Adoption

 

What is Adoption?

An adoption transfers legal rights, obligations and duties for a child from the birth parent(s) to the adopting parent(s) as if he/she were the child of the adopting parent(s). The provincial legislation governing adoptions in Newfoundland and Labrador is the Adoption Act, 2013. It is illegal to give or receive payment or reward in connection with an adoption.

Who Can Adopt a Child?

Married couples or single persons, either alone or with another person, 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, 2013, may also be eligible to adopt the child. The Act defines “relative” as a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt, uncle or first cousin of a birth parent or a child by birth or adoption.

All adoptive applicants, with the exception of relatives, persons adopting jointly with a parent of the child or persons who have permanent custody of the child, must be approved by a manager employed with the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.

Relatives, persons adopting jointly with a parent of the child or persons who have permanent custody of the child do not require the approval of a manager. These adoptions may be completed with a Self Help Kit, available on the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development website.

Adoptive parents must be residents of this Province 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 applies to all adoptions.

Where Does a Person Apply To Adopt?

Individual/couples who wish to apply to adopt a child should contact a social worker with the Adoption Services Program at the Child, Youth and Family Services office in their region or call (709) 729-4394. You can also find more information on the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development website. Step-parents, relatives and persons who have permanent custody of the child may apply using the Self Help Kit, available on the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development website.

Who Can Place Their Children For Adoption?

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.

A child must be at least 7 days old before the birth mother 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, 2013 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.

Adoption Records

The Adoption Act, 2013 provides for openness in the release of adoption information. Persons adopted under this Act or a former Act may, at age 19 years old, apply to Vital Statistics, part of Services NL, for copies of their original birth certificate and adoption order.

When an adopted person has reached their 19th birthday, birth parents may apply to Vital Statistics for copies of:

  • the adopted person’s original birth registration;
  • the amended birth registration with the name following adoption; and,
  • the adoption order with the adoptive parent information removed to respect their right to privacy.

Adopted persons, at age 18 years, and birth parents who wish to maintain their confidentiality are provided with the opportunity to file a disclosure veto or no-contact declaration for adoptions finalized prior to April 30, 2003. The disclosure veto or no-contact declaration remains in effect until cancelled in writing or until one year after the death of the person who filed it.

An adopted person and adult relative may register with the Provincial Director to exchange identifying information providing no disclosure veto or no-contact declaration has been filed.

Can you adopt an adult?

Under the Adoption Act, 2013, an adult may be adopted. An adult adopted has the same rights, benefits and status as a child adopted under the Act. In other words, once an adoption order is granted, the adopted person is considered the child of the adopting parent(s) and the adopting parent(s) is/are considered the parent(s) of the adopted person.

To complete an adult adoption, please consult a lawyer or bring your application directly to Court.

To bring your application you will need to complete some or all of the following forms: