Adoption of a child: adoption procedure

If there is a desire to have children, but it is not possible to become pregnant naturally or with medical support, you can opt for adoption. The decision to adopt a child from abroad will have to be carefully considered and it must also be taken into account that the adoption procedure for a child takes a lot of time and is subject to all kinds of rules.

Start of the adoption procedure

A number of steps must be completed during the start of the adoption procedure.

Consent in principle

The adoption procedure starts with completing an application for permission in principle to accept a foreign child for adoption.

Application assessment

The Adoption Facilities Foundation assesses the application for permission in principle and checks whether the conditions of the Adoption of Foreign Children Act, abbreviated as WOBKA, are met.

Applicant age

In principle, the applicant may not be older than 41 years old, but exceptions are possible.

Attend meetings

Prospective adoptive parents are required to attend six meetings of the Adoption Facilities Foundation. These are preparation meetings that each take three hours and aim to ensure that the choice for adoption is a well-considered decision.

Advice on consent in principle

The Child Protection Council then plays a role by providing advice to the Minister of Justice on consent in principle. Before providing such advice, the Child Protection Council conducts an investigation, which examines, among other things, the reasons for adoption and the family situation.

Grant permission in principle

The Ministry of Justice then decides whether the applicant is eligible for the permission in principle, which is valid for four years and can possibly be extended for the same period.

The mediation phase in adoption

After permission has been granted by the Ministry of Justice, the mediation phase begins and contact is made with the relevant authorities abroad.


The aim of these agencies is to mediate that the child who is eligible for adoption is placed with the most suitable parents.

Partial mediation

Partial mediation is also possible, in which the parents themselves have contact with people abroad to lay the foundation for adoption, with the agency having an investigative and advisory role.

Full mediation

During full mediation, the agency checks whether there is a match and the child can be introduced to the prospective adoptive parents.

Arrange formalities

The parents will of course still have some time to make a decision. If the parents decide to accept the child for adoption, various formalities must be arranged before the child can come to the Netherlands. Once you have arrived in the Netherlands with the adopted child, several steps will have to be taken.

Your baby is here

When your adopted child comes from abroad and finally arrives in the Netherlands, you will often have to take a number of administrative steps, such as:

  • Registration with the municipality where you live
  • Apply for custody through the Subdistrict Court
  • Sometimes the adoption from abroad still needs to be recognized.

Single or homosexual

An adoption procedure can also be started as a single person or as a homosexual couple. The options are sometimes more limited, depending on the child’s country of origin.