August 27, 2019

Adopting a Child in Canada: Help from a Calgary Adoption Lawyer

Tamara Adderley

A new addition to your family in any form is a big occasion. Adopting a child is no different. For most adopting parents, parent, grandparent, or whatever capacity you find yourself, adoption blends ups and downs, triumphs and trials, and moments of pure happiness and moments of stress. Sometimes the adoption happens by choice and other times by necessity. Whatever your situation, the journey is simpler with good adoption lawyers.

Making an adoption happen requires time, government involvement, due diligence, and the cooperation of multiple parties or agencies. It makes sense… a human life is involved! However, the complexity of an adoption shouldn’t add to the already life-altering changes that will occur in your family. You have enough on your plate preparing for a new addition to your home. Private adoption lawyers will take on the bureaucracy allowing you to focus on what’s most important: readying yourself for a new future. As you explore adopting, this guide will help you understand the process and what’s involved with adopting a child in Alberta.

Types of Adoption

It should come as no surprise that there are many different circumstances surrounding adoption. Each individual and family situation is different. Rest assured Richmond Tymchuk Family Law LLP has seen them all as adoption lawyers in Calgary. Here are some of the different types of adoption, one of which will likely describe your situation.

Stepparent or spousal adoption

Stepparent or spousal adoption occurs when a divorce, death, or new marriage affects the legal custody of children. Often, the new partner in the marriage is seeking to legally and officially adopt the child or children of their spouse. This type of stepparent adoption in Alberta also includes adult adoption where a child older than 18 is adopted by the new parent. An adoption lawyer works with each party to transfer custody to the new family or parent.

Relative adoption

Relative adoption occurs between immediate or extended families when death or extenuating circumstances merit an adoption as an alternative to foster care for children in an unsafe home; or the birth parents make the decision to have a relative raise a child, for whatever reason. These types of adoptions can also begin before the birth of the child. An adoption lawyer helps add structure and governance to the adoption in a situation that is naturally emotional and sensitive between families.

Licensed agency adoption

A licensed agency adoption follows the traditional path of applying for an adoption through an organization. While the agency handles matching parents with children and other services like counseling, home studies, and post-placement visits, a lawyer handles the legal paperwork to ensure the adoption is lawful and binding.

Private direct adoption

A final adoption method is private direct adoptions. These adoptions happen when the birth mother had already identified an adopting family and chooses not to use the services of an agency to assist in the process. In this case, an adoption lawyer should be involved to oversee the rights of both parties and complete the adoption.

The Adoption Process

Ensure you are ready

Adopting is a big step and obviously requires a certain emotional, financial, and domestic stability, not to mention legally qualifying to adopt. In Calgary, Alberta, you must be over the age of 18 and demonstrate that you can take care of a child and meet their needs. You do not have to be married.

As for financial and domestic stability, these are clearly more open to interpretation. Further, the different types of adoptions have different requirements – for instance, a Home Study Report is mandatory for licensed agency adoptions or adoptions involving children subject to a permanent guardianship order; however, they are not required for step-parent and other private direct adoptions, unless a judge orders one. Emotional preparedness falls upon your shoulders as the adoptive parent. You can begin to study and learn on your own before beginning the adoption process and while it proceeds.

Choosing a lawyer

A lawyer can be indispensable in the adoption process and should always be consulted to ensure the correct process is adhered to and all the necessary requirements are met. If you go through a licensed agency, they will often appoint a lawyer to oversee the adoption. You can still choose your own if you desire, and for all other adoptions, you should find a lawyer to assist you.
Like any area of law, adoption lawyers come in many forms. Smaller firms, like Richmond Tymchuk Family Law LLP specialize in family law, focusing on adoptions, divorce and other
family matters.

Play the waiting game

The next step in your adoption is to play the waiting game. Even in private direct adoptions or spousal adoptions, the process can take 2-6 months. If you are adopting through an agency, much of the waiting is dependent on finding the right match. A good adoption lawyer will help you understand the timeline and communicate updates to you throughout the journey. As you wait, you can use this time to prepare your home, finances, emotional readiness, and more.

Finalizing the adoption

Many adoptions are finalized through a desk application process, which means that no court appearance is required and a judge simply reviews the application when it is complete. This makes it more essential that the application is correct because, if it is not, it will require longer waiting times and, potentially, a hearing, which will involve a court appearance. Hearings are required whenever a judge orders one or when someone opposes the adoption. Depending on the adoption, certain parties must be provided with copies of the adoption application and given a
period of time to object.

While a lawyer handles the paperwork and fine details of an adoption, it is ultimately the judge who makes everything final and passes the last judgment. Your lawyer will accompany you to the court proceeding, if one is required. This isn’t the kind of court appearance you’d see on reality TV or a cop show. Family law courts are more friendly and much less confrontational.
Once the judge signs off on the adoption, your new family is official.

Richmond Tymchuk Family Law LLP is dedicated to helping adoptions smoothly proceed and allow you to focus on the emotional and domestic needs that adoption naturally brings. In our time as adoption lawyers in Alberta, we’ve seen standard adoption cases and some unique circumstances, and will guide you through the complexity of whatever adoption you are facing.

Contact us now to get ready for your adoption.

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