The intercountry adoption process

All potential adopters can attend an Intercountry Information Session at IAC wherever you are based in the UK.  However, the Advice Line is only available to potential adopters where their Local Authority has a Subscription or Service Level Agreement with IAC.

IAC will usually only be able to undertake an assessment of your suitability to adopt (often called the Home Study) if you live in the area of a Local Authority or Regional Adoption Agency which commissions IAC to provide that service for its residents.You may then wish to request an Information Pack for Intercountry Adoption through the Contact Us page.

Adoption as a way to found or extend your family requires patience and persistence and deciding whether to consider domestic or intercountry adoption, and if the latter, which country, means gathering as much information as you can in the early stages. If you are unsure then consider looking at both and attending Information Sessions on both domestic and intercountry initially. Most prospective adopters find the Intercountry Adoption Information Sessions very helpful alongside contact with the Advice Line. If you have interested family members or friends IAC also runs an Information Days for Family and Friends which may be of interest once you have made your decision to pursue intercountry adoption.

You may then wish to request an Initial Interview with a social worker to help in your decision making. Following this interview, and assuming that there were no contraindications to your eligibility either in the UK or with the country you wished to adopt from, IAC would send you a Registration of Interest Form.

You would then commence the Approval Process (see below).

IAC undertakes adoption assessments for many Local Authorities in England. To check if your Local Authority is on the IAC list click Where do you live.

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 work would be undertaken locally by Adoption Matters and Nugent Care in the North of England and ARC Adoption in the North east of England.

The approval process

The following is a brief overview. Please refer to the Information Pack for Intercountry Adoption for a detailed explanation.

  • Registration of Interest Form accepted by agency
  • Stage One of the Approval Process commences ( normally 2 months)
  • Prospective Adopters attend Preparation Course
  • Prospective Adopters gather information for Adoption Portfolio
  • Agency undertakes all statutory checks on prospective adopters

Stage One review

If all checks satisfactory prospective adopters proceed to stage two.

Stage Two of the Approval Process (normally 4 months)

  • Attendance at additional training( if required)
  • Home Study Assessment with Social Worker
  • Adoption Panel and Recommendation as to suitability
  • Agency Decision Maker approval
  • Papers sent to the Department for Education for processing and issue of Certificate of Eligibility before sending overseas to country.

Once your papers are in your chosen country

Once your papers have been sent overseas you will be placed on a waiting list. How long you will wait to be matched with a child will depend upon each country and the individual children waiting in country. In general if you are flexible with regard to gender or are willing to accept a child with special needs the wait for a placement will be shorter.

What people say 

“Our social worker was so helpful, understanding, interested, kind and amazing”
“To be invited to the panel is an inspiring experience. We were very well satisfied with the excellent service, sympathy and most of all the warm and friendly atmosphere”Stage One review