The purpose of intercountry adoptions is in all cases to further the interests of the children being adopted.

Intercountry adoptions

  • help children who have no possibility of being in families and who are at risk of being in long-term institutional care in their own country
  • ensure that children are in families that have the relevant adoption permits and are well prepared to receive children and support them in different stages of life
  • comply with adoption practices that respect children’s rights, the adoption laws of Finland and children’s birth countries as well as international agreements on children’s rights and intercountry adoptions

Adopted children require parents who are suitably prepared to receive them, whose life situations and resources provide ample scope to secure for the children a good childhood and adolescence and to support them into adulthood.

The adoption process begins and ends with adoption counselling

The adoption process starts with adoption counselling, a statutory service, which in Finland municipal social welfare authorities or Save the Children’s regional offices provide.

Intercountry adoption service and applying for an adoption permit

Following adoption counselling, prospective adoptive parents apply for a permit for intercountry adoption. The permit division of the Finnish Adoption Board handles permit applications. The requirement for applying for an adoption permit is that applicants are clients of an adoption service provider. Once a permit has been granted, an adoption application can be sent to the country the applicants have selected. The intercountry adoption service provides instructions concerning the application process, forwards the adoptive parents’ application to the adoption country, and monitors the course of the adoption process, while providing support to the adoptive families.

Applicants are not in contact with the authorities in the birth countries of the children they will adopt. Information about an identified child is sent to the adoptive parents via the intercountry adoption service. Decisions on placing a child with a family abroad are always taken by the authorities in the child’s respective birth country (in some cases in cooperation with the service provider). Adoptive parents travel to fetch the child themselves from the birth country.

The intercountry adoption process proceeds according to the schedule of the child and the adoption authorities  in the child’s country of birth. The waiting period varies and cannot be predicted. Adoptive parents are asked to be flexible, to put up with the uncertainties of the process and to be ready to be obliging during the variable waiting stage. During this time, applicants should be in contact and cooperating with the adoption service and, when necessary, the adoption counselling service.