The Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan is looking to clear up misconceptions around what they do and how people can adopt a child.
One major misconception: the ASCS does not in fact handle adoptions. The ministry of social services handles that process for the whole of the province. In fact according to Leah Deans, resource director with ASCS, there are no adoption agencies in the province.
Instead the organization helps families adopt and provide service for them when they do. Deans said a main service offered is called the domestic adoption orientation program.
“It was presented to the ministry as a way of, sort of, educating people in the pre-adoption process and that would help them as they moved through the process,” said Deans.
The orientation starts with simply outlining how a person can adopt in Saskatchewan. From there ASCS does a home study program, which is required by the ministry, and then a person can be referred to the ministry of social services.
Cultural considerations vital
Lots has changed with respect to adoption in the province, and Deans said a major difference is consideration of the culture of the adopted child.
“We have a lot of conversation around the importance of culture and heritage to children and how they’re really fundamental to a child’s identity,” she said.
“It’s important that all adopted children are provided with the opportunity to learn about their, and understand their personal birth culture and history.”
Being able to provide that kind of environment is a big part of the work the ASCS does during their home study and during their pre-adoption process.
Older kids need families too
Another thing the ASCS wants to de-stigmatize is the adoption of older children. Deans said seeing children age out of the foster care program at 18 can be hard to see and wishes they could have the permanence and stability a family offers.
“When they age out at 18 they’re on their own. They don’t know where they go at Christmas time, or they don’t have someone to talk to if they have a car break down,” she said.
“At 18 not everyone knows how to navigate that, and having a permanent family, someone they can go back to and get that support from even after is really important.”