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In May 1993, Canada was one of 66 countries to reach an agreement on The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention). Canada ratified the Hague Convention in December 1996, and it came into force in Manitoba on April 1, 1997. Its provisions are law in Manitoba.
The Hague Convention establishes co-operation between the countries of origin of children in need of adoption and their receiving countries to protect the child's best interests. The objective is to prevent abuses such as the abduction, sale of, or trafficking in children or any other improper financial gains. It also ensures proper consent to the adoption, allows for the child's transfer, and establishes the adopted child's status in the receiving country.
The Hague Convention applies only when the child to be adopted lives in a country that has signed the Convention, and when the prospective adoptive parents live in a province or territory, such as Manitoba, that has also implemented the Convention.
Note: In countries that have implemented the Hague Convention, you cannot arrange adoptions privately without the involvement of the Central Authorities in both countries. In Manitoba, the Central Authority is Family Services’ Director of Child and Family Services.
To adopt a child from another country, Manitoba residents must apply and work with a licensed adoption agency or a child and family services office. Manitoba, as a signatory to The Hague Convention, is obligated to ensure that proper safeguards against child trafficking are implemented and that children’s best interests are protected in all cases. In order to ensure all legal adoption requirements are being followed in the child’s country of origin, Manitoba requires prospective adoptive parents to work with an adoption agency licensed to facilitate adoptions in the country they wish to adopt a child from. Manitoba recommends prospective adoptive parents work with a Canadian facilitator adoption agency that can provide all services to facilitate the adoption within the child’s country of origin.
Manitoba adoption agencies will provide prospective adoptive parents with adoption services, including the homestudy, education seminar, placement assistance and support. Facilitator adoption agencies will provide all facilitation services to assist with completion of the dossier to ensure it meets the country’s requirements, as well as assisting with all processes in the country, such as travel plans, accommodation and translation. You will have to pay fees to the Manitoba adoption agency and the facilitator agency, as well as (possibly) other organizations in the child's country.
Prospective adoptive parents need to select the country of origin where they wish to adopt a child from. Intercountry adoptions are regulated under provincial adoption laws, federal immigration laws, and the laws of the child's country of origin. Adoption authorities in the child’s country of origin are responsible for deciding which child should be matched with the adoptive family. Prospective adoptive parents frequently need to wait an extended period of time to be matched with a child, depending on the children available for adoption in that country.
Prospective adoptive parents planning to adopt through intercountry adoption must also apply for sponsorship or citizenship of the adopted child through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This is typically done after the homestudy is approved and the prospective adoption parents have determined from which country they wish to adopt.
If you would like more information on adoption, visit our frequently asked questions page or contact your local child and family services agency or a licensed adoption agency. A worker will explain adoption to you in detail, and answer any specific questions you may have.
More information on International Adoption and the Hague Convention is also available on the International Adoption page of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada Web site.