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Ruvena and William King, with their son, Jermaine.
William and Ruvena always knew that they would adopt a child one day. They had considered international and private adoption, but knew that the best option for them was a public adoption through a Children’s Aid Society (CAS).
Each year, there are hundreds of children in the care of Ontario’s CASs waiting to be adopted. Adoption is a legal process that gives children a new family when their birth family is unable to care for them. When children are made crown wards they are legally free to be adopted by loving and caring families. Some of these children are infants, sibling groups, adolescents or teens. Many of them are culturally diverse, and CASs aim to match them with adoptive parents who can maintain their cultural roots.
A few months later, William and Ruvena came across a CAS adoption information booth at their local mall advertising the great need for Black and Black Bi-racial adoptive parents. Since they qualified as Bi-racial adoptive parents, they were excited about contacting CCAS’s adoption department.
Priscilla Kwok, CCAS Adoption Worker, was delighted to hear from the couple because she had several children on her list who matched their cultural background. There was one child in particular she had hoped to place with William and Ruvena—14-month-old Jermaine, who had just received crown ward status. Because of the cultural match, the couple was fast-tracked through the adoption process. Immediately following the orientation session and introductory meeting, the couple underwent record checks, a home-study assessment and several interviews with their worker Priscilla. The couple also attended training, where they were able to meet other prospective adoptive parents and hear from an adult adoptee. “The process was comprehensive and rigorous, but necessary. We had a lot of questions and Priscilla was very candid with her answers, which we appreciated,” says Ruvena.
Once the couple had been approved, a meeting with Jermaine was scheduled at the foster family’s home. Edith Thomas, a veteran CCAS foster parent who specializes in caring for infants, had been the only maternal figure Jermaine had known since birth. She recalls her first impression of the couple. “They were wonderful and you could see that they loved children,” she tells us.
Edith wasn’t at all surprised by how quickly Jermaine took to Ruvena and William. “There was an instant connection. I knew without hesitation that Jermaine would be loved and well cared for by Ruvena and William,” she says. The visit lasted well over three hours—much longer than the customary one-hour visit for a first-time meeting. “We knew it was a perfect match when at the end of the visit, Jermaine turned to William and called him ‘Dad-da’,” says Edith.
William and Ruvena would spend the next few months working with Edith and Priscilla to help Jermaine transition from his foster home to his new adoptive home. After their first meeting, William and Ruvena began visiting Jermaine more frequently. Soon, the visits became day-long and then there were several overnight visits at the family’s home. “That was the most exciting experience!” says Ruvena. “Edith provided a list of Jermaine’s favourite food, toys and sleeping habits, so that we could duplicate his routine and make the transition as comfortable as possible for him,” says William. “Foster parents play such an important role in the transition, and we credit our success to Edith’s support and guidance,” says Ruvena.
Six months after Jermaine moved in with his new forever family, the adoption became final. Jermaine has adjusted well and the couple plans to adopt another child this year, “hopefully a girl,” says Ruvena.
William and Ruvena are grateful to CCAS for giving them a son and in turn, they are volunteering to help create awareness about the need for Black and Black Bi-racial adoptive parents through presentations at their church. This outreach has resulted in two successful referrals. “The need is there,” says Ruvena, “all you have to do is open your mind and heart.”
This outreach is a joint project of Peel CAS, CAS of Toronto, and CCAS. We are looking for Black and Black Bi-racial families who are interested in adoption. Please contact us if you are interested.