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Adopting in Alberta

Important Adoption Issues

Who can adopt in Alberta?

  • Applicants must be 18 years of age or older
  • Applicants can be married, single, common-law and same sex
  • Applicants must be Alberta residents

Do I need a homestudy to adopt in Alberta?

Yes. All prospective adoptive parents must complete a homestudy and attend a mandatory pre-adoption education seminar before adopting a child in Alberta. A qualitified adoption social worker will conduct your homestudy and together you will discuss your home and community, your marriage relationship and your thoughts about parenting. You will also discuss many other aspects of being parents of an adopted child, such as your knowledge of adoption issues, including those of separation and loss and their effect on behaviour and development. As part of the homestudy process you will be required to provide information such as medical reports from your doctor, financial statements, police checks and letters from references. Following the homestudy process, the agency's social worker will give the agency a report that includes a recommendation about placing the child with you. You are entitled to a copy of the report.

What does an Open Adoption mean in Alberta?

Alberta legislation requires that every private adoption be open to the extent that full names of birth parents and adoptive parents are on the legal papers each must sign. Adoptions finalized after January 1, 2000 will be open when those adopted persons reach the age of 18 years and 6 months.

An openness agreement varies from one adoption situation to the next; typically, the amount of contact between birth parents and the adoptive family tends to be one or more meetings before the placement with an ongoing exchange of letters and pictures. Some families agree to having visits a couple of times a year and others agree to see each other more often.

Who must give consent to an adoption in Alberta?*

Generally, for the adoption of a child in Alberta, consents are taken from:

  • the birth mother
  • the birth father
  • any person appointed as the child's guardian
  • the child, if he/she is 12 years of age or older

Note: Where the child is in the continuous custody of a Director under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the only consents required are the Director's consent and the child's consent (where he/she is 12 or more years of age).

Can adoption consents be withdrawn?

Yes. A birth parent in Alberta can withdraw their consent to place their child for adoption within 10 days after she signing the consent papers.

What about a birth father’s rights in Alberta?

In most cases, a birth father in Alberta, is considered to be a guardian and his consent to the adoption is required. Alberta law also requires that he be informed by the agency of the adoption plan as well as when it's time to finalize the adoption. In the event that the birth father's full name or whereabouts are unknown or there are safety concerns, the courts usually agree to dispense of the birth father's right to consent to the adoption.

Can prospective adoptive parents advertise their desire to adopt in Alberta?

No. Alberta's Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states that no person shall publish in any form or any means an advertisement soliciting a child for adoption or for the purpose of finding adoptive parents for children.

Can the agency or adoptive family help with a birth parent’s expenses?

No. It is illegal to give or receive or even offer to give or receive payment to procure a child in Canada.

* The consent for adoption applies to situations where the birth parent(s) willingly place their child(ren) for adoption.



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