need for Change By Ian Brannan – October 18, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

CFN – In recent years the number of children that Canadians adopted from impoverished countries around the world once again started a swing upwards. This trend bears bad news for the 30,000 or more children of legal age for adoption that are currently awaiting families in our own country. In 2009, according to reported statistics, around 2,122 children had been adopted from countries such as China, Haiti, and Russia while only 7% of those that are currently in Canadian foster homes awaiting families, were adopted.According to a Draft text for civil society report to the UN committee on the rights of the child, that was written in October of 2010;  tens of thousands of children are growing up in foster care in our provinces and territories.
They are shunted from temporary home to temporary home, and then into  group home after group home, and often they have suffered from abuse and neglect at the hands of parents who are economically and socially disadvantaged, and who may also suffer from addictions and/or mental health issues. This start in life places these children at higher risk for poorer social, educational, and medical outcomes then the general population.
It went on to explain that it is particularly hard on Aboriginal children who have a large presence in “the system”, when they enter the Foster care system they often loose their connections to their extended family, band or community and especially (some would consider most importantly) to their culture. This, however, is also felt by other children that have been through foster care.  Where the information provided to the children and even the parents of the children is so little, that in some cases they barely know more than the first name of the child, birthdate, and their place of birth.
These statistics are frightening, even to people that have not been through the system.   It’s harder though, to imagine what it’s like when you are living in this situation. It gets worse though, according to a three-year research project that was conducted in three different cities (Calgary, Toronto, and St. John’s), where interviews were performed with 689 street-involved youth, and it was found that 68 percent of those youth had previously been in foster care.
It has been found that youth leaving care without permanent homes without the connections or supports any good parent would provide often can end with the youth dropping out of school, becoming single parents, and come into contact with the Justice system.  When spoken to, an individual that has been through an adoption early in her life believes that her life was bettered because of her adoption, also puts in that it is too easy these days for families to adopt children from other countries.
That this should be discouraged and that families should give priority to children from Canada that require families. It maybe time that the government stepped in and changed the policies so that it would be more difficult to import a baby then it is to adopt a child here in Canada?
Ian Brannan is a first year Journalism student at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall Ontario who is starting an internship.    If you wish to contact him email with his name in the subject line.


  1. Well written article. Do you know why so many Canadian children end up in foster care rather than being adopted?

  2. Thank you for the Compliment Jerry, to be 100% honest, I am unsure why. But as an adopted person it is a topic i will be researching further in the future, and I hope to have an answer soon.

  3. Perhaps you should have researched why BEFORE you wrote this article. As someone who is trying to adopt internationally, rather than from Canada, I’ll tell you why, because I did research many, many adoption agencies. The first reason is that almost all of the children up for adoption have special needs, such as FAS, etc. Some families do not feel equipped to deal with the issues the children may have (and who are we to judge that? Some people are wonderful families who can deal with a special needs child, but many others recognize their own limitations and disabilities in doing so). Secondly, many of the children for adoption are sibling groups, and can not be split up (nor should they be). Many families can not afford or accommodate sibling groups. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, to receive a “healthy baby”, the year is a minimum seven year wait. I even talked to one company in which the wait was 12 years.
    Let’s not forget that children from Canada will have access to food, water, health care, education, clothing, etc. The children of Haiti are dying, and have no hope. I’ve been there, so I’m not just spouting off rhetoric.

    THAT is why I’m looking into adopting from Haiti. It takes no more than a year. I can have a three year old child in my home within a year. I will be able to give them life, something they may not have in Haiti.

  4. Sorry: Instead of “…they year is a minimum seven year wait.”, it should have read, “…the time is a minimum seven year wait.”

  5. Hi Ian, nice job on your article. Can you cite the reference and organization for the research project involving street involved youth in Calgary, Toronto, and St. John’s that you’ve mentioned in the third last paragraph? I’d like to read that study. I’m quite interested in the stats you’ve included about the 689 youth who were interviewed.

  6. Thank you for your criticism Kimberly, you do raise a couple of good points, and make a couple of excellant points that strengthen my position that things need to change. But….somehow i doubt that 7% is the best we can do for our own children.

    Noelle, my citiation for the mention of the report comes from a draft copy of civil society report to the UNs Committee on the Rights of the child. Thats where the statistic came from, as for the organization that performed the three year project I believe the organization is called YouthWorks

  7. Hi Ian,

    I can’t seem to find your sources on the web. Certainly not via the YouthWorks site – can you provide a link for your sources?

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