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Step children and adopting overseas

Whether you want to adopt your stepchild or you are interested in adopting a child from overseas, we can still offer you advice and support.

Adopting a stepchild

If you want to adopt your stepchild so that you become their legal parent and share parental responsibility with your spouse/partner you can apply for stepparent adoption. The child must be under 18 at the time of the application to the court.

To adopt your stepchild you must:

  • be over 21
  • be married to, or living with (for at least two years), the birth parent
  • have lived in this country for at least a year
  • have been living with your stepchild for at least six months
  • inform the child's other birth parent of your plans

To start the process you must tell us in writing that you want to adopt with:

  • yours and your partner's full name
  • the child's full name and date of birth
  • your current address
  • a brief reason why you would like to adopt the child
  • information about the other birth parent, including name, date of birth, address, that they are aware of the adoption and if they have any contact with the child

You and your partner must both sign the letter and return it to:

Adoption Team Manager
Children and Young People's Services
Spectrum 8
Spectrum Business Park
County Durham

Find out more about the assessment process by downloading our  Icon for pdf Guide to Adopting Your Stepchild (PDF, 864.3kb) .

Adopting a child from overseas

If you're interested in adopting a child from overseas, contact us for help and advice on the legal implications and the application and assessment process.

When is overseas adoption allowed?

Adopting a child from overseas (intercountry adoption) is only allowed if:

  • The child cannot be cared for in a safe environment in their own country.
  • The adoption would be in the best interests of the child and would not affect their human rights.
  • The adoptive parent has been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by an adoption agency in the UK. 

You will also need to consider:

  • any issues that might arise from relocating a child to the UK
  • if you will need to visit the child's country for a period of time
  • if your application will need to be considered by the overseas adoption authority and the child's country
  • any adoption guidance and legislation in the child's country
  • the costs involved in adopting from overseas - costs vary depending on the country involved but you will need to pay for:
    • your assessment and approval as an adoptive parent
    • Department for Education certification and fees
    • costs such as translation and administrative expenses
    • costs in the child's country of origin

Intercountry Adoption Centre (IAC)

The Intercountry Adoption Centre website has lots of information about adopting overseas including which countries you are not allowed to adopt from, legal requirements and more.

Contact us
03000 269 291
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