If you’re planning to adopt a child from overseas, you are beginning to engage in a wonderful process that will – if successful – finalize with you bringing home a new member of your family as either a citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.

However, you will have to realize that you will be dealing with multiple government agencies in Canada and abroad – each with its own set of regulations and rules.

And you will also be paying tens of thousands of dollars to private adoption agencies or individuals who must be licensed by their Canadian provincial or territorial governments.

You will be tested, as any parent is, by the experience – and even more so given that you will be bringing home a child from another country with its own culture which is often very different from what you may be used to in Canada.

But you will also find support groups of fellow adoptive parents who share their opinions and experiences with each other and provide advice and support.

While there is a key immigration component that requires you to deal with IRCC – as with any immigration process – there is so much more to the process that we at Immigroup strongly feel that we want to bring you the whole process in a detailed, step-by-step tutorial, as we’ve done with Spousal Sponsorships and Parent/Grandparent Sponsorships, for example.

Of course, we’ll dive into the immigration part of the process with plenty of detail and advice, but we’ll also give you the larger picture, an overall map that will allow you to plan your individual route to a successful adoption of a wonderful young new member of your family.

We know you’re anxious to get started, so let’s do just that.

Call us at 1-866-760-2623 / (+1) 416-962-2623 or email us at [email protected]

 

Where are you going to find a Child to Adopt?

This is the first and perhaps most important step in the adoption process. With international adoptions – or intercountry adoptions as they are officially called – you have to decide from which country you would like to adopt a child. Everything else follows from that decision seeing that each country has its own set of laws, rules, and guidelines for foreigners to be allowed to adopt a child from that country.

Not only that, there are also numerous countries that nowadays place restrictions on or outright forbid intercountry adoptions. Start with the following list to understand that these countries are sealed off to someone like yourselves and do not allow you to adopt children from their country:

 

Countries from Africa that do NOT permit intercountry adoptions:

Benin Cabo Verde Comoros
Democratic Republic of Congo (Except for adoptions by relatives) Ethiopia Ghana (Except for adoptions by relatives OR children with special medical needs)
Kenya Mozambique Senegal
Swaziland Tanzania  

 

Countries from Asia – including the Middle East – that do NOT permit intercountry adoptions:

Bhutan Burma (Myanmar)
Iran Iraq
Kuwait Laos
Maldives Pakistan
Saudi Arabia Tajikistan

 

Countries from the Caribbean and Latin America that do NOT permit intercountry adoptions:

Argentina
Grenada
Paraguay

As well, there is a shorter list of countries that Canadian provincial/territorial Central Authorities have decided to suspend adoptions from due to concerns about the adoption process in those countries.

 

Countries suspended by Canadian provincial/territorial Central Authorities:

Cambodia (all provinces/territories have suspended except Quebec) Georgia (all provinces/territories)
Guatemala (all provinces/territories) Liberia (all provinces/territories)
Nepal (all provinces/territories)  

PLEASE NOTE: British Columbia has resumed adoptions from Japan through the British Columbia – Japan Adoption Program.

 

Beware of Adoption Fraud

You hear about the possibility of adopting a child from one of the above-listed countries that do not allow intercountry adoptions. Perhaps an adoption agency in Canada or a licensed individual in Canada tells you that the rules have changed and someone perhaps in the healthcare sector in that country just happens to know of a beautiful young child that has been abandoned and is being cared for at a local hospital. This person claims they will also help you complete the local paperwork and that in a matter of a few months – as opposed to the up to 2 years the process often takes – you will be flying back home to Canada with your new child.

You fly to the country – perhaps you’ve vacationed there before – full of hope and promise and love.

And then you find out that the Canadian visa officer is not going to issue you a visa for the child because of concerns about the validity of the documentation provided. In other words, the Canadian overseas mission is concerned that you have unwittingly stumbled into a case of adoption fraud and that the child you have been promised may have even been a part of a criminal child trafficking ring.

Or perhaps it’s not quite that terrible and it’s just a case that the paperwork is sloppy. In this case, after a few months, you might be able to sort that out and eventually have the child with you in Canada. However, many of these cases tragically end up with the couple returning to Canada still childless and extremely frustrated and disappointed.

In other words, it is up to you – the adopting parents – to ensure that:

  • The Canadian licensed individual or adoption agency is in good standing in their province and does not have any open investigations by Canadian (or foreign) Central Authorities.
  • The country you are going to be adopting a child from allows intercountry adoptions AND
  • Your provincial or territorial Central Authority allows adoptions from that country.

This is because both IRCC – through its IAS (Intercountry Adoption Services) – and provincial and territorial authorities, as well as foreign authorities, are on the lookout for:

  • A child that is not legally available for adoptions being offered for adoption
  • Poorly prepared and incomplete documentation (poor translations and lacking notarized certifications)
  • Any concerns that the case is involved in child trafficking under the guise of intercountry adoptions
  • Any concerns with adoption procedures in a given country

So, here’s the problem you will face with these ethically questionable or downright illegal adoptions. If it seems too easy and too good to be true compared with the epic odyssey federal, provincial/territorial, and foreign authorities make you go through, then you risk the following:

  • Returning from the country without your promised child, OR
  • Returning to Canada with the child and then having that child taken away from you by your provincial/territorial authorities because of concerns raised about the process you engaged in.

Both of these are tragic scenarios that proper planning and vetting of adoption agencies and licensed individuals will help you to avoid.

Let’s now start looking at the procedures that the Central Authorities in major provinces require you to adhere to.

 

What Government Authorities do I have to deal with in Canada in order to adopt a child?

Well, who do you think is responsible for adoption in Canada? Ottawa right?

Adoptions are, in fact, the responsibility of provincial or territorial governments and it is their authorities who must approve your eligibility to be an adoptive parent. How did this come about?

In 1993, the Hague Convention developed policies and protocols to protect children and families against adoptions that are:

  • illegal
  • irregular
  • premature
  • ill-prepared

Please note that private adoptions in the child’s home country are not allowed by countries that have signed up to the Hague Convention. You must go through an approved agency. A list of Hague signatory countries is given just below.

For non-Hague adoptions (adoptions where the child’s home country has not signed the Hague Convention) the requirements will depend on the country in question.

That basic mission statement led to intercountry cooperation to ensure that the above-listed risks were minimized and hopefully someday completely eliminated. Here’s a current list of countries that have signed up to the Hague Convention on adoptions. This means that they will have some sort of central adoption authority that supervises the adoption process.

 

Signatory Countries to the Hague Convention:

There are 87 member countries including all the members of the European Union:

Albania Bulgaria Ecuador India Malaysia Norway Saudi Arabia Thailand
Andorra Burkina Faso Egypt Ireland Malta Panama Serbia Tunisia
Argentina Canada Estonia Israel Mauritius Paraguay Singapore Turkey
Armenia Chile European Union Italy Mexico Peru Slovakia Ukraine
Australia China Finland Japan Monaco Philippines Slovenia United Kingdom
Austria Costa Rica France Jordan Montenegro Poland South Africa United States
Azerbaijan Croatia Georgia Kazakhstan Morocco Portugal Spain Uruguay
Belarus Cyprus Germany South Korea Namibia Moldova Sri Lanka Uzbekistan
Belgium Czechia Greece Latvia Netherlands North Macedonia Suriname Venezuela
Bosnia and Herzegovina Denmark Hungary Lithuania New Zealand Romania Sweden Vietnam
Brazil Dominican Republic Iceland Luxembourg Nicaragua Russia Switzerland Zambia

 

Canada's Intercountry Adoption Act

In 1996, Canada passed the Intercountry Adoption Act.

Think of intercountry – or international – adoption as a family matter that falls under healthcare. As you well know, while the federal government sets the general standards for healthcare in Canada, the provinces each run their own provincial/territorial healthcare systems. This is exactly how intercountry adoptions work.

Here’s how the federal and provincial authorities cooperate with respect to intercountry adoption:

 

Intercountry Adoption Services

Intercountry Adoption Services (IAS) is Canada’s Federal Central Authority. IAS is a unit within IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, & Citizenship Canada). Here’s what IAS does:

  • Act as a nexus between provincial/territorial Central Authorities and foreign authorities, sharing information on matters like; adoption legislation in Canada and in foreign countries; adoption criteria requirements; adoption procedures and guidelines.
  • Facilitate cooperation and communication between Canada’s provincial/territorial Central Authorities and both the Federal Central Authority and foreign Central Authorities.
  • Help resolve issues and facilitate Canadian responses to unethical and irregular adoption practices.

This means that Canada’s federal government is only involved in the immigration and citizenship process as regards adoption.

The rest is handled by provincial/territorial Central Authorities. And they are the ones – the so-called provincial/territorial Central Authorities - that you will have to contact in order to start the application process and obtain approval for your status as eligible parents for intercountry adoptions.

So, each province or territory will have its provincial authority – usually within its Child Welfare agency or some similar body – that has the responsibility of:

  • Ensuring you meet the requirements of an adoptive parent that will provide a nurturing and stable home for your adopted child, and
  • Approving the specific so-called “placement” of the child you have chosen.

 

What are the Adoption Authorities in each Province or Territory?

Good question.

Here is a list of all the Adoption Authorities (officially called Provincial or Territorial Central Adoption Authorities) including the federal one (which is a department within IRCC as we mentioned above).

Remember, however, that each province or territory may have a slightly different procedure regarding the adoption process, so depending on where you live in Canada you might face slightly different procedures from say a friend or relative in another province who has successfully adopted a child from overseas.

We’ll go through the procedures in detail for Canada’s main provinces as we always do here at Immigroup, and we’ll give an overview for the rest of them. However, with the list below you can dig further for yourself:

Province Ministry or Agency Department
Federal Government of Canada Immigration Refugees & Citizenship Canada Intercountry Adoption Services
Immigration Program Guidance

[email protected]

Alberta Ministry of Children’s Services Alberta Adoption Services
British Columbia Ministry of Children and Family Development Adoption
Manitoba Department of Families Child Protection Branch
New Brunswick Department of Social Development Child & Youth Services Branch
Newfoundland & Labrador Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development Adoption Services
Nova Scotia Department of Community Services Adoption Services
Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services Adoption
Nunavut Department of Family Services N/A
Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services Adoption
Prince Edward Island Department of Social Development and Housing Adoption
Quebec Ministère de la Sante et des Service sociaux Secrétariat a l’adoption internationale
Saskatchewan Ministry of Social Services Adoption
Yukon Government of Yukon Children’s Services Adoption Services

 

How the adoption process works in Ontario – Agencies & Licensed Individuals

In Ontario the Central Authority for adoptions is the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

The basic requirements to be an adoptive parent in Ontario are fairly straightforward:

  • You must be a resident of Ontario.
  • You can be a couple or a single person.
  • You can come from a diverse range of backgrounds including:
    • Different religions
    • Different ethnicities
    • Different sexual orientations.

However, people who wish to be adoptive parents must undergo a multi-step process that takes over 1 year and up to 2 years.

 

Step 1: Find and get in touch with a licensed adoption agency or individual in Ontario.

These agencies or licensed persons facilitate the process by both ensuring you take the necessary training courses (as described below) and also by dealing with Central Authorities in the country from which you will be adopting a child.

In Ontario the fees charged by them range from CAD$20,000 up to CAD$50,000. This does NOT include the costs associated with Step 2 nor costs for going abroad to visit and then bring back your adoptive child.

A key decision you will have to make is where you want to go to find a child to adopt. Adoption agencies and licensed individuals tend to specialize in a few countries and some only do adoptions for a single country.

Now you have to start shopping around for an agency or licensed individual. At some point, the countries that an agency/individual work with and your hopes for a new child will come together and you’ll know that this is the right choice. But take a little time looking at different agencies/individuals.

And please keep in mind our warnings about irregular adoptions and country-specific restrictions which we listed for you above. 

Here is a list of Ontario adoption agencies licensed by Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services:

Agency Contact Person Address Phone Number Email Fax Countries
Adoptionworx (Canada) Inc. Victoria O’Toole   416-236-7337 [email protected] 416-233-2762 Albania
CARC-International Adoption Valeriu Moraru 148 Banff Road
Toronto, Ontario
M4P 2P7
416-224-9642 [email protected] 416-227-9377 Kazakhstan, Romania (applicants of Romanian origin only), Ukraine
  Cheryl Appell #306-10 Alcorn Avenue
Toronto, Ontario
M4V 3A9
416-927-0891 [email protected] 416-927-0385 Morocco
Children’s Resource & Consultation Centre of Ontario Michael Blugerman 25 Tresillian Road
Toronto, Ontario M3H 1L5
416-923-7771 [email protected] 416-923-1260 Bangladesh, Iran, Morocco, USA
Cornerstone Adoption Agency Patricia Russell 213 Byron Street South, Suite 201
Whitby, Ontario
L1N 4P7
905-666-1211 [email protected] 905-666-1215 Guyana, India, Jamaica, Philippines, Sri Lanka, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Family by Adoption Inc. Sharon Gollert 6 Garamond Court, Suite 230
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 1Z5
416-449-0018 [email protected] 416-449-0243 Guyana, Haiti, South Africa, Nigeria
Loving Heart International Adoption Agency Elena Georgiev 75 Wynford Heights Crescent, Unit 406
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 3H9
416-223-4997 [email protected] 416-250-8977 Bulgaria, Lithuania, Macedonia, Serbia
Conlin Adoption Services Paul J. Conlin 3332 McCarthy Road, Suite # 37053
Ottawa, Ontario
K1V 0H9
613-282-8795 [email protected]   Algeria
TDH (Terres des Hommes) Ontario Inc. Manon Parent 1 Main Street East
Suite #220
Hawkesbury, Ontario
K6A 1A1
613-678-6834 [email protected] 613-678-6050 Bulgaria, Haiti, Honduras, USA, Ukraine, Vietnam
The Children’s Bridge Karyn Arnauld-Bakelaar 1400 Clyde Avenue, Suite 221
Nepean, Ontario
K2G 3J2
613-226-2112 [email protected] 613-226-8843 India, South Korea, Thailand, USA
World View Adoption Association P.S. Mangat 130 Westmore Drive, Suite 5
Toronto, Ontario
M9V 5E2
416-743-9324 [email protected] 416-745-9778 Bangladesh, Jamaica

The next step involves a distinct adoption professional – called an adoption practitioner.

 

Step 2: Find a private adoption practitioner

These are the trained individuals who have been approved by Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.

 Adoption practitioners are not the same as the adoption agencies or licensed individuals.

The adoption practitioner will do the following:

  • Do a homestudy assessment
  • Supervise your mandatory parent training program
  • Advise you how long these will take and how much it will cost you
  • Prepare a report on your child’s adjustment to their new home based on visits they will make to your home
  • Supervise what are called probationary placements
    • These are when you return home with the child before the adoption paperwork in the child’s home country is finalized.
  • Prepare post-placement adoption reports for those foreign central authorities from the child’s home country that require them.

You will be charged separately by the private adoption practitioner, so their fees are in addition to the substantial fees charged by adoption agencies and licensed individuals.

However, please note that some adoption agencies will charge you instead, as they have a fee-for-service arrangement with certain adoption practitioners.

Go here for a list of Ontario’s adoption practitioners.

 

The Key Step in Ontario – Homestudy Assessment & PRIDE Mandatory Training

 

Step 3: Undergo a Homestudy Assessment and Complete Mandatory Training

While you can do these 2 steps concurrently (at the same time), many adoptive parents choose to first do the mandatory training and then undergo the homestudy assessment.

We recommend doing the training first because your homestudy assessment is where you are evaluated as to your readiness and appropriateness to be an adoptive parent.

You need to do as well as possible and taking the training course first will help you understand some of what is expected of you.

Let’s start with the mandatory training program: Parent Resources for Information and Development and Education - PRIDE

 

What is PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information and Development and Education)?

PRIDE is a mandatory standardized training program.

 

How long is the PRIDE adoption program?

It involves a 27-hour curriculum.

 

When is the PRIDE program offered?

There are a variety of schedules available including evenings and weekends to suit your needs.

Go here to see a schedule of PRIDE training schedule where you can choose among a range of course offerings as follows:

Click on details at the right-hand side of the table on the page to get contact information in order to register for your chosen course. Please remember that prices may be subject to change.

 

Who teaches the PRIDE program?

There will be 2 PRIDE trainers both of whom have received training from the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies. One will be an adoption professional and the other an experienced adoptive or foster parent.

 

Once we’ve completed the PRIDE training what do we get?

You will receive a Certificate with lifetime validity which will be valid for any type of adoption.

 

We’ll now move on to the homestudy course.

 

Ontario Homestudy Assessment

This is something similar to an immigration process where you provide documentation to support your eligibility for a program, for example.

Keep in mind that although the process is much longer than the PRIDE training – it normally lasts from 6 to 8 months – it is an invaluable tool for both the applicant (you the adoptive parents) and the adoption practitioner to understand your strengths and weaknesses as a potential adoptive parent. While the following factors are looked at:

  • Your income and job
  • Whether you own your home and in what neighbourhood
  • Your marriage
  • Your health.

In fact, the following factors are considered more important:

  • Your maturity
  • Your life skills
  • Your parenting philosophy.

What the adoption practitioner who runs your homestudy is doing throughout these 6-to-8 months – including normally between 6 to 8 interviews – is trying to identify your family’s strengths in order to match them with a child’s specific needs.

In other words, at the end of the homestudy assessment, you will have come to an agreement with your adoption practitioner about what kind of children might be most appropriate for your family to adopt.

Normally a homestudy assessment will be valid for your lifetime. However, if:

  • A number of years have passed since the homestudy assessment, OR
  • There has been a major lifestyle changes since the homestudy assessment

Then an update interview may be required.

You will need to submit the following documentation as part of the homestudy assessment:

  • Application and Financial Statement
  • Letters of Reference from 3 people – your social worker will provide the forms
  • Police Report
  • Child Welfare Check – to ensure no previous reports have been made against prospective parents
  • Medical Exam – including reports from specialist care (psychiatrist or orthopedic surgeon for example) you have received in past 5 years
  • Home Safety Checklist
  • Additional Documents – for example: marriage certificates, divorce certificates, guardianship letters, letters sent to child’s home country giving reasons why you want to adopt there, photographs of your home and of yourselves, psychiatric/psychological evaluations if required for some international adoptions.

Finally, if you are approved by Ontario’s Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services as adoptive parents you will receive a Letter of Approval from the Ministry. You can then move on to the next step.

 

Finding your Child to Adopt

This next step involves your agency or licensed individual putting together your documents – including translations and certifications – and filling out the necessary forms for the country you have chosen to adopt a child from.

They then send the package off.

You then have to wait for response from the authorities in that country. The response time varies depending on the country involved but if it is delayed by more than 2 years, you will have to:

  • Update your homestudy assessment to ensure your situation has not changed.
  • Get a new Letter of Approval from the Ministry of Children, Community, and Social Services.
  • Get new Medical Exams and Police Certificates seeing they are only valid for 2 years. 

As well, your adoption licensee (the agency or individual licensed to facilitate intercountry adoptions) or adoption practitioner should inform you whether any documents will require updating by the child’s country before the 2-year period. If they don’t, make sure you ask them and get the answer from them.

The next step is the one you will have been waiting years for. A child will be matched with you.

Here’s how it will work.

  • The authorities in the foreign country will inform your adoption licensee that they have a child that is legally available for you to adopt.
  • Your adoption licensee will ensure that the proposal is suited to your needs as determined by your homestudy assessment done previously.
  • Your adoption practitioner will then contact you so you can review the details of the proposal and decide if the child is right for your family.
  • If you accept the proposal your adoption practitioner will prepare a Consent Report and send the report to the Ministry.
  • When the Ministry approves the Consent Report, you then travel to the child’s country to bond with the child. Remember to contact your adoption licensee if any questions arise during the trip.

 

Now let’s review the similar steps at the provincial level in BC. 

 

The Foreign Adoption Process in BC

Let’s look at two different scenarios:

 

Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 1:

The adoption order has already been granted in the child’s country, and the Hague Convention is NOT in force in that country (see above) and IRCC requires a homestudy.

 

Step 1 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 1: Application to IRCC

Apply to IRCC to sponsor the child and receive a request for a homestudy from IRCC. As well, IRCC will request a Letter of No Objection from the BC office of the Provincial Director of Adoption.

 

Step 2 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 1: Application to BC Adoption Agency

Apply to a licensed BC adoption agency for a homestudy. Upon successful completion of the homestudy, the BC licensed adoption agency sends a letter to the office of the Provincial Director of Adoption stating that the requirements for what is called a Letter of No Objection have been met.

 

Step 3 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 1: Visiting the Child’s Country

The parents visit the child’s country to meet and bond with the child. This happens after the homestudy.

 

Step 4 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 1: Letter of No Objection

 If there are no concerns, the office of the Provincial Director of Adoption issues a Letter of No Objection to IRCC. Please note that a Letter of No Objection CANNOT be issued if:

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    • the prospective parents have a criminal record and/or child welfare record of: child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, or child exploitation.
    • the child has already entered Canada.

     

    Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 2:

    The adoption order is to be granted in the child’s country, and the Hague Convention is NOT in force in that country. As well, the child’s country requires the involvement of the BC licensed adoption agency in preparing a letter of approval/support; preparing the documentation; and screening the child.

    Some countries require a homestay with the adoptive parents before finalizing the adoption order. In this case, those countries should have legislation allowing the home country adoption to be finalized with the child in BC as well as contingency plans for when the homestay proves disruptive to the adoption process.

     

    Step 1 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 2: Application to IRCC

    Appy to IRCC to sponsor the child and receive a request for a homestudy. IRCC also requests a Letter of No Objection from the BC office of the Provincial Director of Adoption.

     

    Step 2 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 2: Application to BC Adoption Agency

    Apply to a licensed BC adoption agency for a homestudy which is required by IRCC or by the child’s home country.

     

    Step 3 of Adopting a Foreign Child in BC Scenario 2: No Objection Letter

    Once the proposed child is accepted by the prospective adoptive parents, the licensed BC adoption agency sends a letter to the Director of the Provincial Adoption agency that the following requirements for a Letter of No Objection have been met:

    • The child’s information has been received by the licensed BC adoption agency and was sent by the appropriate local authorities in the child’s country.
    • The adoptive parents have successfully completed a homestudy program that qualifies them to be adoptive parents, and for a child that matches the description of the child proposed for adoption.
    • All available medical, family background, and cultural background information on the child and the child’s family have been received.
    • The BC adoption agency has discussed all of the child’s information with the adoptive parents, except for the medical information which has previously been discussed with the couple’s physician.
    • The appropriate authorities in the country of origin have confirmed that:
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      • The child is legally available for adoption
      • The intention is to complete the adoption under the laws of the child’s country of origin
      • Ministry records were checked to ensure that there have been NO previous contacts with the Ministry that would present concerns regarding the adoptive parents' ability to be parents.
      • If there are no concerns, the office of the Provincial Director of Adoption issues a Letter of No Objection to IRCC. Please note however that a Letter of No Objection CANNOT be issued if:
        • the child is not yet born.
        • the prospective parents have a criminal record and/or child welfare record of: child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, or child exploitation.
        • the child has already entered Canada.
      • Finally, the final decision to allow the child into Canada rests with IRCC not with BC provincial authorities.

       

      Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 3:

      The Hague Convention is NOT in force in the child’s country of origin. The child is NOT related to the prospective adoptive parents (in Scenario’s I &II the child may or may not be related to the adoptive parents), and the adoption order is to be granted in BC after the adoptive parents bring the child to the province.

       

      Step 1 Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 3: Apply to IRCC

      Adoptive parents apply to IRCC to sponsor the child. IRCC then requests Letter of No Objection from office of Provincial Director of Adoption.

       

      Step 2Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 3: Apply to BC Adoption Agency

      Adoptive parents (or their lawyer) notify a licensed BC Adoption agency of their intention to bring a child into BC for adoption.

      The BC adoption agency will require proof that:

      • The child is legally available for adoption, and legal requirements of child’s country have been met (as well as provincial legal requirements)
      • Consents have been obtained in jurisdiction child is a resident of
      • Birth parents have been informed of the adoption
      • Adoptive parents have received medical and social history of the child and child’s family.
      •  

      Step 3 Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 3: Child is Born

      Once the child has been born, the licensed BC adoption agency sends a letter to the office of the Provincial Director of Adoption confirming that the following requirements for a Letter of No Objection have been met:

      • The adoptive parents have successfully completed a homestudy program that qualifies them to be adoptive parents, and for a child that matches the description of the child proposed for adoption.
      • The prospective parents have discussed the child’s medical and social history with their physician.
      • The prospective parents have made reasonable efforts to give notice of the child’s adoption.
      • Ministry records have been checked within past 90 days to ensure that there have been NO previous contacts with the Ministry that would present concerns regarding the adoptive parents' ability to be parents.

       

      Step 4 Foreign Adoption in BC Scenario 3: Letter of No Objection

      If there are no concerns, the office of the Provincial Director of Adoption issues a Letter of No Objection to IRCC. Please note however that a Letter of No Objection CANNOT be issued if:

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        • the prospective parents have a criminal record and/or child welfare record of: child physical abuse, child sexual abuse, or child exploitation.
        • the child has already entered Canada.
        • Finally, the final decision to allow the child into Canada rests with IRCC not with BC provincial authorities.

         

        The Foreign Adoption Process in Alberta

        Under Alberta laws and regulations concerning adoptions, there are 3 different kinds of international adoptions:

        1. Hague convention adoptions – when the child’s country has signed the Hague Convention.
        2. Government adoption for non-Hague countries – when the child’s country has not signed the Hague Convention but has an established process with Alberta’s Central Authority known as Alberta Adoption Services.
        3. Private International adoptions – when the child’s country is neither a Hague Convention signatory nor has a process with Alberta Adoption Services.

         

        Hague Convention Adoptions in Alberta:

        With Hague Convention countries and Government Adoption for non-Hague countries, Alberta Adoption Services is responsible for:

        •  Providing information about adoption procedures in countries.
        • Assessing licensed agencies’ homestudy reports to see if prospective parents are suitable for an adoption.
        • Forwarding the adoption dossier to the child’s country.
        • Agreeing to (in other words approving of) the adoptive match.
        • Delegating the proposal of an adoptive match to family’s licensed adoption agencies.
        • Providing Provincial Acceptance of the match for immigration purposes.
        • Where the child’s country does not finalize the adoption order, Adoption Alberta Services assumes responsibility for finalizing the adoption in Alberta courts.
        • Sending post-placement reports to the child’s country – when required.

         

        Private International Adoptions in Alberta:

        With Private International Adoptions, the prospective adoptive parents are responsible for arranging the adoption directly with the authorities in the child’s country.

        • A prospective adoptive couple are responsible for finalizing the adoption order in the child’s country before bringing the child to Canada. This means that adoption orders must be able to be legally finalized in the child’s country by the laws of that country.
        • As well as not being a signatory to the Hague convention, the child must NOT be in government care in its country of origin.
        • Finally, the country of origin must NOT require any involvement of Alberta authorities in the adoption process.

        For adoptions in Alberta, the cost ranges from CAD$15,000 up to CAD$40,000.

        For more information on how to apply in Alberta as well as to see a list of licensed agencies, go here.

         

        Applying to IRCC to Sponsor your Adopted Child – Are You a Citizen?

        Paperwork

        Now we turn to dealing with IRCC and the first thing you have to do is decide which of 2 processes to choose for sponsoring your adopted child into Canada.

        Canadian Citizens Adopting a Foreign Child

        If you’re eligible to pass on your Canadian citizenship to your child, then you should likely choose the citizenship process where you apply for a direct grant of citizenship for your child.

        • However, if you wish you can choose the immigration process as well.
        • Please note, if the adopted child will NOT live in Canada after the adoption and citizenship/immigration process is complete, then you MUST choose the citizenship process.

        Canadian Permanent Residents Adopting a Foreign Child (and Canadian citizens who were born abroad)

        If you are not eligible to pass on your Canadian citizenship or if you are a permanent resident or of other status in Canada, then you should choose the immigration process where you apply for a permanent resident visa for your child.

        • You are NOT eligible to pass on your citizenship to your children if you were born outside Canada to a Canadian parent and were granted citizenship as a 1st generation born outside Canada; or if you were given your Canadian citizenship through adoption …
        • UNLESS the parent was employed with the Canadian Armed Forces abroad; OR with a federal or provincial/territorial government abroad.

        The table below summarizes the main differences between the two processes – a direct grant of citizenship and an immigration process involving a permanent resident visa.

        As you view this table, remember this: if you’re thinking ahead to when your adopted child might have children of their own, the immigration process might be the better option to take, even if it involves a lengthier path to citizenship for your adopted child.

        We’ll explain why just below the table.

          Adopted Person gets Direct Grant of Citizenship from Parents Adopted Person becomes Permanent Resident through Adoption Process
        Status at end of process At end of immigration process the adopted person becomes a Canadian Citizen At end of immigration process the adopted person becomes a permanent resident
        Who can apply? An adoptive parent who is a Canadian Citizen in accord with the requirements above can sponsor An adoptive parent who is a Canadian Citizen or a Permanent Resident of Canada can sponsor
        What are the fees? If the adopted child is under 18 the processing fee is $100.
        If the adopted person is 18 or older, the processing fee is $520 and the Right of Citizenship fee is $ 100.
        If the adopted person is under 22 years, the sponsorship fee is $75 and the processing fee is $75.
        If the adopted person is 22 or older, the sponsorship fee is $75 and the processing fee is $475.
        Will the adopted person lose their foreign nationality/citizenship? In some countries, yes. Contact your Canadian embassy/consulate/high commission in the child’s country for more information. No. Permanent resident status does NOT result in loss of foreign citizenship. The adopted child retains their foreign passport but has a PR visa in it.
        Is a medical exam needed? No. However, it is recommended for any adoption to help you know your child’s needs. Yes. You must send a written statement to the visa office saying you have been informed of your child’s medical condition.
        What documents are issued? A Certificate of Canadian Citizenship is mailed to the parents if the child is under 18 or directly to the person if they are 18 or older.
        They can then apply for a Canadian passport or for a Facilitation Visa placed in their home country passport (sometimes used for adoptive children under 18)
        A PR visa will be issued and place in the child’s passport or other travel document BEFORE they leave for Canada.
        A PR Card will be issued when they arrive in Canada.
        Adopted Person’s children and First-Generation Limit If the adopted person has children, if they are born in Canada or if they are born abroad to a Canadian citizen by birth or naturalization (i.e. the adopted person’s spouse) or if the adopted person is working for the Armed Forces or the federal or a provincial/territorial government, then they are automatically Canadian citizens.
        If the adopted person’s children are born abroad under any other conditions, or if they in turn are adopted, then they must apply for permanent resident status and then become Canadian citizens.
        If the adopted person becomes a Canadian citizen through the naturalization process after receiving their PR visa, then their children are NOT subject to the First-Generation limit and are automatically Canadian citizens.
        As well, if the adopted person marries a Canadian citizen by birth or naturalization then the First-Generation limit does not apply.

        As you can see, passing on their Canadian citizenship is much easier for an adopted child that went through the immigration process and then became a Canadian citizen, as opposed to the adopted child that was given a direct grant of citizenship.

        This is an important point to consider. If you go through the immigration process rather than the direct grant of citizenship, your adopted child does indeed have to then apply for citizenship after having done the required residency in Canada (which they will likely do anyway). However, having been naturalized as a Canadian citizen, they are subsequently freed from the first-generation limit.

         

        Canadian Immigration Process to Sponsor a Child

         

        Eligibility for Child Sponsorship

        The Sponsor must:

        • Be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
        • Live in Canada (if you live abroad you must return to Canada to live the adopted child)
        • Be at least 18 years of age.

        The following may disqualify you as a sponsor of an adopted child:

        • You failed to meet the requirements of a previous sponsorship agreement.
        • You defaulted on court-ordered support such as alimony or child support.
        • You have been convicted of a violent criminal offence – especially those against relatives and children.
        • You do not live in Canada, nor do you plan to live in Canada when the child becomes a permanent resident.

        The person to be adopted must:

        • Be the sponsor’s child adopted outside Canada, OR
        • Be the sponsor’s child who will be adopted in Canada, OR
        • Be the sponsor’s brother, sister, niece, nephew, or grandchild who is:
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          • Orphaned, and
          • Under 18 years old, and
          • Not married.

          A final possibility is that the person to be adopted is another person related to the sponsor as long as the sponsor has NO other relatives who can be sponsored and are:

          • Canadian citizens
          • Permanent residents or
          • Registered Indians

          In other words, this final category of person to be adopted (someone who isn’t a child, brother, sister, etcetera) is last in line behind any Canadians, permanent residents, or registered Indians who are related to the sponsor and available for adoption.

          PLEASE NOTE: Your adopted child must complete a medical exam before entering Canada. If you the sponsor do not review the results of the exam and then submit what is called a Medical Condition Statement, the adopted child will NOT be issued a permanent resident visa.

          Go here for a PDF of a Medical Condition Statement. Fill it out after you have viewed the adopted child’s medical information. 

          Finding the Right Visa Office to Apply for Adoption Immigration

          1. Go here to find the visa office for your adopted child’s country.
          2. Go here to get country-specific instructions by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on the visa office you found in step 1.

          Depending on which visa office you will use, your instructions and forms may vary slightly.

          Adopted person’s permanent resident visa application

          Please remember that the PR visa for the adopted person being sponsored:

          • Can only be placed in a valid passport. You must ensure that the adopted person has passport or other travel document that is valid when you do the sponsorship application.
          • Is only valid until the earliest expiry date of:
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            • The medical exam OR
            • The adopted person’s current passport
            • Whichever comes earlier.

            Therefore, if your PR visa expires before the adopted person travels to Canada, then you the sponsor must start a new sponsorship application again and pay the fees again. 

            To apply you must first get your application package from the appropriate visa office as we explained above.

             

            Adoption Immigration Application Package

            • Your Document Checklist will depend on which visa office you get your package from. However, if your applicant (the adopted child to be sponsored) is under 18 years of age you must include:
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              • A copy of the adopted child’s birth certificate showing their name, date and place of birth and names of birth parents or adoptive parents.
              • A copy of a legal document showing guardianship, if the adopted child has a guardian.

              There are two principal forms the applicant (adopted child/person) has to complete:

              1. Form IMM 5406 – Additional Family Information
              2. Form IMM 5476 – Use of a Representative – if applicable

              Please refer to our Spousal and Parent/Grandparent tutorials to see how to fill out these forms.

               

              Submitting the Child Sponsorship Application Package

              Once completed, mail the application package to:

              (Your name)
              (Your Address)
              (Your Postal Code)
               

              Sponsorship: (Type of sponsorship)
              Case Processing Centre - Sydney
              P.O. Box 9500
              Sydney, Nova Scotia
              B1P 0H5

               

              Or, if you are using a courier service, send it to:

              Sponsorship: (Type of sponsorship)
              Case Processing Centre - Sydney
              49 Dorchester Street
              Sydney, Nova Scotia
              B1P 5Z2

               

              Remember to date and sign the forms:

              • If the child/person adopted is under 18 the parents or guardian need to sign.
              • If the child/person adopted is 18 or older they need to sign.

              If you have completed the forms electronically (on your computer) then please remember to print the Barcode pages and place them with your Document Checklist in the application.

               

              After you apply to sponsor your adopted childe

              IRCC will do an eligibility review of your application and they may approve your application, or they may:

              • Ask for additional information including documentation to support that information, and/or
              • Request an interview.
              • You will be informed in writing in either case.

              Please respond as quickly as possible to any requests for additional information to avoid slowing down the process.

              Please be aware that requests for more medical tests or requests for background information on the adopted child/person may cause longer delays in your application.

               

              Decision on Your Adopted Child Sponsorship Application

              If your application is successful, you will be asked to send your applicant’s (adopted child/person) passport in to get a PR visa placed in it. Make sure you bring the

              adopted child/person with you back to Canada before your PR visa expires.

               

              If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter from IRCC explaining why.

              Once the applicant arrives in Canada you the sponsor should ensure they meet their residency requirements when travelling abroad and returning to Canada:

              •  The applicant has been physically present in Canada for at least 730 days in the previous 5 years.
              • The applicant should be able to meet the 730-day requirement if they haven’t yet lived for 5 years in Canada.

               

              Call us at 1-866-760-2623 / (+1) 416-962-2623 or email us at [email protected]

              We hope you found this content to be helpful.

              At Immigroup we provide do-it-yourselfers with clear and accurate information. (For best results, we recommend using the government’s website in conjunction with our ours. For answers to specific questions, please check out our forum. Do these simple things and you’ll be far ahead of the pack!)

              For those who want more expertise and support, we offer a broad range of paid services, such as child sponsorship. Let us be your immigration ally, and you’ll see why most of our clients are clients for life. 


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