One requirement to become eligible for adoption in Ontario (and likely across Canada and the US) is the completion of PRIDE training. PRIDE stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education. The program has nine, 3-hour modules that aim to, in a nutshell, educate and equip potential adoptive and foster parents. The content covers teamwork, attachment, child development, family relationships, adoption issues, placement challenges, loss, discipline, and the impact of care giving on the resource family (OACAS PRIDE Ontario Practice Model December 2010).
The training is available privately for about $600 - $800 per person (AdoptOntario), but is available to people going through the public system (via CAS) at no charge.
We completed our training last fall with a diverse group of about ten other individuals/couples, pursuing adoption, fostering and kinship adoption. It was led by a trainer from the CAS and a seasoned foster parent who provided invaluable from-the-trenches insight. As expected, it was mostly Power Point-based, with educational videos, group breakouts, some homework, a testimony from an adoptive couple, a presentation from a case worker of some of the children currently available for adoption, and even a You Did It/Best Wishes pot luck dinner. (Every training course needs an Italian woman who makes mean lasagna. Ya, I said it.)
The binder is THICK and we covered a lot of topics that we would have, at most, skimmed over when we were preparing for the arrival of our biological kids. I came out of this a proponent of parenting training for everyone. If we preceded our prenatal classes or even family planning with education that examined our current and ancestral family dynamics, addressed the reality of loss (e.g. lifestyle changes, relationships, financial impact), established an intentional plan for discipline and introduced the concept of behaviour as a language, how much more effective would we, our children and our family units be today?