Placing Your Child for Adoption

Last updated on January 21, 2021

Placing a child for adoption is a major life decision – birth parents have options for where their child is placed and choices about the contact they have after adoption.

The Adoption Act makes sure parents receive the information they need to make the right decision  for them and their child. A licensed adoption agency or the Ministry of Children and Family Development can help by:

  • Providing information about adoption and alternatives to adoption
  • Making referrals to support services
  • Supporting birth parents through the range of emotions that comes with placing a child for adoption

Placement Options

Birth parents can decide how involved they'd like to be in the adoption process – they can help choose the adoptive family and stay in contact after the adoption process is complete.

There are two options for placement:

  • Agency placement: Birth parents place the child with an adoption agency until they find an appropriate adoptive family
  • Direct placement: Birth parents work with an agency to place the child with someone they know (who is not a relative). The prospective adoptive parents will have a pre­-placement assessment completed by the adoption agency. Both the birth parents and the adoptive parents have joint guardianship until the adoption order is granted

Adoption agencies do not charge fees to birth parents, but adoptive parents may have to pay for some services.


Generally speaking, in order to place a child for adoption, consent is needed from:

  • The child's parents and/or guardians (teenagers who are not 19 years old can place their child for adoption without consent from their parents or guardians)
  • The child, if he or she is 12 years old or over

At birth: Consent for the adoption is not taken until at least 10 days after the birth of the child. Birth mothers may withdraw consent for adoption within 30 days of the child's birth, even if the child has already been placed for adoption.

Older children: Parents who have consented to an adoption may withdraw their consent before the child is placed with the prospective adoptive parents. Children 12 years and older who are being adopted may withdraw their consent at any time up until the adoption order is granted by the court.

Medical Information & Family History

Birth parents should share as much medical and social history about their families as they can to help the adoptive parents provide the best care possible. This information is gathered by the adoption agency and is kept on record.

Openness Agreement

If it's in the child's best interest, birth parents and adoptive parents are encouraged to negotiate an openness agreement – it outlines the different ways that birth parents, extended family members and the adoptive family will communicate or make contact after the adoption process is complete.