Families and Couples

International Adoption


Rather than waiting years to adopt a child in Quebec, you can opt for international adoption. The high cost of this type of adoption has not stopped Quebecers from adopting hundreds of children every year. These children come from all corners of the globe. China, Haiti, Russia, Romania, South Korea and Nigeria are some of the countries that have opened – and sometimes closed- their borders to parents who want to adopt.

In this article, Éducaloi gives you an overview of the steps involved in international adoption. When you are ready to take the plunge, the Secrétariat aux services internationaux à l’enfant (SASIE) can give you all the detailed information you need. The Secrétariat oversees international adoptions in Quebec.

How do I adopt a child living abroad?

You have to go through a certified agency to adopt the child.

A certified agency is an agency authorized by the Quebec ministry of health and social services to supervise adoptions in a given territory or country.

The process as a whole is supervised by the Secrétariat aux services internationaux à l’enfant, which coordinates the process of adoption of children from abroad.

In rare cases, it is possible to adopt without going through a certified agency. But you still need the permission from the Secrétariat before starting the process. Without this permission, your adoption may not be recognized in Quebec.

Here are a few examples of when you don’t have to go through a certified agency:

  • The child you want to adopt is in the custody of a child protection agency in another Canadian province (the equivalent of our D.Y.P.).
  • The child is closely related to you.
  • The country of origin of the child requires that you are, or previously were, a citizen of that country, and this country does not have certified agencies.
  • The certified agency lost its certification after the person applying for adoption sent it the file.

This article deals only with the more frequent process of adoption through a certified agency.

What are the requirements imposed on adoptive parents by the child’s country of origin?

Each country has its own requirements regarding the characteristics that potential adoptive parents must have. For example, there could be requirements involving the age of the adoptive parents or the age difference between the child and the adoptive parents. Some countries ask adoptive parents to provide a certificate of infertility. Others require adoptive parents to be married or to have lived together for a specific number of years.

Although equality rights are recognized in Quebec, this is not always the case abroad. Certain countries make it difficult for a single parent to adopt, and exclude same-sex couples from adopting.

Where can I enquire to begin my international adoption process?

You can contact the SASIE to get information about international adoption and to meet an adoption counsellor who can guide you in choosing a country.

The SASIE can also direct you towards a certified agency. It is this agency that will tell you about the requirements you will have to meet, the process, the estimated cost, any travel, etc.

You will have to sign a contract with the certified agency. Then the agency will ask you to fill out an Adoption file request form. The agency will send this form and the required documents to the Secrétariat aux services internationaux à l’enfant. The SASIE will make sure that everything is in order and will send you a letter confirming that your adoption file has been opened.

Where can I get a psychosocial evaluation?

A psychosocial evaluation is a requirement for anyone who wants to adopt. You have to pay for it.

You must bring the letter of the SASIE that confirms that your adoption file was opened.

When the child you want to adopt comes from a country that is a member of the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption (Convention), the psychosocial evaluation will be conducted under the supervision of Quebec’s director of youth protection.

When the child you want to adopt does not come from a country that is a member of the Convention, you can choose your own evaluator from a list provided by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec or the Ordre professionnel des travailleurs sociaux et des thérapeutes conjugaux et familiaux du Québec.

Sometimes, these non-member countries require that the psychosocial evaluation be conducted under the supervision of the government. If that is the case, you will have to contact a Youth Centre.

It is also a Youth Centre that will conduct the evaluation if the adoption was not made official in the child’s country of origin before the child was brought into Quebec.

What’s the next step if the psychosocial evaluation is favourable?

You must get certain documents for your file. Your certified agency will send these documents to the foreign authorities along with a letter from the SASIE that proves that your psychosocial evaluation was favourable. You might have to pay to translate these documents.

The adoptive parents’ birth and marriage certificates as well as a certificate of good conduct from the RCMP are the documents most frequently requested by the child’s country of origin.

You must also contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. If the adoption is pronounced in your child’s country of origin, you must start the process of getting Canadian citizenship for the child (or ask first for permanent resident status).

If the adoption is pronounced in Quebec, you must follow the immigration process, which starts with an application to sponsor the child and an undertaking toward the child.

I received a “proposal of a child”. What do I do now?

The “proposal of a child” is basically when you are paired with a child. In most cases, it is your child’s country of origin that makes this proposal. You have a certain time period to accept or refuse the proposal.

Once the proposal of a child is accepted and you have obtained the authorizations of the SASIE, in most cases, you will have to travel to your child’s country of origin. You might have to stay there for a long period of time. Be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars for, among other things, the cost of travel, an interpreter and a donation to your child’s orphanage.

During your stay, you will have to finalize the adoption process with the foreign authorities. You will also have to get the documents necessary for your child to enter into Canada.

How do I make the adoption official if my child’s country of origin did not pronounce a judgment of adoption?

You must follow Quebec’s standard two-step adoption procedure.

First, you and the director of youth protection must make a joint request for an order from the Youth Division of the Court of Quebec that the child be placed in your family for six months.

Then, if the child has successfully adapted to your family, you must ask the court to grant the adoption. To find out more, read our article Adopting a Child in Quebec.

If the child’s country of origin signed the Convention, the Court of Quebec will issue a certificate saying that the adoption meets the requirements of the Convention and that it is recognized by all of the countries that signed the Convention.

How do I make the adoption official if an adoption judgment was pronounced in my child’s country of origin?

If the Convention applies in your child’s country of origin, the adoption judgment will simply be recognized in Quebec. You have 60 days to send the foreign adoption judgment and accompanying documents to the SAI.

An adoption that respects the Convention is the same as an adoption decision made in Quebec.

The SASIE will send the adoption judgment to a government agency called thedirecteur de l’état civil along with the form to name the child. It is at this point in the process that you can give your child a new name.

If the Convention does not apply in your child’s country of origin, you have to get the foreign adoption judgment recognized by the Youth Division of the Court of Quebec for the adoption to be official. On your own, or with the help of a lawyer, you must ask the court to recognize the adoption judgment. At the same time, if you wish, you can ask for your child to be given a new name.

To find out more, read our article Adopting a Child in Quebec.