There are many reasons why people opt to adopt a child, being single, married, civil union, or who co-habitat with their partner. Adoption is an incredible option for so many people who want to have children and for the child as well. However, it is not an easy process. It is also very important to fully understand the legal process and implications that adoption involves.
Adoption in Quebec has many requirements and steps that must be taken in order to successfully complete the process. There are three fundamental elements that the adoption process is based on which are: (1) the child’s needs, (2) interests, and (3) rights.
It is important to note that legally an adoption means severing the original bond of filiation that exists between a child and their biological parents. Therefore, the biological parent will no longer have any rights or obligations to their child.
While adoption can be confidential, it is possible to access the first and last names of the adopted child along with the first and last names of their biological parents. This information is shared to determine if it is in the best interest of the child to know the names of their biological parents.
Adults in Quebec can adopt in any Canadian province or abroad. The Director of Youth Protection (DYP) manages the adoption of children who live in Quebec and the Secretariat à l’adoption international manages the adoption of children who live elsewhere in Canada or abroad.
In Quebec children who are orphaned, abandoned, whose parents who do not fulfil their obligations, or whose parents chose to relinquish their parental rights can be adopted.
“Regular” adoption is when the child’s parents consent to the adoption whereas adoption under the Banque mixte program is children who are in foster care system.
The requirements to adopt a child include:
- The best interest of the child: the child will in some cases be represented by a lawyer to make representation to the judge.
- The child who is 10 years of age or older who consents to the adoption: a court can still authorize the adoption of a child who is under 14 years old.
- You must be at least 18 years old unless you are adopting your spouse’s child.
In order to adopt a child you need to ask for a Placement Order, regardless if the child is your partner’s or spouse’s child. The court then determines if all the requirements are met and if so, they make a Placement Order.
The biological parents have 30 days to change their mind. The child will be returned to the biological parents if they do change their minds. After the 30 day period expires, the parents must ask the court permission and order to return their child. However the request needs to be made before there is a Placement Order for the child.
The order will allow you to exercise parental authority over the child and it is valid until the end of the adoption process. The child will then live with the placement parents you for six months before an adoption judgement can be rendered. However, in certain circumstances it is possible to take as short as three months, however it is most often six months. The court will then make sure that the adoption is in the child’s best interest because that is the number one priority in adoption case.