Inter-country adoption

Why adopt from overseas?

We all know that there are many children overseas who also need a loving, stable, permanent home as well as those children awaiting adoption here in the UK. If a child cannot be cared for adequately in their own country then our Government allows inter-country adoption to proceed on humanitarian grounds. If it’s believed that adoption would be in the best interests of the child and with respect to the child’s fundamental rights as recognised by international law, you can apply to adopt them. However, you must have been assessed as eligible and suitable to adopt from overseas by your local council or agency.

Adopting outside of the UK

Adopting children outside of the UK is known as Inter-Country Adoption.

Cheshire West and Chester no longer undertakes assessment of prospective adopters wishing to adopt a child from overseas. This is because Cheshire West and Chester children needing families will be prioritised. We do however use a voluntary adoption agency to undertake these assessments on our behalf. Please note that you will be charged a fee by the adoption agency who undertakes your assessment.

When considering applications to adopt from outside the UK, the following priorities apply:

  • The prospective adopters are known or related to the child/ren and it appears to be within the child/ren’s best interests
  • The prospective adopters are able to meet the ethnicity, identity, language and religious needs of the child from the specific country
  • The prospective adopters are able to demonstrate a connection and a good understanding to the culture, for example they have lived or worked within the country or perhaps have relatives living there.
  • The prospective adopters have previously adopted from the specific country.
  • The prospective adopters can demonstrate a good understanding of the issues involved in Inter-Country Adoption.

How to adopt from overseas

Anyone in England and Wales who wants to adopt a child from overseas has to undergo the same procedures as they would to adopt a child here in the UK. This is regardless of the country they wish to adopt from or the nature of their relationship to the child.

  • You will need to undergo the standard checks, training and assessment steps before you can proceed.
  • Once you have been approved as a suitable adopter, the relevant Department of Health would be notified of the decision. They would then decide whether or not to endorse your application and notify you directly.
  • Next, the Secretary of State will provide consent to issue a certificate of eligibility.
  • Once the certificate has been issued, the papers will be sent to the authorities in the country from which you wish to adopt a child. Those authorities will consider your application and, if they agree, will suggest a match with a child.

The maximum penalty imposed for failing to comply with the requirements set out in new inter-country regulations prior to adopting a child from overseas is 12 months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine upon conviction. Cheshire West and Chester Council is not able to undertake the necessary assessment for inter-country adoption as we use a voluntary adoption agency to undertake these assessments on our behalf.

The contact details for this agency are:

Inter Country Adoption Centre
22 Union Street

Telephone: 0208 447 4753 or visit their website at

Other useful websites to help you find out more information about adoption are included below: