spc home spc
Adoption Services
Pride Training
About Pride
The Training Team
Training Schedules
How to Register
Extended Family
International adoptions
Talking to Children about Adoption

PRIDE Online Training reviews

My husband and I recently completed our PRIDE training with Sofie and Darby. We weren’t sure what to expect, but had something in our minds when it came to “government mandated” learning. I can also admit that we were skeptical about how on earth we were going to get through 4 whole days of virtual sessions.

The training was set up with the right amount of activities and breaks (and so engaging) that by the second day, the time just flew by. Sofie and Darby make an amazing team, and their knowledge on the subject left no question unanswered. Not only did they deliver the information in easily digestible ways, but we had thoughtfully planned activities that helped reinforce that knowledge. There were so many opportunities for participants to ask questions, share our own stories and embrace being vulnerable in a safe space.

In addition to that the guest speakers in this training brought in fresh perspectives and really helped my husband and I connect to what we’d learned on a much deeper level. They were so open, candid and courageous about sharing their experiences and took away a lot of fear we had about the whole adoption process. I think the most important thing to note is the amazing environment that is created by Sofie’s incredible experience, compassion and warmth. She shares stories and encourages participants to embrace this journey and she is really at the heart of why this course was so great.

It was hard to say goodbye on that final day and we are so gratefully to have gone through this experience with them. Thank you Sofie and Darby for making those 4 days ones we won’t soon forget. We feel excited and empowered to continue on our adoption journey and would HIGHLY recommend Sofie and her team for anyone looking to do their PRIDE training.

Leah Gardecky & Greg Hoy - Toronto

I wanted to thank you Sofie for being an INCREDIBLE facilitator. You were extremely organized, engaging and informative. You delivered the content flawlessly! You speak eloquently and do a tremendous storytelling job incorporating real life examples as teachable moments. And not to mention finishing on time each and every day. We loved being part of this group and especially doing all the activities and role plays within the breakout sessions, very good questions and scenarios to work through (and somehow very doable and still very effective even virtually.) I have absolutely nothing constructive to add, you and Darby were next level! We have truly learned so much more than I ever imagined in this course. You are an amazing human being.

Kristina Kaidanovich & Sofoklis Ajazi - Woodbridge

I took part in the online PRIDE training as a single applicant and thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow prospective adoptive parents (especially the other single women in the group). As a single applicant, I appreciated that Sofie always presented me with the option of working both with the couples, as well as the other single applicants during our break-out small group sessions.

Sofie and Darby’s expertise provided so much insight into various issues regarding adoption; they were knowledgeable and had answers to our questions and concerns. Above all, I found them to be very empowering. When I first began the course (and while going through some of the heavy content and discussions), I had moments of apprehension. However, the more time I spent with the group, as well as hearing from the guest speakers, I felt more and more inspired and excited – even about the challenging parts of the journey. I think the most valuable thing I took away was the reassurance that there will be so much support and education available to us in the adoption community when the inevitable challenges arise.

Upon the completion of the program, I felt more excited than ever before to embark on my adoption journey. I certainly felt better equipped, while knowing that at any given point along the way, I will be part of a fabulous network of people to draw education and support from. After a few weeks of finishing the course, I genuinely missed the experience and coming together as a group. However, I was glad that the participants were interested to keep in touch and all of us single women continued to have our own forum to maintain contact - wonderful and important friendships were made!

The PRIDE program, as directed by Sofie and Darby, will forever remain both memorable as well as a significant part of my adoption journey. Even though we had no choice (during Covid-19 restrictions) but to have the online experience, it was carried out with great effectiveness and I felt the same strong sense of connection and interaction as if we would have been meeting in person. I'm truly grateful for the experience!

Maryam Sadeghi - Mississauga

My husband and I had really wanted to complete the PRIDE training in person, and we kept postponing, hoping this would happen. Finally, we learned that it would not be possible to carry out the in-person training for a few months, so we decided to sign up for the online training. We did go into the experience with a bit of reluctance, as we had high expectations for the training, and we thought that the virtual setup would diminish the value of the experience. However, we couldn’t have been more wrong.

First, even though it was only their fourth online training, Sofie and Darby (their colleague Magda could not join us in this occasion) had perfected the organization of the course and all the technical aspects of it. Any technical glitches (and there were probably not more than a couple of them) were solved in less than a few minutes, so there was never any significant interruption of the flow of the course.

Moreover, we feel like, while some of the socializing aspects of the in-person training were missing, the fact of being in our own home made every participant more comfortable, less intimidated than we would have been when physically surrounded by people we just met, and therefore more willing to open up and participate in the discussion, which is one of the most essential parts of the training. At every point, Sofie and Darby made an effort to bring people into the conversation, and they always made sure that no question went unanswered. They also went out of their way to put us in private breakout rooms during the breaks to try to provide part of the socializing aspects that were missing due to the virtual aspect. Furthermore, a lot of thought was put into the group configurations for the discussions, as they made sure we were grouped with people we would like to connect with, or that shared with us some circumstances that were relevant for the topic of discussion.

Finally, a list of contact details for all participants was compiled at the end of the training, and it was shared with all of us, so that we could maintain and strengthen some of the connections we had made if we wished to do so.

All in all, the experience of the Pride training was incredibly fulfilling, there was a lot of useful information, insight and input that deepened in many ways our understanding of the adoption journey and many of its complexities. Despite what you may expect, the virtual experience did not take anything away from it, but it made it just as fascinating, and in some aspects even better. Do not be discouraged by this virtual setup: Sofie and Darby have done a terrific job in adapting the training and you will have a fascinating experience which will have a great and positive impact in your conception of the adoption process.

Alejandro Casal Da Silva and Loris Fossier - Toronto

We thoroughly enjoyed taking PRIDE training with Sofie and her team. She does a great job of balancing out a lot of the hard truths about adoption with her infectious positivity. She gives plenty of examples, and offered us the opportunity to think through how to respond to adoption related questions and strategies for parenting our children when they eventually come home.

We were a part of her first virtual class in June 2020, and although we were unsure of how virtual PRIDE would go, we can confidently say that Sofie did an amazing job of ironing out kinks. We still had plenty of opportunity to talk to other prospective adoptive parents and to think through hard issues. We did multiple breakout groups in each session and we are happy that we got to meet so many other people in the same situation as us. We look forward to staying in contact with the people we met at PRIDE.

There is a reason Sofie’s training costs more than self-directed PRIDE training, and that’s because it’s excellent, and she goes the extra mile to prepare you for adoptive parenting. We wanted to be as prepared as we could be for when we bring our kids home, and we feel much more confident after having taken PRIDE with Sofie.

Taylor Shanahan & Derek Conley - London

We recently finished the PRIDE online course and it was truly awesome! Learning in the comfort of our own home was a bonus. Sofie and Darby were great trainers whose first-hand adoption stories were very interesting, and super enjoyable to hear. The curriculum was also very informative and makes you think about things from all angles, and in ways you may not have considered before. Easy to jump on the zoom calls, many opportunities for interactive experiences with other participants, informative videos and live speakers...all while sitting on our own sofa sipping coffee. The extra bonus was having our pets with us the whole time. Highly recommend doing the course this way—in fact we would prefer it. Highly recommended.

Shannon Duffy - Toronto

We just completed Sofie’s virtual PRIDE class and are grateful for the many things we have learned. Sofie and Darby kept us engaged and interested throughout the 27 hours of a fully online class conducted via Zoom. They made sure all participants got to know one another via group exercises and discussions. In addition to gaining tremendous value from Sofie and Darby’s first-hand account of their adoptive journeys, we also benefited from several inspiring guest speakers who joined the class to share their stories. Each participant’s questions were promptly answered during class and over email. The time literally flew by. Following the completion of the course, Sofie connected individually with each participant/couple via Zoom to address our specific questions. We highly recommend the PRIDE course, especially if taught by Sofie and Darby!

Pam & Michael Richardson - Toronto

My husband and I were scheduled for our course to be completed in person before COVID hit! Due to the circumstances, we were able to still complete our training through the online platform using Zoom! At first, we were so disappointed of not being able to meet Sofie and her amazing team and the other participants of the course in person. After our first day, we were so impressed and thrilled with how much hard work and love they put into the program to make it as personal of an experience as possible for us! If this is an option for anybody considering this course, we would highly recommend it! Thank you to Sofie, Darby, Magda and all of the wonderful guest speakers for sharing your love and knowledge with us! We feel so much more equipped and EXCITED to move forward on our journey! We can’t thank you enough!

Martha and Ryan Morrison – St. George

My partner Marty and I recently attended Sofie’s PRIDE training online. We loved the training and were surprised by how much we learned. Having done a great deal of research leading up to the course, we felt it might be repetitive, but this was not the case. Sofie and her team were fantastic! They were engaging and fun and made the online delivery far less painful then we initially thought it would be. They humanized the material and provided opportunities for us to engage with fellow participants in meaningful conversations. We want to thank them for their hard work and for their important role in our adoption journey!

Lauren Novak & Marty Borean - Toronto

Thank you very much Sofie for leading us in such great sessions. We were all remote yet we feel like nothing was lost. We were blessed to share this session with an amazing group of people. I really appreciated how thoughtful your presentation was, the variation and sincerity of the guest speakers and the meaningful discussion you and Darby facilitated despite the technology barrier. We are feeling very prepared as we venture into the world of expanding our family through adoption. Thank you!

Norma MacDonald - Toronto

PRIDE In-Class Reviews

Sofie Stergianis is absolutely one of the best presenters that my husband and I have ever had the pleasure of learning from. The PRIDE course material seemed vast and hard to condense but Sofie and her excellent team of presenters brought the materials to life. They focused on what was important and provided such knowledge and empathy that this course truly enriched our lives.

As leaders, they really listened to the needs of the participants and were able to answer all our questions with wisdom, humour and sensitivity while staying on time and on topic. Sofie has deep integrity as a presenter and she is truly someone who is doing what she was meant to do.

As an adoptee, I found her seminar to be extremely accurate from an emotional and psychological perspective. Best of all, Sofie is able to create a sense of community amongst participants. Throughout the PRIDE training, she and her trainers, welcomed us all into the adoptive community with open arms. This workshop is a gem. 

Shelagh Adamson, Therapist/Teacher and Paul Moser, Loans Analyst

Sofie Stergianis and her team achieve the seemingly impossible - they take the words on the page (and there are a lot of pages in the PRIDE coursebook!) and make them truly come to life.   The approach is interactive, engaging and most of all underlaid with vast experience. In the session I attended, virtually all of us walked away with profound and unexpected insights on a variety of topics of major importance to our future plans as adoptive parents. Quite simply, we didn't know what we didn't know, and Sofie brought us all to a much deeper realization of the joys, challenges and inspiration to be derived from the adoption process. Her balance of technical expertise, personal experience and communication skills are unparalleled.

For those of you who don 't know much about PRIDE but have heard how challenging this new mandatory course imposed by the Ontario Ministry can be, all I can say is - PRIDE as taught by Sofie will never feel "mandatory", it will feel absolutely essential!  Other presenters may approach PRIDE differently, and do some justice to the challenging and very dry material, but only Sofie will make you feel truly privileged to have sat in her classroom.

Jana Machan, Healthcare Executive

Dear Sofie - We would like to thank you for making the PRIDE training so enjoyable! We believe that this was not an easy task to accomplish! We have been laughing that we even feel compelled to say thanks for something we were forced to do, and for a course we thought would be days of torture – ha! We learned a lot and got so much more out of the course than we ever expected. It truly is a merit to the teaching skills and friendliness of you and your co-trainers, that we are giving our heartfelt testimony to how much we really appreciated these last few days. If we only had the course book to go through and not your classes, it would have been dire indeed, (that book by the way will be great to put our baby to bed with at night). You managed to breathe life into an otherwise difficult topic, particularly with regards to the guest speakers that were brought in, putting faces and names to the situations we will find ourselves in one day. We are even more excited now about our adoption that ever. Thank you again.

Ronan Rogers, PhD Medical Sciences candidate and Julie Rogers, Event Planner

When I entered into the prospect of Adoption I actually had never heard of the Pride Training, so when my adoption practitioner told me I had to take the training, I thought, OK this is crazy why would I need to go? I have 3 grown children there is no way they could possibly teach me anything that I don't already know. Well, I was wrong - by the end of the last day I was shocked at how much I did learn. The training isn't just about how to deal with a child, it is about how to deal with an Adopted Child. With Pride, I learned….they are not the same.

The instructors were awesome, very caring people that answered all of our questions with their own personal experiences. Sofie and her team really made us all feel comfortable, while at the same time giving us the knowledge and confidence to continue down our paths to Adoption. I would recommend this training for anyone interested in adoption and/or foster parenting.

Connie McCulloch – President/Owner

A Pride team led by knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced trainers. Led by Sofie, and a team of professionals, all previous adopters, the Pride sessions are a must for anyone wishing to adopt or foster. The team was able to take an extensive binder full of curriculum and translate it into stimulating sessions. The team created a safe environment for all questions and concerns. The set up of the sessions is that that one has the opportunity to meet and interact with other perspective adopted parents. Plenty of materials with super valuable information is exhibited and shared with the whole class. As well, lots of great speakers are invited to relate their personal experiences. Overall an A+ for Sofie and her Pride team.

Jon Zinman, Teacher and Allison Denver, Social Worker

We wanted to thank you, Magda and Darby for the excellent Pride training we received. I can honestly say that we thoroughly enjoyed our days with the three of you. We also found the course a lot more interesting than anticipated I guess because all the prior reading material was very dry and, for lack of better words, boring and not motivating. Markus was originally not completely on board with the adoption process but he can now say that after your Pride training course he is more confident and sure that we are doing the right thing for us as a couple and our birth daughter. We as a family are even more excited about our new adventure and can't wait to complete our home study so that we can move forward with the adoption agency.

Una and Markus Bond

Like many couples, we have found the adoption process at times difficult, intimidating and isolating. In contrast, we found the PRIDE training offered by Sofie to be energizing, fun, engaging, and very informative. We came away feeling like we are much farther down the path in terms of knowledge and comfort, and feel more reassured about many of our worries. Through the course, we have become part of a community of people who we can rely on throughout the process and afterwards. Sofie and her associates made the PRIDE course much more personal, with pertinent examples and real-life experiences that they have all had. They helped build a very trusting and supportive environment - we would highly recommend Sofie as an instructor for this course to any potential adoptive parent.

Nick and Kyla McTien

We had a wonderful experience with Sofie and her expert team of presenters.  Initially we had felt like the PRIDE training was unnecessary and was more of a hinderance since it involved so much of our time.  But once we took this set of sessions with Sofie, it was amazing how much we learned and discovered, both of the adoption process and about ourselves.  The discussions with other perspective families brought new insights to both of us, and we will cherish the opportunity for connecting that the PRIDE team gave us.  Equally valuable were the personal experiences shared by the team.  This set of sessions opened up many avenues for us on our adoption journey, and we have Sofie Stergianis and the PRIDE team to thank for that.  Highly recommend them!!

Monica Maniar, Chiropodist and Bharat Maniar, Accountant

Sofie and her experienced panel of professionals showed us the greatest sensitivity and compassion in our decision to pursue PRIDE training not long after losing our twin boys prematurely.  All the leaders used their own adoptive experience to show us the realities of adoption, not only for the adoptive parents, but the children and the birth families in all types of adoptive situations.  Their empathy and ability to work through all our questions with sensitivity and much needed humour, raises Sofie and her team to the status of heroes in our view, and we highly recommend her program to anyone considering domestic, private or international adoption.

Elise C. Cole, Teen Services Librarian and David Hook, Manager, Operations Information

Sofie, we really enjoyed the PRIDE training. Although it was quite intensive, it was very informative. All the facilitators, who are also adoptive parents, shared their real life experience with us and did a great job in keeping us engaged and attentive through the multimedia presentations and group discussions. We particularly found the sharings of the birth mother, and the Korean and Canadian adopted ladies, very helpful and inspiring in the last day of training. PRIDE is also a great place to network and exchange ideas with other perspective adoptive parents. Thanks for the hard work from you and your co-workers!

Simon and Catherine Siu

We would without reservation recommend the PRIDE training led by Sofie Stergianis. Her team was able to speak not only from vast knowledge, but from their personal experiences. Every one of the presenters brought their own unique stories and a love for their work. Throughout the training Sofie's team asked for feedback and worked to continuously improve the format and environment of the course. We are now looking forward to attending the Family and Friends seminar.

Tasha and Miguel Aburto

I am so glad that PRIDE is a mandatory course because I would not have wanted to miss this opportunity! It provided me with an invaluable and very in-depth look at adoption from many different angles, some of which I had never considered. A number of the class discussions triggered the need for me reflect on some critical psycho-social issues -- such as attachment, loss, and interracial families -- that will impact my family in the short and longer term. Ultimately I left the training feeling more confident, and better equipped to continue in the adoption journey. The network of practitioners and other adoptive families was a very intimate one by the end of our days together, and I know I will continue to stay connected with many of these individuals for a very long time.

Val Duffey, CHRP

After seeing the PRIDE binder, what we came to refer ominously to as "The Materials", we truly dreaded what we were sure would be a government-mandated colossal waste of time and money. By the first half-day, Sofie, Darby, and Magda had completely won our attention, our respect, and our hearts. As a university instructor myself (and a hard critic of presentations), I cannot stress enough how their seminar was presented with consummate skill and humor, always keeping everyone interested and engaged. Never did we feel as if we were being lectured to. All being adoptive parents, Sofie, Darby and Magda all had very personal experiences to bring to the seminar, and truly brought the material to life. The interaction they encouraged through active participation helped the participants to understand the important concepts being covered, enabled us to feel as we all were contributing valuable knowledge to the learning process by sharing our own varied experiences, and made us feel very comfortable with discussing what are essentially very personal thoughts and beliefs. We not only found Sofie's seminar wonderfully enlightening, but it was exciting watching the lights come on among our fellow participants as well, many of whom leaving the seminar with very different perspectives then they had coming in.

Sofie, Darby, and Magda have had an impact on our lives… for that we cannot thank them enough.

Denis Tetreault, Ph.D., University Professor

The PRIDE course as taught by Sofie, Magda and Darby reached far beyond the rather dry boundaries of the regulatory requirements of the adoption process. It was incredible to feel how, during the sessions of the PRIDE course, a special bond was growing between us and Sofie, Magda and Darby. Adoptive parents themselves, they guided us with patience, humor and wit along the intricacies of the adoption process. They provided the best professional advice in the warmest and most confident manner.

For reasons that I lately gave up trying to understand, as part of a more positive attitude (thanks to Sofie for this!), the first steps of our adoption journey have been too many times quite hurtful. I had the feeling that I was surrounded by impenetrable walls that separate me from my own goals and dreams. The magical power of Sofie was to make me realize that those walls are there, indeed, but it only takes hope, love and strength to go through them and reach our goals. Nothing is impossible when there are will, understanding and good professional advice.  Sofie, Magda and Darby gave us all of these during the PRIDE training. Thank you for everything!

Monica Radulescu, Ph.D, P.Geo, Hydrogeologist

The adoption process can be an overwhelming experience. There are so many steps to take that it's hard to get your bearings. Taking Sofie's PRIDE training not only helped set our minds at ease but helped us focus on our ultimate goal: to start our family. We can't thank her and her team enough for giving us such valuable information and support on our road to realizing that goal. Thanks for everything Sofie.

Evan Sue-Ping, Director of Production and Design

The delivery of the training was way beyond our initial expectations... Based on the material (binder) we had received ahead of the session, we were expecting a dull, mandatory and dry training, focusing on the legalities or only telling us things we knew already, or platitudes around children.... The complete opposite! The training was really enriching, we learnt a lot and became aware of things that we did not even suspect we needed to know….. the training had a fantastic energy….probably because we were fortunate to be in such a friendly group of smart and fun people attending the course, but mostly thanks to Sofie's impeccable teaching skills and incredible experience. Sofie, as well as Magda and Darby could not have been better pedagogues and their combined experience as adoptive parents added a lot of value to the course. The way the course was organized, the choice of guest speakers...the constant interactivity...everything was exactly as a course should be, with the right dose of theory, discussions, seriousness and fun.

Some of the videos used during the course could have gained in being updated and less US-centric...but even that sometimes added some fun to very serious subject matters…...In a nutshell, we found the course perfect and feel somewhat nostalgic about it... To top it up, even the food was great!

Laurent Papaix, Human Resource Professional & David Toto, Managing Director, Advertising

Before taking the PRIDE course, we grumbled to ourselves about the fact that pregnant couples are not expected to take a mandatory course on parenting. After completing the first day of training, we'd already changed our tune ~ we realized that we are, in fact, the lucky ones. All parents (and most people in general) could vastly benefit from this course. It cannot be expressed how much we enjoyed it. Naturally there were some emotionally difficult moments for us, with relation to the challenges we've faced (and continue to face) in our journey to become parents.
 Adoption is something with which we are both very familiar... Jenn has an adopted brother in her family, and Roy and his sister were both adopted into their family. Roy felt that he explored and analyzed his own adoption more within the four-day course period than he had within his entire life. This was positive in some ways, difficult in others. One of the guest speakers, an international adoptee, helped Roy tremendously by validating his feelings about his own birth family. Even when particular topics proved challenging, they ultimately helped us understand, clarify, and come to terms with our feelings.
 Sofie and her team made everything fun and interesting. They were very approachable, patient, encouraging, and extremely entertaining... but still professional. We both feel that we learned a huge amount. Although we came home exhausted each day, and were glad to complete the training, we were in fact a bit sorry to see it come to an end. After discovering the wealth of valuable information that Sofie can offer, we're very much looking forward to taking more courses with her in future. We're so pleased to have had such a helpful, fascinating, and rewarding experience.
 Jenn and Roy Griffin, Web Designer & Pilot

Seminar reviews About the Presenter Contact Us