Adoption FAQs



The process of adoption often leads to a lot of questions.

Here are the most common questions we get about adoption.

Have we missed your question? Our Family Support team is happy to answer your questions. Or, feel free to contact us anytime at

General adoption | Eligibility | Adoption from foster care | Other types of adoption | Reunion

General adoption

What is adoption?

Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from birthparent(s) to adoptive parent(s).

Why do people adopt?

Infertility is the most common reason for choosing to adopt. But not all families who adopt have experienced infertility. Some families choose adoption first, before, or instead of having birth children. Some families choose to adopt after having one or more children by birth. These families often put their well-developed parenting skills to work by parenting an older child or a child with special needs. 

What kinds of adoption are there?

In BC the four major types of adoption are adopting from foster care, adopting internationally, adopting a local infant, and adopting a relative, but there are several other types of adoption.

Who can arrange an adoption for me?

There are four types of adoption representatives in BC who can arrange an adoption.

Who are BC's adoption agencies?

There are four different types of adoption representatives in BC: the Ministry of Children and Family Development, licensed adoption agencies, Aboriginal representatives, and Wendy's Wonderful Kids.

How much does it cost to adopt?

Depending on the type of adoption, costs range from nothing (for adoptions through MCFD) to $60,000+ (for a local infant or international adoptions). To learn more about cost, please see our Fees and expenses page.

How long does the adoption process take?

It varies. A rough average is two to three years.

Can I adopt a child of a specific religion?

Possibly. The children in the care of the Ministry are from a range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

Can I adopt a child that will have no contact with his or her birth family?

Sometimes it’s possible for various reasons (geography, the birth family are not healthy or have passed away), but maintaining a connection between the child and their birth family has been shown to be extremely beneficial to the child.

What is a homestudy?

A homestudy is a mandatory process by which an adoption social worker assesses a family or individual who is considering adoption. The process involves a series of interviews and helps prepare the family to meet the needs of an adopted child or sibling set. Learn more about the application process.

How much do I have to clean my home prior to a homestudy?

While it’s probably a good idea to clean, the social worker conducting your homestudy is probably more interested in bigger issues than if your home hasn’t been dusted this week!

My child was adopted and is having issues now. What do I do?

Reach out to our Family Support team. It's free to talk to them and they will provide you with different advice depending on the situation.


Am I too old to adopt?

No! For local adoptions, the only age restriction is a minimum age (19). Older applicants may be encouraged to consider school-aged children or teens. Learn more about eligibility to adopt.

I have medical issues. Can I still adopt?

It depends. Your suitability as an adoptive parent will be determined by discussions with a social worker and during your home study.

I’m gay. Can my partner and I adopt?

Yes! Since 1996, British Columbia has allowed any one or two persons to adopt jointly - regardless of gender or sexuality. Although international regulations keep doors closed for LGBTQ2S+ individuals and couples in many countries, there are still available adoption options.

I’m single. Can I adopt?

Yes! The only requirements to apply to adopt in British Columbia are that you are over the age of 19 and a BC resident.

I don’t live in BC; can I adopt a child from BC?

Possibly. The Adoption Act changed in March 2017 to permit children and youth in foster care to be adopted by family members that live outside of British Columbia.

Adoption from foster care

Can I adopt from foster care?

Yes! There are currently over 30,000 kids in foster care in Canada waiting to be adopted. In BC, this program is called the Adopt BC Kids program.

What is the Adopt BC Kids program?

The Adopt BC Kids program refers to the children in BC who are in care of the government (foster care) and available to be adopted.

What is the difference between adoption and foster care?

Foster care is a temporary arrangement in which a family is financially compensated to care for a child until the biological parents are able to do so, or until an adoptive home is found. Adoption is a lifelong commitment in which the child becomes a permanent member of your family.

Is it easier to adopt or to foster?

The application processes require approximately the same amount of effort.

Do I get paid to adopt from foster care?

No. Your costs are covered by the government, but you are not paid to adopt.

Are all of the children in foster care Indigenous?

According to the most recent statistics from MCFD (2020/2021), Indigenous children and youth make up 67% of Indigenous children and youth in care in BC.

Are the children in foster care “normal”?

What is "normal" anyway? Children in foster care can have a range of needs, from attachment challenges to disabilities to issues related to exposure to prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. The support, services, and type of parenting each child will need to thrive can vary, but they all need love, stability, and family. 

Other types of adoption

How do I adopt my partner’s child?

For relative or step-child adoptions within BC, most applications can proceed directly through the courts with a family lawyer.

Which countries are currently adopting children to Canada?

International adoption programs open, close, and change with dizzying speed. Some adoption agencies may consider processing an adoption from countries other than those they list. Your best bet is to do your research and check with the adoption agencies.


I’m an adoptee and am interested in finding my birth family. How do I do it?

If you were adopted in British Columbia, begin with Vital Statistics and the Adoption Reunion Registry. For the rest of Canada, contact the director for adoption in your province or territory. For outside of Canada, you may try through the agency who facilitated your adoption. Learn more about adoption reunion and support.

"How do I adopt?"

We walk you through the steps and training to become and adoptive parent.

"What does that mean?"

See our glossary of adoption-related terminology.