adoption is, by far, the most popular adoption choice for
Canadians. International or 'intercountry' adoption refers
to the adoption of a child from outside of Canada.
International adoptions are
often very complex and expensive, however, many families pursue
this process because there are more infants and young children
available. What makes an international adoption so complicated
is that the laws of the province or territory, federal immigration
laws as well as those of the child's country are followed
These adoptions are also extremely
expensive and can range anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000.
International adoptions are
arranged with the assistance of licensed private adoption
agencies. These agencies provide a full range of pre- and
post-adoption services for families. Many agencies offer a
variety of international adoption programs whereas others
only specialize in adoptions from one or two countries. Before
registering, it's very important to thoroughly research the
agency and to speak with other families that have successfully
adopted through the agency.
The first step in the international
adoption process is to choose the country from which you want
to adopt as well as the type of child. The most popular countries
Canadians adopt from include China, Russia, Korea and the
United States. Every country has different requirements of
the adoptive families; some countries will only allow married
couples to adopt whereas others put limitations on age and
Depending on the country, the children available
for adoption may be infants, toddlers, and older children.
As well, some countries like China have more children of one
gender available for adoption. Poverty and lack of family
services are the main factors in making these children available
for adoption. Adoptive parents must be aware that these children
have special needs. These needs may be due to traumatic early
life experiences, health problems, poor pre-natal and postnatal
care, or malnutrition.
Adopting a toddler or child is much different
than adopting an infant because they've experienced much more
and carry those experiences with them. Adoptive parents must
be trained and aware of these children's special needs. These
needs would be the result of the following:
- they lived in orphanages and may have
had many caregivers which often leads to attachment problems
- they did not have the stimulation and
human contact a child needs for healthy development
- there is little or no background on
their biological families or their own early life experiences
they had to fend for themselves “on the street”
whose independence may make it difficult for them to adjust
to life in a family environment they suffered physical or
emotional deprivation, leading to long-term problems despite
receiving loving care in their adoptive homes.
After the adoption has been completed, many
families need assistance in dealing with post-adoption issues.
For example, older children may need to talk about their earlier
life experiences. They may need professional counseling to
help them deal with their feelings and adjust to their new
families. This is normal and most adoption agencies have resources
and/or professionals that can assist with such issues.
As well, in most international
adoptions, the child is a different race or culture than the
adoptive parents. Unfortunately, racism still exists in today's
society and families need to plan for and be prepared for
potential racist and ignorant attitudes from their community
and even friends and family. There will be inquiries, often
from strangers, about the child's origins and the adoption.
Most inquiries stem from genuine interest and others from
ignorance and how parents react and respond will make an impression
on their child and how he/she views their adoption.
Another issue parents must
consider when adopting a child of another race/culture is
how they're going to honour the child's culture. Families
must learn about the child's country of origin and its traditions
and customs so that they can incorporate some into their family
once the child comes home. Honouring the child's culture will
help foster a healthy sense of identity in the child as well
as pride and interest in his/her heritage.
Depending on the country, the
process to adopt a child internationally will vary, but looks
similar to the following:
- Choose the country from which you'd
like to adopt as well as the type of child.
- Research licensed adoption agencies
and register with one that facilitates adoptions for the
country you've chosen.
- Contact the adoption agency and request
an information package.
- Complete the agency's application forms
and attend any information sessions offered.
- Complete a home study (usually with
a social worker from the agency) as well as have medical
and police checks done and submit references.
- Prepare your dossier of necessary documents
and send it to your agency.
- Your agency will have your dossier
translated, notarized and legalized by External Affairs
and authenticated by the Embassy of the country chosen.
- Your dossier will be sent to adoption
authorities in the child's country of origin.
- Complete immigration paperwork to sponsor
the child so that he/she can enter Canada
- Wait for a referral
- Receive offer of a child through your
agency. The child's file will include a medical report
from a Canadian, government approved doctor in the child's
- Review the information and research
any concerns about the child.
- Send a written acceptance to the child's
- Receive a notice to travel from adoption
authorities in the child's country
- Make travel plans and fly to the country
to pick up your child
- Process and finalize the adoption in
the child's country *
- Process the immigration papers and
return home with your new son or daughter
- For the next several months (usually
six), your adoption placement will be supervised by your
adoption practitioner who will submit reports to your
province and the child's country.
- Obtain a birth certificate and the
adoption order from your provincial court.
* Not all international adoptions are finalized
in the child's country. Some adoptions are finalized in Canada
because the child's country requires post placement reports
before it gives consent to the adoption.
|Advantages of International Adoption
||Disadvantages of International Adoption
- Most international adoptions are relatively
quick compared to the years many families wait to
- There are more children of all ages available due
to extreme poverty in many countries overseas.
- Legal Issues - The
majority of children available have been abandoned
or orphaned so there is no risk of a birth mother
changing her mind.
- Control - In an
international adoption, families have the option of
being specific about the age, race and gender of the
child they adopt.
- The Cost - Adopting internationally
is the most expensive type of adoption. Families may
face fees ranging anywhere from $20,00 to $50,000
depending on the country.
- Red tape, legal issues and delays - Families
should prepare themselves for lots of red tape and
potential delays if there is political instability
in the country.
- Lots of Unknowns - The majority
of the children have lived in orphanages and were
abandoned. There is often very little information
about their biological families and if the birth mother
drank, did drugs or had any prenatal care. Also, children
living in orphanages often have several caregivers
and not enough attention so many have attachment problems
that will require therapy.