How to Adopt - The Process 

Adoption can be unpredictable, and no two adoptions are exactly the same. However, there is a general process that all adoptions follow. Below are the steps you will need to complete for your adoption.

1. Request an Information and Registration Package

  • Read our information package, available on request.

  • Arrange a meeting with our staff to discuss the adoption process and answer your questions.

  • For applicants outside of the lower mainland, the meeting can be by Zoom if you prefer.

  • Send the registration form to Sunrise.

2. Homestudy

  • Complete the homestudy and education course (which will take between 3 and 5 months).

3. Prepare a Profile or Dossier

  • Prepare a profile about yourselves for birth parents to read if you wish to adopt a child born in BC; or we will prepare a dossier for you if you wish to adopt a child who may be proposed by a foreign government.

4. Wait for the Proposal of a Child

  • For a child born in BC that wait can be 3 years or more. Further adoption education and activities can help to pass the time. For example, three times a year Sunrise has a birth parent panel for adopting parents. For many of our families it is a transformative experience.

  • In intercountry adoptions foreign governments are looking for the right parents to adopt the orphaned and vulnerable children in their care. For many countries that can take 3 to 5 years or more. And while there is no guarantee that a child will be placed with you, most of our families are chosen for a placement. These waiting periods can be quite a hard time for families, and there are several supports for you available through our agency and through the larger adoption community. During this time, you will also prepare the Canada Immigration paperwork for the child.

5. Receive a Child Proposal

  • Sunrise must approve the match, and then you must decide whether you will accept it. All children have needs and you will decide whether you are ready and able to parent that child. In intercountry adoption, the office of the BC Director of Adoption gives the final approval for every adoption when adopting parents live in British Columbia.

  • To summarize the sequence of approvals:

a) Sunrise approves you at the homestudy; 

b) The foreign government approves you to adopt one of their children; 

c) Sunrise approves the proposed child match; 

d) You approve the match and accept it; 

e) The BC Director of Adoption reviews the match and then issues the final approval letters.

  • In some countries there are two more levels of approval: social workers for the foreign government will approve you at the end of the bonding period (see below) and make a report to the court; then the foreign court, upon hearing the adoption application, will review the evidence and approve the adoption.

6. Travel to the Foreign Country to Receive your Child

  • The process at this point is different for every country. Sometimes two trips are required, and in some countries you must foster the child in-country while government social workers observe the bonding process and the care you provide.

  • Post placement reports need to be filed with the foreign government. This can be for many months or many years depending on the country. Foreign governments are usually quite worried about how their children are faring in their new families and have strict post-placement reporting rules.