Adoption can be a beautiful way to grow a family and provide a stable, loving home for a child.1, In Canada, domestic adoption is overseen by each province or territory, while international adoption is managed federally.2,3 Learn about eligibility requirements, types of adoption and other details about how to adopt a child in Canada.

Eligibility Requirements to Adopt in Canada

Adoption is sought by a wide variety of individuals, couples and family groups in Canada. 1,2,3,4,5 Each province or territory lays out specific eligibility requirements and guidelines for adoption, but the federal Adoption Act, 2013, provides legal requirements and guidance for all domestic Canadian adoptions. 1,2,3,4,5 While these may vary by province or territory and type of adoption, individuals may need to meet some or all of these requirements in order to adopt a child in Canada. 1,2,3,4,5,6

  • Reside in the province or territory where adoption will take place
  • Pass a Criminal Record and Child Welfare Background Check
  • Complete a Mutual Family Assessment
  • Take mandatory courses or training, such as Parent Resources for Information, Development, and Education (PRIDE)

Types of Adoption in Canada

While every individual adoption story is unique, there are four primary types of adoption in Canada.2,6 Each type comes with unique legal and financial considerations.2,6 Here are the main types of Canadian adoption:

  • Public. Public adoption is managed through the welfare system.2
  • Private. Private adoption is managed through private agencies.2
  • International. International adoption means adopting a child from another country. This is the most complicated form of adoption, and it’s managed federally.2,6
  • Kinship. This type of adoption includes adopting a stepchild or birth relative.2

How to Get Started with the Adoption Process

The first step in the adoption process is gathering information, so you have a good start by reading this article. From here, look into your province- or territory-specific adoption processes, requirements and regulations. These are the types of organizations and agencies that may provide the information you need:

  • Children’s aid societies
  • Child welfare agencies
  • Central adoption authorities
  • Adoption intake services

How Long Does Adoption in Canada Take?

There is no definitive answer to the question of how long adoption in Canada can take.2,5 According to Ontario’s Centralized Adoption Intake, the adoption process can take a year or longer, but how much longer isn’t clear.2

Tips for the Adoption Process

If you’re considering adopting a child in Canada, here are a few tips that might be helpful on your journey:

  • Attend Information Sessions. Child welfare agencies and other adoption-related organizations often provide free information sessions. These are an excellent next step if you’re considering adoption.
  • Consult with a Lawyer. Adoption is a legal process, so it’s essential to have a strong grasp of legal considerations. If possible, you might seek legal guidance early on to help you determine the best path forward.
  • Seek Emotional Support. The choice to adopt and the process to place a child in your home can be deeply emotional.1 Consider seeking emotional guidance and support every step of the way.
  • Learn about Post-adoption Support. Many provinces and territories provide post-adoption services and support.1,2,3,4 Explore those options locally to learn about available support and guidance after adopting.
  • Prioritize the Best Interest of the Child. Approach adoption with the best interest of the child at the forefront. The most important requirement to adopt is the ability to provide a loving, safe home.1

For more insights to help you on your parenthood journey, including tips for introducing an adopted child to a toddler sibling, explore the variety of resources at Enfamil A+ Canada.