In March 2007, Family and
Community Services Minister Carmel Robichaud introduced amendments
to the Family Services Act to modernize and streamline adoption
services in New Brunswick.
Currently there are no international
adoption agencies in New Brunswick. The new amendments, however,
state that the department plans to establish one or two non-profit
community agencies as a start, with the possibility of creating
more in the future if there is an increasing need. These agencies
will be non-profit to be in compliance with international
conventions on adoption. All requests for international adoption
services will be directed to the approved non-profit agencies.
The non-profit community agencies will offer
various bilingual services such as completing the international
adoption assessment, training for the prospective adoptive
parents and post- placement adoption services.
While the new agencies will help facilitate
the process, the Department of Social Development will continue
to act as the central authority in terms of provincial approval
for applicants, submission of applications to foreign countries,
and approval of proposed child matches.
The proposed new initiatives on adoption,
including the new non-profit community agencies, should be
operational within the next two years.
In the meantime ...
New Brunswickers can still
proceed with international adoptions as there are many agencies
that will work with families outside of their province.
In New Brunswick, the principles
and philosophy of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children
and Cooperation in
Respect of Intercountry Adoption are applied to all intercountry
adoptions as it is a frame work for co-operation between
countries to protect the best interest of the children and
birth and adoptive parents.
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 here: How
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
The expenses for international
adoptions are quite high and will vary based on the requirements
of the child's country of origin, agency programs, coordinator
fees and several other factors. On average, most international
adoptions cost anywhere from $18,000 to $50,000.
In New Brunswick, adoptive
families are responsible for the following costs incurred
in an international adoption:
- the home assessment report fees and
parent training courses
- application and registration fees for
a licensed adoption agency
- translation and courier fees
- immigration fees
- the child's medical evaluations
- the agency fees in the child's country
- travel and accommodations
- legal fees and post placement reports
Hiring a licensed private adoption agency
that has a good reputation as well as one that has policies,
payment deadlines and staff you're comfortable with is very
important to the success of your family's adoption. After
all, your agency is responsible for the total management of
the international adoption process until the adoption is complete
and your child safely enters New Brunswick.
Your licensed international adoption agency
- Ensure that the laws related to international
adoption in Canada, New Brunswick , and the child’s
country of origin are followed
- Help you understand the laws and procedures
of New Brunswick and the country from which you wish to
- 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 other country.
Like Canada, there are children of all ages
waiting to be adopted from overseas. Most children waiting
to be adopted are available due to poverty and lack of family
services. Many children are abandoned by their biological
families or made orphans due to war and/or disease.
Prospective adoptive families pursuing international
adoption must be aware that these children are considered
special needs. Why? In most cases, these children have had
traumatic early life experiences, health problems, poor pre-natal
and/or postnatal care, or malnutrition. These special needs
could arise due to such situations:
- the child has lived in an orphanage
where there were many children and few caregivers. This
leads to attachment problems and disorders.
- 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” and their past 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.
Adopting a Child of Another Culture
With an international adoption, the child
is often a different race and/or culture from their adoptive
family. An inter-racial adoption raises a number of issues
that adoptive parents should be prepared for ahead of time.
An Asian child adopted by a Caucasian couple
will be recognizably different and might have more difficulty
'fitting in' than a child from Russia or the Ukraine. Adoptive
parents are now being encouraged to learn about the child's
country and culture so that they can teach their child about
his/her heritage and incorporate parts of the child's culture
into their family life and identity. Honouring the child's
heritage will instill a sense of pride in the child and help
them in the teenage years with their sense of identity.
Some adoptive families also face the reality
of racism and attitudes from others (even relatives, friends
and colleagues) towards those who are culturally or racially
different. Adoptive families must also be prepared for inappropriate
inquiries from others (often inquisitive strangers) about
the child's origins and adoption. Many adoption agencies offer
seminars and training courses that can prepare families for
such situations and issues. There are also support groups
for families that have adopted internationally. These groups
are wonderful supports for not only parents but as well, their
children, who find friendship with other adoptees possibly
from their country of origin.
STEP 1: Contact the
Department of Social Development and request information
about international adoption. Research and decide on the country
from which you want to adopt as well as a licensed adoption
* Since there are no licensed international adoption
agencies in New Brunswick at this time, you will have to employ
the services of an agency outside of the province. The Department
of Social Development may be able to provide you with agency
STEP 2: Register with a licensed adoption
agency and fill out and submit the following documents:
- intercountry adoption application;
- birth certificate;
- for joint applicants, proof of a stable
relationship for at least two years;
- medical check / criminal check / Department
of Social Development record check; names of references;
- financial statement; and
- any other document required by country
These documents are necessary and will be included with your
homestudy in your adoption dossier.
STEP 3: The
Home Study. New Brunswick
families must hire a Ministry approved private adoption practitioner
to conduct their homestudy. Your 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. Your practitioner will then take all of
the information he/she has gathered and write the homestudy
report. Before you can proceed, your homestudy report must
be reviewed and approved by the Ministry.
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 will
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 (and New Brunswick's Department of Social Development)
have 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.
Note: The Department
of Social Development oversees all international adoptions
in New Brunswick and provincial approval of the adoption must
be obtained by it or the international adoption will not move
STEP 6: You
will be asked to submit a Letter of Acceptance/Decline to
your agency and it will then forward it to the Central Authority
in the child's country of origin. If you decline the referral,
your agency will request 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).