In adoption by consent the child is voluntarily placed for adoption by the birth parent(s). It is possible through both public and private adoption agencies. The child is often a newborn but can be an older child.

The adoptive parents have been approved by a home study by the Ministry of Social Services or a Children’s Aid Society (CAS). The child can go straight from hospital into an approved adoptive family if the birth parents request it. The birth mother, however, is still the legal guardian; the adoptive family is at this time simply babysitting.

The eighth day after birth is the earliest the birth parent(s) may sign the consent to adopt papers. Consent cannot be given before the child is seven days of age.

Up until 21 days after consent, birth parents may change their mind.

Thus birth parents have almost a month to reconsider their decision. Birth parents are legal guardians until 21 days after they’ve given consent. On the 22nd day the birth mother terminates her guardianship and it is assumed by the license or the CAS.

Adoption Probation is in effect for a minimum of six months. While the baby has been released for adoption, the family which will receive permanent custody is still under probation and is supervised by an adoption worker. The child is required to be resident with the applicants for six months before they can apply to the court for an adoption order. Workers visit and make a report to the court.

The child’s legal guardian until finalization of the adoption is the agency or license. Court orders can make the adoption final after the six-month probation period.

Any foster care in consensual adoption is usually short term:

1)       If birth parents are not sure about their plan to parent or place for adoption, the child may be placed in foster care until their final decision.

2)      If the adopting applicants have not finished all their paper work.

3)      If there are significant medical problem to be addressed.

4)      If a suitable home that would preserve the child’s racial and cultural heritage is not immediately available.