I'm planning to adopt a child
Adoption: the process and paperwork
The decision to adopt a child is not one to be taken lightly. Have you and your partner (or you alone) decided to take the plunge and want to give a child a loving home? Then you will need to go through a lengthy process. We’ve listed a number of key steps for your convenience.
The Flemish Center for Adoption (VCA) monitors the adoption procedure and guides you through the process.
- The first mandatory step is to register with the VCA. You can do this via a registration form on the Child and Family Agency Website. You need simply register in the first instance. You only opt for a domestic or foreign adoption later in the process.
- Before you can embrace an adopted child in your arms, heart and family, you must first satisfy a number of conditions. You must be at least 25 years old for example, and at least 15 years older than the child you plan to adopt. You must also follow the compulsory preparation program.
You can read the full terms and conditions on the Child and Family Agency website.
- An adoption procedure basically comprises 2 parts:
- A suitability procedure
This involves a mandatory preparation process and an in-depth social investigation. A family judge will subsequently determine whether to declare you fit for adoption or not.
- A mediation procedure
You commence this procedure at a recognised adoption agency. Alternatively you can opt for an independent adoption via the VCA - this option only applies in the case of foreign adoption. It’s only during this phase that you specify whether you wish to opt for a domestic or foreign adoption
- A suitability procedure
- An adoption doesn’t end upon the child joining your family. In fact, that’s when the real work begins. And it isn’t always plain sailing. Fortunately follow-up care is also available. You can find all the relevant information on the Child and Family Agency website
- As with a birth, you must arrange for the adopted child to be registered in your municipality’s civil registry. You should also notify your health insurance provider and child benefit payment provider of the adoption.
Tips for making the adoption process as smooth as possible
- Steunpunt Adoptie provides numerous tips on welcoming an adopted child into your family and ensuring that their upbringing is as problem-free as possible in the initial phase following their arrival.
- You can also find a selection of books and films that provide help and inspiration during adoption in the Steunpunt Adoptie library.
- You might also consider exchanging thoughts and experiences with fellow adoptive parents or children. There are numerous groups and organisations that cater for adoptive parents and children. These provide support, inspiration, tips and the necessary assistance where required.