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Child Adoption

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What is considered a “family” is rapidly changing in our modern world. More and more frequently, people are choosing less traditional means to establish their family units. The options of adoption, fertility treatments and surrogacy are exciting possibilities for potential parents. Despite the increasing availability of these options, the process can still be daunting and complicated. Deciding to adopt a child is only the first step and for most people, the easiest! The most challenging part is navigating the complex adoption process. If you are looking to adopt a child, our experienced lawyers, here at RPB Family Law, can help you manage the uncertainties that come with stepping into this unfamiliar journey. Get in touch with our team today!

Adopting a Child in Ontario

You can adopt a child in Ontario if you are a resident of Canada. Adoptive parents can be a couple or a single person. There are no limitations or discriminations concerning your racial background, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation in the adoption process. However, your financial situation, age, and health can be contributing factors for your approval.

When a child is adopted, the “adoptive parent” takes over all legal rights and responsibilities to parent that child. Likewise, the adopted child will gain all legal rights a biological child would have including estate rights. Adoption can also be used to manage co-parenting and support. As an example, you can utilize the adoption process to include your partner in the life of your child from another relationship.

Types of Adoption in Canada

There are four types of adoptions in Canada:Public Adoption, Private Adoption, Intercountry/International Adoption, and Relative/Stepparent Adoption. It is crucial to identify which type of adoption is the most suitable for you and your family. The type of adoption you choose will impact many aspects of your adoption journey. For instance, an international or private adoption are more costly compared to a public or family adoption. In addition, different types of adoption have their own specific procedures. For instance, parent training course and a home study are required if you chose a public, private, or international adoption. In contrast, if you are adopting a child living in Ontario from a family member or through a stepparent adoption, you usually do not need to satisfy these required trainings and assessments.

If you are certain that adoption is a path you wish to take, you must also decide which type of adoption is more suitable for you. Having a clear understanding of each adoption type and the pros and cons of each category will facilitate your decision-making process.

  • A Public Adoption is the adoption of a child or youth who is in extended society care. Ontario Children’s Aid Society (CAS) is responsible for facilitating the public adoptions. The goal in a public adoption is to provide children with a permanent home and the sense of security that comes with having a stable home. Children needing permanent families through this type of adoption are often older and have experienced trauma throughout their lives. They may require special care or additional medical assistance.
  • Private Adoption is mostly referred to the adoption of a newborn. Either a private adoption practitioner or a licensed private adoption agency will facilitate this type of adoption.
  • International Adoption is the adoption of a child or youth outside of Canadian boarders. Applicants must work with an international adoption agency, as they will facilitate this avenue of adoption.

Relative Adoption is a unique type of adoption where a close family member adopts a relative such as a niece or a grand child. This process is distinct from other types of adoption. A relative adoption can often be completed directly through the Ontario Family Court without the involvement of either a private adoption practitioner or a Children’s Aid Society. To obtain an adoption order, the close family member can apply to the court. A relative adoption can be completed directly through the court, and the applicant does not require an adoption licensee (licensed adoption agency or licensed individual) to assist with the process.

A Step-Parent Adoption is a process under the Child and Family Services Actthat enables the spouse of the child’s parent to bring an adoption application through either the Ontario Court of Justice or the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice for an order for adoption. The Application can be brought individually or jointly with the child’s parent. Based on the Human Rights Code, “spouse” includes married partners and partners living in a conjugal relationship whether of the same-sex or opposite sex.

The Adoption Process

To obtain the adoption order, parties must attend a court hearing in the county or district that the applicant or child resides. During the adoption hearing, the court will consider whether the required ‘consent’ was provided and whether the adoption would be in the ‘best interest of the child’.  For the adoption order to be issued, the written consent of every parent (The parental consent cannot be provided within the first week of the child’s birth), the spouse of the person applying, and the child (seven years or older) is required. A previously provided consent can be withdrawn within 21 days. This period may be extended if the court finds it to be in the child’s best interests.

Adoption Process in Canada : Child Best interest evaluation

Another key factor that will be considered by the court in an adoption hearing is whether the best interest of the child has been met. To evaluate this concept, the court will take into consideration the emotional, physical, and mental needs of the child, the child’s wishes (if these can be ascertained). The child’s religious and cultural background is also an important factor that the court will consider before making a decision considering an adoption. This element is significantly important when the child identifies as a member of the First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community. The court has discretion to dispense with consent where it is in the best interest of the child to do so, even if all the parties involved have provided their consent.  

Ronan Blake is the Founder of RPB Family Law. He practices in the areas of Adoption, divorce, child custody, and child protection law

Our Ottawa family lawyers understand how overwhelming the adoption process can be, and are determined to help you navigate the process. Our Ottawa adoption lawyers are experienced and dedicated to help you accomplish this goal. We provide services for all family law matters. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

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RPB Family Law, an Ottawa-based family law firm, is dedicated to helping families find the best solutions to their problems. From divorce cases to child custody agreements, we approach every case with compassion and an open mind because we know that every family is different.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in all areas of Family Law in Ottawa and are willing to help you through any process. Contact us today at (613) 216-5044 to schedule a consultation with an experienced Ottawa Divorce Lawyer to discuss your case.

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