Adopting an Adult Legally in Ontario

A Filipino foster child legally adopted by an Ontario couple at 24 shows you don’t have to be a child to get new parents.

Sponsoring a Foster Child Overseas

Their story together is a long and loving journey. CTA became the couple’s foster child at 11. Proud Foster Parents Plan of Canada sponsors, they grew close to the young girl and her family in the Philippines. Nine years later in 2003, they visited her home country and offered to pay her way through university.

An Education and a Career

CTA had an education, but with no job prospects, she had little future. The couple invited her to Ontario on an international student visa. She arrived in 2007 and after intensive English as a second language classes, completed business administration at Algonquin College. Job offers were immediate. 

Making a Better Life for a Foster Child

CTA had made friends and was starting a new career in Ontario. The couple, her family and CTA decided adoption would give her the best chance of having a better life. Would Ontario family court agree?

Declaring Residency in Ontario

It depended. For CTA to be adopted, she had to be an Ontario resident under the then Child and Family Services Act, repealed in April 2018. The couple was successful on that score. Their foster daughter had lived in Ontario for over three years, attended school, worked part-time and had an Ontario driver’s license. Now with a full-time job, she could apply after a year for permanent residency (PR) as an immigrant under the Canadian Experience Class Program. Even without PR status, she could live and work in Canada for at least three more years just by getting a post graduate work permit.

Flouting Immigration Laws

Was CTA merely trying to jump the immigration queue to get around Canada’s regulations? Others had been rejected on similar grounds. The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled against using courts and provincial legislation to make “accommodation adoptions” that flout federal immigration law. 

A Far Away Family

It wasn’t much of a hard sell to argue CTA was in Canada legitimately. The couple had fostered her for 16 years and, with no children of their own, had formed a close parental bond. CTA called her foster parents mom and dad. They had supported her financially for years and lived together in Ontario for three. Regardless of whether she was adopted, CTA was likely still eligible for PR in Canada.

When Adoption is In Adult’s Best Interests

That just left the question of whether being adopted was in the young woman’s best interests or for her protection and well being. Her parents were alive and well but lived in poverty in the Philippines, with nine children to support. They had independent legal advice when they consented to CTA’s adoption and agreed with her decision to build a new life in Canada if she could. CTA’s foster family had stepped up to give guidance, advice and financial support.

Adopting When Cultural, Parental Gaps Exist

The court agreed with the family that CTA’s parents lacked any experience with Canadian culture, social and work environments to be able to give her advice. The Ontario couple could assist her with personal, professional and cultural dilemmas in a way her parents couldn’t. She would always have family in the Philippines, but her home was in Ontario. The court agreed the adoption would fill the parental gap caused by being so far from her biological family, in an unfamiliar land.

Adopting an Adult Legal in Ontario

CTA’s adoption was approved because she was living far from home and already considered her Ontario family to be her parents. But being a step-parent can also be grounds to adopt an adult child. A 30-year-old woman whose mother remarried asked to be adopted by her stepfather because she wanted the bond she could only experience by being part of a family. 

Step-parents Adopt for Psychological Reasons

Maya and her stepfather hit it off almost immediately. Within three months of her mother’s marriage, she changed her last name to his. The court approved her adoption because it filled the parental gap left by her own father, whom she barely knew. Maya and her stepfather understood the legal consequences and were motivated by her psychological and emotional needs, rather than money.

You Can’t Fool Family Court

Maya and CTA were lucky. A 32-year-old whose grandmother, 92, asked to adopt her was rejected because the relationship didn’t appear parental. The court couldn’t justify the adoption without hearing from other family members. Oh and that “accommodation adoption”? It fell flat because the 28-year-old applicant, a landed immigrant from Guyana, applied to sponsor a sibling here on a visitor’s permit. That, the court decided, looked like an immigration dodge.

Notarize Adoption Papers for a Stepchild

Axess Law’s Ontario notary publics can notarize adoption papers for a stepchild via video conference anywhere in Ontario. Our remote notary publics e-sign legal documents online 7 days a week, day or evening. Dial 1-877-522-9377 or in Greater Toronto 647-479-0118 or use our online booking form for a convenient virtual appointment. In person meetings with notary publics can be arranged at our Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices.

Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s notary public services.

Photo by Sasin Tipchai, Pixabay.