Adopting a Child from Overseas
Have you been thinking about adopting a child from another country? Adopting a child from overseas is an incredibly exciting experience for everyone involved. Though, it can also be very stressful, as adopting a child from overseas requires you apply for permanent residency, or for citizenship for your child. Adopting a child from overseas is known as intercountry adoption, and there is a very important process new parents must follow, to ensure the new family does not have any barriers in the way as they try to begin their life with their child. This is a two-step process. The first step requires you to contract the “intercountry adoption authority” in your province or territory, to gather information about how to adopt a child from another country. This first step does not involve Canadian immigration services at all. Though, once you have gone through the process of finding a child to adopt and have been authorized to proceed with the adoption, then you are ready to proceed to step-two. In this step you will interact with Canadian immigration services to help your new child achieve permanent status in Canada. Keep reading to learn more about the second-step of the process.
The Adoption has Been Authorized, What Are my Next Steps?
You will know your adoption has been authorized because you will receive a “letter of no objection” from your provincial intercountry adoption authority. At this point, you have the choice of applying for Canadian citizenship for your adopted child, or, you can apply to get them status as a permanent resident. Whether you can apply for citizenship or permanent residency for your child ultimately depends on the situation of the parents.
You are eligible to apply for citizenship for your child if:
- At least one of the adoptive parents is a Canadian citizen when the adoption takes place.
You must use the immigration process if:
- Neither parent was a Canadian citizen when the adoption took place.
- Your parent was given Canadian citizenship as the result of descent, this means they got their citizenship because one or more parents was a Canadian citizen, and even though you parent(s) were born outside of Canada, they got citizenship by descent. (there is a one generation limit on passing citizenship in this way)
What is the Immigration Process?
At the end of this process, your child will be a Canadian permanent resident. Essentially, this process is the same as sponsoring a dependent child to Canada, or, sponsoring a non-dependent child, depending on the child’s age. The adopted child will not lose their status as a citizen in their country of origin. Also, because the child has status as a permanent resident, they will reap the same benefits of any permanent resident of Canada. Please note, through this process, a medical exam will be needed for the adopted child.
What is the Citizenship Process?
At the end of this process, your child will be a Canadian citizen. As mentioned, you can only apply to get your adopted child citizenship without being a permanent resident first, if one or more of the parents have status as a Canadian citizen. As the result of becoming a Canadian citizen, depending on the child’s country of origin, they may lose status as a citizen of their country or origin. This ultimately depends on whether the country of origin allows its citizens to hold dual citizenships, which, Canada does. Also, through this process, no medical exam is needed for the child with respect to their ability to become a citizen. Though, it is recommended the child is assessed thoroughly to understand what medical attention the child may require. Once the child is granted Canadian citizenship, they are privy to all the benefits of a Canadian citizen, and can even apply for a Canadian passport before bringing the child home.
How Do I Bring my Adopted Child to Canada?
To actually bring your lovely new child home, there are a few things you’ll need to ensure are done, to avoid any problems during this process. For example, you must ensure the child has the necessary travel documents; a passport, and the document which gives them legal status to be in Canada. Depending on the process you have chosen, this will either be a permanent resident visa, or, a Canadian passport, if they are a Canadian citizen. The Canadian Immigration Services website includes the following warning: “To avoid unnecessary delays and costs, adoptive parents should not plan to return to Canada with the adopted child until they know with certainty that all immigration or citizenship requirements have been met.” Unfortunately, this means, without being completely prepared for your travels to Canada, and despite the sympathy an immigration officer may have, they simply cannot allow you to enter Canada with the child and without the correct documents. Therefore, we consider this process one of the most important to understand ahead of time, as the stakes with your new child involved are no high.
Who Can Apply for Intercountry Adoptions?
It is important to understand only permanent residents and Canadian citizens can apply to bring a child to Canada from overseas. Temporary residents of any kind do not have this privilege, they cannot sponsor children, or any other individual to come and live in Canada. This is because through any sponsorship application, the individual wishing to come to Canada will receive permanent residency, if their application is successful.
Can I Adopt a Child From Any Other Country?
There are restrictions on the countries which you can adopt children from, as set out in the Hague Convention. Children from countries suffering from armed conflicts and natural disasters should not be considered for international adoption, as there is good chance these families had no intent on becoming separated. In these countries, family tracing should be the priority in all cases.
How Long Does the Adoption Process Take?
Unfortunately, depending on the child’s country of origin, the process may take two years or longer. This may seem difficult, and may tempt families to seek help from adoption agencies with much shorter processing times. These long wait times are justified because much work must be done on the part of the immigration officer, to ensure the rights of the child and family are being protected, and there is no fraudulent activity or child trafficking which could be occurring. Families interested in adopting should be very prudent when getting involved with an adoption agency in a foreign country, especially if the agency is promising faster processing times, lower fees, or other incentives which are not typical of adoption agencies. There is a lot of child trafficking which occurs worldwide, and prospective parents should be very careful not to become unknowingly involved in the process, to avoid hardship for everyone.
Contact Akrami and Associates
If you are considering adopting a child from another country, it is very important to understand the requirements of the process, but also to understand what the process typically looks like for families who go through successful adoptions. At every step of the way, there are important procedural measures to complete, and a variety of ways prospective parents can go wrong. With the stakes being so high when trying to start a family and help a child experience a better life, there is no room for mistakes. That is why we recommend you seek out professional and experienced help before attempting to submit the application. Here, at Akrami & Associates, we work and have experience with many different immigration issues. We have helped many of our clients sponsor their adoptive child to Canada, or, help them achieve Canadian citizenship. If you think this is a process which is part of your future, please feel free to contact Akrami & Associates at our office at 416-477-2545 for more information or if you would like to book a consultation with an immigration professional for more advice.
With Akrami & Associates, there is always a way!