Adoption is not an event but a lifelong journey for everyone impacted by it — children, youth, and their adoptive and birth families.
Adopted children and youth have all experienced loss, grief, and adoption trauma in their young lives. This loss can impact how they feel and think about themselves, others (including parents), and the world around them. At the Adoption Council of Ontario (ACO), we understand this. We also know that healing from loss and adoption trauma happens through strong and nurturing relationships. For this to happen, kids and parents need to feel understood, and they may need support in building and deepening their relationships.
We have an excellent free training program called Pathways to Permanence 2: Parenting Children Who Have Experienced Adoption Trauma and Loss. The Pathways training program provides education and support for adoptive parents — whether they adopted their child years ago or recently. Pathways makes parenting easier to understand and provides the skills needed to parent in a way that helps children and youth heal from adoption trauma and loss. The training has been very well-received and is highly recommended by participants.
For children and youth
The ACO’s free, virtual Kids Sessions provide a space where children who are adopted can get together in a safe environment, learn about each other, play games, and talk about adoption — if they want. The sessions are organized by age group and are an excellent opportunity for children to connect with other adopted children and not feel alone. The ACO also runs a Youth Network program for youth and young adults aged 16 and over that meets virtually twice a month. In addition to the fun and social atmosphere, the Youth Network also provides interested youth with the opportunity to participate in advocacy and leadership work.
“At first, I didn’t want to join, and my mom kind of made me try it. It was great. I felt so comfortable within a couple of minutes and actually met someone like me,” — A Kids Sessions attendee.
Because of the unique dynamics involved in adoption journeys, the ACO offers ACT training, a specialized professional training program.
ACO understands adoption and adoption journeys. Therefore, we take a child/youth-centred approach to all our work, and through our programs, we normalize, connect, educate, support, and advocate through all stages of the adoption journey.
Let’s support the health and well-being of children and youth who are adopted and provide them and their families with the ongoing support and connections they need.