When a child joins a new family, everyone needs time to adjust and attach. That’s why parental leave and benefits exist. Unfortunately, not all new parents qualify for these benefits. In this article, Willow Yamauchi shares her experience and explains what needs to change so families like hers aren’t excluded in their times of need.
Guardianship is a court process based on the Family Law Act that offers a way for anyone to create permanency for a child by becoming their guardian. This article explores its many similarities to adoption, and its key differences.
What is guardianship?
Becoming a guardian means that you are responsible for all the decisions, care, supervision, and day-to-day decisions for a child. When parents are absent or unable to raise their children, other parents, family members, or grandparents often step in to help.
There are hundreds of teenagers in foster care who need permanent homes. In this interview Paula*, a mom who’s adopted four youth, shares her journey.
*all names have been changed to protect the family's privacy.
Tell me about your family.
I live in a small, coastal town. I’m a single mom. I have seven children: Naomi (27), Tessa (25), Jack (24), Rob (23), Cameron (21), Justin (18), and Blake (17).
Five things every family should know
International adoption is a complicated process that involves the child, the parents, the provincial government, the federal government, and the government in the child’s birth country. You will need to do a lot of planning, a lot of paperwork, and a lot of waiting before the journey is complete.
There’s nothing like a harmless joke to set your day off in the wrong direction. Scrolling through Facebook, a friend of a friend was joking about kids not knowing who their father is. I assumed the joke was in reference to the fact that she used a sperm donor to conceive her children.
“We are planning to adopt a baby and have heard stories about birth fathers coming forward at the last minute to disrupt adoptions. What is the situation if this happens?”
As with all questions involving the law, an accurate answer begins with, “it depends.” The first thing it depends on is where the child (and birth father) reside. Different countries, and even different provinces or states, have differing laws and procedures. For the purpose of this response, I will assume all parties live in BC.
If you are adopting a child, check out your employment rights and the rules around paid Employment Insurence leave (if you qualify).
These stories illustrate the power of the elemental need to parent, the ability to mourn but not blame, the uniqueness of every adoption, and what an agonizing decision adoption can be for birth parents.
In BC, birth mothers have 30 days form the time their child is born to change their minds and decide to parent their child. Usually those 30 days pass by, albeit slowly, and the adoptive parents can breathe a sigh of relief. For others, it's not quite so simple.
Do you need to change your child’s birth date? It may seem odd to give a child a new birthday, but it’s a good idea for some internationally adopted children.
In the 10 years I’ve practised adoption law, I’ve been asked by parents of children from Nepal, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo for help in correcting their child’s birth date. As an adoptive parent myself, I sympathize with them. For many reasons, it’s important that your child’s legal birth date be similar to their chronological birth date.
Are you planning to adopt a child?
Financial help for adoptive families
One of the most obvious challenges adoptive parents face is the significant cost associated with the adoption process. But no matter what stage of the process you are in—whether you’re just thinking about adoption, you’re already working with an adoption agency, or you’ve recently celebrated the arrival of your child—it’s important to know the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has credits and benefits designed to help adoptive parents shoulder the financial burden.