I've decided to adopt — International adoption


Children can be older infants, toddlers, and school age and sibling groups. Most of these children have spent time in an orphanage.


Agencies charge approximately $20,000 to $50,000 for their services.


Waiting times vary according to the country you are adopting from. Approved applicants must contact their international agency regarding current time lines.

Keep in mind

You will need to travel to meet the child you are adopting in their home country (perhaps more than once) and complete the required steps.

Most international adoptions are finalized in the child's country of origin. The child must remain in the their country until the Canadian immigration process is complete.

Step 1: Getting started

Contact a ministry-approved adoption practitioner. Here is a list.

You will also need to find an Ontario licensed international adoption agency to facilitate the adoption of children from outside Canada. Here is a list of some of these agencies.

Have an orientation session/interview with the practitioner about the homestudy process and the required adoption preparation training course. Note: You can't complete a homestudy for an international adoption until you select a country from which to adopt a child and an agency to handle the adoption process.

Choose an agency
Sign a service agreement with the agency once you are sure of your choice.

Step 2: SAFE Homestudy and PRIDE

Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) is a comprehensive set of homestudy assessment tools and techniques for the analysis and evaluation of prospective adoptive parents. It examines your capability as adoptive parents relative to the needs of children awaiting adoption. It helps you to better understand all that is involved in becoming adoptive parents and raising an adopted child.

The homestudy process involves discussions with an adoption worker about your attitudes towards parenting as well as exploring your values and beliefs. The discussions will likely be about:

  • motivation for adopting
  • family backgrounds
  • family relationships and dynamics;
  • financial circumstances and
  • experience with children.

You will be asked to complete a home safety checklist as well as provide several character references. All the adults (18 years of age and older) living in your home will also be asked to undergo current medical, child welfare and police checks.

Parent Training
All potential adoptive parents in Ontario must complete the Parent Resources for Information and Development and Education (PRIDE) program. It is a mandatory and standardized training program to help prepare all prospective parents for the responsibilities of raising an adopted child.

The 27-hour curriculum, involves a variety of areas including:

  • The importance of connections to the child's birth family and kin
  • The importance of cultural and racial awareness
  • How children attach and experience loss

Eligible to Adopt
The homestudy must be submitted to the ministry for review and approval.

If the review is favourable, the ministry will issue a letter approving you as suitable and eligible to adopt. This approval is valid for 24 months.

Step 3: Finding a match

The agency will prepare a file with all the necessary information, including translations if necessary, and send it to the country from which you are applying to adopt. How long you will wait to receive a response regarding a child available for you to adopt is different from country to country. Your agency can give you information about usual timelines.

If you do not receive a proposal regarding a child available for adoption within two years, then you will have to update your homestudy and get a new letter of approval from the ministry. Some countries may require certain documents to be updated before the two-year period ends.

Step 4: Being matched

Adoption Proposal
Once the agency you're working with receives a proposal for a child available for you to adopt, the agency will review the details to ensure it matches with the recommendations in your homestudy. Your adoption practitioner will inform you of the details of the proposal.

You will review the details of the proposal with your practitioner and decide whether you want to proceed with the adoption. If you decide to proceed, your practitioner will prepare a consent report.

Once you have accepted the proposal, the agency sends it and supporting documents to the ministry for review. Note: In a small number of countries, you must travel there to receive the adoption proposal and meet the child. While there you will need to decide - with support from your practitioner - whether you want to proceed with the adoption.

Step 5: Finalization

Authorities in the child's country will grant you permission to come and meet the child you are planning to adopt. Some countries may require you to make two visits. You will complete the necessary steps for adoption in the child's country.

Most international adoptions are finalized in a court in the child's country of origin and the adoption order is issued there. Some international adoptions are finalized in an Ontario court.

An adoption probation period is required if the adoption is finalized in Ontario.

Immigration Process

You must make an application to Canadian Immigration for your child to enter Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has forms and information available.

Your child must remain in the country of origin until you receive the required documents allowing you to bring your child home. The agency can assist you in navigating the immigration process.

Post-adoption reports are required by most countries and they are considered as a very important part of the adoption process. Your agency can provide details and assistance.

Note: With a few countries, you will bring your child home and the adoption will be finalized by an Ontario court. In this instance, there will be a six-month supervision period during which your practitioner will make visits to your home and prepare a Report on the Adjustment of the Child in the Home (ROACH). If the process is finalized in Ontario, it is done as private adoptions.

The agency will submit the report to the ministry for review and approval. You will then apply to the court to issue an adoption order, which finalizes the process.

Learn more

See also