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Important Adoption Issues

Who can adopt in Newfoundland and Labrador?

  • Applicants must be 19 years of age and be a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador for at least 6 months.
  • Applicants can be single or two adults may apply to adopt a child together (married, common law or same sex couples).

Do I need a home study to adopt in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Yes. All prospective adoptive parents must have an approved home study by the Director to adopt in Newfoundland and Labrador. You will meet with, and be interviewed by a licensed social worker several times to discuss a variety of topics including your relationship with spouse/partner, your family and childhood, your financial and employment situation, your health, lifestyle and home, your interests, your parenting styles and attitudes, as well as your understanding of open and closed adoptions. You’ll also discuss your motivation for adopting as well as the characteristics of the child(ren) that would be the best match for your family.

Can an open adoption be arranged in Newfoundland and Labrador?

Yes. In Newfoundland and Labrador, an openness agreement can be made in order to ensure communication and relationships continue. The agreement must be made only after the consent is given and before the adoption order is granted and is an agreement between the adoptive parents and another party (birth parent(s), a relative of the child, guardian etc. An openness agreement must also include a process for resolving disputes related to the agreement and a child, if over the age of 12 years old, must consent to the openness agreement.

Also, in the case where an open adoption agreement has not been made prior to the adoption order, an adoptive parent, a relative of the child, or someone who has had a relationship in the past with the child, may register a request with the Director for openness.

The Director will take that request and may:

  • assist them in reaching an openness agreement and may facilitate the exchange of non-identifying information with the child’s adoptive family; and
  • shall, if they both wish to exchange identifying information, disclose to each the identifying information provided by the other.

Note: An adoptive parent of a child and an adoptive parent of a birth sibling of that child can also register.

Who must give consent for an adoption in Newfoundland and Labrador?

The consent of each of the following is required for a child’s adoption in the province:

  • the child, where the child is 12 or more years of age
  • the birth mother;
  • the father; and
  • where applicable, a person having custody of the child.

Note: Where the child is in the continuous custody of a director under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, the only consents required are the director’s consent and the child’s consent (where he/she is 12 or more years of age).

What are the rights of birth fathers in Newfoundland and Labrador?

For the purpose of giving a consent for an adoption, a father is a person who:

  • has acknowledged paternity by signing the child’s birth registration;
  • is or was the person with custody or joint custody with the birth mother;
  • has acknowledged paternity and has custody or access rights to the child by an order of the court or an agreement enforceable under Part III of the Children’s Law Act or Part IV of the Family Law Act ;
  • has acknowledged paternity and has supported, maintained or cared for the child voluntarily or under a court order; or
  • has acknowledged paternity and is named by the birth mother as the child’s father.

When can consents be given for an adoption?

A birth mother’s consent to the adoption of her child is valid only if the child is at least 7 days old when the consent is given.

Can adoption consents be withdrawn?

Yes. A person who has consented to a child’s adoption may, in writing, revoke his or her consent and the notice of revocation shall be received by the director of child, youth and family services not more than 21 days after the consent was given.

Can prospective adoptive parents advertise their desire to adopt in Newfoundland and Labrador?

No. Newfoundland and Labrador’s Adoption Act clearly states that no person shall publish in any form or any means an advertisement soliciting a child for adoption or for the purpose of finding adoptive parents for children.

Can an 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 Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada.


 



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