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adopting in Saskatchewan – how to start

It’s crazy to think that we started filling out paperwork for our adoption just over a year ago now. In so many ways it feels like the time has flown and at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago.

Prior to starting the paperwork when we were in the researching phase I remember getting quite frustrated and overwhelmed because it seemed like there was so much information but yet no step-by-step process or anything that said, “Live in Saskatchewan? Want to adopt internationally? Start here.”

We slowly figured out the first step and then the next and continued on until we are where we are at today and the whole time I kept thinking how I wanted to write up a step-by-step process for people in Saskatchewan who were looking to adopt internationally, thus this post.

Let me start off by saying I am not expert, this is our first adoption and there is still so much I don’t know but I would like to share the little bit of knowledge that I have gathered over the last year. I am sure there are different ways of going about it all and if you are from Saskatchewan and did something different I would love it if you would leave a comment below and explain what you did so that others that come by can learn from you as well.

In case you are interested in some Saskatchewan adoption statistics; in 2009 a total of 151 adoptions took place in Saskatchewan, 104 of those were domestic adoptions and 47 were international adoptions. It seems like a super low number but you’ve got to keep in mind that Saskatchewan has a population of a measly 1 million people.

Before I get into the steps here are a couple of “rules” Saskatchewan has for those adopting:

  • There must be at least a year between placements (as in two adoptions or a birth and an adoption), if you start the adoption process and get pregnant everything gets put on hold and you can usually start the process back up again after your baby is about 6 months, though much of the paperwork will have to be redone at this point.
  • When adopting multiple children the Saskatchewan Government requires that they must be siblings.

Step One: A pretty good resource is the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan, they send out free information packages which are great if you are contemplating between domestic and international adoption but because we were set on international adoption I found the information they sent out I had already found on the internet through my searching. A booklet they send out which you can access online is the Intercountry Adoption Program Guide, it goes over lots of information, rules and requirements.

Step Two: Fill out an application applying to Social Services, I believe we got ours from the Adoption Support Centre (but it’s been a year and my memory is fading) but at the end of the Intercountry Adoption Program Guide it has a phone number you can call if you are interested in more information. Once they receive your application they will designate a social worker for you to work with over the span of your adoption.

Step Two 1/2: At the same time we were filling out the application we were searching around for an adoption agency to work with. I know I’ve mentioned it on here before but I’ll say it again anyway, Saskatchewan doesn’t have any adoption agencies in the province so we needed to find one in Canada or the US that was Hague accredited and was willing to work with a couple from Saskatchewan (if you are adopting internationally you are going to want to read up on the Hague Adoption Convention). There are a couple of lists online of Canadian adoption agencies (like this one from Canada Adopts) and I did a lot of Googling as well. As many of you know we ended up going with an American agency because we couldn’t find one in Canada that would work with us and had adoption programs in Africa (and we knew we were set on an African country).

Step Three-ish: If you haven’t noticed already these steps aren’t really set in stone**, we found that things can be done in so many different ways so I am just going to let you know how things worked for us. Once we found an agency to work with we did what was required of us through them, the same as most agencies, filled out an application, sent in the application fee and then waited to see if we were accepted.

Step Four: From here on out your agency usually tells you what steps to do and when. The only thing that is consistent is that you need a Saskatchewan government approved Independent Practitioner to complete your home study. Your worker at Social Services should email you a list of those approved to do so, it’s a short list, I think there were only 11 people on there when we got it, and that’s for the entire province. Your IP will also guide you through some of the steps you need to do. This whole step includes your home study, finger prints, criminal record checks, and whatever other paperwork your agency/country you are adopting from requires. They are all a little different.

Steps Five – ??: Your agency will continue to tell you what steps come next, for us it was getting on the wait list, adoption training, eventually we’ll get our referral, then it will be paperwork and waiting for a travel date and eventually going to pick up our child.

** I don’t know how much information to give here, I don’t want to overwhelm people who are completely new to the adoption process so I tried to keep it simple, but for those that are a little more well versed in the whole thing, some information I did not include above: Originally when we applied through the government we filled out all the paperwork using a specific Canadian agency adopting through an African country. About two months after sending our application in we found out the agency we were going to use in essence went bankrupt so we needed to find a new agency. Because of this we did not have to send in a new application to the government but our original application actually shows the incorrect adoption agency. We kept our worker at Social Services in the loop the whole time we were going through this and it all worked out. 🙂

I know this is not an exhaustive list of steps for the adoption process but my goal was to help those who have just been contemplating international adoption by giving the beginning steps. I would love to write posts on what to look for when choosing an agency, birth order and adoption, and other such adoption posts if people are interested. If you would like more of this info or have any questions please leave a comment below, I try to answer all the questions that come in. And again, if you live in Saskatchewan and have adopted I would love to hear how your steps differed, or if you have any tips and tricks for the process.

with love,

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