Adoption can be a good choice if a person is unable to parent and they would like to continue the pregnancy. Making an adoption plan can be done at any time before or after the birth of a child. Although someone may make an adoption plan before the child’s birth, legal consent documents cannot be signed until after the child’s birth.

Making an adoption plan can be emotionally difficult for some folks. A person may wish to seek counselling for themselves and/or for the birth father or other parent (if the other parent is involved). Centre for Sexuality and licensed adoption agencies offer counselling services before birth. Many licensed adoption agencies can also offer counselling support after birth and have no time limit. A person can visit them for years after the adoption if that feels helpful to them.

Reflection Questions

The following self-questionnaire may help a person explore some of their values and feelings around adoption. They might also choose to re-read the Options – Deciding What To Do section of this website.

  • What were my views on adoption before I became pregnant?
  • Have these views changed since finding out about the pregnancy?
  • How would I feel about continuing the pregnancy and giving birth, but not raising the child?
  • How would carrying the pregnancy to term impact my life?
  • How would making this choice impact my life in the long term?
  • Could I support myself and my child?

  • If I already have one or more children, how will having another impact our lives?

  • Do I need to postpone being a parent until later in my life when I am prepared to parent?
  • Could I help the child to have potential parents who are ready to be parents and can love and care for the child throughout their life?
  • Do I have the support I need to continue the pregnancy and make an adoption plan? What kind of support do I need to make an adoption plan?

  • How would the other parent feel about adoption?

  • What would make this the best choice for me?
  • Do I feel pressured in any way to make this choice?

  • What is the best choice to make for my child?

  • What type of adoption would work best for me?

If someone wishes to continue the pregnancy and to choose adoption, it is a good idea for them to get medical, nutritional, and emotional support as soon as they can. This is important both for their own health and for the health of their pregnancy.

Birth Father Rights

Guardianship of a child is governed by the Family Law Act (2005). Birth parents can find the information they need about birth father rights within this document. Because information, laws, and resources for adoption change from time to time, a person can get the most up-to-date information from the Alberta Government or private, licensed adoption agencies directly.

How does adoption work in Alberta?

There are three ways to place a child for adoption in Alberta: government adoption, private adoption through a licensed adoption agency, or direct placement. The Provincial Government sets regulations governing all types of adoption, and laws vary from province to province. More information about these three types of adoption plans can be found online here:, here:, and here:

A government adoption means the child who is in the care of Children’s Services is placed with a family through government social services.

Many birth parents who choose adoption work with private, licensed adoption agencies. Licensed adoption agencies are approved by the government to work in the area of adoption.

It is the parent or parents’ right to choose the agency they wish to work with. Contacting an agency and going to talk to them does not mean that a decision to place a child for adoption has necessarily been made. Many people choose to obtain information about adoption as part of their decision-making process.

Through a licensed agency, the birth parents have the right to choose the adoptive family by looking at files, meeting the chosen family, and having ongoing contact with the family before and after the placement of the child as agreed to by everyone involved. The agreement for contact following the placement of the child is not considered legally binding; however, it is mentioned in the court documents. Agencies do consider such agreements to be ethically binding and the vast majority of open adoptions work very well for the child, the birth parent(s), and the adoptive parent(s).

The birth parent has ten days after consent is signed to change their mind and revoke their consent with respect to the adoption.

For a list of licensed agencies send us an email or give us a call 403-283-5580.

A direct placement adoption means the birth parent(s) place(s) the child for adoption with a friend or relative. Generally a direct placement adoption occurs when the birth parent(s) know(s) the adoptive parents.

In a direct placement adoption, a birth parent still has ten days to change their mind from the time the consents are signed.

Click here to find out more about direct placement adoptions in Alberta.

Post-Adoption Registry

In Alberta there is a registry where background information, including medical information given at the time of placement, is maintained. Through this registry, adopted children who are over the age of 18 can reconnect with birth parents and adult birth siblings (adoptive parents can help children under the age of 18 with this).

As of January 1, 2005, the Alberta Government opened access to identifying information contained in adoption records which means that birth parents and adoptees over the age of 18 can have access to identifying information about each other. Those parties who want their information to remain confidential must file a disclosure veto with Alberta’s Post Adoption Registry. This veto will prevent the release of any birth registration or adoption information identifying the person.

For more information see Alberta Children and Youth Services.

Pregnant and Undecided?

If you’d like more information about options, visit the Deciding What To Do section of this website.