Adoption of an Adult Child: A. (C.T.), Re

Background

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.

Analysis

 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.

Andrew Feldstein

The Feldstein Family Law Group (FFLG) is one the largest family law firms that practices Family Law exclusively in Greater Toronto, with ten lawyers and counting. The boutique law firm has won the Top Choice Award for Family Law™ in Toronto for the past eleven years (2007 to 2017 inclusive).

Managing Partner Andrew Feldstein has been practicing family law for more than 20 years and frequently comments on Family Law issues through the media. The Feldstein Family Law Group offers vast written, video, and media resources on its website to those who find that they need to end their relationship.

This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Although the idea of an adult adoption may seem unnecessary at first, adult adoptions occur for a variety of reasons, such as for inheritance purposes, to formalize a parent-child relationship, to be recognized as family in emergency situations, and for insurance purposes. It appears as though all relevant factors were examined thoroughly in this case and I am glad that the courts were able to grant the parties the adoption that they sought.

  2. I am the Mr. C. referred to in this blog and C.T.A. (now C.A.C.) is my daughter. It’s been three years since our adoption of C.A.C. and I am very happy to report that she got married to a Filipino-Canadian last May. Sadly, the highlight of our year was soon overshadowed by bad news. Just six weeks after her wedding, and after waiting three years while it was being processed, we learned that C.A.C’s application for Canadian citizenship on the basis of the adoption by Canadians… was denied. The denial was based on the citizenship officer not being “satisfied that the adoption was not entered into primarily for the purpose of acquiring a status or privilege in relation to immigration or citizenship.” The real tragedy of this denial is that our daughter had by then missed the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status under the Canadian Experience Class regulations of the IRPA (referred to in the adoption decision as “she would have easily qualified for immigration status on her own”), and her student visa and post-graduation work permit expired within days of the denial. Now, she is fighting to remain in Canada. Because she was the main breadwinner of the couple, we are unsure whether CIC will consider her husband eligible to sponsor her for PR status. At this point, it is very much up in the air whether this fairytale sponsorship-leading-to-adoption story will have a “happily ever after in Canada” ending or not. We can only hope. At this point, it is very unclear whether C.A.C did in fact benefit from the adoption.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *