By Claire Lee
Adopting a child is not an easy process. There are a lot of things you need to know, consider, and really study before even thinking about whether or not you’re ready to take care of a child.
One of the most important things in this adoption process is finding one of the best adoption agencies in Calgary that you know will help you through every twist and turn. Lucky for you, that’s what this article is all about so come on and keep scrolling!
What Factors Affect the Cost of Adoption Processes in Calgary?
If this is your first time considering adoption, you may not be that well-informed about the process. You may even be wondering what factors affect the cost so we put together this list to help you out:
1. Type of Adoption
The kind of adoption you’re looking at is the most defining factor in how much you’ll be spending due to the fees caused by their different requirements. There are 4 different kinds of adoption. These are Government Adoption, Direct or Step-Parent Adoption, International Adoption, and Domestic Adoption.
We’ll get into what these different adoption types entail later on. For now, let’s focus on how much they usually cost.
International Adoption is the most expensive type of adoption since, on top of all the usual fees, there are immigration fees, plane tickets, and the like which usually amounts to around $30,000-$75,000. Domestic Adoption costs around $12,000-$15,00 while Private Direct is the cheapest at around $3,000.
2. Home Study Fees
Home studies are assessments conducted by either a psychologist or registered social worker of a prospective adoptive parent’s entire life. This costs around $2,500-$3,000.
It’s a required part of the whole process in order for an adoption agency to know whether a family or individual is fit enough to care for a child.
3. Training Fees
In Calgary, you are legally required to undergo at least 4-6 hours worth of training/seminars on the type of adoption you are considering before you can be eligible to adopt. These seminars will teach you all there is to know about the adoption journey.
This includes how to communicate with the birth parents all the way to a general idea of how to raise your adoptive child. The cost of these seminars depends solely on the adoption agency you’re partnering up with.
The Best Adoption Agencies in Calgary
Now, let’s move on to the list of the best adoption agencies in Calgary. You’ll find everything you need to know about these agencies including their contact details, services, and specific requirements for adoption.
1. AMARIS Adoption and Family Support Services
|SERVICES||Family support, Adopting, Expecting|
|ADDRESS||101C 9705 Horton Rd S.W. Calgary, AB, T2V 2X5|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+1 403-256-3224|
|OPERATING HOURS||Mon-Fri 9:00 am – 4:00 pm|
AMARIS Adoption and Family Support Services is a Calgary-based adoption agency that’s known for taking on what others deem “hard cases”. These are cases with older children, children with special needs, and even sibling groups that aren’t allowed to be separated.
They offer services for International Adoption, Domestic Adoption, and Private Direct Adoption. Potential adoptive parents are required to attend at least 2 sessions of AMARIS’s training as well as one extra one for every year they are on the active waiting list.
Take note that the training sessions at this agency are only held once a month so this makes it a bit difficult if you’re someone who has an unpredictable schedule. You also won’t be able to get those 2 needed sessions done in one shot so you really have to consider this.
If you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, AMARIS will also help you every step of the way. Those who work here have all gone through adoption journeys too so whether you’re adopting or giving your child for adoption, they’ll be able to care for you mentally, emotionally, and legally.
Now, we love how they offer a few programs such as their Mentor Program. This is a program that matches new applicant families with families who also have adoptive children for support and a sense of community.
There’s also the Respite Program wherein you can set up your adoptive child with another family for a short while if you feel too overwhelmed. It’s sort of like babysitting but it’s better since it’s specifically suited for children with special emotional or physical needs.
Finally, there’s the Age-out Program where children who have aged out of the government care system can be matched with families who are willing to provide them with the support they need whether emotional or monetary. What we like about this specific program they offer is that this even sometimes ends up with adult adoption along the way.
Here are a few reviews of parents who partnered up with AMARIS are ended up being more than thrilled by this choice:
“This is by far the best adoption agency in Alberta. The staff are warm, compassionate, knowledgeable, and support you every step of your journey. They make you feel like family, and you can tell that they truly care about you. They are quick to answer any questions, and truly do have your best interest at heart. You can tell that everyone who works here is passionate about their job, and truly do want to find a loving home for every child.” -Mara
“Amaris has been wonderful to work with. All of the staff truly care about the families they serve. Many of the staff have personal experiences with adoption, so they understand the emotions involved.” -David
2. Adoption Options
|SERVICES||Adoptive parents, Pregnancy services|
207, 5940 MacLeod Trail SW. Calgary, Alberta T2H 2G4
#6 9363 50 Street, Edmonton, Alberta T6B 2L5
|CONTACT DETAILS||Calgary Office|
|OPERATING HOURS||Mon-Fri 9:00 am – 4:00 pm|
**Has an emergency line for prospective birthparents that is always monitored
If you’re looking to go with the leading licensed adoption agency in Alberta, Adoption Options is a pretty good place to start looking. You can either go to their Calgary office or their Edmonton one for assistance.
They offer services for people looking to give up for adoption and people looking to adopt. However, note that if you’re a couple looking to adopt a child, Adoption Options requires that you and your partner have lived together for at least 2 years.
Furthermore, they offer support systems like Birthparent TEXT lines, weekend and holiday emergency support, birth parent support groups, adoptive & waiting parents support groups, peer & professional connections, and one-to-one counseling.
For the initial training sessions for potential adoptive parents, you can view the schedules of International Adoption ($450) and Domestic Adoption ($1,200) here. They also offer educational workshops to help you become a better adoptive parent.
Their seminar for domestic adoption is 14 hours, with two facilitators, and covers (as regulated in Alberta Adoption Regulations) the review of adoption regulations, the process, understanding of grief / loss for all involved, covers specialized parenting such as attachment, prenatal exposure, trauma, and difficult histories, and more. Additionally, resources are provided.
Plus, they even have very active support groups for waiting, adoptive, and birth parents. They even have run parent groups with children.
One thing we’d love to highlight about Adoption Options is they conduct annual family picnics. These family picnics allow you and your adoptive child to engage with families like your own for a nice little sense of community.
Follow this link for a complete list of their recommended resources to help you through the adoption process and the post-placement process.
Check out these reviews left by parents who went with Adoption Options for their adoption process:
“A wonderful organization that educates teens and adults about the options available to them in a pregnancy. They bring together people on both sides in a emotional time and help to connect in a caring way a beneficial outcome for all in the long-run.” -John
“AMAZING agency and people. Thank you for your support and care. So grateful you are there to support women.” -Samantha
3. Small Miracles Adoption
|SERVICES||Adoption, Pregnancy services|
|ADDRESS||Suite 2000 125  , 9 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0P6, Canada|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+1 587-424-2545|
|OPERATING HOURS||By appointment only|
Small Miracles Adoption is a boutique adoption agency that’s biggest pride is its close relationship with all the families they work with.
They offer services to help those who are looking to adopt domestically, internationally, or in a private direct manner. They even help you out with adult adoption if that’s what you need.
They offer private one-on-one consultation via video call and this can be booked online. During this video call, they assess you and let you know if you are generally eligible to adopt with their agency.
Now, the consultation is a bit costly which may cause some eyebrow raises. It’s $105 for 60-90 minutes but SMA really encourages it.
They say it saves you the trouble of being required to attend their 2-day seminar if you have no assurance from them that you’re eligible to adopt. No other adoption agency requires this initial consultation at a cost but this may also be a way for them to connect with potential families even deeper from the get-go.
If they do deem you eligible to adopt then you’ll still be required to attend SMA’s seminar for potential adoptive parents which, as mentioned above, is 2 days and costs $1,575. This is a bit more of a hassle than the usual 1-day seminar but it must be worth it.
If you’re interested in International Adoption, you can sign up here for a spot at their International Adoption seminar.
Types of Adoption
1. Direct or Step-Parent Adoption
Private Direct Adoption is when you’re seeking to adopt a child from a family member or someone you know. With Private Direct Adoption, you don’t necessarily need an agency or the government’s help since it’s usually voluntary.
However, it’s a pretty complicated process regardless of how open everyone involved is in the adoption process so it’s good to have some outside help from professionals. This could help prevent any major issues and fights amongst those involved.
It is also important to note that it is illegal to advertise your intent to adopt if you are not approved and waiting with a licensed agency. The fine is 10,000 or 6 months in jail.
2. Domestic Adoption
Domestic Adoption is when you adopt a child from your home province. Usually, in these scenarios, the birth families choose the family they want their child to be placed with.
These are also when “Open Adoptions” are most common. This just means that contact between both the adoptive family and the birth family is possible based on any agreements that may be made.
3. International Adoption
International Adoption is known to be one of the most complicated and costly forms of adoption and with good reason. This form of adoption is when you decide to adopt a child from a foreign country and bring them back home to yours.
4. Government Adoption
This type of adoption is accomplished through Alberta Children’s Services. State agencies primarily place foster children for adoption when their biological parents’ rights are terminated (or willingly given up).
What to Know When Choosing an Adoption Agency in Calgary
Of course, before you even think of adopting, you have to figure out if you’re eligible or not. The general requirements to adopt a child in Calgary are you must be at least 18 years old and demonstrate both financial and domestic stability.
Note that these are just the general requirements and some agencies have a bit more requirements you need to submit before they deem you eligible. This is all for the safety and well-being of your potential child.
When choosing to adopt, one thing we want to let you know is you shouldn’t expect it to happen quickly. The process can range anywhere from 9 months to 9 years.
This can be for a lot of different reasons like birth parents wanting a specific type of adoptive parents, a shortage of birth parents who are putting their kids up for adoption, etc. Adoption journeys really take a lot of patience so don’t be discouraged if it takes a long time.
Child’s Birth Parents
When you’re going for domestic adoption, there’s a high chance that you’ll be meeting the birth parents of your child. Unless the birth parent isn’t interested in keeping in touch then you’ll need to have a good relationship with the child’s birth parents.
However, if you’re not comfortable with this setup then you might not be the strongest candidate for their child. This could result in you being put back on the waitlist or not even be considered for their child’s placement.
Now, the most important thing to consider out of all these is the child themself. If you’re adopting a child with special needs or an older child, it may be a bit difficult so you really have to know if you’re ready for it.
You never know what older children have gone through in the system so you have to get to know them and be extremely patient. You also never really know what to expect with a child with special needs especially if you’re inexperienced.
This is why the seminars and training sessions for the specific type of adoption and child you’re looking to adopt are so important. We also highly recommend doing extra research on everything there is to know about raising an adoptive child.
FAQs about Adoption Agencies in Calgary
There are a lot of different reasons why people opt for adoption but there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re terrified. And not in a bad way!
We do hope this article really taught you all there is to know about the best adoption agencies in Calgary. Adoption is a pretty exciting yet complicated process that really takes your emotions on a roller coaster for months or even years so it’s normal to be scared.
If you think this article helped you or if you feel like you need more help, please feel free to shoot us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. If you ever feel like you need a family lawyer, check out our article on the best family lawyers in Calgary!