Foster LLP is proud to announce the appointment of Dana Hicks as our Adoption Paralegal.

Dana has been an Administrative Manager and Legal Assistant with Foster LLP for 6 years. Dana began her career with the Government of Alberta, worked as a Clerk for Court of Queen’s Bench handling Appeals and Adoptions.

Your adoption process begins with a consultation with Dana who gathers information to draft the Adoption package. She meets with you and explains the process and procedures based on your individual needs. Dana has assisted with several successful Adoptions over the last 6 years. Dana’s experience with Adoptions assists her in communicating with the Adoptions counter to ensure procedural compliance with adoption files.

Dana has the knowledge to properly evaluate your individual needs, and to identify what the Court will need to grant your Adoption Order.

Adoptions can fall into 5 categories:

  • Step parent, when a spouse wants to adopt your child;
  • Direct Private, when birth parents choose someone else to permanently care for their child;  
  • International, when a child is born outside of Canada;
  • Children Services Adoptions, when the Director of Child and Family Services has the child under a Permanent Guardianship Order; and
  • Adult Adoptions, when the adoptee is over the age of 18 years.

The process is more particularly described in this article.

Adoptions: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are Adoptions expensive?

A. It depends. A step-parent adoption without complications takes approximately 10 legal hours. The hard costs include filing fees ($250) and a process server, if necessary.  

Q. How long does the Adoption process take?

A. You can expect an adoption process to take between 2 to 8 months.

Q. Does the cost increase if there is more than one child?

A. If submitted at the same time there is one filing fee per family ($250). It may increase the cost for drafting additional packages.

Q. What supporting documents will I be required to submit with my adoption application?

A.

  • If you are married – an original certified or notarized copy of the marriage certificate;
  • For step-parent Adoptions only – if the applicant’s spouse was married previously they must provide a Certified copy of their Divorce Judgment and Certificate of Divorce;
  • Certified copies of any Orders or Agreements related to the child to be adopted;
  • If the child was born outside of Canada – you must provide supporting documents issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada showing the child has been lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence.
  • Photocopies of Birth Certificates or other Birth documents if not married or if your name has changed you must provide proof of change of name;
  • Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Search (may require finger prints) – This is done by the Police in your jurisdiction and must be 6 months current;
  • If a guardian of the child has passed away – you will be required to obtain a death Certificate or proof of death.

Q. What are the most common step-parent adoption complications?

A. Obtaining Consent of the other biological parent, and service are the most common issues. There are provisions in the Child, Youth & Enhancement Act to assist the Court in determining whether an adoption application should proceed based on the application and evidence provided. The Court must be satisfied that proceeding without the Consent/ Service of that birth parent is in the best interest of the child.

Q. What if I don’t know where the other birth parent is? How do we serve the Adoption Application?

A. The Justice must be satisfied that it is acceptable to proceed. If your evidence is insufficient and you have not satisfied a Justice they may direct the application to a Hearing and provide direction on service requirements you must meet to ensure a proper and fair Hearing is conducted.

Q. Can I change my child’s name during an adoption?

A. Yes.

Q. Do I need to be a Canadian Citizen to adopt?

A. Yes, both you and the Child must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada to make an application.

Q. Do I need to live in Alberta to adopt?

A. There are residency in Alberta requirements.

Q. How do I find a child to adopt?

A. For placement of a child you should contact an Adoption Agency. Another alternative is through Child and Family Services. There are many children in the Director’s care ready to be adopted.

Please see this link for more information: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/oldfusion/adoptionProfileLookup.cfm

Recently we assisted a lovely family in a Direct Placement, often facilitated by adoption agencies. We had to take a particularly sensitive approach with this matter as the birth parents chose the adoptive family without agency assistance. This required outside assistance to prevent any potential conflicts with this application, a consideration made to ensure the least disruption to this child’s life and the placement chosen by the birth parents.