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Considering International Adoption?

Is creating your family or perhaps a larger family through international adoption something you feel drawn to?  Are you a family who believes being placed with a child through international adoption is a gift?  Could you be the ‘forever family’ for a child presently without a family?  If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, then perhaps international adoption is right for you.   

Do you know of a relative child presently residing outside of Canada who does not have a permanent and safe forever family?  We at Adoption Options have been assisting families adopt a relative for many years and have a depth of understanding and experience to help you with your relative international adoption

 Let’s Talk:  Adopting internationally can initially seem like a daunting process. To help you decide whether proceeding with adopting international is right for you, please feel free contact our International Program Director at liz.gifford@adoptionoptions.com.  Liz will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  Additionally you are more than welcome to arrange for an office visit in either our Calgary or Edmonton locations to discuss your options – there is no fee for this service.

The International Guide Book published by Alberta Human Services is a also good resource for anyone considering international adoption: http://humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/International-Adoption-Guidebook.pdf. We also recommend a number of books you may wish to read, listed on our resource page: Resources.

Getting Started: Perhaps the most important first step in getting started is completing an Adoption Application Form (Alberta Human Services). This form is included in our International Adoption Application Package (on page 7) or, alternatively, you can download this form by clicking on the following link: http://media.wix.com/ugd/a03522_fae78308b4a74f1e8f02d6dc7a63ee8b.pdf.

After that you can start working on completing the application process. The Adoption Options' application package provides the paperwork we will need from you. It includes the Alberta Human Services’ International Adoption Application Form which when completed authorizes us to prepare your homestudy report. The application fee is not due until you begin to submit this paperwork to us. You can download our application package here:

International Adoption Application - Couple
International Adoption Application - Single Applicants
International Adoption Application - Returning Applicants

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Education: It is a requirement of the provincial government that all prospective international adoptive applicants attend an International Educational Seminar. During the seminar you will learn about the process, important issues such as institutionalization and attachment, have access to learning material, and will have the opportunity to listen to a family who successful adopted internationally. Additionally, we can connect you to a ‘buddy’ family or families who have successfully adopted internationally or are in the process of doing so.

Those proceeding with a relative international adoption attend a different seminar that is specific to their needs.

Research: While waiting for the arrival of your child you will have time to do research, and read about adoption and how to best prepare yourself for a child or children through international adoption. We can provide a book list of relevant reading. Additionally the Alberta Human Services' Website has valuable information on it and can be accessed at: humanservices.alberta.ca/adoption.   

 International Adoption Coordinator: Because private adoption agencies in Alberta are not licensed to act as coordinators, you may need to work with an adoption agency outside of Alberta that is licensed to coordinate. A coordinator is your link to the sending country (i.e. the country you hope to adopt from). We can provide you with a list of coordinators working with different programs and countries. Coordinators ensure your documents are in order, organize your trip, and can communicate with officials in the other country on your behalf.

If you are proceeding with a private international adoption, you will be required to do your own information gathering and organizing. 

Dossier Preparation: We are happy to help you by preparing your dossier. Dossier preparation can be complicated as it involves copying, translating, notarizing, authenticating, etc.

Homestudy: You will be assigned a social worker to complete your homestudy once you have attended the International Educational Seminar and we have received all the required paperwork. This includes police and intervention checks, medicals, letters from references, financial information, and all the necessary application forms.

Immigration: You will need to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to initiate the process of having the necessary documents to allow you to bring your child into Canada. Please access the follow link for additional information: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/immigrate/adoption/apply-how.asp.

Please note that while Adoption Options and Alberta Human Services may approve you as adoptive parents through your homestudy, there is no guarantee that Citizenship and Immigration Canada will agree to allow your child or children to enter Canada.

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 Match Proposal of your Child: We work closely with Alberta Human Services and will present the match proposal of a child to you as soon as this arrives from the sending county. We will assist you in considering the proposal, provide information for the International Adoption Clinics in Calgary and Edmonton, support you through your decision making as to whether to accept or decline the proposal, and provide guidance and support to you while you wait to travel to be placed with your child.  

Post Placement Reports: Many countries require post placement reports be completed by a social worker and we can provide this work for you.  For those families needing post placement reports, you will need to contact us directly to make arrangements for this.  The completion of post placement reports is an extremely important part of the adoption process, and it is one you need to ensure is completed.

Finalization: A few countries require the adoption be finalized here in Alberta. This is a service we can provide if needed. Once Alberta Human Services receives the appropriate documentation from the sending country, they will contact you directly to let you know this. You will then need to arrange for an affidavit to be completed and to contact Adoption Options to arrange for payment for the finalization here, prior to Alberta Human Services proceeding.

Post Placement Support: We hope you will see Adoption Options’ social workers as a source of support.  You are invited to attend our adoptive parent support groups at any time and our annual picnic that is held each year in June.  This is a great way to get together with other parents who have created their families through international adoption, and also provides children the opportunity of being around other children who also joined their family through adoption.  We encourage you to read our newsletter, Adoption Matters


International Family Stories 

Forever Family Built through Relative Adoption

I would like to inform you as of today  Rackaylia is now in Canada!!!!!!!!! Sean & I will wait to hear from you all about our next step. I would like to thank you all for your concern, support and guidance through our adoption journey ( so far).

Judith and Sean


Family Reunited with Loved Adoptee

Hi Liz
We wish to share our joy with you! Our adopted son will be joining us in Canada very soon. We have just received his citizenship certificate from immigration Canada, a facilitation visa will be issued for his travel very soon. We just cannot thank you enough for always being there to guide and assist us with this throughout the process. Thank you so  so much and our regards to all your colleagues at Adoption Options for the wonderful assistance offered to help families reunite with their loved adoptees . Will certainly keep you updated once our son joins us here.

Relative Adoptive Family


Building our Family through International Adoption
Dawn and Chris

In 2004, we contacted Adoption Options and set up a meeting with Liz. We wanted to gather more information regarding international adoption. Once we decided that international adoption was the way we wanted to build our family, we got busy with our paperwork. Liz encouraged us to read adoption and child rearing books, attend seminars and connect with other families who had adopted from China. Liz’s guidance was invaluable, as we did face challenges along the way.

In Jan 2006 we brought our first daughter home from China (she was 13 months old at the time of placement). She was (and still is) our easy going little monkey. She is creative and loves to draw. We brought our second daughter home from China in Nov 2009 (she was 3.5 years old at the time of placement). She was (and still is) an observer. She watches closely to everything going on around her.   She is compassionate and loves to help out.

Our daughters, what Joy! The attachment process went well.  Like all adoptions, we did have a few challenges. Both girls are resilient, brave, strong and destined to be a part of our family. They are great sisters to each other; they have developed such a strong bond and friendship. We celebrate Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival every year, the girls love these celebrations. International Adoption is wonderful. It has exposed us to many magnificent adventures and experiences. We express gratitude to the girls’ birthparents and think of them often.

We are so thankful for the caregivers in China; we see how their love and care for the girls has contributed to who they are today. 

We are so thankful to Liz and Adoption Options for helping us build our family. We highly recommend them; we would defiantly use their services if the opportunity arises again.

Dawn and Chris

(see more stories and testimonials on our Stories page)