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Private Adoption

In the Northwest Territories, private adoptions are regulated under the NWT Adoption Act. Prospective adoptive parents need to contact a lawyer to arrange for a private adoption. The planning for a private adoption often begins with a birth parent identifying a family for her/their child. Or, in some cases, a potential adoptive family may find a birth parent or couple who would like to place a child for adoption. Regardless, the adoptive family must provide notice to the Director of Adoption of the proposed placement.

Adoptive parents who adopt privately are responsible for all fees involved, including the fee for a pre-placement report and the Family Union report or any necessary report update.

The Private Adoption Process

The following information outlines the typical process for adopting privately in the Northwest Territories:

Step 1 – Complete an Application to Adopt Form. Included with the form must be all of the required documentation listed on the application such as a birth certificate, criminal records check, reference letters and medical examination. Include the $500 fee for preparation of the Pre-placement report. The fee is to be made payable to the GNWT.

Step 2 – After the Director of Adoption processes the Application to Adopt, a social worker will contact you to arrange appointments to complete an Adoptions Family Assessment. The Adoptions Family Assessment will lead to the preparation of the written Pre-placement report.

There are many areas to examine during the Adoptions Family Assessment including obtaining information on your:

  • family history;
  • education and employment history;
  • leisure time activities;
  • financial situation;
  • home and community; and relationships

With the social worker you will discuss your thoughts and ideas about parenting as well as explore your feelings, attitude, and expectations about adoption. The Adoption Family Assessment process will lead the social worker to make a decision whether to recommend you to be an approved adoptive parent(s) or not.

Step 3 – Decision of Director of Adoption: Once the Director of Adoption has received the Pre-placement report, the Director decides whether your home will be approved. If approved, your home is considered ready to receive a child for adoption. The Director advises you in writing, and provides you with a copy of the Pre-placement report.

Step 4 – Placement: In cases where the child is a newborn, the Director of Adoption cannot provide written approval of the placement of a specific child with an approved adoptive family, until the child is at least 10 days old, and the birth parents have provided written consent to the adoption.

Step 5 – Finalizing the Adoption: Six months after the child has been in your home, your lawyer will contact the Director of Adoption requesting that the Family Union report be prepared. There is a fee of $100 for preparation of this report. Once this report has been prepared, your lawyer will apply to the Court for an adoption order.

* In the North West Territories, no person shall publish in any way an advertisement searching for a child for adoption or to find adoptive parents for children. If found guilty of such an offense, the penalty is $5,000 to imprisonment for six months or both penalties.


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