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Important Adoption Issues

Who can adopt in New Brunswick?

  • Persons over the age of 19 are permitted to apply to adopt in New Brunswick.
  • Persons who are married can apply to adopt. The province’s amended act will soon allow common law couples and same-sex couples to jointly adopt children, giving them the same rights as married couples when adopting children. Currently, the legislation does not give legal parent status to both members of a common-law couple.
  • The Province of New Brunswick is presently running an adoption project to try to find placements for children in the care of the Minister of Social Development with families within the province of New Brunswick. If a placement cannot be found within the province for a specific child, there is an agreement that allows a child’s profile to be sent to other provinces for them to make matches from their approved homes.

Do I need a home study to adopt in New Brunswick?

Yes. Individuals will be required to gather documents (medicals, references, financial statements, criminal record checks) and have a home study completed. Upon completion of the home study, a decision is made by the Minister on whether or not the family is approved to adopt a child.

What does an open adoption mean in New Brunswick?

An openness agreement varies from one adoption situation to the next; typically, the amount of contact between birth parents and the adoptive family tends to be one or more meetings before the placement with an ongoing exchange of letters and pictures. Some families agree to having visits a couple of times a year and others agree to see each other more often.

An openness agreement in New Brunswick may:

  • be made only after consent to the adoption is given by the birth parent or other guardian having custody of the child who placed or requested that the child be placed for adoption, and
  • include a process to resolve disputes arising with respect to the agreement or matters associated with it.

Can adoption consents be withdrawn?

Yes. A birth parent may revoke his or her consent by written notice to the Minister within thirty days after giving consent.

A birth parent cannot consent to the adoption of his or her child before the child is four days old. During that period, counseling is provided to ensure that the birth parents understand the implications of their decision. If the birth parent revokes their consent to the adoption, the adoptive applicants have no legal right to maintain custody of that child.

Birth parents who fully understand the consequences of signing an adoption consent and who believe they are acting in the best interests of their child are less likely to revoke that consent later.

Note: A birth parent may not revoke consent in the case where the Minister has placed a child for adoption (most common in Ministerial adoptions where a birth parent has been deemed unable to care for their child and that child is now a ward of the government).

Do all birth fathers have to consent to the adoption?

In New Brunswick, a birth father’s consent can be waived if:

  • the person has abandoned or deserted the child,
  • they cannot be located after all reasonable attempts have been made to find the person,
  • the person has been incapable of caring for the child for a period of time of sufficient duration to be detrimental to the best interests of the child, and remains incapable at the time consent is waived,
  • while liable to maintain the child has persistently neglected or refused to do so,
  • the person has not had an ongoing parental relationship with the child,
  • the person refuses to care for the child and a delay in securing a home for the child would be detrimental to the best interests of the child, or
  • in the best interests of the child, the consent should be waived in which case an adoption order with respect to the child may be made without the consent of the person whose consent was waived.

Can the agency or adoptive family help with a birth parent’s expenses?

No. It is illegal to give or receive or even offer to give or receive payment to procure a child in Canada.


 



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