Surrey Adoption Lawyer
The Adoption Act of BC governs the rules and regulations for adopting a child in the Province of BC. The goal of the Act is to provide for new and permanent family ties through adoption, giving paramount consideration to the child’s best interests. Many families generously choose to share their lives with a child not of their own blood. Through the process of adoption, that child by law becomes a member of the family and is treated in law the same as a blood related child.
Many adoptions involve a step parent adopting the biological child of their spouse.
The legal process for adoption can seem daunting and complex. We are here to help you with the adoption process and assist you in adding a new family member. Please note that these are general procedures that apply to the adoption of a child from BC and within BC.
Getting ready to Adopt:
Prospective adoptive parents must be approved by the Director of Adoptions for BC (the “Director”) or an adoption agency on the basis of a home study.
Before placing an aboriginal child for adoption, the Director or an adoption agency must make reasonable efforts to discuss the child’s placement with a designated representative of the band, nation or aboriginal community that the child is identified with by the child or the parent of the child.
Who must consent to an adoption:
The child, if 12 years of age or older;
The child’s parents;
The child’s guardians;
If the child is in the continuing custody of a director of child protection, the director of child protection’s consent, and the child’s consent, if the child is 12 years of age or older;
A birth mother’s consent to the adoption of her child is valid only if the child is at least 10 days old when the consent is given;
The Court does have the power to dispense with consent under very limited circumstances.
Who may apply to adopt a child:
One adult alone or 2 adults jointly may apply;
One adult may apply to the Court to become a parent of a child jointly with another parent; and
Every applicant must be a resident of British Columbia.
For a child who is at least 7 years old and under 12 years of age, their consent is not required but a written report by an authorized person regarding the views of the child about the adoption must be provided to the Court.
The Effect of the Adoption Order:
The applicant can request the Court to change the legal name of the adopted child;
The child becomes the child of the adoptive parent and vice versa;
The former parents cease to have any parental rights or obligations with respect to the child, except a parent who remains a parent jointly with the adoptive parent;
When an adoption order is made, any order or agreement for contact with the child or access to the child terminates unless the Court orders otherwise;
Unlike some other court files, adoption files are not available to the public and are kept confidential.
An adult can also be adopted by another adult. Typically done in situations where the consent of a parent was not available when the adult was a child.
If the identity of the parent(s) of the child are unknown to the prospective parent(s) or vice versa, then each party’s identities will be concealed in the filed court documents.
An openness agreement may be made by a prospective adoptive parent or an adoptive parent of the child such that after the adoption, the child may maintain contact with the former parent(s) and any other person with a relationship to the child.
Disclosure of birth information after adoption:
An adopted person 19 years of age or older can apply to the registrar general for Vital Statistics Agency of BC and receive a copy of their birth registration, original birth certificate and adoption order subject to a disclosure veto or no contact declaration being filed by the pre-adoption parent.
A disclosure veto prevents the adopted person from getting a copy of the pre-adoption documents. In a no contact declaration, the adopted person will only receive a copy of their pre-adoption documents upon signing an undertaking not to use the information to contact the pre-adoption parent.
An adopted person 19 years and older and the pre-adoption parent can register with the Director to exchange information.