International Adoption

Some families may wish to adopt a child from another country.

Home studies are required in all international adoptions, whether or not the child is a relative. These home studies are completed by private practitioners and are paid for by the adoptive parents.

Next steps

Applicants interested in applying to adopt internationally should contact Adoption Services, Department of Community Services at 902-424-3205, for an application.

For the adoption of a relative, the first step is to contact the local Citizenship and Immigration Canada call centre (at 1-888-242‑2100) to obtain an adoption sponsorship package.

Frequently asked questions

What is international adoption?

International Adoption is a process whereby Nova Scotian families may adopt a child or children from another country.

Who can apply?

Applicants must be:

  • Over the age of majority (19)
  • Residents of the province of Nova Scotia
  • Canadian Citizens/Permanent Resident Status

Criteria for eligibility for applicants are also established by the child's country of origin and vary from country to country.

What children are available for adoption?

The children may range in age from infants up to 18 years of age. Eighteen years of age (18) is the upper limit established by the Federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration in the procedures for sponsoring a child for adoption.

International adoption includes the adoption of both related and unrelated children.

Is a home study required?

Adoption home studies are required in all international adoptions. Home studies are completed by private practitioners authorized by the Department of Community Services. The list of private practitioners will be provided to you after you have submitted your application to Adoption Services, Department of Community Services and an initial screening of your application has been completed.

How much will an international adoption cost?

There are document translation and notarization costs, registration fees in the country of the child's origin, legal fees, immigration fees, travel costs as well as medical costs for the child. The applicants are required to cover these costs. The costs will vary from country to country.

Where do we begin?

An application form and information package will be mailed to you upon request to Adoption Services, Department of Community Services.

If you decide to proceed, your application is completed and returned to Adoption Services, Department of Community Services. After the initial screening is complete, you will be provided with the list of approved private practitioners.

How long will it take?

From the submission of your application until your home study is completed and a decision is made regarding Provincial approval will take between six months to one year.

The length of time for the placement of a child will vary from country to country but may be up to six years. In the majority of adoptions, you will be required to travel to the child's country of origin for placement and to finalize the adoption.

Watch our series of adoption videos,
and review our Directory of Services for Adoptive Parents.