Intercountry Adoption


The Hague Convention

In May 1993, Canada was one of 66 countries to reach an agreement on The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention). Canada ratified the Hague Convention in December 1996, and it came into force in Manitoba on April 1, 1997. Its provisions are law in Manitoba.
The Hague Convention establishes co-operation between the countries of origin of children in need of adoption and their receiving countries to protect the child's best interests. The objective is to prevent abuses such as the abduction, sale of, or trafficking in children or any other improper financial gains. It also ensures proper consent to the adoption, allows for the child's transfer, and establishes the adopted child's status in the receiving country.
The Hague Convention applies only when the child to be adopted lives in a country that has signed the Convention, and when the prospective adoptive parents live in a province or territory, such as Manitoba, that has also implemented the Convention.
Note: In countries that have implemented the Hague Convention, you cannot arrange adoptions privately without the involvement of the Central Authorities in both countries. In Manitoba, the Central Authority is Family Services’ Director of Child and Family Services.

Intercountry Adoption in Manitoba

To adopt a child from another country, Manitoba residents must apply and work with a licensed adoption agency or a child and family services office. Manitoba, as a signatory to The Hague Convention, is obligated to ensure that proper safeguards against child trafficking are implemented and that children’s best interests are protected in all cases. In order to ensure all legal adoption requirements are being followed in the child’s country of origin, Manitoba requires prospective adoptive parents to work with an adoption agency licensed to facilitate adoptions in the country they wish to adopt a child from. Manitoba recommends prospective adoptive parents work with a Canadian facilitator adoption agency that can provide all services to facilitate the adoption within the child’s country of origin.

Manitoba adoption agencies will provide prospective adoptive parents with adoption services, including the homestudy, education seminar, placement assistance and support. Facilitator adoption agencies will provide all facilitation services to assist with completion of the dossier to ensure it meets the country’s requirements, as well as assisting with all processes in the country, such as travel plans, accommodation and translation. You will have to pay fees to the Manitoba adoption agency and the facilitator agency, as well as (possibly) other organizations in the child's country.

Woman and girlProspective adoptive parents need to select the country of origin where they wish to adopt a child from. Intercountry adoptions are regulated under provincial adoption laws, federal immigration laws, and the laws of the child's country of origin. Adoption authorities in the child’s country of origin are responsible for deciding which child should be matched with the adoptive family. Prospective adoptive parents frequently need to wait an extended period of time to be matched with a child, depending on the children available for adoption in that country.

Most intercountry adoptions are legalized in the child’s country of origin. Intercountry adoptions that are legalized in Manitoba follow the requirements of an adoption of a permanent ward. An adoption worker with a child and family services agency will supervise the placement for at least six months. The worker will prepare documentation needed to legalize the adoption in court and a lawyer is not required.
While intercountry adoption can be very rewarding, adoptive parents need to be aware that the children available for adoption are older and often have special needs due to inadequate prenatal care, being abandoned and living in orphanages, lack of interaction with caregivers, health problems, malnutrition, or other difficult early life experiences.
After returning to Manitoba with the adopted child, most countries of origin require post placement progress reports on how the child is doing in their adopted family and new environment.
Prospective adoptive parents planning to adopt through intercountry adoption must also apply for sponsorship or citizenship of the adopted child through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This is typically done after the homestudy is approved and the prospective adoption parents have determined from which country they wish to adopt.