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Adopting in British Columbia

Aboriginal Custom Adoption

Custom adoptions in Nunavut are based on traditional Inuit custom where one family privately places their child with another family in the community. This type of adoption is by far the most common in Nunavut as it's seen as a way to keep Inuit children in their communities and maintain their sense of identity and traditions.

Families who come together for a custom adoption often know each other or have connected with one another through word of mouth in the community. The prospective adoptive parents are not required to have a homestudy completed and social workers and lawyers are generally not involved in custom adoptions.

A Custom adoption is legal and finalized the moment the physical transfer takes place. In cases where the child’s name needs to be changed or, in more recent situations, Revenue Canada requires a piece of documentation to prove the adoption occurred, the adoptive family must meet with a Custom Adoption Commissioner for a very informal meeting. At this meeting, the family's community Custom Adoption Commissioner will process documentation which then results in the court recognizing the adoption. Once all the paperwork is completed the papers are sent to Court for filing as well as to the Director of Adoption. A new birth certificate is then issued for the family.

For more information about Aboriginal Custom Adoption in Nunavut, contact:


William Fennell
Deputy Director of Adoptions,
Heath and Social Services
Government of Nunavut
Box 1000, Stn. 1000
Iqaluit, Nunavut X0A 0H0


Telephone: (867)975-5781
Fax: (867) 975-5722
E-mail: [email protected]



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