How to Adopt a Child from Another Country to Canada

Adoption is a legal process of permanently transferring parental responsibilities and rights to another person. It is often called “legal guardianship” in some countries. The legal implications of adoption are different in each country, and to know and understand the local laws.

Some of the basic steps need to be followed before intercountry adoption legally to Canada. The first step is to figure out how much you can spend on the adoption process. Then, you are required to find an accredited Canadian adoption agency or a licensed Canadian lawyer who specializes in international law and adoptions.

All of the laws and regulations governing the adoption process have been put in place to protect children, birth parents, foster parents, and adoptive parents. Canada is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Canada has an extensive history of intercountry adoptions. In 2004, these adoptions accounted for 52% of all international adoptions to Canada.

Intercountry Adoption Steps:

The following steps need to be followed for intercountry adoption:

  • Find an adoption agency that is willing and able to work with you.
  • Find a child.
  • Apply for intercountry adoption in Canada from CWA, which is the central authority for intercountry adoptions in Canada.
  • Decide on the level of openness you want for your child’s new heritage.
  • Apply for an immigration visa for your child.
  • Contract with a lawyer and complete background checks (criminal and financial)
  • Start planning with the other country’s embassy or consulate or equivalent office.

There are mainly two primary steps involved in adoption.

  1. First, you need to focus on the Approval process, which involves your home and the state from where you want to adopt a child.
  2. The second and most essential step in the immigration process is to know where the administration of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship comes in. When the adoption has been approved by your regional or territorial adoption laws and the state where the child lives, you can bring your adopted child to Canada. You should consult an adoption lawyer in Canada to get information about the process.

Requirements For Child Adoption:

To adopt a child from another country to Canada, you must:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be a Canadian citizen or own a permanent resident.
  • Have a valid passport and visa for the child you want to adopt
  • Have enough money to cover the child’s expenses while in your care
  • Be willing and able to provide a stable home for the child.

Adoption Process:

The process starts with the prospective parents completing a paper application, which will be forwarded to an Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada office. If IRCC approves the application, they will send it to the proper provincial or territorial child welfare authorities for assessment and approval.

If the child welfare agency approves the adoption, then IRCC may grant you permanent resident status for your adopted child. The adoption decree must identify the adoptive parent as a “Canadian citizen.” Most Canadians prefer adopting children from their home provinces or territories.

(1)   The SAFE Home-study:

Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) is a process that evaluates the suitability of a child for intercountry adoption. A social worker completes A SAFE home study and includes the appropriateness of the child for intercountry adoption, including any special needs or vulnerabilities. The social worker may also interview family members and friends to gather additional information about the child.

The SAFE home study will be submitted to the Canadian Central Authority as part of an application for intercountry adoption in Canada.

(2)   The PRIDE Program:

The program provides parents with information about intercountry adoption. This program has developed in association with the Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Service Canada, and provincial and territorial agencies.

The PRIDE Program comprises three components that are described below:

  1. The Public Awareness Component includes activities to raise awareness of intercountry adoption;
  2. The Client Referral Component includes a list of approved Canadian lawyers to provide legal representation for parents adopting an international child;
  3. The Supportive Information Component includes a piece of information on the legal process, programs available in your province/territory in Canada, and essential questions to ask your lawyer.

(3)   Acquire the child’s immigration status:

Provincial legislation regulates intercountry adoption in Canada and is not fully uniform across provinces.

Adoption Lawyers in Canada help in obtaining immigration status for a child adopted through intercountry to live with their adoptive family. The Canadian Citizenship Act can apply for citizenship and issue a passport, but there is no automatic entitlement to citizenship. In this respect, the adopted child may experience some uncertainty of status until the adoption order has been granted or as otherwise required under provincial law.

(4)   Application to be a Canadian citizen:

If you live in Canada and want to adopt a child, the Lawyer Approach will show you how to apply for a Canadian citizenship claim.

To adopt a Canadian citizen, it filed the adoptive parents lives in Canada for at least 12 months before the adoption application with the immigration authorities. In addition, both parents must be older than 18 years and have lived in Canada for at least 12 months before applying. Adoptive parents can apply for citizenship by going through the Citizenship, and Immigration Canada website or by contacting a lawyer who specializes in immigration law.

Application for a permanent resident:

The family immigration system in Canada is complex, and it’s difficult to understand the application process. This article will provide you with a basic introduction to applying for permanent residence application in intercountry adoption in Canada.

There are two types of permanent residence applications: one being a sponsorship under the Family Class, and the other being an adoption. The family immigration law in Canada recognizes that there are two categories of adoptive parents–those who adopt from inside Canada; and those who adopt from outside Canada.

Sponsorship Application:

Intercountry adoption is a serious life decision and can be expensive. To get a better understanding of our clients’ situation, we offer them as much information as possible about the adoption process, and what to expect financially, and answer questions they might have.

This kind of comprehensive information will give the client a better idea of what they need to do next. Adoption Lawyer in Canada who can assist you with your sponsorship application. Canada has a variety of Family law lawyers who can advise and help on various aspects of family law, including the adoption process.

Permanent Residence Application:

You should call the Lawyer Approach to the consulate and about what you want to do. They will provide you with information on how the process works.

However, keep in mind that if you are not a citizen of Canada or live in Canada temporarily, you cannot apply for a permanent residence Application in intercountry adoption in Canada.

It must meet three conditions before issuing the immigration visa:

  • The child must comply with all basic immigration requirements, including a medical examination,
  • The provincial child protection authority must approve the adoption, and
  • The foreign law is to enable the transfer of the child to the adoptive parents.

Temporary changes in response to COVID-19:

The Canadian Parliament has passed a new law. It will allow international adoptions to go ahead as long as it has informed the birth parents and has given their consent. The Bill will come into force on 1 July 2019, nine months after its passing by Parliament.

This means that the families who have been waiting to be matched with a child can now start applying for adoption. It is also good news for international adoptions that could not be processed in recent years because they did not meet the requirements set out in Bill S-7, which had made it difficult for Canadians to adopt from countries such as Russia and Rwanda.

How much does Intercountry Cost?

Adoption lawyers in Canada are often called upon to assist with the legal aspects of adoption. They can help with adoption proceedings and advise on how to go about adopting a child.

Family lawyers in Canada are usually sought for family disputes and divorces. They can represent one party or both parties of the case.

The cost of adoption depends on the type of adoption and the country you are adopting from. The average cost for international adoption in Canada is $40,000 to $60,000. The average cost for domestic adoption in Canada ranges from $10,000 to $30,000.

The following table illustrates the costs for both international and domestic adoptions:

Canada adoption average cost

Get Help!

The adoption process is complicated and can take a long time. It can take from six months to two years depending on the case for the adoption to be completed.

The foremost step in the process is to find an Adoption Lawyer in Canada who has experience with this type of adoption. The lawyer will advise on what steps you need to take, the costs involved, and whether you can adopt under your current status.

Adoption law is not just about children being adopted by parents or couples – there are many adoptions that lawyers will help with including international, same-sex, step-parent, and foster care adoptions. Contact Lawyer Approach at to win your case.