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Adopting in Nunavut

General Adoption Information

Adoptions in Nunavut are overseen by the territory's Department of Health and Social Services. There are three main types of adoption in Nunavut - public or 'department' adoption, aboriginal custom adoption and international adoption.

Aboriginal Custom Adoption is by far the most common type of adoption in Nunavut. Aboriginal Custom Adoption takes place usually between two families that 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 in this kind of adoption and social workers and lawyers are generally not involved in custom adoptions. An Aboriginal Custom Adoption is often preferred in Native communities because it's seen as a way to keep Inuit or Native children in their communities and maintain their sense of identity and traditions.

Public or 'department' adoptions in Nunavut are arranged through the Department of Health and Social Services. Most children available for adoption have special needs; these needs may be that they are part of a sibling group that must stay together, they are between the ages of 8 and 18 years of age, and/or may have medical, physical, developmental, learning and emotional problems. The majority of the children are Aboriginal and it's the Department's goal to place Aboriginal children in culturally appropriate homes. If an Aboriginal home cannot be found, the Department will place an Aboriginal child with a non-Aboriginal family.

Finally, international adoptions can be arranged for Nunavut families although they must employ the services of a licensed international adoption agency outside of the territory as there are none in Nunavut. The Department of Health and Social Services does conduct homestudies for international adoptions and oversees the placement once the child is in Nunavut.


Territory Notes

For more information about adoption in Nunavut, visit Nunavut's Health and Social Services web site.

Read: Nunavut's Adoption Act
Read: Aboriginal Custom Adoption Act


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