Adoption refers to the legal ability to raise or take custody of a child who is not your own, and can come about through numerous factors, including death of a biological parent(s), or a history of abuse or neglect. There are several reasons for why a family would seek to adopt a child, such as infertility or other factors that may not provide an opportunity for people to have their own children. Some individuals or couples value the importance of being raised in a healthy home, and are interested in providing this to a child. Adoptions can take locally (home province or country) or internationally.
For some individuals or families, they choose to provide foster care to a child or children, which is providing for their daily needs. For children who are no longer able to live in their homes due to safety concerns or when the parent is not able to provide for the child. Foster children are placed into a home by a children’s aid society, and the length of time is usually temporary, in case the child is able to return back to the custody of their own parents.
Many children who are being adopted or placed into a foster home experience abuse, neglect or trauma in their lives, which can lead to issues such as depression, anxiety, inability to trust, post-traumatic stress disorder, feelings of abandonment or behavioural problems.
How Counselling Can Help
Counselling can help parents and siblings prepare for changes within the home, particularly addressing the emotional impact of an adoption or foster care on the child being adopted, and the members of the adopted or foster family. For the child who has been adopted or has been placed in foster care, counselling can help address some of the issues that might negatively impact a child’s emotional or psychological well-being. Treatment may include play therapy, family therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy.
Additional Resources for Adoption/Foster Care
Adoption Council of Ontario:
Adoption Council of Canada:
Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies:
Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (Adoption):
Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (Foster Care):
Foster Parents Society of Ontario: