Navigating International Adoption

We are Canadian.  We have chosen to proceed with an international adoption.  Although, not an international country that most people expect, as we are adopting from the USA, our next door neighbour.

One thing we were told early on is that if we chose to a domestic adoption, the local agency runs you through the whole process as they coordinate the entire adoption process.  However, by choosing international adoption, we are pretty much on our own to navigate the two laws in the two countries.  Our domestic agency will do the home study, and can answer some questions about the dual process.  Our USA agency should also be able to answer some questions.  However we will have to navigate the waters ourselves to help align the two process and prevent any unnecessary delays or accidentally do something that would be considered illegal.

So, what this all means is that one of the disadvantages of doing an international adoption is that while we spend a whole shwack of money, no-one will navigate the adoption waters for us.  We have to be strong advocates for ourselves and attempt to see the sunshine through the weeds.

What I have figured out so far is that we have to get provincial approval to proceed with a home study for our international adoption from the USA before we can do anything anywhere.  As I mentioned yesterday, we now have that – yay, us!  That said, on the approval form there is a little note that implies that no activities in the USA can occur until the home study is done.  This is weird to me, because the initial form we submitted to the province actually required us to state the agency we plan to use in the USA.  So, how is it that we have to state the agency we are going to use, and yet we aren’t allowed to start working with them to get some basic things initiated?

And to complicate things further, USA agencies often temporarily close their intake of Canadian applicants when their waiting times start to creep to high.  So, to get a spot, we need to submit our formal USA application and accompanying fee.  This would essentially hold our spot until the home study is done and our dossier is sent to the agency.  So, how is it that we have to specify who we are working with in the USA and yet we cannot actually start working with them until our home study is approved which means we cannot secure our spot on their official list just in case they shut their doors?  We have to say we are working with them, yet we cannot guarantee we will be able to work with them if we don’t submit the application and fee.  Clearly, I’m confused and upon re-reading this, I suspect it is quite possible that you too are now confused.

Mr. MPB and I really don’t want to break the law, even unintentionally.  We are pretty big fans of being law abiding citizens.  And a screw up on the adoption front could be pretty catastrophic to our entire plan to adopt and have children.

But worry not, I have some good news.  After being confused for a few weeks, I finally figured it out!!

The powers that be have indicated that we are allowed to submit our initial application to the USA agencies and secure our spot ASAP. However, no other work can commence until our dossier is sent to the agency in the USA. So, the goal for this week is to finish the application and get it in before the New Year. Which of course means that we still are not free of all the paperwork, but since we are 90% completed out USA adoption application, we are getting closer!

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38 Comments on “Navigating International Adoption

  1. Is there such a thing as an Adoption Consultant who navigates through the paperwork with you? I know it’s probably an obscene cost. But seriously, if there’s a market for it, maybe you should consider that to be your career move!


    • I think they do exist. They seem to be more USA based, meaning for American citizens adopting internationally. Maybe one day, once I’ve figured out how to navigate the system I will help others do the same. Great idea! 🙂


  2. I remember going through all of this – and we live in the US. Is your US agency providing a contact to walk you through all this paperwork? When we were adopting we sometimes were on the phone or e-mail late at night making sure our paperwork had i’s dotted and t’s crossed.


    • Our USA agency is providing some support. However, as we are working through the home study process in Canada right now, it seems as though they cannot do much until that is complete. So, right now we seem to be stuck in a bit of a no-man’s land without great direction from anyone – I think everyone is trying to avoid overstepping. I really suspect/hope once the USA agency has our Canadian homestudy, then they will sort of take over managing our process. And until then, we just have to manage the two processes simultaneously to the best of our ability.


      • It might be a small victory, but the upside to all of this is that a lot of the home study information will go directly into the dossier, sometimes without any modification. At least you won’t have to duplicate SOME of the work. It is never easy when governments are involved – ouch.


  3. That’s a lot to navigate by yourself. Are there any local support groups that might offer some info on how to approach this process? Wishing you a speedy and successful adoptions process.


    • Not that we’ve found, but truthfully we haven’t looked too hard. What we do know is that our agency offers a group for adoptive parents, but they seem to focus on those who are adopting locally. We will probably still check it out in the new year.

      Liked by 1 person

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