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This is the procedure to adopt a child in Canada

By IntFormalities
Updated on July 1, 2022
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The arrival of a new child is an unforgettable moment in the life of every parent, no matter if the child is biological or adopted. A baby’s smile and first steps will fill you with joy!

If you decide to have a child through adoption, you should bear in mind that this will be a difficult and long process, but the outcome will bring you the happiness you are looking for.

In Canada, adoption in under the control of provinces and territories; each one of them has its own adoption laws. For instance, adoption in British Columbia is different than in Ontario.

In this article, we will explain to you how adoption in Canada is organized and what are the steps you’ll need to follow to achieve your dream.


In Canada there are 4 types of adoption:

1. Public

Public adoption is the adoption of a child from the Children’s Aid Society (CAS). Children are placed in the care of the CAS because their biological parents have chosen to put them up for adoption as they are unable to take appropriate care of them. Public adoption is free and is done through the CAS.

2. Private

Private adoption is done through an organization recognized by the Canadian State. This organization provides you with administrative assistance in the establishment of your file to be submitted to the competent governmental administrations. It will also assist you in the elaboration of your project before the arrival of the child and help you once the child is with you. Children placed through private adoption are less than 6 months old.

 Private adoption is very expensive but can be faster than public adoption.

3. International

International adoption is a type of private adoption since you must go through an organization accredited by Canada and the country where you wish to adopt.

To be allowed to adopt a child from abroad, you must abide by the requirements of your province or territory, as well as the laws of the country of adoption. It is a complex process.

2. Kinship adoption

Kinship adoption is a relative adoption. It is when an adult family member adopts a child from his or her own family and becomes the legitimate parent. The biological mother keeps an active part in the child’s life.


For a Public and Private Adoption

Private and public adoptions in Canada are under the jurisdiction of the provinces and territories. The procedure to follow must be the one of the province or territory where you currently live.

Some procedures are common to the whole territory such as those mentioned below:

  1. Attend an information session.
  2. Complete police clearance and medical report.
  3. Attend adoption classes.
  4. Complete family and social histories and provide references.
  5. Get assigned an adoption practitioner and complete home study.
  6. Have a child placed.
  7. Probationary period (follow-up visits from adoption practitioner).
  8. Submit post-placement report to ministry in charge of adoption.
  9. Receive adoption order from court.

For a private adoption you will have to choose the agency that will support you throughout the process, and follow these additional steps:

  1. Find a prospective birth mother considering placing her child for adoption.
  2. Have her and the birth father undergo social and legal counselling.
  3. Review their medical and family histories.
  4. Have a child placed (this usually occurs directly at the hospital, prior to birth parents signing their consent).
  5. Wait for the birth mother’s revocation of consent period to expire.

For an International Adoption

First, choose the agency you want to work with according to the country you have chosen to adopt your future child. Next steps are as follows:

  1. Attend the information sessions offered by your agency.
  2. Conduct a home study.
  3. Prepare your file with the necessary documents.
  4. Send your file to your agency to be translated, notarized, legalized by External Affairs, and authenticated by the embassy of the chosen country.
  5. Send the file to the adoption authorities in the child’s country of origin.
  6. Complete the immigration documents to sponsor the child to come to Canada.
  7. Contact your doctor for possible vaccinations in the child’s country of origin.
  8. Receive the child’s offer from the agency, including the medical report from the Canadian government-approved physician in the child’s home country.
  9. Send a written acceptance to the country of origin.
  10. Receive a travel notification from the adoption authorities in the child’s country of origin.
  11. Process and finalize the adoption in the child’s home country.
  12. Process immigration documents.
  13. Undergo post-placement supervision with an adoption practitioner.
  14. Obtain the birth certificate and adoption order from the provincial court.

For a Kinship Adoption

This kind of adoption is different at each province or territory. Follow this link to find more information from the Central Adoption Authorities in your Province or Territory.


Both public and kinship adoptions are free.

Private adoption will cost you around $10 000 to $20 000. Price difference will depend on how quickly or easily you can find a child.

An international adoption will cost you around $25 000, plus all the expenses abroad, and the translations, notarization, travel, and medical expenses.

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