If you are considering intercountry adoption as a family building option, you must follow strict UK and international laws. These laws are designed to safeguard against the trafficking of children and to promote their safety and welfare.
There are various different types of intercountry adoption, including:
- adoption under the terms of the Hague Convention
- adoption from a country on the Designated List of countries for adoption
- ‘other’ adoption
Adoption under the terms of the Hague Convention
A number of countries have signed up to the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation with respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention). The UK implemented the Hague Convention on 1 June 2003. There are two types of order made under the convention:
- A full adoption order in the state of origin of the child which is certified as valid by the relevant foreign authority (as designated by the Hague Convention) will be recognised under UK law.
- An interim order in the state of origin of the child that requires the adoption to be completed in the UK (since interim orders are not valid under UK law).
You will need to comply with the intercountry adoption process and obtain a certificate of approval from the Department for Education (DfE) in the UK to become an adoptive parent. The DfE then liaises with the relevant adoption authorities in your chosen adoption destination country with a view to adopting a child.
You must also ensure you obtain the right immigration law status for your child to enter the UK under the Immigration Rules.
Adoption from a country on the designated list of countries for adoption
Adoptions effected in countries listed in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoption) Order 1973 are recognised in the UK. Designated countries include the United States of America, many Commonwealth countries and most Western European countries.
You will need to follow the intercountry adoption process in full and obtain a certificate of approval from the Department for Education (DfE) in the UK to become an adoptive parent. The DfE then liaises with the relevant adoption authorities in your adoption destination country with a view to adopting a child.
You must also ensure you have obtained the right immigration law status for your child to gain entry into the UK under the Immigration Rules.
Adoptions effected in countries that are not Hague Convention countries or countries that are not on the Designated List are not recognised under UK law. An adopter will need to apply for an adoption order in the UK and it allows the admission of children from countries where no legal adoption procedure exists or where the system operating is not recognised by the UK.
You will still need to follow the intercountry adoption process prior to adoption in the same way as those adopting from a recognised country.
You must ensure your child has the right immigration status to gain entry into the UK.
There are a number of general overriding principles that you will need to take into account if you are considering intercountry adoption:
- Strict compliance with the law and procedure and requirements of the relevant agencies.
- Failure to comply with the law and procedure may result in criminal sanctions.
- The importance of crafting a viable immigration law plan so your child can enter/reside in the UK.
- An awareness of the wider sensitivities associated with adoption.
- The costs and timescales associated with the adoption process.
How we can help
If you would like to discuss your personal situation in more detail or you would like more information about intercountry adoption please email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us +44 (0)207 222 1244.