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International Adoption

Angelina Jolie

"Nothing would mean anything if I didn't live a life of use to others."

You can adopt a child from overseas providing it can be shown that it is not possible for them to be cared for in their own country of origin, and that adoption in the United Kingdom would be in the child’s best interests. Bear in mind the United Kingdom restricts adoption from certain countries and you would need to persuade the Intercountry Adoption Team why your case should be an exception to the rule.

The first step which needs to be taken to start the process of adopting a child from a foreign country is to contact your own local authority or adoption agency specialising in adoption of a child from overseas.

The application process

The application process for a foreign child will be like that of adopting a child based within the United Kingdom. It will include an assessment (for which a fee may be charged) of you any partner following some preparatory work, including making sure you are a suitable adopter by way of background checks with the Police and other relevant agencies, several meetings with an allocated social worker who will conduct interviews with you, and a medical assessment. There will additional requirements that the adoption agency based within the United Kingdom will be able to advise you upon, including the need for your completed assessment - once your application has been considered and approved by the independent adoption panel within the United Kingdom - being sent to the adoption authority based in the country you are seeking to adopt, upon which you will need to visit any child identified for adoption in their home countr,y before you are able secure entry clearance to bring any child into the United Kingdom. UK government agencies may also charge a fee to deal with your application, which will be based ona sliding scale depending upon your own income.

The Hague Convention

You will be able to seek a formal recognition of any adoption that has taken place in another country providing they are signatories to The Hague Convention, an international treaty wherein different countries recognise orders made in respect to children in others, which can then be registered at the Office of the Registrar General, thereby securing Parental Responsibility and providing the child with a status the same as though they had been your legal child from birth. However, it is important to note that it you live abroad then you must follow the adoption rules of the country in which you reside, and that other countries to which you subsequently travel may not necessarily recognise the adoption.

If you seek to adopt from a country in which any order would not be automatically recognised in the United Kingdom, you need to apply for an Adoption Order in the same way as you would do for a child based in the United Kingdom, providing of course you have been previously recognised as suitable as an adopter and once the child has lived with you for more than a year. The steps you need to take differ depending on where you seek to adopt from and it is important to obtain legal advice about which steps to take in any circumstances before applying for any adoption order. It may also be necessary to obtain expert immigration advice in combination with advice regarding the adoption itself.

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For all of your questions surrounding international adoption, get in touch with our expert Child Law team today.

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