Conditions for adopting a child from abroad

Anyone wanting to adopt a child from another country must fulfil a number of conditions. To start the adoption procedure you also need a 'declaration of approval in principle'. This document shows that, in the opinion of the Dutch government, you are suitable to adopt a child from another country.

Conditions for couples adopting a child from another country

The following conditions apply to couples:

  • Adoption by a man and a woman

    A married man and woman may adopt a child from another country together.
  • Adoption by same-sex couples

    Two men or two women may adopt a child from another country together. However, this is only possible if the country in question will allow a child to be adopted by a same-sex couple.
  • One-parent adoption

    In principle one person may adopt a child from another country on their own. But the scope for one-parent adoption is limited abroad. Many countries prefer married couples. In addition, most countries will not accept individual applicants with a partner of the same sex.

General conditions for adopting a child from abroad

Besides the conditions that apply specifically to couples and individuals, there are a number of general conditions for adopting a child from another country.

  • You must be under the age of 42 when you request the declaration of approval in principle. In certain circumstances an exception may be made.
  • You and, if applicable, your partner must give permission for the Criminal Records Register to be consulted.
  • The age difference between the older adoptive parent and the child may not be more than 40 years. In certain circumstances an exception may be made.
  • Your health may not form an obstacle to the adoption. You must undergo a medical examination.
  • You must be resident in the Netherlands.
  • From the moment the child leaves its country to come to the Netherlands you are obliged to pay for the care and upbringing of the child.
  • The child’s country of origin may also set conditions for the adoption, for example relating to your health, age or income.

Declaration of approval in principle

The adoption procedure starts when you apply for a declaration of approval in principle from the Foundation Adoption Services. The Central Authority on International Children’s Issues ensures the adoption procedure is conducted with due care and that the adoption is in the best interests of the child. The arrangements for adopting children from abroad are laid down in the Hague Adoption Convention.

Mediation during the adoption procedure

The mediation phase is part of the adoption procedure. Mediation for adoption is conducted by a licence holder. Licence holders are organisations that have been licensed by the Ministry of Security and Justice to act as mediators during the adoption of a child from another country.