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I’m considering international adoption and I want legal advice on my options

Adopting a child from overseas can be highly rewarding, but the complexities mean that it is important to have proper legal advice. The process can be very intricate, with different assessments and rules and regulations to comply with. Not getting these details correct could reduce your chances of successfully adopting a child, and could create problems later down the line.

You will also need to consider the impact that such an adoption will have on your existing family, and whether family building options are better for you.

As leading lawyers with expertise in fertility, adoption and family law, we will ensure your interests are protected and will provide you with expert advice from the outset. We will provide you with comprehensive advice to give you the best chance of success in your journey.

We can provide legal advice ahead of your application, helping you to prepare for assessments and to decide whether international adoption is the right route for you. We will also help you through the process, making sure all legal formalities are dealt with and you, and your childs legal position is secure.

Frequently Asked Questions

To be able to adopt a child from abroad you need to be eligible to adopt from both within the UK and from the chosen overseas country. Adoption laws can differ significantly between counties, which means that whilst you may be eligible to adopt from one country, you might not be able to adopt from another. If you live in the UK, not all countries will be available for you to adopt from, either because a country does not allow international adoption, or because the UK restricts adoption from a country.

Although the prospect of international adoption can be exciting, choosing which country to adopt your child from can be a daunting process. At Vardags we can advise you as to the process of international adoption depending on which country you want to adopt from, including whether an adoption order made in a particular country will be valid in England. We can put you in touch with Adoption Agencies who can guide you through the initial stages of that decision, whilst we assist with the legal implications alongside that.

Bringing a child into the UK for the purposes of adoption is a criminal offence, punishable with up to 12 month’s imprisonment and/or a fine. In order to bring a child into the UK for the purposes of adoption, there are strict regulations that need to be complied with, preferably in advance of bringing the child in. It is vital to seek legal advice prior to bringing a child who you wish to adopt into the UK.

Whether the child you have adopted from abroad will be recognised as legally yours in the UK depends on various factors. For example, if you adopt a child from a country that is a signatory to the Hague Convention 1993 through a Convention Adoption, then that adoption will be recognised in all 76 Hague Convention countries. An adoption that is classed as an ‘overseas’ adoption, and recognised as a full adoption in the UK may be registered in the Adopted Children Register.

A child adopted from a country that is signatory to the Hague Convention 1993 through what is known as a ‘Convention Adoption’ will automatically acquire British nationality. However, a child adopted via adoption that is classed as ‘overseas’ will not. In the latter scenario, you will need to have a clear immigration plan in place. Conversely, a foreign child adopted in the UK through the domestic adoption process will acquire British nationality as part of that process.

If you have an international lifestyle, being able to move around freely with your adopted child will be a high priority. Whether you have legal parental status internationally will depend on whether the adoption order you hold is recognisable in the countries you will reside in.With our international expertise we can offer you specialist legal advice as to the potential issues you may face in different jurisdictions, and how to overcome them. As many of our clients have international lifestyles, we experienced at dealing with the legal complexities arising from the application of UK law internationally.

OUR Children & Family TEAM

Caroline Korah

Partner - Head of Children Caroline Korah Vardags Partner Head of Children
“Caroline Korah is a highly dedicated lawyer who fearlessly represents her clients’ interest” 
Legal 500

Lucy Williams

Partner - Divorce & Family Lucy Williams Vardags Partner Divorce & Family
“Lucy Williams is loved by clients and counsel” 
Legal 500

Is Vardags Right For You?

We offer a free consultation to qualifying individuals. Please call our confidential enquiry line on 020 7404 9390. Lines are staffed 24 hours.

When you contact us a member of our client relations team will take the full details of your situation, assess whether we can assist you, and if so, determine the best team for your case. 

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