In this case, the parties, “the C’s,” wanted to adopt an adult child, “C.T.A.”, who was born in the Philippines and became the parties’ foster child through the Foster Parents Plan of Canada when she was 11 years old. The C’s developed a strong relationship with C.T.A. and with her family in the Philippines. The C’s paid for C.T.A’s school both in the Philippines and in Canada as C.T.A. came to study here when she was unable to find employment in the Philippines. After she completed her studies here she was offered full-time employment in Canada. The C’s and the child’s biological parties all filed Affidavits in support of the Application for Adoption of C.T.A. by the C’s.
In order to determine whether the C’s should be allowed to adopt C.T.A., the Court had to determine four separate legal issues, which will be dealt with in turn.
1. Was C.T.A. considered a resident of Ontario for the purposes of the requirements under the Child and Family Services Act?
The question of residence can be tricky as it does not have a specific legal definition and, instead, is meant to be determined on the context of the litigation in question. The Court stated that residence is not established simply by the presence of a person in a jurisdiction, but whether there is “a reasonable connection between the child and Ontario” so that they cannot be said to merely be a visitor to Ontario. When looking at the facts of the case, the Court held that as C.T.A. has lived in Ontario with the C’s since 2007, is a full-time student at a post-secondary education, holds an Ontario driver’s licence and plans to obtain full-time employment after her graduation all points to the fact she is a resident of Ontario and not merely a visitor. Therefore, the first statutory requirement for Adoption was met.
2. Was the adoption being used as a means to avoid the stringencies of the Immigration Laws of Canada?
As the Ontario Court of Appeal has held that an Adoption Order should not be allowed as a means to “get around the stringencies or requirements of the Immigration Act,” the Court in this case had to determine whether this was the purpose of the Adoption Application.
The Court held that this Application for the Adoption of C.T.A. was a bona fide one as the C’s provided C.T.A with support and guidance over the 16 years which she lived with them and she even refers to them as Mom and Dad. Furthermore, C.T.A. was living in Ontario with a student Visa and was entitled to apply for a post-graduate work permit that would allow her to continue to reside in this Country. After working here for one year, she would easily have qualified for Immigration status on her own. As such, she did not need the C’s to Adopt her in order to obtain this status. Taking the above into consideration, the Court was convinced that the Adoption was for the purpose of creating a new relationship of parent and child between the C’s and C.T.A.
3. Was there an essential purpose for this adoption, namely to fill in a parental gap?
In a case entitled, Q. (A.L.K.), Re, the Court “held that the evidence in support of an adult adoption must satisfy the court that there is a parental gap that needs to be filled; that the biological relationship should be replaced by a new parent-child relationship in the form proposed by the applicant.”
Although C.T.A had parents living in the Philippines, they were living in poverty and consented to the proposed Adoption as they understood that C.T.A. wished to reside permanently in Canada. Furthermore, with her decision to begin a new life in Canada and all of, C.T.A. would require the parental support and guidance as had been provided by the C’s for quite some time. The Court held that there was a clear parental gap in C.T.A’s life which needed to be filled as her own parents would not be able to assist in the position that they were in, in the Philippines. Therefore, this proposed adoption was to “provide C.T.A with the parental relationship that she needs and that is missing in her new life in Ontario.”
4. Will the proposed Adoption promote the adult child’s best interest, protection and well-being?
On this issue, the Court simply held that this Adoption was in C.T.A.’s best interests as it would provide her “with a strong parent-child relationship well equipped to assist her in all aspects of her life.”
The final ruling on this case was that the Adoption of C.T.A. by the C’s would be allowed.
This is a very interesting case as the adoption of adult children is not a common occurrence. Many, including this writer, would initially think that if one is an adult, there should be no reason why they would need to be Adopted by other adults. The decision of this Court shows that there are exceptional circumstances, such as the one in this case, which ought to allow for the adoption of adults to occur. There is no doubt that C.T.A. will benefit from this adoption as will others with exceptional circumstances.