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Family law in Canada: Adopting a non-Canadian child

Adopting a child from abroad is a choice available to Canadians, but it's not always an easy process. Not only will individuals have to deal with family law concerns in Canada, but they will also have to adhere to any international laws that are in place. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will also be involved when it's time for the child to come to Canada. Adoptive parents of international children must also be aware of any legalities in their respective provinces or territories.

Canada adheres to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) and its compliance is overseen by CIC. The Hague Adoption Convention sets out a strict set of rules regarding the intercountry adoption of children. Firstly, the adoption has to be legal in the countries involved; it must be proved that intercountry adoption is best for the child, with authorities in both countries agreeing and the intended parents must be able to provide for the child. The child must also be given the necessary permissions to permanently live in Canada.

Intended adoptive parents of an international child have two choices. They can either choose the citizenship process if the child won't be living in Canada after the adoption process or the immigration process -- which has a set number of rules. One of the stipulations is that both parents must be permanent residents of Canada at the time of the adoption.

Bringing a child to Canada from another country can be a complicated process and would benefit from the assistance of a lawyer experienced in family law issues. A lawyer will be able to guide his or her client in each step of adoptive procedures. Requirements can change and a lawyer will be aware of these changing legalities.

Source: findlaw.ca, "Adopting a child from outside Canada", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Dec. 8, 2017

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