Adoption means taking on the everyday care and upbringing of a child. Those wishing to adopt a child from another country must fulfil a number of conditions.
Adopting a child from another country
About 700 children from other countries are adopted in the Netherlands every year. Those wishing to adopt a child in the Netherlands must fulfil a number of conditions. These conditions are laid down in the Placement for Adoption (Children of Foreign Nationality) Act (WOBKA). Aside from the conditions that apply under Dutch law, prospective adoptive parents must also comply with the laws of the other country. The Adoption Services Foundation provides information to prospective adoptive parents.
Adoption of a Dutch child
Very few children are available for adoption in the Netherlands. The average number is only 28 each year. Anyone wanting to adopt a Dutch child must fulfil a number of conditions. The most important of these are as follows.
- The adoption must be in the child's interests.
- The original parents can no longer care for their child. It is up to the court to determine whether a parent is still able and willing to fulfil his or her role as a parent.
- It is not permitted for the adoptive parents to be the child's grandparents.
- The adoptive parents must be at least 18 years older than the child. There is no maximum age difference.
- Adoption is only granted if neither of the child's legal parents lodges an objection to the adoption application.
The child must be a minor on the date of the application. In the case of a child aged 12 or older, he or she must not have expressed an objection to the adoption. The views of children under 12 years of age are also taken into account. However, for this to apply, the child must be old enough to express a clear opinion and to understand the consequences.
The costs of adoption
In the Netherlands, prospective adoptive parents have to pay €900 to the Adoption Services Foundation for the preparatory work involved in each application. In addition, mediation costs ranging from €7,500 to over €25,000 must be paid. These costs depend, among other things, on the country where the child was born. Adoptive parents may obtain a contribution of €3,700 towards the expenses they incur in adopting a child from another country. This provision is temporary: it only applies to children who were adopted between January 1 2001 and January 2013.
Adoption of a Cambodian child
In May 2003, the Ministry of Justice suspended the adoption of Cambodian children by couples living in the Netherlands, as a result of serious concerns about the lack of due care shown by the Cambodian adoption authorities. This decision was based in part on information provided by the Dutch embassy in Bangkok.
Adopting a child by Dutch citizens living abroad
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Dutch embassies and consulates in other countries do not mediate in adoption procedures by Dutch citizens abroad. For this purpose, you need to contact the local authorities yourself. If you live in another country, you do not need to ask permission from the Dutch authorities to adopt a child.