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Adoption 3C

International Adoption

Are you considering adopting a child from another country besides the UK or are you resident in another country and considering adopting a child from the UK?

This is known as intercountry adoption and is governed by both the laws of the country in which the child lives and the country in which you, the adoptive parents, live.

What does UK law require?

  1. UK laws for adoption apply to all children brought to the UK to prospective adopters who are residents of the UK. This applies regardless of their nationality.
  2. UK law requires an adoption agency to carry out an initial assessment to check that the prospective adopters are suitable to adopt.
  3. Depending on the type of adoption, there are very rigid steps and requirements that must be adhered to by the prospective adopters.       Failure to comply could be seen as a criminal offence.

What are the types of adoption?

There are three main types of intercountry adoption in the UK:

  1. Hague Convention Adoptions
    These are adoptions to or from the UK with a county in which the Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Hague Convention) is in force. The distinct process is prescribed by the Hague Convention.
    A Hague Convention adoption that has taken place overseas is recognised in the UK and there is no need to adopt the child again in the UK.
  2. Designated List Adoptions
    Adoptions made on or after 3 January 2014 are automatically recognised in the UK if it took place in a country listed on The Adoption (Recognition of Overseas Adoptions) Order 2013.
    Adoptions made before 3 January 2014 in any country listed on The Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) Order 1973 and the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoptions) (Variation) Order 1993 are also recognised in UK law and so there is no need to readopt the child in the UK for the adoption to be recognised.
    Countries on the designated list can be found at the Department for Education’s website.
  3. Other
    If the child you are adopting has not already been adopted overseas in a country recognised by the UK then you will need to get an adoption order from the UK Court.

Which adoption process applies to me?

There are two distinct intercountry adoption processes under UK law: the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. The route you take will depend on whether the country involved is also a party to the Hague Convention.

Our specialist team of lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal requirements of both the Hague Convention process and the non-Hague Convention process. As a member of the MSI Global Alliance of lawyers and accountants we have access to adoption lawyers in many countries and our extensive experience of working with the Department for Education will also ensure your adoption order is obtained as smoothly as possible.

The International Family Law team

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