Adoption: The New Beginning

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Adoption: The New Beginning

For many couples, one of the most exciting times in their lives is when they make the decision to adopt a child.  The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act governs the procedure for adoptions in Medicine Hat.  The Act outlines that people are able to enter into adoptions in three ways: through an adoption agency, through the Department of Children’s Services and through a direct placement arranged between the biological parents and the adoptive parents.

Once the biological parents have decided on a set of adoptive parents, the two sets of parents will usually meet and become acquainted with each other.   In anticipation of the birth of the child, the biological parents will be asked to complete a Family and Medical History form, which will provide the adoptive parents with information about the background and medical history of the extended family of each of the biological parents.  In addition, the biological parents can request that the adoptive parents complete a home study.  The home study provides the biological parents with information about the adoptive parents’ extended family, their health status, their ideas about parenting, as well as references from people close to them.

Sometimes, the parents will enter into an agreement, or at least have some discussions, about whether or not there will be ongoing contact between the biological parents and the child.  This contact can be as much or as little as the two sets of parents can agree to.

Once the child is born, the biological mother must sign a document indicating her consent to the adoption. The biological father must also sign a document indicating his consent if he meets the requirements of being a guardian of the child.  If the biological mother signs an affidavit which confirms that the biological father is not a guardian, then his consent will not be required.

Ten days after the consents are signed, the adoptive parents are in position to file their Petition for adoption with the Court.  The Petition must be accompanied by a copy of the baby’s live birth registration, the results of a criminal records check for each of the adoptive parents, their marriage certificate, a Statement prepared by the adoptive parents about their involvement with the child, and the biological parents’ consents and affidavit.

The filed documents must then be served on the Department of Children’s Services, and the biological parents, if they choose to be served.  The Department will prepare a letter to the Court advising of whether or not they have had any interaction with either of the adoptive parents.  Ten days after the Department and the biological parents are served, if no objections are filed, the adoptive parents are able to ask the Court to finalize the adoption.  If an objection is filed, the Court will have a hearing to decide whether or not to proceed with the adoption

Once the adoption is completed, the adoptive parents will receive an Order finalizing the adoption and the Registration of Live Birth will be altered at Vital Statistics to show the adoptive parents as the parents of the child.

While the process is somewhat complicated, having experienced help can simplify it considerably.  While lawyers can provide the legal assistance necessary, a mental health professional can assist with the issues that may be faced by the biological parents.  The mental health professional may also help the adoptive parents to adjust to life with a baby, and how to include the biological parents in their family life.

The finalization of the adoption is the beginning of a new family.  It is an exciting time for the adoptive parents, and a difficult time for the biological parents.  Lawyers and mental health professionals can assist everyone to make the most successful adjustment to their new beginning.

Catherine Regier
Catherine Regier helps you navigate the turning points of life. She is a partner with Pritchard & Co. Law Firm, LLP. Contact Catherine at (403) 527-4411 or at