How to Adopt a Child in Canada
According to adoption agencies, there are over twenty thousand children in foster care in Canada, and for them, parental rights were terminated by court. To adopt a child
, however, you should meet certain requirements, depending on the province you live in. You should prove residence in all Canadian provinces
and be 18 years of age or older. Single persons and same sex couples are allowed to adopt as well. In Newfoundland
, you should be at least 25 years of age. Nova Scotia
requires that applicants are either Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. In some provinces, prospective applicants should prove they have lived there for 6 months or more. There are other requirements you should meet, such as having sufficient income to meet yours and your child’s needs. There are no requirements regarding living accommodation.
Adoption aid may be offered in some cases. Adoption subsidies are offered for children with special needs, helping adoptive parents cover unusual expenses. The type and amount of subsidies offered vary from one province to another.
How long the process will take depends on whether there is a child available. If a child is waiting and the applicant is considered suitable, this can happen fairly quickly. In general, there are a number of factors that have impact on the waiting time. One is whether you are adopting through a public or private agency. Public agencies are more tightly controlled compared to private agencies. From the perspective of adoptive parents, this means less of a choice. Public agencies focus more on the welfare and safety of children. This means that it is their priority to find suitable parents for every child and not the right child for you. As a result, parents do not have a big say when it comes to adoption options.
Regardless of the agency you choose, there are some steps to make. First, you will have to attend an information session, completing a medical and police clearance report. You will have to attend adoption classes and provide social and family histories, together with references. Then, an adoption practitioner will be assigned to you, and you will have to complete a home study. A child will then be placed with you, and a probationary period will follow. You should expect that the adoption practitioner visits you, i.e. these are follow-up visits. Once this probationary period is over, a post-placement report has to be sent to the respective ministry in charge of adoptions. Following these steps, you can expect that the court issues an adoption order. During this time, most children live in a group home or a foster home, but some of them are placed in institutions.
Regarding placement, this depends on the child you are after. The time line may fluctuate widely. The home study and information sessions usually take about one year. A lot depends on the applicant, especially if you have set your eyes on a healthy newborn. Then the process can take over eight years. On the other hand, if you choose to adopt a child with special needs, that is a child with mental, physical, or development handicap, a child of a different race, or one that is part of a sibling group, then you may be able to adopt almost immediately.
What else should you know? Most applicants find the application process intrusive. Prospective parents are asked personal questions and some find it difficult to answer. Some people have never thought about the issues they have to discuss. Do you have biological children and if you do, why do you want to adopt? If you cannot have children of your own, what have you tried already? How do your friends and family feel about adoption? What is the type of adoption you are looking for – semi open, open, and so on? Do you want to enroll your child in a private or public school? These questions help assess your ability to deal with different issues adoption may raise.