Conditions for adopting a Dutch child

Anyone wanting to adopt a child from the Netherlands must fulfil a number of conditions. You must, for example, be at least 18 years older than the child you want to adopt.

Conditions for couples adopting a child

There are a number of conditions that apply specifically to couples.

  • Adoption by couples of the same sex or of different sexes

    Couples must have been living together for at least 3 years when they start the adoption procedure. They must be able to prove this with a cohabitation agreement or information from the Personal Records Database (BRP). They must also have been caring for and raising the child for at least one year. The couple does not have to be married.
  • Adoption by one parent (partner adoption)

    A child may be adopted by their father’s or mother’s new partner. This kind of adoption by one person is called partner adoption. The partner must have been living with the legal parent for at least 3 years when they start the adoption procedure, and must have cared for the child for at least one year.
  • Adoption by co-mothers (duomoeders)

    The conditions regarding cohabitation and caring for the child do not apply to co-mothers. A woman can adopt her partner’s child before or after birth.

General conditions for adopting a Dutch child

Besides the conditions that apply specifically to couples, partners and co-mothers, there are a number of general conditions.

  • The adoption must be in the child’s interests.
  • The birth 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.
  • The child is a minor. A child aged 12 or older must agree to the adoption.
  • Grandparents may not adopt their own grandchild.
  • You must be at least 18 years older than the child you want to adopt.

Starting an adoption procedure

If you want to adopt a Dutch child, you must start by submitting a request to the court. For this you will need a lawyer.

Joint parental responsibility as an alternative to adoption

If adoption is not possible or desirable, it may be possible to share parental responsibility for the child.