INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We are ready to adopt…but we still don’t know….
1. Why are Canadians building families through adoption? In the Western world, it is estimated that one in six couples experience infertility or the inability to have a child biologically. As these couples have a deep desire to become parents, adoption is selected as an excellent option. The majority of families who choose adoption do so for this reason. Some may do so for other reasons: they feel that the world has enough children but not enough parents, they would like to parent a child who is already born and needs her own parents rather than bring another life into the world or they may be single persons who are ready to become parents.
2. Why international adoption? Most prospective adoptive parents, particularly those who do not yet have any children, are seeking a healthy infant, which is a defined as a child under the age of two years. To adopt an infant born in New Brunswick can prove challenging. It is estimated that there are eight prospective parents for each healthy infant available, and the wait in public agencies can vary from six to ten years. By then, many parents find they exceed the maximum age requirements. A private domestic adoption can be full of uncertainty, particularly in terms of timing. Between the small number of infants available to be adopted and the potential emotional roller coaster of private adoption that is not for the faint of heart, many prospective adoptive parents are now turning to an option that may be of greater certainty that is international adoption.
3. From which country should we adopt? You don’t have to choose a country in order to start the process. Gentle Path Staff and your social worker will be glad to assist you with this important decision. You are not required to make a final decision until your social worker is ready to write your home study, and even then you may change your mind. There are many factors to consider in picking a country program, such as age of children available for adoption, the country’s requirements, your age, and wait time, stability of the country, cost of the process, health of children available for adoption, your financial circumstances, and so on.
4. Will we have to travel overseas for adoption? Some countries require potential adoptive parents to be physically present to accept the child and/or to make more than one visit to the country for various lengths of time. However other countries do not require parents to travel, but they are the exceptions.
5. How long will it take to adopt a child through inter-country adoption? The timeline from submitting an application to GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. until a child is placed in your home can range 18 – 48 months, depending on the country from which you adopt. There are no guarantees; however, requirements and situations can change from day-to-day in inter-country adoption programs or countries can open and close with little if any notice.
6. Is international adoption faster and easier than domestic? No, the timeline for all adoptions is unpredictable. There is no route that is ‘faster’ than another.
7. Do we have to be married in order to adopt? No, there are programs that are open to couples who are not married, while other programs make this a requirement. You will need to refer to country fact sheets (available by contacting the International Adoption Office Administrator at Gentle Path) for further information.
8. Can I apply as a single person? Definitely, although there are programs that are not open to single persons due to some country’s requirements.
9. Can we adopt as a same-sex couple? Definitely, although there are programs that are not open to same-sex couples due to some country’s requirements.
10. How old is too old to adopt? There is no simple answer to this question; older couples are often considered for older children in the inter-country adoption program. Some programs do not have any upper age limits, but keep in mind that as an older parent, you may have less energy for toddlers. Every situation is different, and does not only depend on prospective parent’s age, but also on attitude, financial circumstances and health. However, it is important to notice that although some programs do not have upper age limits, in some cases it is less likely to get chosen as an older parent. For most programs, the upward age limit can be 50-55, but that it is dependent on a specific country’s program. For more information on specific countries requirements, please refer to fact sheets available through Gentle Path’s International Adoption Program Administrative Assistant.
11. Can we adopt if we have biological children? Many families consider adoption, even though they have biological children. This is usually not an issue, although a few programs require that parents do not have
children. At least one year should separate the ages of adoptive children and biological children. Especially in the case of a newborn biological child, it is very important to allow time for parents to adjust to new parenting responsibilities before introducing another child into the family.
12. How much does International Adoption cost? Fees vary by country but generally range from $22,000 to $50,000 CAD.
13. Are there income requirements for applicants? GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD and/or any other Agency that you will need to further your journey, complies with the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration (CIC) guidelines for income for international adoption. Other considerations when considering net family income include total debts, total monthly payments to address debt and net worth.
14. Does GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. offer any financial assistance? GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. is a non-profit Agency that believes finances should not stop a child from having a loving family; however, as a charity the Agency is not able to offer financial assistance to families interested in adopting internationally. However, prospective parents can contact the National Bank of Canada regarding a low interest adoption loan. For more information on this program, please contact GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. Because adoption fees are due at various stages of the adoption process, families usually have from three to 12 months to gather their financial resources.
15. If I already have a completed home study for domestic adoption, can it be used for International Adoption? No. In addition to the requirement that potential adoptive parents attend a one and a half day educational seminar specific to issues relevant to inter-country adoption, a home study for International Adoption requires country specific information as well as more in-depth information than domestic adoption home studies as well as reformatting. As well, there are many forms and/or questionnaires that are not used for domestic adoptions that need to be completed for an Inter-Country Adoption. However, a home study prepared for inter-country adoption can be used for domestic adoption.
16. Can I adopt more than one child at once? Yes, sometimes there are sibling groups available for inter-country adoption. Most agencies do not facilitate the placement of two or more unrelated children with one family at the same time, but each case is reviewed for its particular circumstances. If two children are to be adopted at the same time, they need to be siblings or, if not siblings at least they need to have been raised together where sibling-like bonds have developed.
17. If I move to another province during the adoption process, what happens to my file? Contact GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. immediately when a decision to move has been made. Where you are in the process will determine what you will need to do to meet other provincial requirements.
18. Is it possible to work with the province for a domestic adoption at the same time that one is working toward an inter-country adoption? Yes, it is possible! If you have a domestic adoption or an inter-country placement, Provincial guidelines require a one-year wait before continuing with either process. In the inter-country process, client files are placed ‘on-hold’ for one year.
19. What will happen if I become pregnant during the adoption process? If you become pregnant during the adoption process, please contact GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. immediately. Your adoption file will be placed “on hold” in order to ensure that there is one year between the birth of your child and the placement of the adopted child. GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD. Will require an update of your Home Study (if it was already completed) prior to reactivating your adoption file.
20. Does my Home Study expire? No, your Home Study does not expire, but you are required to do a Home Study Update (currently yearly, but this is under review) after the initial Home Study is completed until there is a child placement. If the Home Study Update has not been completed within 60 days after it is due, the file is placed on “hold.”
21. If we already adopted once, do we have to do a new home study in order to adopt again? Yes, although the second child adoption home study is not as costly or lengthy since most of the required information is contained within the original report.
22. Is ‘open adoption’ applicable to international adoption? Openness to some extent (generally an exchange of pictures and letters) is sometimes possible in international adoptions, although orphanages often have little or no information on a child’s birth family. This varies from country to country. Inter-Country Adoption in New Brunswick is considered to be a ‘closed’ or ‘full’ adoption.
23. If I am a smoker, will this affect my possibility to adopt internationally? Yes. If you smoke, in order to adopt you will have to prove that you are actively seeking treatment to stop smoking, due to the increased health risks for second hand smokers. Adoptive children need an optimal environment, as their immune system is often weaker due to their history and length of time spent in orphanages.
24. Can GENTLE PATH COUNSELLING SERVICES LTD provide Counselling for adoptive parents after the placement? Yes, GENTLE PATH can provide this service to adoptive parents.
25. What happens after a child is placed in our home through inter-country adoption? Post placement reports are required for most all inter-country adoptions. The number and frequency of reports varies from country to country.
26. What if I see a child on the Internet that I would like to adopt, what should I do next? There is no private adoption in inter-country adoption. The Ministry of Social Development in New Brunswick follows the guidelines of the Inter-Country Act and Regulations as determined by