On Adoption.

This month is National Adoption Month. So you know I couldn’t let it pass without sharing some of what is on my heart. For our family, adoption is everything.

As many of you know we adopted Ethan + Arianna in December 2014. They have lived with us since May 4th 2013. Adoption holds a really special place in our hearts as that is how we grew our family.

I made a post on instagram last week about our adoption and so many of you had great questions. So I thought I would share a little bit of our experience with adoption and where our family is headed.

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Joel and I have been married for 11 years. {Holy cow that seems like a long time} We have always known right from the beginning that we’d like to adopt. Our beautiful children are biologically related to us, which means it was a kinship adoption.

We adopted before I discovered I had endometriosis and was going to struggle with infertility. In many ways it’s been a huge blessing already having formed our family before entering that struggle. We love everything about our family and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Ethan and Arianna were in Children’s Aid care when we began the process of adoption. In Ontario there are three ways to do an adoption:

  1. International

  2. Private

  3. Through Children’s Aid {CAS}

We were already licensed foster parents when we were approached to consider adopting Ethan and Arianna. But we were licensed through a private foster care agency. Which meant that CAS did not recognize our home study or license. We had to redo the licensing process in order to become licensed through them as well. Which involves police checks, medicals, references, full financial analysis and multiple home visits to ensure you are safe and a good fit.

The kids were officially placed in our homes on May 4th 2013. Then CAS got crown wardship for the children that August. Which meant in September we could officially be placed on adoption probation. This is a period of time that enables CAS and you as parents to ensure that this is a good fit and that things are progressing well before finalizing your adoption.

We were working with two agencies at the time - London Middlesex CAS because that’s where we lived geographically and the CAS where the kids were born. Both agencies struggled to get the necessary paperwork done so that the Ministry would approve our adoption. So instead of three months, we sat on adoption probation until December 12th, 2014. 15 months later we finally had our adoption court date.

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There are several hard things about adoption. The biggest being making decisions that are best for the kids. That includes restricting who they have access to as we worked to build a strong attachment with us. Little Ethan had moved six times before coming to our house and was really struggling. It was hard to balance keeping extended family members happy and doing what we felt was best for the kids.

The other thing that’s hard about adoption is that adoption starts with a loss. Yes, we’re so happy they are ours. Yes, we love them deeply. Yes, we’re so glad we’re a family. But in order for our family to form, another one had to fall apart. That’s something that never goes away.

Our kids have experienced more loss than most kids their age. They feel things differently. That impacts our day to day interactions with them and our parenting style. We sometimes parent a little bit different.

We feel so blessed that we are able to have Ethan and Arianna as part of the Bouchard family. And we do hope to adopt again and are once again starting the process to complete another adoption. All the heartache, paperwork and struggles are worth it when you finally get to happy court and become an official forever family.

Have other questions about adoption? Ask away. I love to share about our adoption and our family.