Legal Insights / Family Law / Adoption 101

Adoption 101

Jun 25 2018
adoption 101

Great news: you and your spouse want to adopt a child. As you prepare for this life-changing event, make sure you are prepared for the adoption process. A lawyer who understands adoption can help you navigate the various steps and advocate on your behalf. While most of the initial work is done through an adoption agency for non-familial adoptions, as the process winds down knowledge of adoption laws is needed. Below is a brief overview of what you should know as you prepare to go through the adoption process.


Getting Started

You will need to provide information about your family to the adoption agency. A home study will have to be completed to ensure that your home and current lifestyle satisfies the needs of a child. You should expect to receive health information and other details about the child prior to the adoption. You may also have to provide information about yourselves to the biological mother through the adoption agency.



One of the biggest challenges associated with adoption is consent. Generally, both biological parents need to consent to the proposed adoption, as does the child if over the age of 12 and the Director of Child Protection if the child is in foster care. If a child is between 7 and 12 years of age, a report will need to be completed with the views of the child related to the proposed adoption.


Waiting Periods & Rescinding Adoption

A birth mother’s consent to the adoption of her child is only valid if the child is at least 10 days old when the consent is given. The biological mother also may revoke her consent within 30 days of the child’s birth even if the child has been placed for adoption.


Role of Provincial Government & Adoption Agencies

The Adoption Act governs BC adoptions and protects the interests of all involved, including those of the child. A licensed adoption agency and the provincial government are the only agencies in BC who may place children. The agency that is facilitating the adoption does the majority of the administrative and organizational work, especially at the beginning stages of the process.


Both the adoption agency and the provincial government are required to:

  • Assess the prospective parents to ensure they are suitable for the child;
  • Provide counseling to the biological parents;
  • Help the biological and prospective parents meet all of the legal requirements for adoption; and
  • Offer post-adoption support to the prospective parents.


Different Ways To Adopt

Children may be adopted through an adoption agency, foster care, from another country, or directly through a relative or by direct placement of a parent or guardian of the child. If the child is of aboriginal descent or if he/she is connected to an aboriginal family, additional rules will apply to the adoption process. All adoptions must be registered, no matter what the circumstances may be.

If you have been approved to adopt a child or are permanently caring for a relative’s child, contact RDM Lawyers to set up a consultation to learn more about the adoption process or to finalize the adoption.


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