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Which countries have children you can adopt?

In theory you can adopt from any country in the world as long as a moratorium has not being placed on that country and you fulfil their criteria.

It is a fundamental right for a child to find a family and if they cannot find a family within their country then they have a right to find a family out of their borders. To this extent virtually every country has an intercountry adoption programme.

There are however, several countries, Guatemala, Cambodia, Nepal and Haiti where Britain has placed a suspension on adoption.  You will not be permitted to adopt from any of these countries unless you have an extrememly strong case - such as family adoption. Also some countries will only work with approved adoption agencies in the UK or if they have a bilateral agreement with the UK government. 

Some countries, like Romania, have strict criteria on international adoptions and only allow Romanian citizens to adopt one of their children.

Many countries have very positive international adoption procedures in place and the processes are smooth and relatively easy.

Traditionally, China has had a good inter-country adoption process, however, at present, there is a very long wait (up to 4 years) for Chinese children.

Remember though, that 'all things change in international adoption' and where one country is accepting applicants one day, it could stop at any time, and one country that did not have an adoption programme, may introduce one.  Processes are always being improved and systems overhauled. International adoption has as its very core, the idea of honour and shame, and  thus each country endeavours to do the very best for their children in need. International Adoption Guide aims to keep the most up to date information available.

It is important to bear in mind, a country who is choosing to adopt its children out of the country needs to make sure that the potential parents are going to provide a better home for the child, then the child's birth parents (if still alive) or the institution where they are at the moment. The criteria that the set out are one way that they can begin to screen applicants.

Each country has its own Eligibility Criteria of whom it would like as potential adoptive parents. Only in very exceptional circumstances, (and kinship adoption,) will authorities allow you to adopt without fulfilling the Eligibility Criteria they have set out.


The main criteria that country's look at in prospective adoptive parents for their children are:

1. Age

2. Marital status

3. Religion

4. Number of Marriages

5. Number of Children

6. Financial Status

7. Health both Mental and Physical

8. Other


Some countries have very strict criteria, eg. China has a limit on body mass, others only have two or three criteria that you have to fulfil. Others have residential requirements - the time that you need to spend in the country with the child, before they grant you an adoption order - in some cases it can be as long as six months.

If you do not meet the conditions that they stipulate, that country is unlikely to accept you as possible potential parents for their children in need.

So when choosing which country to adopt from, you must ensure that you meet their eligibility criteria.



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Who are the children waiting to be adopted?

Find out here with the first in our International Adoption Dream series. 

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