Inter Country Adoption


This procedure applies to the assessment and approval of applicants resident in the UK who wish to adopt a child who is resident abroad; it also covers the procedures to be followed by the Adoption agency in relation to the placement of a child resident abroad with approved adopters.

For procedures in relation to the placement of a child resident in the UK with adopters resident overseas, see Placement for Adoption Procedure.


Adoption Support Fund

Adopting a Child from Overseas, GOV.UK


Recruitment, Assessment and Approvals of Prospective Adopters Procedure

1. Introduction

Enquiries and Applications for overseas adoption can only be accepted from residents of the local authority's area.

Applications will be accepted from couples or single people.

Applicants will be expected to identify one country from which they wish to adopt and should have a good understanding of that country's culture and be able to demonstrate that understanding. Applicants will be expected to bring any adopted child up in the knowledge that they are adopted and to preserve and promote the child's cultural and ethnic origin.

There is a charge for the assessment process for applicants.

The Adoption Agency do not undertake inter-country assessments and this work will be undertaken by an Adoption Agency specialising in inter-country adoption.

2. Responding to Requests for Information

All requests for information about inter country adoption made by telephone or letter will be responded to promptly. Staff in the Adoption agency will establish that the caller lives in the local authority area and if so, send an Adoption Information Pack relating to both domestic and advise the caller to look at the website with the detailed information regarding inter country adoption from the Inter Country Adoption within 5 working days. An Initial Enquiry Form should be completed in relation to each enquiry received and Information Pack sent.

The Information Pack will include information about the nature and implications of adoption, the procedures involved in adopting a child domestically.

Any caller wanting to consider inter country adoption will be spoken to by a Social Worker from the Advice and Support Line and advised of the process and the costs involved and to seek potential legal advice. During this conversation the Social worker will discuss domestic adoption and the children who are waiting in the Adopt South West region and nationwide to consider their expressed matching criteria.

The information will also relate to the preparation and support services available to adopters (made available before, during and after adoption), including addresses and other contact points of other agencies that may be able to assist the prospective adopters particularly in relation to any specific requirements of different countries, for example the Department for Education website.

Those receiving the Information Pack will be asked to contact the Adoption agency if they wish to know more and proceed further.

If the applicant wishes to proceed with inter country adoption the Adoption Agency will provide advice and guidance in how they can pursue this. Adopt South est will liase with a suitable agency to undertake this assessment. The Agency undertaking the assessment will be responsible for providing all the relevant training and undertaking all the required checks and references.

3. Initial Meeting

Those who contact the Adoption Service to know more will be invited to the office or visited at home or invited to an Information Meeting, to explore the main issues. It is expected that where prospective adopters are a couple, both will be present.

The purposes of the initial meeting are:

  • To explore why the prospective adopters wish to adopt, whether they have considered domestic adoption and how fully they understand the issues and challenges involved in adopting from overseas;
  • To discuss the need to identify personal referees, the process of Disclosure and Barring Service and other required checks including full medical reports;
  • To discuss and advise on any factors that may have an adverse effect on their application including any health problems, previous police convictions, age restrictions for such countries as China, financial status and particularly whether they are in receipt of any public funds that may affect their application;
  • To identify tasks that the prospective adopters will need to complete before proceeding to a formal application, including the need to have identified the country from which they wish to adopt and the relevant regulations for that country;
  • If the prospective adopters have not identified the country from which they wish to adopt, they should be encouraged to consider this and to begin to develop their knowledge of the country chosen;
  • To answer as far as possible any questions the prospective adopters may have regarding inter country adoption;
  • To explain clearly the law relating to inter country adoption and the need to comply with the relevant requirements, including whether they meet the relevant requirements as to Domicile and Habitual Residence (all prospective adopters must either be domiciled or have been habitually resident in Great Britain for a minimum of one year) - see Intercountry Adoption and Resident Status Requirements (The entry clearance requirements vary depending upon the circumstances of each case and prospective adopters will need to obtain their own independent legal advice to establish the requirements that apply to their individual circumstances);
  • To explain the implications for the adoption process of whether the chosen country is a Designated Country or a Non-Designated Country, and whether the Hague Convention applies;
  • To outline the process involved in adopting a child from overseas;
  • To identify the adoption service's expectations of the prospective adopters, including their attendance at Preparation Groups, their commitment to the home study process and their commitment to complete pieces of work themselves as part of the home study;
  • To explain the Council's charges for the home study and the charges involved in attending Preparation Groups. Also to explain that the charges are non refundable and are payable regardless of whether or not the applicants are approved.