1. Learn about the different types of adoption

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Family Law - Birth and adoption
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Adoption Council of Ontario
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies

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How do I adopt a child in Ontario?
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1. Learn about the different types of adoption

There are 4 ways to adopt a child in Ontario. And, within each type of adoption you can have an open or closed adoption.

Public adoption

Public adoption means adopting a child through the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

Many children who are adopted publicly are older. They are usually up for adoption because:

  • their birth parents decided to place them for adoption
  • the CAS was involved because of child protection concerns and a judge decided to remove them permanently from their birth parents’ care

You don’t pay anything to adopt through the CAS. You may even be able to get financial help from the government if you adopt a child through CAS.

Once you have been approved to adopt, it usually takes between 6 months to 2 years, or longer, for you to be matched with a child.

Private adoption

Private adoption means adopting a child through an adoption  agency or person approved by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Most children placed through private adoption are babies. Children cannot be adopted until after they are born, even if their parents decided to place them for adoption before they were born.

It costs about $15,000 to $25,000 to adopt a child privately. You also have to pay for a parent training program and for a social worker to do your home study.

Once your home study is done, it could take any amount of time to get a child. It depends on how soon birth parents select you to adopt their child.

International adoption

International adoption means adopting a child from outside of Canada through an adoption agency that the Ministry of Children and Youth Services has approved. Most international adoptions are finalized in the child’s country of origin.

Children who are adopted internationally can range in age. Most of them have spent at least some time in an orphanage. The child must remain in their country until the Canadian immigration process is complete.

It costs approximately $20,000 to $50,000 to adopt a child internationally. You also have to pay for a parent training program and for a social worker to do your home study.

The time it takes to be matched with a child depends on the country you are adopting from.

Family adoption

Family adoption, sometimes called relative or stepparent adoption, means adopting a child in Canada that is related to you. You must be the child’s step-parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, great-aunt, or great-uncle to adopt that child.

You do not need to work with a CAS or an adoption agency approved by the government to adopt a relation’s child, if that child is living in Ontario. You can apply directly to an Ontario court for an adoption order.

Reviewed: May 15, 2018

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