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choosing a country to adopt from

One of the questions we get asked quite often is “why Africa?” People want to know why we chose Africa instead of Haiti, or South America, or Eastern Europe, or Asia. Quite simply God really put Africa on our hearts. I really don’t know how else to explain it, ever since I was a teenager I knew I wanted to adopt from Africa, I never had a specific country in mind but I knew that the need throughout the continent was great and every time I would watch World Vision on tv, if they were in an African country I was glued to it (did anyone else watch that?).

So obviously we were very biased towards Africa but we did look into other countries and continents and each was not right for us in some way. Saskatchewan was closed to Hatian adoptions (and we didn’t meet the requirements anyway), countries in South America usually involve extended stays, the process in Eastern Europe involves a lot more paperwork and time . . . We even looked into different  countries in Africa before deciding on the DRC. And while Congo might be the right place for us I know it won’t be right for everyone so I wanted to share some things to consider when choosing a country.

Make sure Canada/your province is open to adopting from that country. You can see a list of countries that Canada and certain provinces are closed to here. As of right now Canada is closed to Cambodia, Georgia, Guatemala, Liberia and Nepal. And British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan are all closed to Haiti.

Make sure you meet the countries requirements. This is a little vague but each country has their own set of requirements for adoptive parents. To give you an example the requirements the DRC has are:

  • married couple and singles over 25
  • singles can adopt children of the same sex
  • couples should be married 5 years
  • should not have more than 2 children at home already (though this has been waived in some cases)

Each country is different, from what I read Haiti requires at least one parent should be 35 years or older, some countries require a minimum of 20 years between the age of the parents and the child they are adopting, and the list can go on.

Look into the travel requirements. Some countries require multiple visits, some require one period of travel for 7-14 days and others require residency for 6 months or even more. It is something important to research and find out if it is something that will work for your family.

If you have gotten this far and found a country that works for you the next step would be to find an agency. Depending where you live this may be an easy or difficult task. Since I really only know about Saskatchewan and adopting from the DRC here are a couple of agencies that I know of:

MLJ Adoptions –  I know of a few couples (one from Saskatchewan) that are going through this agency.
A Love Beyond Borders – I know of a couple adopting though this agency, though they are not Canadian. I have emailed the agency before to see if they work with Canadians but never got a reply. They do have a list of waiting children in the DRC which I frequently visit and wish I could adopt everyone of them.
Choices Adoption –  They are based out of BC and when I emailed them a year ago they wouldn’t work with couples from Saskatchewan but I do know that they work with couples from other provinces.

I am sure there are more agencies but these are the ones I am currently aware of.

The last step I’m going to mention though it really should be done throughout is to pray about it. Adoption is a process and while I know some people are given visions and told to adopt, that didn’t happen with us. We are going through it feeling that this is what God wants us to do and we will pursue it until the end or until we hit a wall we don’t know how to knock down.

As always I would love to hear from other who have adopted, or are in the process or even/especially those that are thinking about it. I am always happy to answer any questions you have so feel free to leave a note in the comments or send me an email.

with love,

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  1. Wow, I never thought about the fact that each country has requirements for the adoptive families, although it makes perfect sense that they do. I have never thought of adopting before, but I really appreciate hearing about your process and some of the issues/challenges associated with it. Thanks for sharing! Hugs xoxo

  2. Great post, Chantel! People always ask us, “Why Ethiopia?” and my answer is that it chose us. Well, really, God chose it and then opened the doors only for that country. What fits for each family will be different, but that’s a beautiful thing.

  3. I agree completly – that God makes that choice for you. I’ve had a desire to adopt since my senior year of HS (many moons ago) and always felt drawn to China or Vietnam, but even though abortion rates are extremely high in Vietnam and the need is great- Vietnam is a closed country for US citizens due to past corruptions etc – when we did begin our process – we started with a program for Korea and the entire time God was leading us away from that to China special needs… A story for another time but the more we tried to move forward with Korea, the more obstacles (i truly feel the Lord placed) arose leading us to another path (changing to china)
    We have friends adopting domestically and from various countries but there truly is this confidence/peace that “here” is where we are meant to be….

    1. Just another way we are similar Janice. 🙂 We actually started the process by trying to adopt through Ethiopia but after a few month that door was shut and we were on the search to find out where God had opened another one for us to go through. It is amazing how He will lead you right where you need to go at the right time.

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