Who can adopt a child


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Adoption - a way to grow up well

For a child who cannot live with its parents, adoption is an opportunity to grow up in the conducive developmental conditions of a family. For the child put up for adoption, the most suitable parents are sought who are trusted to be able to meet the special needs of the child.

Since these children have no parents who can protect their rights and stand up for them, they need special protection from the state. The child's best interests are given the highest priority in adoption. It is important to ensure the necessary protection of children in order to prevent children from being the subject of trade and sale. It must be ensured that an adoption only takes place if the child also needs an adoption and the parents of origin have given the necessary consent. The legislature has therefore created the necessary structures and made extensive regulations through the adoption laws.

Adoption - a chance for involuntary childlessness?

Many unintentionally childless couples see the adoption of a child as an opportunity to start a family. Nevertheless, the aim of adoption is to find a new family for orphaned children, not a child for childless couples. There is also an unequal ratio of adoption approvals to applications. In the end, there were seven applications for a child that was marked for adoption.

Adoption is a far-reaching decision for both sides. Because an adoption is a permanent change in family relationships that brings with it a multitude of changes. For these reasons, the decision to adopt a child must be carefully considered.

What does adoption mean?

An adoption establishes a legal parent-child relationship that is not based on biological descent. With the adoption, the minor child receives the status of a joint child and thus the family name and, as a rule, the nationality of the adoptive parents. There are inheritance and maintenance claims, also against the relatives of the adoptive parents. In principle, the relationship between the child and its family of origin and the associated rights and obligations expire.

Requirements for adoption

The adoption is pronounced at the request of the adoptive person by the family court. Adoption is permitted if it serves the best interests of the child and a parent-child relationship can be expected. It should therefore only be pronounced after an appropriate adoption period.

  • In principle, a child can only be adopted jointly by a married couple. Unmarried people can only adopt alone.
  • Married couples, of which at least one is 25 years of age and the other is 21 years of age, as well as individuals over 25 years of age can adopt a minor child. There is no statutory maximum age limit.
  • The consent of the child and the parents is required for the adoption. The legal representative gives consent for a child who is incapable of contract or is not yet fourteen years old. Under certain conditions, the consent of the parents may be dispensable (e.g. in the case of permanently unknown residence) or replaced (e.g. in the case of persistent gross breach of duty or indifference to the child).

Adoption placement

Adoption placement is the sole responsibility of the adoption placement offices of the youth welfare offices, the central adoption offices of the state youth welfare offices and other agencies recognized by the state for adoption placement. Adoption mediation is prohibited for private individuals. The adoption agency accompanies the entire adoption process. She advises the family of origin, determines the applicants' suitability for adoption and arranges the placement. Even after the adoption, the adoption agency accompanies all those involved by mutual agreement. In the family court adoption procedure, a professional statement is obtained from the adoption agency or the youth welfare office.

Forms of Adoption

To protect the adoptive family, the adoption and its circumstances may only be disclosed with the consent of the adoptive parents and the child. In the case of incognito adoptions, the transferring parents do not find out the name of the adopters, but only the number under which they are listed in the applicant pool of the adoption agency. However, adoptions do not have to be incognito. Transferring parents have the opportunity to be actively involved in the selection of future adoptive parents and, if necessary, to get to know them. An “open form” of adoption can also mean that information is exchanged or personal contacts take place after the adoption. This can be important for the adopted child when they come to grips with their biological ancestry, often at the onset of puberty. With the Adoption Assistance Act, which came into force on April 1, 2021, the legislature also aims to promote open forms of adoption. The adoption specialist advises and supports all those involved and, if requested, makes agreements with regard to the exchange of information between adoptive parents and parents of origin after the adoption has taken place.

International adoption

Since the number of adoption applicants is far higher than the number of children who are given up for adoption in Germany (ratio around 7: 1), many childless couples see an adoption abroad as a way of fulfilling their desire to have children and, at the same time, a child with good future prospects to offer.

However, the number of referrals from abroad continues to decline significantly. This is because a long-term solution can be found for more and more children in their own country. Accordingly, few children are still eligible for international adoption; however, the number of applicants worldwide is still consistently high.

The adoption of a child from abroad places special demands on the future adoptive parents. Often only little information is available on the child's history and health situation. The cultural uprooting of the child can put additional strain on the educational situation. It is therefore necessary that adoption applicants who are trying to adopt a child from abroad give special attention to the adoption.

The adoption agency in the local youth welfare office can also be the primary point of contact for adoptions abroad. However, recognized independent foreign placement agencies with approval for certain countries or the central adoption office of the state youth welfare office are responsible for the placement of a child from abroad. They advise the adoption applicants on adoption abroad and, if necessary, accept the application to place a child from abroad. The report on general suitability for adoption is usually drawn up by the adoption placement office in the local youth welfare office and sent to the foreign placement office involved or the state youth welfare office. They then check whether there is also a special suitability for international adoption.

From dubious offers in connection with the adoption of children - e.g. B. on the Internet - is to refrain. Section 236 of the Criminal Code makes every form of child trafficking a criminal offense.

Additional information

You can find out more about adoption here: