It is not uncommon for Canadians to adopt children from abroad. Those that wish to do so should be aware that there are many immigration hurdles to overcome.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations state that a Canadian cannot sponsor an adopted child under the age of eighteen unless the adoption was in the best interests of the child within the meaning of the Hague Convention on Adoption. As well, the adoption could not have been entered into primarily for the purposes of acquiring an immigration privilege.
An adoption is considered to be in the best interests of the child if it took place under the following circumstances:
- A competent authority conducted or approved a home study of the adoptive parents;
- Before the adoption, the child’s parents gave their free and informed consent to the child’s adoption;
- The adoption created a genuine parent-child relationship;
- The adoption was in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place;
- The adoption was in accordance with the laws of the province of landing, and the competent authority of the child’s province of intended destination has stated that it does not object to the adoption; and
- The country in which the adoption took place and the child’s province of intended designation are parties to the Hague Convention of Adoption OR if either the country in which the adoption took place or the child’s province of intended destination is not a party to the Hague Convention of Adoption, then there is no evidence that the adoption is for the purpose of child trafficking or undue gain.
For the purpose of determining whether the adoption is in accordance with the laws of the place where the adoption took place, immigration officers should not base their conclusion solely on their own interpretation of the foreign law, and should consider any documentary evidence filed which explains it: Kenne v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2010 FC 1079. Accordingly, applicants should obtain legal opinions as to the foreign law that they are relying on.
The words “genuine parent and child relationship” do not require that there existed a fully developed parent and child relationship between the adoptive parents and the children at the time of a sponsored application. More often than not, the genuine relationship is created as a result of the adoption. The mere fact that adoptive parents want to bring their adopted children with them to the country where they live is not a presumption that they are attempting to create an adoption of convenience: Young v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2015 FC 316
An adoptive parent’s intent of providing a better quality of life for an adopted child in Canada is a “legitimate goal” and not an indicator of mala fides: Mclawrence v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2015-07-15