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Obviously, the procedures are widely different from one country to another. In certain cases, you must be present in person while in other cases you can proceed by power of attorney. In the latter situation, it is your representative who will realize the procedures for you and it is of utmost importance that you have investigated his his credibility and reputation.
If you must travel to the foreign country, you need to collect as much information as possible on the in-country process of the birth country of your child. If you adopt with a certified organization as intermediary or through the Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale (SAI), you must check with them to be sure of the way to proceed and what to expect.
For example, in certain countries, you will have your child in your arms during your stay and completion of the procedures abroad. At first thought, it may seem enjoyable to have your child with you but, if you are alone, it can be more difficult. It is difficult to get to know your child while waiting in corridors to file papers.. Moreover, the procedures may last weeks and you will be with your child while living in an hotel. Prepare yourself for this possibility and plan accordingly. For some, it is a rude "welcome" to the ABC's of parenting.
Generally, you will apply to a governmental office equivalent to the SAI, it will be the responsible authority in the sense of the Hague Convention. It will often come under a department of Social (or Family) Services or an organization with another similar name and function.
Also, the official procedures will take place at a Court, in cases where the judgment of adoption is rendered in the home country of the child, or in some office empowered to issue a guardianship decree or another document giving you the right to bring the child back to Québec
Of course, you must be sure of the identity of the persons you are dealing with, especially if you proceed without an intermediary. It is quite easy to misunderstand, in particular in a country where you don't understand the language. See also our tips about the trip abroad (in french) 1.
The arrival of the child in Québec is a very happy moment. It can happen essentially in two manners:
The escort may also be a lady friend of the mother of a friend of your brother-in-law, who may be from the foreign country and must come back from there, just at the right moment (true case). In international adoption, resourcefulness is an asset. When you are told that your child can come home but there is no escort available, you talk to all the people around you in order to find somebody.
Possibly, one day, you may be informed by phone that your child is already on the plane! You will drop everything, gather all your official documents, and rush to the airport to await the arrival of your child and their escort. After the arrival of the plane, you will thank the escort and will take the child in your arms (in a rather emotive state) and you will go finalize everything with the immigration service. If you followed the procedure explained in steps 6, no problem. If not, well, be prepared to wait...
If you made the trip abroad, you may have received the child in your arms, sometimes when you least expect it! On this topic, it is better to talk to other parents that have been there so that you will not be too surprised. The context in which the child is given to you may seem strange to you and not what you expected.
Whether or not you meet your child at the beginning of the in-country procedures or at the end, the time will come for the trip home. Hours later you will finally arrive in Quebec...both you and your child will be beyond exhaustion. Before leaving the airport, you must present your papers to the immigration services.
The usual formalities being completed, you bring the child back to your house or you bring him to the hospital if his health is uncertain. Anyway, you took the precaution to take an appointment with a pediatrician, if possible specialized in international adoption, in order to get the child examined thoroughly in the first days following his arrival. It is in fact necessary to do a full health checkup to detect any problem and take the appropriate measures 2.
Finally, you are finished !! You think so? Of course not, the are still more procedures to be done but let's say most of it is behind you.
To be able to adopt in certain countries, you must promise to submit progress reports describing the progress of the child after his arrival in Québec. The progress reports cover the integration of the child in his new family. They span on a definite period of time, depending on the requirements of the country, and their number vary.
The progress reports must be done by the director of Youth Protection or by a professional in private practice, as in the case of the psychosocial assessment. It can be the same professional. The preparation of the progress reports involves visits to your home by the professional and discussions with the parents and the child, depending on his age.
The temptation can be strong for the adoptive parents to neglect or to simply refuse to cooperate to the preparation of these reports, considering that they may have to pay for them. After all, the child has reached his/her destination and the new parents do not like to have additional steps imposed on them. This reaction is understandable.
However, the parents must respect their commitment. First, the country of origin who requires the reports has the right to know how the child adapts to his new community and what happens to him. If the parents do not accept this procedure, the country may consider that Quebecers are not cooperative and it might refuse to accept other adoptions or limit their numbers, which could penalize other parents and especially children.
- See our advice to prepare your trip abroad: le voyage à l'étranger (in French).
- The health of the child is discussed in the pages of this site but only in French: la santé de l'enfant adopté.
- Source: «La loi 70 en vigueur», Adopte-info, vol. 1, no 1, Secrétariat à l'adoption internationale,Montréal, Québec, octobre 1990.
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