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The Adoption Process

What you need to know

IAA are committed to providing information and support to families who are engaged in intercountry adoption. This page is being updated, and will provide initial answers to some frequently asked questions. Read more....


Adoption Process

Introduction to Intercountry Adoption


This guide is intended for people interested in intercountry adoption, who are resident in Ireland.  Irish residents who wish to adopt a child abroad are required to have their eligibility and suitability established by the HSE or by an accredited assessment agency prior to adopting.


The eligibility criteria for adoption are provided for under the Adoption Act 2010.  In order to be eligible to adopt you must fall into one of the following categories:

  • You are a married couple living together. This is the only circumstance where the law permits the adoption of a child by more than one person;


  • You are a married person living alone. In this circumstance the spouse’s consent to the adoption must be obtained, unless they are living apart and are separated under (i) a court decree, (ii) a deed of separation, (iii) the spouse has deserted the prospective adopter or (iv) conduct on the part of the spouse results in the prospective adopter,with just cause, leaving the spouse and living apart;


  • You are the mother, father or a relative of the child (relative meaning a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the child and/or the spouse of any such person, the relationship to the child being traced through the mother or the father);


  • You are a widow/widower;


  • You are a sole applicant not covered in any of the categories above and the Adoption Authority is satisfied that, in the particular circumstances of the case, it is desirable to grant an adoption order.

There is also a minimum age limit for adoption. You must be at least 21 years of age if the child is not a relative. If the child is to be adopted by the natural father or mother, or a relative of the child, only one of you must have attained the age of 21.

Currently there is NO UPPER AGE LIMIT in Irish statute in relation to intercountry adoption, nor is one applied by the Adoption Authority in relation to the decision to issue a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability (“Declaration”).

As regards residency, you must be ordinarily resident in the State and must have resided in the State for at least one year before the date of the making of the Adoption Order.


Suitability assessments may only be carried out by the HSE or by any accredited assessment agency.  However ALL applications for assessment must, in the first instance be made to the HSE.  The HSE has statutory power to allocate assessments to accredited assessment agencies.

The 5 Standards

In assessing your suitability regard shall be had to the following standards: 

  • The capacity to safeguard the child throughout his or her childhood;


  • The capacity to provide the child with family life that will promote his or her development and well being and have due regard to the physical, emotional, social, health, educational, cultural, spiritual and other dimensions. The resources that families can draw on will vary from family to family and may change over time. Whatever circumstances the family find themselves in, the applicant/s will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the importance of maintaining an on-going and meaningful relationship with their child;


  • The capacity to provide an environment where the child’s original nationality, race, culture, language and religion will be valued and appropriately promoted throughout childhood. This will include the capacity of the parent/s to recognise the differences between themselves and their child within these areas and to recognise and try to combat racism and other institutional and personal oppressive forces within society;


  • The capacity to recognise and understand the impact of being an adopted child from an overseas country on the development of the child’s identity throughout their childhood and beyond;


  • The capacity to recognise the need for and to arrange for appropriate support and intervention from health, social services, educational, and other services throughout childhood.



 Applications must be made to the HSE.   Contact Details for the HSE are listed in the Useful Addresses section at the end of this Guide.

Upcoming Events

Developing Adoption Awareness at School, 24th May 2014, DublinRead more....

This information afternoon will provide Practical skills for preparing ourselves, our children and the school staff to deal with adoption matters in the classroom and in the playground. Building resilience in our children and helping to prepare a toolbox of answers and strategies.

2014 Upcoming EventsRead more....

A very successful calendar of events was run in 2013.  Events are open to non-members but at an additional charge. The calendar of events for 2014 is updated as events are scheduled.  Please check back regularly for updates.  Thank you.


News RSS Feed

AAI Notice, Russian Federation, 15th April 2014Read more....

Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) proposing to adopt in the Russian Federation are reminded that Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability issued pursuant to Section 63A of the Adoption Act 2010 (as amended) are only valid until 31 October 2014. The Authority estimated that approximately 23 couples/individuals would be entitled to avail of the amendment but only […]

AAI Notice – Stats 1st Quarter 2014Read more....

Declarations Granted (ICA) 31 Declaration Average Processing Time 4 weeks Extensions Granted (ICA) 23 Article 17 Agreements issued 2 Entries in the RICA** (IRL) 7 Entries in the RICA** (Non-IRL Res) 15 ICA Applicants Average Age (M) 43 yrs ICA Applicants Average Age (F) 43 yrs *National Adoption Contact Preference Register **Register of Intercountry Adoptions […]

AAI Notice – USA, 31st March 2014Read more....

Advisory Notice of 25 April 2013 also refers) Prospective adoptive parents proposing to adopt from the USA are advised that Child Reports, referred to the AAI by US Adoption Service Providers (ASP) pursuant to Article 16 of the 1993 Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption will be considered by […]

AAI NOTICE – THAILAND, 12th March 2014Read more....

  The Adoption Authority of Ireland has been informed by the Thai Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) that presently the number of children who are available for adoption is still less than the number of adoption applications submitted to Thailand. There are approx. 243 foreign adoption applications in the waiting list of the […]

AAI NOTICE, the Philippines, 12th March 2014Read more....

Correspondence from the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB), 13th January 2014 – ‘The ICAB reviewed the policy on the conditional moratorium and has made its projected/allocation for this year. The basis for the 2014 allocation are the actual number of children cleared for intercountry adoption for 2013, number of approved prospective adoptive parents and child placement. […]

11.03.14 Media Statement in response to recent articles in Irish Times and RTE Radio 1Read more....

The International Adoption Association (IAA) welcomes and applauds Rosita Boland on her honest and accurate portrayal of the adoption community in  Ireland at this time. The IAA fully supports Ireland’s implementation of the Hague Convention  and all the protection it affords to children and we recognise that adoption is a service for children and not […]

AAI NOTICE – INDIA – 4th March 2014Read more....

The Adoption Authority of Ireland decided on 12 June 2012, pursuant to Sections 126 and 127 of the Adoption Act 2010, to grant accreditation to Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency, to carry out the activities outlined in Section 4 (a,b,c,d) of the Adoption Act 2010. On 28 February 2014, pursuant to Article 22 of the […]

AAI Notice – Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency, Common & Miscell Programme FeeRead more....

Common Fees Pursuant to Section 6(6) of Statutory Instrument 524 of 2010, Adoption Act 2010 (Accredited Bodies) Regulations 2010, the Adoption Authority of Ireland has approved the following Common Programme Fee for adoptions facilitated by Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency. The Common Programme Fee applies to the Irish costs for intercountry adoption and is additional […]

AAI Notice, India, 11th February 2014Read more....

On 1 July 2011, the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) was notified by the Indian National Central Authority (NCA) – known as CARA,that CARA would not be accepting dossiers from Irish applicants either until 30 September 2011 or until further notice. There has been no change to this position for ‘normal category’ cases. CARA will […]

AAI Notice – Withdrawing from the Adoption Process – 20th January 2014Read more....

The Adoption Authority of Ireland will be returning a number of child referrals this week to their country of origin.For varying reasons, the prospective adoptive parents are not in a position to accept the referrals. Prospective adoptive parents are reminded that they should inform the Authority immediately in writing if and when they decide to […]

AAI Notice – Statistics for 2013, 13th January 2014Read more....

The Adoption Authority of Ireland have issued Statistics for 2013.   For Entire listing click here: Relevant ICA Statistics: Declarations Granted (ICA) 266 Extensions Granted (ICA) 94 Article 17 Agreements issued 15 Entries in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions (Irish Residents) 74 Entries in the Register of Intercountry Adoptions (non-Irish Residents) 67 Entries in the […]

AAI notice – USA – 9 Jan 2014Read more....

The National Central Authority of the United States of America (the U.S. Department of State in Washington DC) has informed the Adoption Authority of Ireland that the Council on Accreditation, the US entity responsible for the accreditation of Adoption Service Providers in the USA, has suspended accreditation for Adoption Advocates Inc. of Florida, U.S.A. with […]

AAI Notice – Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013Read more....

The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013 has recently been enacted. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has examined its records and has identified a number of prospective adoptive parents as potential candidates for availing of the new legislation. As a result of the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013, Declarations of Eligibility & Suitability granted to prospective adoptive parents […]

Archived News ItemsRead more....

For News Items prior to 31st January 2013 please click here:  

NOTICE – GUARDIANSHIP ORDERS (incl. Philippines and India)Read more....

Prospective adoptive parents who are offered the possibility of bringing a child to Ireland under a Guardianship Order for the purposes of adoption in Ireland are strongly advised to seek independent legal advice prior to doing so. The 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption makes provision for […]