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The Pacific Northwest Programfor Canada FamiliesAdding an American to Your Family
We are delighted to have helped many wonderful Canadian families become parents! As of January 2005 we have placed seventeen infants with families in Canada. There are challenges, of course, in creating adoptions over a distance, but we’re glad to pick up the gauntlet. The reward for us is seeing so many happy families who probably would never have been able to adopt without us.
We know you’ll have many questions, and we hope to answer many of them here. For further program information, please be sure to read the Q & A page.
Our goal in all adoptions through the Pacific Northwest programs is to help people make satisfying adoption plans they can live with forever. Birth parents and adopting families in the Pac NW/Canada program typically choose each other before placement based on the adopting family’s Dear Birth Parent album and the birth parents’ documents and photos. They often meet one another by phone, but occasionally in person, before being matched. They nearly always see one another at the hospital if not before, and adoptive parents often have the opportunity to be present during labor and/or delivery. They typically have some relationship after placement that may include letters and pictures, phone calls, e-mail and/or occasional visits.
Birth and adoptive parents in this program do not view one another as adversaries, but as people who are working together to meet mutual needs, and especially the needs of the child. All adoptions are individually designed and negotiated, which means they fit the people making the adoption plan. We don’t dictate what to do or judge the decisions made by either birth parents or adopting parents. Our role is to be adoption educators, facilitators, counselors and providers of emotional support for adopting parents and birth parents alike. We will always be direct and honest with all information available to us.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF YOUR WORK IN CANADA?In 1995 a couple from Toronto called us. There were so few adoptions happening in their region that they had begun to look farther afield. Of course we warned them about the expense and stress involved with international adoption, but they were still interested! We agreed for them to visit Oregon and meet with our staff. They were a wonderful couple, with a loving family ready to bring a baby into their circle. Less than a year after we met, they flew to Portland to meet a birth mother and to be present at the birth of their child. We placed their second daughter in their arms on August 18, 2001. As we do no advertising in Canada, our reputation has spread by word of mouth, so nearly all our placements have been in the greater Toronto area. We would be pleased, however, to place with families in any province. WE HAVE HEARD THE EDUCATION SEMINAR YOU PROVIDE IS HELPFUL. HOWEVER, WE HAVE ALREADY TAKEN ADOPTION CLASSES AND WE ARE VERY FAR AWAY. MUST WE TRAVEL TO THE SEMINAR?With the impending ratification of the Hague Agreement by the U.S. and the resulting changes in state licensing requirements, education requirements for families are becoming more intense than ever. All families must attend the seminar prior to having their family albums shown to birth parents.
Beyond the state’s requirements, however, past clients have told us the seminar was very valuable to them! While we know it’s a huge chore to get all the way here, believe us—the seminar will make your adoption much easier! The seminar will let you know what to expect, give you the opportunity to meet birth parents and adoptive parents who have worked with us, and give us a chance to get to know you. We find that when we know a couple we can be much better advocates for them.
We hold seminars in Portland three or four times a year, and have held four seminars in Toronto. We hold these out-of-country seminars on an as-needed basis when we have a sufficient number of families to justify the expense of time away from the office. Families attending out-of-Portland seminars share the cost of the trainer‘s travel time and expenses.
If you have concerns about attending the seminar, please feel free to contact Sue, our Education Director.
HOW DO REQUIREMENTS FOR CANADIAN FAMILIES DIFFER FROM THOSE FOR FAMILIES LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES?1. You MUST have e-mail access. E-mail will ease the process considerably, allowing you to communicate easily with us. If your area does not have access, please speak to Deborah. After you are placed with a child, you are certainly free to disconnect from the e-mail system unless your Adoption Agreement with your child‘s birth parent specifies otherwise.2. You must make provision for the transfer of adoption fees from your bank to ours, in US dollars, in a timely manner. The transaction fees on both ends of the transfer need to be covered by the adopting family. In lieu of wire transfer, we are happy to accept a check in US dollars, sent by DHL or another express carrier.3. To meet Canada’s requirements, you must work with a local licensee to complete your home study and all Canadian requirements for bringing the baby back into Canada. We are generally familiar with the paperwork requirements and will do all we can to support your needs in this area. However, you must obtain information about current requirements and arrange for your licensee to be in touch with us.4. We are restricted to placing babies born in states where Heritage is licensed, currently Oregon and Washington.
WHAT SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR THOSE OF US ADOPTING FROM OUT OF COUNTRY?We will be delighted to provide you with a list of Canadian families who have adopted through Heritage. They have already told us they are glad to talk about their experiences with adoption and to answer your questions.
The Canadian contact for Heritage Adoption Services is Stuart Foxman. You can reach him via e-mail here.
WE’D LIKE TO KNOW MORE!We would be very pleased to provide you with more information about this program by phone, mail or e-mail. We will be glad to chat with you or send you answers to such questions as:
• Why would birth parents choose to place a baby so far away?• What kind of contact will there be with birth parents before and after placement?• What will we know about birth parents’ health information?• What about cigarette, alcohol and drug exposure?• What is the ethnic background of Pacific Northwest birth parents?• Our home study is complete, but we do not yet have other approvals Canada requires. Can you present us to birth parents while we are waiting?• How will the Hague Agreement affect US-Canada adoptions?• How long will it be before a child joins our family?• What must we do to prepare for adoption?• How do birth parents find Heritage?• How old are babies placed through this program by Heritage?• How does the matching process work?• How much does it cost to adopt through the Pacific Northwest program?• When are fees due?• What other adoption expenses are there?• What if the birth parent we’re matched with decides to parent instead?
Serving you step-by-step through this incredible process is our goal. We are happy to answer any other questions you may think of about how we work in general, and how we work with Canadians in particular. We are also pleased to refer you to a cross-section of Canadian families who have adopted through us. For lots of answers and information, please e-mail Deborah Aronson at [email protected] or call Deborah at 503.233.1099.
Call or e-mail us for questions or to apply for this program.