To begin the process to adopt
internationally, Manitoba residents must apply to a licensed
adoption agency or Child and Family Services agency in Manitoba.
Prospective adoptive parents face a number of important decisions
to be made; those who choose to pursue international adoption,
must first decide from which country they'd like to adopt
and then select a licensed agency that can facilitate the
International adoptions are
extremely complicated. Licensed private adoption agencies
assist families in the process and ensure that all laws of
the province, federal immigration laws as well as those of
the child's country, are met.
With the increase of child abduction and
trafficking around the world, many countries have signed the
Hague Convention in an effort to make international adoption
a safer and more secure process. The Hague Convention is an
international agreement which lays out guidelines to govern
adoption processes in these countries and to protect the best
interests of children. The Convention also has safeguards
in place to protect birth and adoptive families but its main
goal is to ensure that an international adoption is in the
best interests of a child and that his/her fundamental rights
are protected. More
information about the Hague Convention.
Canada has been a partner in the Hague Convention
since 1993 and all provinces and territories follow the Convention's
guidelines. Canadians can adopt from countries that have not
ratified the Hague Convention. These adoptions have similar
steps but lack the assurances of Hague Convention adoptions.
Choosing the citizenship process or the
According to Citizenship and Immigration
Canada's web site, as of December 23, 2007, anyone adopted
by a Canadian citizen after February 14th, 1977 can apply
for a grant of Canadian citizenship without first becoming
a permanent resident. Some new adoptions, however, will still
need to use the immigration process. The following explains
the two processes and will assist you in deciding which to
You can apply for citizenship for an adopted person if:
- at least one adoptive parent is,
or was, a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place
- the adoption severs (or severed)
all ties with the adopted person’s legal parents
- the adoption was or will be completed
outside Canada (except for Quebec)
The adopted person does not meet the
requirements for the citizenship process if:
- neither parent was a Canadian citizen
when the adoption took place
- the adoption took place before
February 15, 1977
- the adoption did not fully sever
all ties with the child’s legal parents
- the adoption will be completed
in Canada, or
- a probationary period is to be
completed in Canada before a final adoption order is issued
from the child’s birth country.
More information on how to apply for Citizenship can be found
to apply for Citizenship
More information on what happens after you apply for Citizenship
can be found here: After
applying for Citizenship.
The Immigration Process:
You can use the immigration process
to apply for permanent resident status for the adopted child
- the adopted child is going to Canada
to live right after the adoption takes place, or
- one or both parents are Canadian citizens
or permanent residents.
The adopted person does not meet the requirements
for the immigration process if:
- the adopted person is not going to Canada
to live right after the adoption takes place
- you are an adult adoptee living outside
Canada and not returning to Canada to live right after your
application is approved.
More information on Immigration can be found
to Apply for Immigration, After
Applying for Immigration, Arriving
in Canada with Your Child
For more information regarding
immigration issues, contact Citizenship and Immigration Toll
Free at: 1-888-242-2100
International Adoption Expenses
The expenses for international
adoptions are quite high and will vary based on the requirements
of the licensed adoption agency, the child's country of origin
and several other factors. In most international adoptions,
adoptive parents must travel to the country which adds to
the expenses as well as fees for accommodation. Other expenses
adoptive parents incur include home study and agency fees,
fees for documents and reports, examinations, and translation
and authentication of Adoption Dossier documents, immigration
processing fees and child foster or medical care. On average,
most international adoptions take approximately 1-2 years
to complete and can cost anywhere from $18,000 to $50,000.
The children who are available for adoption
internationally may be infants, toddlers and older children.
Usually poverty and the 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 could 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
experiences. They may need professional counseling to help
them deal with their feelings and adjust to their new families.
Adopting a Child of Another Culture
In most international adoptions, the child
is of a different race or culture and adoptive families need
to be prepared for dealing with such issues.
Some adoptive families will face different
attitudes from their relatives and the community towards those
who are culturally or racially different. Both you and your
adopted child also need to be prepared for inquiries from
others (often inquisitive strangers) about the child's origins
and adoption. It's also important to recognize that children
of an interracial adoption will face struggles with their
identity in their teen years. That's why it's very important
for the child's adoptive family to teach their child about
his or her country of origin and instill a pride in his/her
culture. It's important for the family to learn about and
honour and incorporate some of the child's culture into their
When hiring a licensed private adoption
agency, it's important adoptive parents do their research
and ensure that the agency they choose has a good reputation,
reasonable policies and payment schedules, as well as staff
who are compassionate and knowledgeable. The agency you choose
is ultimately responsible for the total management of your
adoption process until the adoption is completed and your
child safely enters Manitoba.
Your licensed international adoption agency
- Ensure that the laws related to international
adoption in Canada, Manitoba, and the child’s country
of origin are followed
- Help you understand the laws and procedures
of Manitoba and the country from which you wish to adopt
- Provide information to assist you in
choosing the country from which you wish to adopt, if you
have not yet made the choice
- Review immigration procedures with you
- Prepare you for your experience of adopting
from another country
- Present you with a service contract for
your signature, as indicated under costs
- Review and explain the Memorandum for
Adoptive Applicants to you
Your licensed agency is also responsible
for arranging the preparation and submission of follow up
reports where required by the child's country of origin.
STEP 1: Choose a country
from which you want to adopt as well as a licensed adoption
agency. Each country is different and has its own set of requirements
of prospective adoptive parents.
STEP 2: Research and
register with a licensed private adoption agency
that offers a program for the country from which you'd like
to adopt. Attend an information session or the agency's education
seminar and ask to speak to other families that have successfully
adopted through the agency. Fill out the agency's application
forms and additional documents provided for your adoption
STEP 3: The
Home Study report.
A social worker will visit your home over the span of several
months to 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 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 4: Adoption Dossier.
A dossier refers to the paperwork requested by the
child's country of origin. Your home study report is just
one of the many documents that will be included in your dossier.
Your adoption agency will work with your family to collect
and complete all of the necessary authentications and translations
and to ensure your dossier is complete. During this time,
prospective adoptive parents should also be researching the
processes of Citizenship and Immigration to Canada.
STEP 5: Wait for a
match (Child Referral) ... Once your dossier has
been completed and forwarded to the child's country, you'll
wait a period of time for a child to be referred as a match
for your family. Your adoption agency will contact you once
they've received and reviewed a referral for your family.
A referral for a child contains the child's description, a
photograph (and maybe a video) as well as the child's medical
and social histories. Your adoption agency's professionals
will be on hand to review the information with you and discuss
any concerns or issues in the referral. If there are any concerns,
you should do some research and consult with professionals
like your family doctor or a pediatrician.
STEP 6: You
will be asked to submit a Letter of Acceptance/Decline to
your agency who will then forward it to the Central Authority
in the child's country of origin. If you decline the referral,
your agency will request that the country refer another child.
If you accept the referral, your agency will forward the Letter
of Acceptance to the child's country.
STEP 7: Adoptive
parents are responsible for their child’s entry into
Canada. As of December 23, 2007, families can now choose from
two processes: citizenship or immigration. Detailed
information can be found here about Citizenship and Immigration
Canada. For more information
regarding immigration issues, contact Citizenship and Immigration
Toll Free at: 1-888-242-2100
STEP 8: Travel!
Your child's country will advise you and your agency on when
you can travel to pick up your child. Depending on the country,
you may be required to spend a certain amount of time in the
country. During this time, you will be able to bond with and
form attachments to your child as well as learn more about
their heritage/culture. In most cases, you will also attend
a court session where the adoption will be finalized.
STEP 9: Post-Placement.
Once you've returned home with your child, your family
will be required to submit post-placement reports to the child's
country of origin. Most countries require that a social worker
submit these reports which detail the child's safety and well-being,
as well as include several photographs. These post-placement
reports are often mandatory and some countries require the
family to continue sending reports about the child(ren) on
their own for several years (sometimes until the child is
18 years of age).