Intercountry Adoption Questions about Adoption

Questions about Adoption

1. How to start an adoption process?

Before you can adopt, you must receive adoption counselling which is provided by the social welfare office of your municipality either by itself or as an outsourced service. Therefore, please contact your home town’s social office to start adoption counselling.
You may also contact a service provider for international adoptions (such as Interpedia) to get information on international adoption and the adoption process itself. You can also order an information package regarding international adoption from Interpedia (available in Finnish or Swedish).

2. What is adoption counselling?

Adoption counselling gives you an opportunity to consider whether international adoption is a suitable option for you and your family. Starting adoption counselling is not yet a decision to adopt. The length of adoption counselling depends entirely on the individual situation of the applicants, usually it takes about a year. During adoption counselling, topics relating to e.g. the background and present situation, motives for adoption, relationship of the parents, possible infertility background, readiness for international adoption and adoptive children are discussed. The counselling is free of charge and it can be seen as an opportunity to profoundly reflect on parenthood.

During the final stage of counselling, at the latest, the service provider for international adoption is chosen. The service provider does not have to be the same as the adoption counselling provider.

3. How long does the adoption process last?

Adoption processes are nowadays very tailored, and their length varies a lot. The wishes and capabilities of the applicants are an important factor when parents are sought for a child. The requirements of the countries of origin also affect the length of the process. An adoption process may take approximately 1-4 years from the applicants’ registration as adoption service customers. Prior to this, the applicants have already undergone adoption counselling which usually lasts about a year.

4. When do I choose the adoption service provider?

The service provider is chosen during adoption counselling, at the latest when the home study is finalized.

You may learn about Interpedia as an adoption service provider by attending to our adoption info sessions (most of them in Finnish). We recommend that you first attend the Adoption info about international adoption and Interpedia’s cooperation countries – session which introduces all our cooperation countries as well as our adoption service. You can also arrange a personal meeting with our adoption coordinators if you wish to discuss your own situation in more detail.

5. Can I choose Interpedia even if I am receiving adoption counselling from Pelastakaa Lapset ry?

Adoption counselling and adoption services are separate processes. Adoption counselling is provided by your municipality’s social welfare office or Pelastakaa Lapset ry’s local office as an oursourced service. Interpedia does not provide adoption counselling. Interpedia and Pelastakaa Lapset ry are the two international adoption service providers in Finland at the moment. You may choose either one of these service providers regardless of who provides the adoption counselling.

6. At what stage is the country of origin selected?

You may process the suitable country of origin already during adoption counselling. The country of origin is chosen after the adoption permit is granted, at the latest. The selection is made together with the applicant(s) and Interpedia’s adoption service. The goal is to fit the applicant(s)’ wishes and capabilities with the needs of the children in the sending countries and find the most suitable option.
During the selection process it is recommended to participate in Interpedia’s country-specific infos in which the processes, criteria and needs for different countries are explained in more detail. You may also arrange a personal meeting with our adoption coordinators and consider different options together with their help.

7. Who can adopt?

International adoption is a good alternative for many kinds of applicants.

International adoption is regulated by Finnish Adoption Act (Adl 22/2012) and destination countries’ local authorities. According to Finnish adoption laws:
• The applicants must be between 25-50 years of age
• The age difference between the parent and the child must be at least 18 years and not more than 45 years
• Adoption may be applied by a married couple together or by a single applicant

Foreign authorities have their own rules concerning e.g. the age of parents, duration of marriage and financial status. More information is provided under each adoption country.

More information for those considering adoption here.

8. Does my health have an effect on the possibilities to adopt?

The health of the adoption parents is an important issue from the child’s point of view. An adopted child needs as healthy and capable parents as possible. During adoption counselling, the social worker always makes an overall assessment and situation-specific assessment of the family’s capabilities for adoption.

Those adoption applicants who have an illness that requires treatment or continuous medication must obtain a medical certificate from a specialist. The certificate shall be presented to the social worker providing adoption counselling and enclosed in the adoption permit application. The Finnish adoption board assesses the applicants’ suitability for adoption parenthood based on the certificates. The authorities of the countries of origin may also have their own health requirements for the adoption applicants.

9. How long do I have to be married before I can adopt?

The Finnish Adoption Act does not set any requirements for the duration of the marriage. However, the sending countries’ requirements for the duration of the marriage varies.

10. Can same-sex couples adopt?

Same-sex married couples can adopt. Most of the countries of origin restrict adoptions of same-sex couples. Up-to-date information of the sending countries’ situation may be found from our adoption coordinators.

11. Can I adopt, if I already have children in my family?

Families with adopted, biological or foster children can adopt. Our countries of origin have their own restrictions on how many children the applicant family may already have.

12. Is a chronic disease or diagnosis of a child in my family an obstacle for adoption?

The adoption counselling social worker assesses the family’s overall situation and resources when preparing the home study. The assessment primarily takes into account the benefit of the adopted child as well as the child’s right to a permanent family, stable development and well-being. Illness of a child already in the family does not usually prevent adoption.

13. Does my financial status affect my possibilities to adopt?

The Finnish Adoption Act does not set any euro requirements for the applicant’s financial status. Instead, it is important that the applicants’ have a stable financial situation into which the adoptive child is safe to enter. In adoption counselling, the family’s living conditions, work situation and the parent’s ability to take care of the child at home for a sufficient period of time is assessed as a whole from the point of view of the child’s best interest. An adoptive family may, for example, live in an owner-occupied or rented dwelling, the most important thing is a stable life situation. The home study shall record e.g., the income, wealth and debts proportional to the overall living standards of the area.

Additional information on the adoption process may be found from the Adoption Board’s website.

14. What kind of childern can be adopted through Interpedia?

Over the last years, children of the age 0-7 years have been adopted through Interpedia, boys a little more than girls. Most of the adopted children have been young, i.e. two years of age or younger. Most of the children have been adopted from China, Colombia and Thailand. Recently, most of the children are from South Africa, Colombia, India and Thailand.

An adoptive child has always some type of need for special care and support. The special needs vary from physical special needs to needs relating to various background issues of the child and biological parents or the children’s home. For some children, the background of the biological parents is unknown, and others are put up for adoption in which case more information of the child’s background is available.

Adoption statistics (in Finnish)

15. What kind of support is available for adoptive families? Where can adoptive families receive support for family life?

Support can be received from your adoption counselling social worker as well as an adoption counsellor. The daily family life can also be supported by a sufficiently long home care, networking with other families for peer support and participating in various training events. Various therapies, such as Theraplay -interaction therapy, are often useful in helping with e.g. attachment issues.

16. How much does an adoption process cost?

The costs of the adoption process consist of service fees paid to Interpedia and adoption administration fees. In addition, various costs are incurred from obtaining and translating documents as well as from the trip to the destination country. The service fees cover the part of the costs of the adoption operations that is not covered by grants from STEA or other proceeds. The service fees are based on actual costs incurred by Interpedia from the provision of the adoption service.

Read more on adoption costs here.

17. How much is the adoption grant and how is it applied?

Families adopting internationally receive a grant from Kela for the adoption costs. The adoption grant is a tax-free lump-sum payment. The amount of the grant depends on the child’s country of origin. The adoption grant can be claimed as soon as the child has been identified for placement with the parent(s), however, at the latest, within 2 months from the date on which the child was placed in their care. Please see Kela’s website for more detailed information on the adoption grant.

18. Is participation in an adoption preparatory course mandatory?

Interpedia warmly recommends participating in an adoption preparatory course. These courses are an excellent opportunity to prepare for adoption parenthood. Most of our adoption contacts require such participation and it is seen as an advantage by all of our contacts. You may participate in a course already during adoption counselling or it is an excellent way to make use of the waiting period. Adoption courses provide a good opportunity to network with other awaiting parents.

Additional information may be found from Yhteiset Lapsemme ry webpages.

19. What do post-adoption follow-up meetings mean?

After the child has arrived, adoption counselling continues with follow-up meetings with the social worker. Your social worker offers support and tips regarding family life and interaction with the child. In addition, the purpose of the follow-up meetings is to provide information of the family to the child’s birth country. The social worker prepares follow-up reports on the basis of the follow-up meetings.

For some countries, the family also prepares its own reports to the birth country. Interpedia is responsible for sending the follow-up reports to the birth country.

The duration of the follow-up period varies from country to country. Regardless of the length of the official follow-up period required by the birth country, families are entitled to receive support for its every-day life by adoption counselling.

20. What does post-adoption services mean?

Adoption service provider is required to maintain copies of the documents received and prepared during the adoption process for at least 100 years from their creation. The adoptive family may always receive the original documents. The adoptee and their family or their descendants are welcome to come and look at the document copies at Interpedia’s office. We can then offer our support in relation to the documents and the adoption process and background of the adoptee.

Interpedia’s post-adoption services can also help in investigations relating to the background of the adoptee and arranging trips to the birth country.