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At OTS Solicitors, our family law team have years of experience in inter-country adoption. We help prospective parents navigate the often-complex laws around adopting a child from overseas. We are an award-winning law firm and are highly-ranked in the Legal 500 and work hard to maintain our outstanding client satisfaction in this area.
To speak to our top family law solicitors based in London, please contact us on 0203 959 9123, or contact us through our online enquiry form.
For more on how our Family team can help you, visit our dedicated Family Law site.
At OTS Solicitors, our family law team possess a wealth of experience advising and representing on inter-country adoption matters. We provide caring, practical advice in a friendly, sensitive manner. Our primary aim is to consider the best interests of the child and assist you to bring them to the UK. OTS Solicitors also specialises in Immigration law. Our Immigration and family law collaborate extensively to ensure clients who are considering international adoption are supported through every stage of the process.
Jordana Adam heads our family lawyers in London. Jordana has over five years’ experience in family law and litigation and is a member of Resolution, an organisation whose members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family. The group also lobbies for changes in family law to ensure it is meeting the needs of the community.
What are the residency criteria if I wish to adopt a child from overseas?
You are not required to be a British Citizen to adopt a child from a foreign country, but you do need Indefinite Leave to Remain or Permanent Residence. You must also be habitually resident in the UK. Our Immigration solicitors can advise you whether or not you meet the criteria.
What is the application process for inter-country adoption?
There is a strict application process for adopting children from overseas, and failure to abide by it could see you commit a criminal offence. We understand this process and can advise and represent you through every stage.
The first step in the process is to contact an adoption agency that specialises in overseas adoptions. Our solicitors will not only work with you but also with the agency you choose to ensure your overseas adoption progresses smoothly.
The approval process will take around four to six months. It will include attending training courses, interviews, one or more home visits with a social worker.
If you are approved, you will then be put on a waiting list until you are matched with a child.
Can I adopt from any country?
When it comes to foreign adoption, countries are divided into three groups:
• Hague Convention countries
• designated list countries
• countries that fit into neither category
Hague Convention Countries
The UK is a signatory country to the 1993 Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention). If you wish to adopt a child from another country which has signed up to the Hague Convention, you will need to follow the process the convention lays out.
In the UK, the Department of Education overseas Hague Convention adoptions. All prospective adoptees must be approved under the process laid out in Article 17. This means being approved by the relevant local body and an Article 17 certificate issued which concludes the assessment and approval process and states that neither central authority objects to the adoption proceeding.
A Hague Convention adoption is recognised under UK law, and the parent/s will not need to re-adopt the child once he or she enters Britain. In addition, if one of the parents is a British Citizen, the child will automatically be granted British Nationality.
Designated List countries
The Designated List refers to the list of countries that are named in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973. The UK automatically recognises an adoption made in any of the countries named on the Designated List. However, unlike an adoption from a Hague Convention country, you will need to apply for British Citizenship for the adopted child if your application is successful.
The decision to grant British Citizenship is entirely at the discretion of the Home Office. Our experienced immigrate department can organise an application for British Citizenship for you and answer any questions the Home Office has on your behalf.
Adopting from other countries
If the child you wish to adopt is from a country that is not a signatory to the Hague Convention or on the Designated List, any adoption will not be recognised under UK law, meaning you will need to apply to a UK court for an adoption order.
This process is governed by section 83 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. It outlines a strict process which must be followed by the prospective adopting parents. This includes:
• having a full assessment by a registered adoption agency
• being notified that the Secretary of State has issued a certificate to the relevant authority in the child’s country
• providing the adoption agency with all the information regarding the child you plan to adopt
• visiting the child’s country
• notify the adoption agency of the date the child will enter the UK
• applying for an adoption order within two weeks of the child entering the UK
Do I have to be in a relationship to adopt a child from overseas?
You do not have to be in a relationship to adopt a child. However, you must be over 21 years of age.
Let us advise you through the inter-country adoption process
Our family and Immigration law solicitors have the experience you can rely on to help you navigate through the complicated process of adopting a child from overseas. We are a friendly, sensitive, compassionate team, dedicated to caring for the best interests of the child and helping parents make their dreams of adopting from overseas materialise.
Many parents have entrusted us to assist them with adopting a child from overseas. We take our responsibilities to them and the child extremely seriously. By approaching each case in a bespoke manner, we ensure every family who comes to us feels fully supported throughout the inter-country adoption process.