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Adopting in British Columbia

Important Adoption Issues

Who can adopt in British Columbia?

  • Every effort is made to place British Columbia's waiting children within the province. Placement out of the province is only considered when the prospective adoptive family is related to the child or already has a significant relationship with the child.
  • A child may be placed for adoption with one adult or 2 adults jointly.
  • One adult may apply to the court to jointly become a parent of a child with a birth parent of the child.

Do I need a home study to adopt in British Columbia?

Yes. All prospective adoptive parents must complete a home study and attend training before adopting a child in British Columbia. The home study is conducted by a qualified social worker who interviews you and your family over several weeks. During these interviews, your social worker will talk to you about why you’ve chosen adoption, your childhood, your family, your views on parenting, your relationship with your partner (if applicable) and other appropriate topics. Social workers do not expect families to be perfect. In fact, they are looking for people who have dealt with challenges in their lives in a positive and proactive manner. At the end of these interviews, the social worker writes a report and will give her recommendations about adoption for your family.

What is the Smoke-Free Environment Preference in British Columbia?

Recently, the Ministry introduced a smoke-free policy for foster parents. A smoke-free environment means no smoking in the home or the family's vehicle. The policy does not apply to the use of tobacco for cultural or traditional purposes.

The Ministry does not require adoptive parents to quit smoking. However, in the best interests of the child, there is a preference for adoptive families to provide a non-smoking environment. The Ministry hopes to ensure a smoke-free environment for all children and you in its care - through the foster care system and on into placement in their adoptive homes.

What does an Open Adoption mean in British Columbia?

Openness agreements can be made with the biological families and other important people in a child's life. These agreements outline the kind of contact and information exchange each party would like and how often this communication and contact will take place. Participation in an openness agreement is voluntary for everyone. Openness in adoption recognizes the importance to a child's continued psychological and emotional health, development and well being of maintaining significant relationships.

In British Columbia, there is a "Post-Adoption Openness Registry" where any party in an adoption can register to make an Openness Agreement if one wasn't made before their adoption was completed. For more information, contact the Registry at (250) 387-3660.

Who must give consent to an adoption in British Columbia?

Generally, for the adoption of a child in British Columbia, consents must be obtained 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 British Columbia may withdraw their consent to the adoption plan within 30 days of the child’s birth even though the child has been placed for adoption during that period. The birth parent must withdraw their consent in writing and it must be received by a director or an adoption agency before the 30 days expires. Also, the consent to the adoption of a child is only valid if the child is at least 10 days old when the consent is given.

What are the rights of birth fathers in British Columbia?

If you believe you are the father of a child who may be placed for adoption, you can register your name on the Birth Father Registry to receive notification of the proposed adoption. You can register before the child is born or up to 150 days after placement.

Can prospective adoptive parents advertise their desire to adopt in British Columbia?

Yes.In British Columbia, families who are hoping to adopt can network and advertise to adopt.

Can children born in British Columbia be placed for adoption outside of the province?

Yes, but every effort is made to keep children in the province. If an appropriate family cannot be found in British Columbia, social workers may contact agencies in other provinces. Children may also be placed with extended family that lives in other provinces. In private adoptions, birth parents in British Columbia may choose families outside of the province.

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.


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