- Adoption Basics
- Types of Adoption
Types of Adoption
There are four ways to adopt in Ontario:
- Public adoption of a child who is in the extended care of a children’s aid society. Learn more about what it is like to parent a child who is adopted from care.
- Private domestic adoption of a child from a licensed private adoption agency or licensed individual.
- International adoption, adopting a child who lives outside Canada, from a private adoption agency or individual licensed by the government to facilitate inter-country adoptions.
- Adoption of a stepchild or relative who lives in Ontario.
It is important to understand each stream of adoption to determine which pathway is best for you. You can visit our Education and Training page to learn more about the different types of adoption.
Public adoption is the adoption of a child or youth currently in the permanent care, known as extended care, of a children’s aid society. Adoption is one way that children can find safe, stable and permanent home.
Generally speaking, children in the extended care of a society, where adoption is right for them, are over the age of six and have important relationships with siblings, family and community. Children who are Indigenous, Black and/or LGBTQ2S are overrepresented in the child welfare system for multiple reasons, including systemic and structural issues that lead to these disparities.
Children and youth being considered for adoption may have had many caregivers, experienced grief, loss, trauma and may have complex needs or diagnosed conditions. As a result, they may express this through behaviours or reactions that need the adults around them to be empathetic and responsive. The child’s or youth’s voice, their identity and cultural characteristics, needs and experiences are key factors in deciding which family will provide a permanent home through adoption.
Learn more about some of the children in Ontario who need a permanent home at AdoptOntario.
Learn more about what it is like to parent a child who is adopted from care.
If you are Indigenous, you may wish to learn more about the care of and permanent plans for Indigenous children and explore options, such as customary care. Learn about culturally appropriate homes for Indigenous children and youth at Association of Native Child and Family Services Agencies of Ontario.
Once you have a good understanding of public adoption and decide that it’s right for you, contact your local children’s aid society to learn about children or youth where adoption is right for them in your community and to obtain an application. Your local society will determine when and how they can begin the process with you. The Centralized Adoption Intake Service can help with your application.
There are no fees associated with public adoption.
Learn more about public adoption.
Private Domestic Adoption in Ontario
Private domestic adoption occurs when a child’s birth family makes the decision to place their child for adoption, typically at birth, although a private domestic adoption can be initiated at any age. Private domestic adoption is facilitated by a licensed private adoption agency or licensed individual in Ontario on a fee-for-service basis.
Learn more about private adoption.
International adoption allows children from outside Canada, who will not be adopted within their country, to find a permanent home with adoptive parents in Ontario.
Children from international adoptions can be infants, toddlers or school age and may have siblings. They may have spent time living in foster care or in an orphanage.
In addition to meeting Ontario’s pre-adoption requirements, prospective adoptive parents must also satisfy the eligibility criteria and pre-adoption requirements of the child’s home country.
International adoptions must be facilitated through an Ontario adoption agency or individual licensed and authorized by both the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and the child’s country of origin.
You will need to contact a private adoption practitioner to conduct a homestudy assessment.
Services are provided on a fee-for-service basis and vary depending on the adoption agency’s fee schedule.
Learn more about international adoptions and to locate a list of adoption agencies and individual practitioners who are licensed to facilitate intercountry adoptions.
Relative or Step-Child Adoption
The process for adopting a relative, a child or youth who lives in Ontario, such as a niece, nephew or grandchild, differs from other adoptions.
If you are a step-parent or close relative you can complete a relative adoption order directly through an Ontario court. You do not require a licensed private adoption agency or licensed individual practitioner to assist you.
The process for adopting a relative who resides outside Canada is different as it must follow requirements for international adoptions.
Learn more about adopting a stepchild or a child who is related to you and lives in Ontario or outside Canada.