International adoption in Canada

Canadian law permits Canadian Citizens or Permanent residents to adopt a child from another country and bring them to Canada. For further consultation and advice, please contact us.

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What is an adoption?

An adoption, for the purposes of the Regulations, means an adoption that creates a legal parent-child relationship and severs the pre-existing legal parent-child relationship. [(R3 (2)]

International adoptions involve two separate processes:

  1. the adoption process; and
  2. the immigration or citizenship process.

You and your adopted child are required to complete both processes before you can bring the child to live/reside with you in Canada.

Do you qualify?

To be eligible for an international adoption, you must meet:

  • the adoption requirements of the province or territory or the country where you live, and
  • the adoption requirements in the child’s home country.

Provincial and territorial governments are responsible for adoptions in Canada. Some provinces and territories use licensed agencies to handle most of the adoption process.

Hague Convention

The Hague Convention governs international adoptions in many countries, including Canada. Different rules apply if the adoption was done in a non-Hague country.

Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Inter-Country Adoption sets minimum standards and procedures for adoptions between countries. The Hague Convention is intended to end unethical adoption practices. It also promotes cooperation between countries and puts in place procedures that minimize the chance of exploitation of children, birth parents or adoptive parents during the adoption process.

The Hague Convention requires that the authorities in the child’s country (sending country) ensure that:

  • the child is legally free for adoption;
  • the birth parents have consented to the adoption in the child’s best interest and understand the consequences for their parental rights ;and
  • the decision to place a child for adoption is not motivated by financial gain.

Central authorities

Under the Hague Convention, states designate “central authorities” that administer inter-country adoptions in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Convention. In the case of Canada, the provinces/territories regulate adoptions so each has designated such authorities. It is the provincial/territorial authorities who must determine whether the Hague Convention on adoption applies to a particular case.

The central authority in the adoptive parent’s country (receiving country) must ensure that:

  • the adoptive parents are eligible and suitable to adopt; and
  • the appropriate authorities have decided that the child will be allowed to enter and live permanently in the country.

In a Hague Convention case, an adoption may be finalized only after the sending and receiving countries have confirmed the aforementioned information.

Canadian citizenship requirements

You can apply for citizenship for an adopted person if:

  • at least one adoptive parent is, or was, a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place
  • the adoption severs (or severed) all ties with the adopted person’s legal parents
  • the adoption was or wil be completed outside Canada (except for Quebec).

The adopted person does not meet the requirements for the citizenship process if:

  • neither parent was a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place
  • the adoption took place before February 15, 1977
  • the adoption did not fully sever all ties with the child’s legal parents
  • the adoption will be completed in Canada, or
  • a probationary period is to be completed in Canada before a final adoption order is issued from the child’s birth country.

Immigration process

You can use the immigration process to apply for permanent resident status for the adopted child if:

  • the adopted child is going to Canada to live right after the adoption takes place, or
  • one or both parents are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

The adopted person does not meet the requirements for the immigration process if:

  • the adopted person is not going to Canada to live right after the adoption takes place
  • you are an adult adoptee living outside Canada and not returning to Canada to live right after your application is approved.

Most of the information above was reproduced CIC and OP manuals.