If you’re in Manitoba and looking to adopt a child, the websites available to you don’t provide a lot of information. There are all sorts of other resources available for international adoptions, and you can contact private agencies for information. But if you’re interested in adopting a permanent ward, as I am, the website basically just says “If you would like more information on adoption, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact your local child and family services agency.” When you click on the “contact your local child and family services agency” link, it takes you to this page with a whole bunch of numbers.
Basically, in short, if you’re looking to adopt a permanent ward in Winnipeg, call this number: 204-944-4501. There are other types of adoption (private adoption, international adoption), but I’m really only going to write about adoption of a permanent ward as that’s what I’m interested in doing.
So, I called last week, and the receptionist lady forwarded my call to a worker. I left a voicemail and didn’t hear back (I have no doubt they’re super busy!) so I called back on Friday morning. This time I landed in someone else’s voicemail, and he called me back on Friday but I missed his call and couldn’t call until Monday.
I was able to talk to him on Monday, which was great. He told me a little bit about how it works, timelines, etc., and got a little information from me. This is how it typically works, based on my phone call with him:
Step 1: Prospective adoptive parent attends a full day workshop. These workshops are only run 4x a year; two in the spring, two in the fall/winter. I totally lucked out, and he managed to get me a spot in the May 29th workshop, so at least I don’t have to obsesses all summer about this first step.
Step 1-a: I label this as step 1-a because it either happens before step 1, or after, it’s not super clear cut. But there’s a lengthy paper application to fill out. I may get it before the workshop, I may get it at the workshop, and I may get it after. I don’t know, he didn’t know, so I’ll fill it out whenever I get it.
Step 2: If step 1 and step 1-a go well, then I’m on to a two-day workshop – it runs over a Friday and a Saturday. The earliest one I could get into would be late September. He said he doesn’t have the dates for them yet, but typically there’s one at the end of September, one at the end of October, and then two at the beginning of the year. Again, no workshops over the summer.
Step 3: So, if I’ve gone through all the workshops, I’m feeling good about it, they’re feeling good about me, then it’s on to the full home study. Checking out my home, me, family, criminal record checks, medical checks, everything. I don’t know exactly how this works, but I’m sure I’ll have more details when I go through all the workshops.
Step 4: (Hopefully) being approved to adopt. If everything is good and I get approved, then I wait. How long I’ll wait depends on what I’m looking for – he said waiting for a healthy infant can be 4+ years, but if I wanted an older child, it might be within a year. I’m open to adopting a sibling group (2 kids), so that might help speed up the process as well because sibling groups tend to be harder to place.
Step 5: Placement. Depending on the age of the kids, I might visit them in their foster homes a few times first. If that goes well, they’d come to live with me. They would live with me as foster children (as far as I can tell) for 6 months to a year, before the adoption could be finalized.
Because the earliest I can do the two-day workshop is late September, I probably wouldn’t have a home study until October-November at the earliest. (But that’s just a guess, I honestly have no idea. Faster would be better, but it may take longer.) The likelihood of having a child in 2019 is basically non-existent, but then again, if I’d gotten pregnant this cycle I’d only be having the baby in January 2020 anyway.
I go back and forth – it’s a little hard to give up the idea of having a baby of my own, at least for now. But then again, there are so many children in the system who need a loving parent. I can do that. I can be that parent.
Anyway, that’s where I’m at now. Still thinking, but reaching out for all the information I can get and trying to figure out which way to go. The more I think about adoption, the more it grows on me, and I think by the time I attend the session in May I will be 100% on board. I’m already 98% there.
Some helpful links:
https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/adopt_wards.html << General Adoption Page
https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/adoption_faq.html << FAQs
https://www.gov.mb.ca/fs/childfam/cfsagencies.html << Alllllllll the phone numbers
http://www.manitobaparentzone.ca/becoming-a-parent/before-pregnancy/adoption.html << more info
http://adoptiveparents.ca/wp/manitoba-adoption << and more info