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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Intercountry adoption

Although there are many children in the UK who are looking for an adoptive family, there are also many children overseas who need homes. You can give them the opportunity to belong to a permanent family, but there are rules and regulations you need to be aware of.

The regulations for intercountry adoption

Intercountry adoption is allowed in circumstances where:

  • the child cannot be cared for in a safe environment in their own country
  • the adoption would be in the best interests of the child and wouldn’t affect their internationally recognised human rights
  • the adopter has been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK

First steps for adopting a child from overseas

If you wish to adopt a child from overseas you should speak to either:

  • your local authority (LA)
  • a voluntary adoption agency registered to provide an intercountry adoption service

Contact details for both of these can be found on the intercountry adoption section of the Department for Education (DfE) website.

The intercountry adoption process

Once you have decided to adopt a child from overseas, your suitability will be assessed by a UK adoption agency. This assessment will be the same as if you were adopting in the UK.

The following will then occur:

  • the relevant papers will be sent to the DfE for checking and a certificate of eligibility to adopt will be issued
  • the DfE will then forward the paperwork to the overseas authority, which will look for a suitable match with a child
  • you will visit the child in the child’s country
  • your adoption agency will ask you to confirm that you want to go ahead with the adoption
  • you will need to request the necessary confirmations overseas and in the UK to return home with the child (your adoption agency will advise you)

Other regulations you need to consider

Your adoption agency will be able to advise you on issues including:

  • legal requirements and conditions for adopting children into the UK
  • whether or not you need to re-adopt your child in the UK
  • which countries you are not allowed to adopt from
  • adoption from British citizens living abroad
  • registration of foreign adoptions

You can get detailed information on these issues from the intercountry adoption section of the DfE website.

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