Potential Adopters

The process for potential adopters in Ireland is set out in detail on the website of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

Who can adopt?

  1. A married couple living together.
  2. A married person living alone with the consent of the spouse.
  3. The mother, father or relative of the child.
  4. A widow or widower.
  5. A single person, including a sole member in a civil partnership or cohabitation arrangement (however, only that member will have a right of guardianship to that child).
  6. Civil partners – by virtue of the enactment and commencement of the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.
  7. A couple who are cohabitants for a continuous period of no less than 3 years.

See further on the Adoption Authority’s website for details on step-family adoption, relative adoption, and consent of the birth father.

How to make an application?

  1. Firstly, applicants must contact the regional adoption service – Child and Family Agency – in your HSE area.
  2. The social worker in the local HSE area will conduct an assessment to determine the eligibility and suitability of the applicant(s) which will be formally presented by way of report.
  3. Applicants must complete an application form/statutory declaration in which they confirm their identity, marital status, the country in which they intend to adopt from and their residency.
  4. This report is then forwarded to the Local Adoption Committee for their consideration and recommendation. The recommendation provides information as to the suitability of the potential adopters to prospective adoptee children, especially as regards details relating to age and health.

The completed application form, reports and recommendation are submitted to the Adoption Authority where a decision will be made as to the eligibility and suitability of the applicant(s). Any such declaration will be valid for a period of two years.

What is the assessment like?

The assessment includes a number of interviews and home visits. If the applicants are a married couple, there will be joint and individual interviews. The social worker will discuss relationships in their lives, reasons for wanting to adopt, expectations for the child and the parties ability to help the child understand his or her natural background. Applicants must also undergo a medical evaluation.

How long does this process take?

The period of time differs from case to case but usually ranges from 9-15 months.

What happens after the declaration?

When the adoption order is made, the potential adopters present before the Board of the Adoption Authority. The adopting parents have the opportunity to decide upon a new name for the child where appropriate. If the child is over 7 years old, the child will usually be asked to confirm that they wish to proceed with the adoption.

Who is eligible to be adopted?

  1. Orphans
  2. Children born outside marriage, including children whose natural parents have subsequently married each other.
  3. Children whose parents have failed in their duty towards them, this could include children of married parents.
  4. A child born to a married woman but whose husband is not the father, is eligible for adoption provided the facts of the child’s paternity can be proven to the satisfaction of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
  5. A child whose parent or parents consent to the adoption of the child.

Please Note: The child must reside in the state (for domestic adoption), be at least six weeks old and under 18 years of age. The child need not have been born in this country.

Will the child be issued a new birth certificate?

A new birth certificate can be issued through the registrar’s office within 4 weeks. Although it is not the actual birth certificate, it has the status of one for legal purposes, i.e., applying for a passport on the child’s behalf. It will give the date of the adoption order and the name and addresses of the adoptive parents.


Organisation Telephone Email  Website Address
Adoption Authority of Ireland (01) 230 9300  adoptioninfo@aai.gov.ie  www.aai.gov.ie  Adoption Authority of Ireland, Shelbourne House, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 
Child and Family Agency - Tusla (01) 635 2854  info@tusla.ie  www.tusla.ie  Child and Family Agency, Block D, Park Gate Business Centre, Parkgate Street, Dublin 
International Adoption Association (Ireland) (01) 499 2206   info@iaaireland.org  www.iaaireland.org  International Adoption Association (Ireland), Terenure Enterprise Centre, 17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, Dublin 6W 

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