Intercountry adoption is a new opportunity for a child who cannot grow up in his or her family of origin. All children need stable, accepting and safe families. Through intercountry adoption Interpedia helps to find new families in Finland for children who cannot be placed in adoption or foster care in their native country.
Intepedia is one of the three Finnish intercountry adoption service providers authorised by the Finnish Adoption Board. The adoption process is regulated by international agreements as well as the legislation in both Finland and the sending countries. The main purpose of the regulations is to ensure the best interest of the adopted child.
Best interest of the child comes first
The best interest of the child is always carefully considered in the adoption process. The adoptive parents are required to be physically, psychologically and financially prepared to take responsibility and care for the child.
According to the principles of the international agreements (subsidiarity principle), the first step is to try to find an adoptive or a foster family for the child in his/her country of origin. Only if the child cannot be placed in his/her birth country can s/he be free for intercountry adoption.
Each child’s story is unique. Some of the adopted children have lived with their birth families for some time and some of them have been placed in foster families, but the majority has grown in institutions like children’s homes.
Many sending countries are constantly developing their child protection system and the domestic adoptions have been increasing. The majority of the small healthy babies can find permanent families in their native countries. The children placed in intercountry adoptions are more often children with special needs or older children.
The requirements for adoption applicants
The adoptive parents are expected to be able to care for the adopted child during childhood, adolescence and often in early adulthood as well. Therefore the questions of age and health of the adoption applicants are central in the requirements for an adoption permission. A child who has experienced losses in his/her infancy and early childhood should not lose his/her parents too soon. In addition to these, the financial situation of the family should be stable enough to support the child.
According to the Finnish Adoption Act:
- Applicants must be between 25 and 50 years of age.
- The age difference between the adoptee and the adopter must be no less than 18 years and no more than 45 years.
- A married couple or a single parent can apply for adoption.
Part of the sending countries and the adoption contact organisations have also requirements of their own. The requirements and the regulations of the sending country can also change during the process depending on the country. These requirements can be related to the applicants’ age, religion, health, duration of marriage, infertility, divorce in the past, financial situation, education or the number of children in the family. Attitudes towards e.g. mental health problems can be very strict. It is important to familiarise with the requirements when choosing a suitable country of origin.
Interpedia is authorised by the Finnish Adoption Board to deal with intercountry adoptions as an adoption service provider. As an adoption service provider, Interpedia is only authorized to cooperate with an authority or an organisation abroad which has been accepted by the Finnish Adoption Board (section 22 in the Adoption Act).
Interpedia has been accepted as a cooperation contact by the authorities in Bulgaria, China, Colombia, India, South Africa and Thailand, countries in which Interpedia cooperates either with the government authority or with an agency authorized by the government.
Law and ethics
Interpedia’s work is based on the principles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Finnish Adoption Act (22/2012) and the amendments to the Act, the Adoption Decree (202/2012) and of the Hague Convention (Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption). These documents focus on the child’s right to grow up in a stable environment, preferably in a family.
The Hague Convention defines the principles of intercountry adoptions. The process must ensure the realization of the best interest of the child and respect the rights of the child. The countries that have signed the Convention must have a central authority that oversees the compliance to the agreement. In Finland, the Finnish Adoption Board acts as the central authority. In addition, the adoption processes in the participating countries must be organized by accredited bodies only. In Finland, we currently have two accredited organizations working with intercountry adoptions and Interpedia is one of them.
Interpedia’s work is also based on the following recommendations:
- HCCH:n (Hague Conference on Private International Law) Guide to Good Practice 1 and 2
- The Ethical Guidelines of the Nordic Adoption Council and EurAdopt
Nordic Adoption Council (NAC)
Costs of the Adoption Process
The costs of the adoption process vary according to the sending country. Interpedia’s adoption work and finances are monitored and regulated by the Finnish Adoption Board, the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA) in addition to the organisation’s auditors.