The adoption of a child that is habitually resident in another country.
In most cases, adopting a child from another country takes a great deal of time and commitment from the prospective adopters. Legally, it is very complex. Before taking the decision to adopt a child from another country, it is advisable to carry out careful research and to take some legal advice to get you on the right track.
It is not advisable to identify the child that you wish to adopt before proceeding with the adoption process. If you are in this position, you should seek immediate legal advice.
This is a very broad summary of the first important steps you will need to take. They can vary depending on the circumstances:
An overseas adoption is recognised in the UK if the child’s country of origin is a signatory to the Hague Convention. The legal process for adoption will take place in the child’s country of origin and not in Britain. The adopted child will be granted British citizenship so long as you (or your partner) are a British citizen and both of you are habitually resident in the British Isles.
An overseas adoptions from a country listed in the Adoption (Designation of Overseas Adoption) Order 1973 will also be recognised in British law. However, the child will not automatically be entitled to British citizenship.
Adoption from countries that are not signatures to the Hague Convention or on the designated list will not be recognised in the UK. In those cases, the prospective adopters would have to apply for an adoption order in the British courts after going through the legal process in the child’s country of origin. If the adoption order is made in Britain, the child will automatically be entitled to British citizenship, as long as one of the adoptive parents is a British citizen.