Intercountry Adoption

IAC has assisted many families to adopt a child or children from overseas. We have seen that no two adoption stories are ever the same, for the Agency or for the family. The knowledge we have accumulated from working all over the world, as well as our professional networks and links overseas, has equipped us to support prospective adoptive parents throughout their journeys. We are the lead agency in the Intercountry Adoption Regional Adoption Agency and through our partnerships are able to offer services to prospective adopters in many areas of the UK. (See Where do you live).


Some families come to IAC very clear about which country they wish to adopt from. They may have family connections locally, or are originally from that country, or they might be adopting a child who is related to them. Others are less certain and seek guidance to help explore their options. When adopting a child from overseas, prospective parents need to be respectful of a child’s culture, particularly if it is not the same as their own. They must be willing to engage with their adoptive child’s background and to ensure that they grow up with a full sense of their cultural heritage.

When adopting from abroad, it is important to note that you must be eligible to adopt both within the UK as well as from the relevant country overseas. Sometimes that country’s eligibility criteria might be different or more stringent than the UK’s, so the first step for potential adopters is to check their eligibility by contacting the Advice Line. The FAQ section may also answer some of the basic questions.

IAC works with many individuals seeking to adopt from many countries around the world and our world map illustrates the range of countries our families have adopted from. Not all countries are ‘open’ for adoption – some because the country itself does not wish to place children overseas and others because the UK currently restricts adoption from a country, due to concerns about the processes in country. Cambodia, Guatemala, Haiti and Nepal are currently restricted.

However in addition to a standard intercountry adoption service we offer a fuller service to assist families to adopt from a number of countries where IAC is accredited or registered with that country as agency able to manage more pro actively placements of children from the country. These are our Special Programme countries and currently we have special programmes with India, People’s Republic of China for placement of special needs children, The Philippines for children in the special homefinding categories, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and South Africa.

Generally, children adopted from overseas carry the legacy of their time spent in orphanages or institutions, where they often cannot be given consistent one-to-one care. Though many flourish when placed with their adoptive families, others may have health or emotional issues as a result.

IAC offers a comprehensive range of services for intercountry adoptive parents, both before and after adoption. This section of the website provides information about the services we offer at all stages of your journey. IAC has arrangements with the local authorities for whom it undertakes the assessment process. To find out if your local authority uses the IAC service, follow the link to The Intercountry Adoption Process.

In the north west and north east of England IAC works in partnership with other voluntary adoption agencies in order to provide prospective and existing adopters with more localised services. Whilst IAC would be responsible for the process of assessing and supporting adopters through to placement, certain aspects of the service would be offered locally by Adoption Matters and Nugent Adoption in the North of England and ARC Adoption North East in the North east of England.

Being approved to adopt a child from overseas entails a similar process to that which is undertaken when adopting a child from the UK. The one fundamental difference, however, is that anybody seeking to adopt a child from abroad must pay for the assessment process themselves. This is generally in the region of £10000-£12000. There are also additional charges that apply in intercountry adoption and it is therefore important that you fully consider the financial implications before beginning the process. The Information Pack for Intercountry Adoption details the charges. To obtain a pack complete the Contact Us form.