In Alberta, there are four
non-government and non-profit agencies that have the authority
to arrange private adoptions in the province. All are licensed
and monitored by Children’s Services and must comply
with all requirements outlined in the Child, Youth and Family
Enhancement Act and Regulations.
In a private adoption in Alberta, the birth
parents may choose to place their child through one of the
licensed adoption agencies. Private adoption agencies use
the same screening and home assessment requirements that Alberta
Children’s Services (ACS) employs for approving adoptive
families. They also keep an inventory of approved homes and
prepare the court documents for adoption finalization. You
can view the adoption
statistics for Alberta's five private adoption agencies.
Cost of Private Domestic Adoptions
Private adoption is not free. With
most domestic private adoptions, prospective adoptive parents
pay the registration fees with the agency, the cost of the
home study, cost of training and a placement fee when the child
is actually placed in the home. These costs can range anywhere
from $10,000 to $15,000.
The following information
outlines the typical process for adopting privately in Alberta:
STEP 1: Contact one or
more of the five private adoption agencies in Alberta (Private
agency listing can be found here) and ask to speak with
an adoption worker.
STEP 2: Complete the following
important documents and clearances:
- An Intervention Record Check. If there
is a serious child protection concern, this will be discussed
with you by Alberta Children’s Services. You may still
choose to continue with your application, but you should
be aware that written consent from the Director must be
obtained before approval of the home study can be given.
- Security Clearance Check. This is obtained
from the police department. If you have a criminal record,
the nature, seriousness and date of the offense will be
taken into consideration. Minor offenses in your past will
not prevent your approval as an adoptive parent.
- References from persons you designate
- Financial Statement
- Personal Legal Documents
STEP 3: Attend an adoption educational
seminar or training. The government regulations state
that pre-adoption counseling covering a number of specified
topic areas must be provided before approval.
STEP 4: The home study report. This is probably the
scariest part of the adoption process for most applicants.
A social worker will visit your home over the span of several
months and interview you about your life, your family and
your home environment. You will be asked to discuss many personal
issues; your worker will want to know about your childhood,
your religious beliefs, education, past relationships and
marriages, as well as your views on parenting. It's important
to be up front and honest with your worker so that he/she
will be able to portray a clear and accurate view of your
family in the home study report.
STEP 5: Write a "Dear
Expectant Parent Letter"
and create a profile to submit to your agency for potential
birth families to review. Ask your agency if they have any
guidelines or for some examples of profiles that have proven
STEP 6: Wait! For
most prospective adoptive parents, this can be a very difficult
and frustrating time as there is no set time limit. Birth
parents choose the family to adopt their baby and each has
their own vision of the ideal family for their baby.
STEP 7: The match.
If you've been chosen by a birth family, your agency will
contact you with the good news. Depending on the birth parents,
you most likely will have the opportunity to meet with them
before the placement to see if you're a good fit. It's at
this meeting that you will most likely discuss an openness
agreement and set the boundaries for your future relationship.
Some families choose limited contact while some birth parents
and adoptive parents become very close and agree to meet regularly
before and after the birth. Many birth mothers ask the adoptive
parents to attend the birth!
STEP 8: Open your home
to your new son or daughter! In Alberta, birth parents
sign the consents following the birth of the child but before
the baby is placed with the adoptive family. With these consents
signed and with the approval of the agency, the adoptive parents
may receive the child. Once the consent form has been signed,
a birth mother has a 10 day period in which to change her
mind and reverse the decision.
'direct placement' adoption occurs when a birth parent places
their child directly with a family they know or within their
own family. This type of adoption is when a birth parent places
their child directly with a family they know or within their
own family. A home study is not required in Alberta for a direct
placement adoption but a judge or birth parent can request
one be completed. A direct placement is often complicated
but a private agency can help navigate you through the process
Direct placement adoption also includes Spousal and Relative
adoptions (ex. grandchild, niece, nephew, great niece or nephew,
etc.) and may be processed by the applicants themselves using
the Adoption Self-Help Kit available through the Queen's Printer
Bookstore. These adoptions may also be processed by a lawyer.
The services of a private licensed adoption agency may be
used to assist in preparing the court document package.
Applicants prepare their own court file
using the guide and document samples contained in the Self
Help Kit. Adoption Services must be served with a copy of
the adoption court file through a designated caseworker at
the Child and Family Services Authority in their area.
After Children's Services receives notice
about the adoption hearing the records are checked to determine
whether there is a child protection concern about the petitioner(s).
If there is a concern, the Court is notified, and a report
on the concerns may be prepared. The birth parents may request
or the judge may order the petitioner(s) to undergo a Home
Applicants are responsible for all costs
including court costs, document costs and payment for a Home
Assessment Report if one is required.
Families that are involved in an adoption and need legal information
may call this toll free number (1-800-661-1095, or 228-1722
in Calgary) and explain what they need or ask for a lawyer
referral. They will be given the names and contact information
of three lawyers who deal with Family Law issues and who will
provide a free half hour consultation. Issues may include
legal consents, document completion, filing issues, guardianship
or court procedures.