The Procedures:
International adoption process in Québec

Page 1: Steps 1, 2, 3

Back to the menu of the adoption process
  1.  Choosing an adoption route
  2.  Psychosocial assessment
  3.  Sending the dossier abroad

go to   steps 4 to 6 or go to   steps 7 to 9 or go to steps 10 to 12

Progress diagram of an international adoption project

1. Choosing an adoption route

    At the moment, the law in Québec permits adoption with or without an intermediary. In practice, the majority of people choose the most reassuring method, which, at first, seems to be adoption through an intermediary. In fact, as adopters you must first choose one of the three adoption routes possible under Québec's legislation. You can:

  • ask to the International Adoption Secretary of Québec (Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale du Québec or SAI) to act as an intermediary. In practice, the SAI rarely acts as an intermediary, leaving room for the certified organizations (or adoption agencies), but it may do so in certain cases;
  • ask a certified organization to act as your intermediary;
  • manage your case yourself without an intermediary (see this page, for the moment in french: Private international adoption).

You must choose to adopt with the SAI as an intermediary in certain countries for which there is no certified organization and that do not allow private adoption. In the past, the SAI has developped contacts by itself in certain countries and realized adoptions, for example in Mexico. The SAI can also help parents who have personal contacts in a foreign country. These cases are relatively rare considering the dominant role of certified agencies at the present.

Like the majority of future parents, you may find it more convenient and faster to proceed with an intermediary such as a certified organization 1 (or adoption agency) to carry out your adoption project. The choice of an agency depends first on the country in which you want to adopt 2. You may also take into account the information you will gather from various agencies, parent support groups and the SAI regarding costs, delays, quality of the services, etc.

Lastly, you can also choose to do a private adoption 3. At present, private adoption is still possible in certain countries, even though the numbers are falling, because of many countries preferences and in the context of the Hague Convention 4.

The requirements for private adoption will probably tighten because the provincial governement will adapt its laws to the Convention. Nevertheless, it is likely that private adoption will remain possible, at least in special cases. For example, persons living outside Québec may develop personal contacts in foreign countries which are perfectly irreproachable and the SAI may approve private adoption in these cases.

2. Psychosocial Assessment

    The psychosocial assement of the person who wants to adopt a child living outside Québec is a requirement of the Youth Protection Act. It helps adoption authorities, both in Québec and in the foreign country, to verify the capacity of the adopters to satisfy the needs of the child in its superior interests and in accordance with laws and international conventions.

It is an important step that can be done as soon as you have an idea of the country (or countries) in which you want to adopt. It is better to have your assessment done before any other official steps with a certified agency or a foreign country. It can cause great disappointment to begin the process without your approved homestudy, and then find out your evaluator does not find you suited to adopt.

On the other hand, it is necessary to prepare before your psychosocial assessment. If not, you may have difficulty in answering the questions of the assessor. Many pages of this site are devoted to this preparation in the «pre-adoption process» section.

In practical terms, the psychosocial assessment consists of a few meetings with a psychologist or social worker, who will ask all sort of questions related to your adoption project. The time required for the assessment is in the region of approximately one month and the cost is around 500$. To learn everything about this step of the process, see the «Psychosocial Assessment» page of this site 5.


3. Sending the dossier abroad

    Whether you adopt through an intermediary or in private, you must gather by yourself the different documents which will be part of the adoption dossier that you will send abroad. To give you an idea of the required papers that will form your dossier, here is a list of the main documents you will need. Of course, you must check with your contact or adoption agency which documents are really required by the country you chose.

If you visit this site and are not a Québec citizen, you probably can figure out what are the equivalent documents in your context, if not, find out from your international adoption authorities.

Typical list of required documents in an adoption dossier

Attention: Required documents depends on the country

Most frequent documents required

1.   Birth certificate of each adopter.
2. Marriage Certificate.
3. Letter from the employer of each adopter.
4. Financial statement from your accountant or assets report (real-estate and cash assets) or a bank statement (savings and solvability) or a certified copy of your latest Income Tax Statement or Income Tax Return.
5. Proof of "Good Conduct" from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (R.C.M.P.).
6. Health certificate establishing the good physical and mental health of each adopter with indications of absence of chronic or contagious disease.
7. Psychosocial Assessment (homestudy).
8. Photos of each adopter (passport format) and photos of the family and the home.
9. Motivation letter of your adoption project.
Other documents that might be required
10. Reference letter(s) (from a professional, a priest, etc.) confirming the capacity of the applicants, as a couple, to adopt.
11. Letter from the SAI or the agency confirming that the progress reports will be provided.
12. Promise of the adopter to submit progress reports.
13. If one of the adopters is divorced, a copy of the Divorce Decree.
14. Report from a psychologist concerning the motivations of the couple to undergo an adoption project.
15. Notarial power of attorney giving an adoption mandate to a lawyer in the foreign country.
16. Notarized Certificate establishing the authenticity of the documents.

Documents should be on official paper, with header, or on notary paper and in some cases certified by the consulate or embassy of the foreign country (with seal)

You may have noticed in this list the possibility that the "Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale" (SAI) must provide an accompaniment letter for your dossier. It occurs when the foreign country asks for reports about the progress of the child after its arrival in Québec.

In this case, the SAI asks that you provide a copy of your psychosocial assessment and of your written promise to submit these progress reports. Note that you will have to pay for these reports, which will be prepared by a professional as in the case of the psychosocial assessment (it can be the same person). These reports will be more or less numerous and will cover a more or less lengthy timeframe depending on the country of origin of the child.

Special case of China
After the gathering of all required documents, you have them translated, if needed, then you make a copy that that you then put in safe keeping. Then, you have to send the dossier to your contact and/or the authority responsible for adoption in the foreign country. There are many ways to make this important shipment while minimizing the possibility that the dossier may get lost somewhere.

First, your dossier might be sent by the certified agency or the SAI, if you adopt through their intermediary. Or else, the sending may be arranged by these organizations so that many dossiers are shiped together. Your dossier may also be brought by parents, going abroad to bring back a child from the country you have chosen, in order to be handed over in person to the responsible authorities. Lastly, you can also send your dossier yourself; then an international service courier is the safest means. Top of the page


  1. The preparation of your adoption project is discussed (in french) in the pre-adoption section (menu) of the site. In particular, you may read the pages called « une réflexion s'impose (imperative thoughts)» et « mythes et réalités» (Myths and realities) of international adoption.

  2. The certified organizations (or adoption agencies) are explained in the section concerning organizations and associations.

  3. You may also see a map of the countries open to adoption for Quebecers and the requirements of these countries. Another page (in french) concerning the choice of the country is also available.

  4. A page of this site will also be devoted to private adoption as soon as possible.

  5. In French: The Hague Convention is an international agreement establishing principles on international adoption for the signatory countries.

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