Relative/ Step-parent adoption



Families are often interested in adopting a relative or partner's child. For instance, an uncle may wish to adopt his sister's child, or a step-mother may wish to adopt the child of her spouse or partner.

Adopting a family member creates new legal and social roles for the child and both sets of parents. We're here to help if you have questions about completing a relative or step-parent adoption.

Local relative

For relative or step-child adoptions within British Columbia, most applications can proceed directly through the courts. However, a judge may request the assistance of the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Your family may also wish to involve your Indigenous community or band in the process, if applicable.

Your lawyer prepares and submits court documents and gathers any required consents. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 must be interviewed by a registered social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist prior to the adoption. BC's licensed adoption agencies can help you complete this report. Adult step children and youth age 12 and up must sign consents to their adoption and any name changes, if applicable.


For international relative applications, a homestudy is required by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Homestudies can be completed by one of BC's licensed adoption agencies. Other documents or post-placement reports may be necessary, depending on the requirements of your child's home country, and which country the adoption will be finalized in. 

It is important to confirm that your adoption and immigration plans meet local, federal, and international requirements before pursuing any international adoption, including relative adoptions. 

Check with a licensed immigration consultant, or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to ensure you're meeting all provincial and federal requirements before getting started. 


Canadian Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada - Adopt a child from abroad
BC Government: Adopt a child from another country

What does that mean?

Our glossary helps you navigate the language of adoption. 

Adoption representatives

Whether you're adopting locally or internationally, adoption may involve the facilitation of one or more of BC's adoption representatives.