Family Lawyers Guide on How to Adopt a Child



Colleen A. Christie

Child Adoption is Sometimes a Difficult Process

Most Alberta Family Lawyers realize that the methods involved in adopting a child may be difficult. This is especially true if you are the non-biological potential parent adopting your partner’s child, or if you are the guardian chosen to take care of someone’s child through a death. During these times, the process of child adoption can be overwhelming and confusing. Family Lawyers help by clearly explaining how to adopt a child. Alberta Lawyers also outline every necessary step to make child adoption as smooth as possible.

Through our FREE online legal directory you can find a Family Lawyer that is qualified to show you how child adoption can be a smooth and fast process. In Alberta, Family Lawyers usually help you with difficult paperwork. Family Lawyers typically specialize in child adoption, so they can help you understand what each document is about. This immediate understanding is facilitated by your Alberta Family Lawyer and usually decreases the amount of stress involved in starting, or growing, your family.

Alberta Lawyers Typically Guarantee Stress-free Child Adoption

Most Alberta Lawyers make sure that you take the most reliable approach in how to adopt a child. Family Lawyers understand that child adoption is typically a fun new experience and it should be treated this way. However, sometimes in grave situations this is not the case and child adoption is due to the loss of a close friend or friends. Unfortunately there is no kit on how to adopt a child in these unfortunate and unexpected circumstances. Despite this, your Alberta Family Lawyer will be there with you every step of the way during the child adoption process. Colleen Christie explains that in Alberta during certain situations people are not fully guided through the child adoption process and therefore need the aid of a Family Lawyer. Receive the proper guidance that you need on how to adopt a child by consulting a local Family Lawyer.

The decision to adopt is difficult and will change your life forever.  Although making the decision should be the hardest part of the process, more and more families in Alberta are discovering the process of completing the adoption paperwork on their own can be much harder.

There are four types of Adoption in Alberta;

  1. An Adoption when the Director of Child Welfare is involved, due to a history of harm to the child, and the child is under the care of the director;
  2. An adoption that is processed through a licensed adoption agency, such as Adoption Options;
  3. An adoption by a spouse or interdependent (common law) partner of a child; and
  4. An adoption of a child placed directly in the care of the parties’ by the birthparent(s).

In the first two situations, the parties will usually find that they are assisted through the process, although they still may wish to consult with and possibly hire a lawyer. It is in the latter two instances in which the parties may find they need to retain counsel.

Unfortunately, many people have discovered that the act of petitioning the Court for an adoption order is complex. Alberta Children’s Services has a publication entitled the “Private Adoption Self-Help Kit”, which purports to assist those who do not wish to retain a lawyer to process the adoption. While the publication appears to be straightforward, it has not been amended to incorporate changes to the legislation behind the adoption process.

Adoption in Alberta is governed by The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act (the “CYFEA”), legislation that primarily deals with children in need of protection, which is not always the case in other provinces. The adoption provisions are buried within the CYFEA and do not actually correspond with the outline set forth in the Private Adoption Self-Help Kit”.

Further difficulties arise if your situation is not covered by the scenarios in the kit. For example, the kit does not address surrogacy or same-sex couple adoption, and technical problems may arise if you do not want to involve one or more of the biological parents. In these and other scenarios, adoptive parents may feel that they have hit a “brick wall” after facing multiple rejections of their adoption package from the courthouse. Lawyers who have completed an adoption can assist with these particular issues, as attendance before a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench may be necessary and the fastest way to resolve the issue. The appearance must be done “in camera”, meaning the courtroom is closed to the public, and there is no record that the application was made.

As with many legal matters, the Government and the Justice system have implemented a procedure they believed would make it easier for individuals to process adoptions on their own. In fact, in many cases, hurdles arise that are not addressed in the kit or in the legislation. Consulting a lawyer from the outset may help you start your family sooner

Colleen A. Christie is a lawyer with Bell and Stock LLPin Calgary, Alberta.

A great way to start your search for a local Canadian adoption lawyer is at Canadian-Lawyers.ca. Go to the 'Find a Lawyer' search box that appears on the right hand side of this screen to start your lawyer search. Type in adoption or the name of the law firm, the city and the province that you are looking to hire a lawyer from, and then click on the 'Search Now' button. This will generate a list of local Canadian adoption lawyers.


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