- What is Adoption?
- Who Can Adopt a Child?
- Where Does a Person Apply To Adopt?
- Who Can Place Their Children For Adoption?
- Adoption Records
An adoption transfers legal rights, obligations, rights and duties for a child from the birth parent(s) to the adopting parent(s) as if he/she were the birth parent(s). The provincial legislation governing adoptions in Newfoundland and Labrador is the Adoption Act, 1999. It is illegal to give or receive payment or reward in connection with an adoption.
Married couples or single persons, either alone or with a partner, can apply to adopt a child. One person can also apply to jointly become a parent with the child’s birth parent. Relatives of a child, as defined in the Adoption Act, may also be eligible to adopt the child. The Act defines “relative” as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling of the child by birth or adoption.
All adoptive applicants, with the exception of relative or family adoptions must be approved by a Director of Adoptions employed with the Child, Youth and Family Services Program within one of the four Regional Health Authorities. Relative or family adoptions do not require the approval of a Director of Adoptions. These adoptions are completed with a Self Help Kit, available at the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services , local Regional Health Authorities, or the Government Services Centres.
Adoptive parents, with the exception of relatives, must have resided in the province for a minimum of six months before making an application to adopt a child.
Before an adoption order is made, the child must live with the prospective adoptive parent(s) for a six month probationary period. This requirement also applies to relative or family adoptions.
An application to adopt a child can be made under the provisions of the Adoption Act to the Director of Adoptions in your local Regional Health Authority. If you are interested in more information about adoption or wish to make an application to adopt you should contact the Director of Adoptions in your local Regional Health Authority. The contact information for the Directors of Adoption in each of four Regional Health Authorities is provided below.
Director of Adoptions
Phone # (709) 759-3357
Fax # (709) 759-3360
Eastern Regional Integrated Health Authority
P.O. Box 190
Whitbourne, NL A0B 3K0
Director of Adoptions
Phone # (709) 292-6284
Fax # (709) 292-2250
Central Regional Integrated Health Authority
3rd. Floor, Provincial Building
Grand Falls/Windsor, NL
Director of Adoptions
Phone # (709) 637-2305
Fax # (709) 637-2319
Western Regional Health Authority
P.O. Box 2006
Corner Brook, NL A2H 6J8
Director in the Region
Phone # (709) 896-9170 ext. 223
Fax # (709) 896-9201
Child, Youth & Family Services
Labrador-Grenfell Regional Health Authority
P.O. Box 7000, Stn. C
Happy Valley/Goose Bay, NL
The consent of a child’s birth parents as listed on the child’s birth certificate is normally required before the child can be placed for adoption. If the birth father is not listed on the birth certificate, his consent may still be required depending on the particular situation. The Director of Adoptions in your local Regional Health Authority will be able to provide details about the required consent to adoption.
A child must be at least 7 days old before the birth parents can sign a consent to adoption. If the child is over 12 years of age, he or she must also consent to the adoption.
The Adoption Act gives birth parents the option of choosing the prospective adoptive parents for their child. They can be people that the birth parents know personally and who meet the requirements to be approved to adopt a child by a Director of Adoptions or person(s) selected from non-identifying profiles of approved adoptive applicants provided to them by a Director of Adoptions.
The Adoption Act provides for openness in an adoption. The adoptive parents and the birth parents or significant persons to the child have the option of mutually agreeing to remain in contact with each other.
One of the major changes brought about by the Adoption Act is a greater level of openness. An adopted person, 19 years of age or older, may apply to the Vital Statistics Division, Department of Government Services, to receive a copy of their adoption order and amended birth registration, as well as the original birth registration that includes the names of their birth parents listed at the time of birth. The birth parents of an adopted person, 19 years of age or older, can apply for the same information that includes the person’s adoptive name. Adopted persons or birth parents who had their adoptions filed under the previous Adoption of Children Act may be eligible to apply to prevent the release of this identifying information. However, the open records system applies to all adoptions finalized since the new Act was proclaimed in May 2003 when the adopted person reaches 19 years of age.