If you wish to adopt a child, you should
- register for adoption counselling
- apply for permission to adopt after adoption counseling.
To people who wish to adopt from Finland, adoption counselling is provided by
- municipal social welfare authorities
- Save the Children Finland adoption offices.
Actors who provide services for those adopting internationally
A partner in marriage or a registered partnership can adopt his or her spouse’s minor child with the consent of the child’s biological parents and the child. While the child’s official consent is needed if he or she is aged 12 years or over, the views of a child younger than this will also be taken into consideration.
If you would like to adopt your spouse’s child who is under the age of 18, contact either:
- adoption counselling in your municipality of residence
- adoption counselling provided by Save the Children Finland.
A couple will receive adoption counselling, where they will be informed about the preconditions and impacts of an adoption. The confirmation of the adoption must be applied for from a district court.
Married couples and single persons aged over 25 years may register for adoption counselling.
- The age difference between a child aged under 18 to be adopted and the parent may not exceed 45 years, and the applicant may not be aged over 50 years.
- Married couples may only adopt together.
- Married same-sex couples can adopt in Finland and from countries that also allow same-sex parents for adopted children.
In adoption counselling, the preconditions for the adoption will be examined from the perspective of the child and the aspiring adoptive parents. The single person or married couple applying for adoption will discuss their life situation, motives, health, income, relationships and ability to respond to a child’s needs with an adoption advisor. Once the applicants have been approved, the organisation or authority will initiate the procedure for matching the applicants with a child.
The permission of the Adoption Board is required for domestic and international adoption. However, you do not need permission for a step-parent adoption.
The permission of the Adoption Board is not a guarantee that the foreign authorities will accept the applicant. Foreign authorities may have different principles regarding, for example, the age of the adoptive parents, the length of their marriage and their financial situation.
Adoptive parents are entitled to mostly the same family benefits as other parents. When you adopt a child, you will be entitled to such benefits as the maternity grant and the child benefit. The father will be entitled to a paternity allowance.
However, there are some differences when it comes to the benefits that you may receive. For example, adoptive parents are not entitled to a maternity allowance, but they are entitled to a longer period of parental allowance. As an exception, they can also be granted a home care allowance for a child who is over three years old. The allowance may be granted for a period of two years after the start of the parental allowance period and up until when the child begins going to school.
You can also apply for a maintenance allowance if you decide to adopt without a spouse.
You can apply for an adoption grant from Kela to cover some of the costs of an adoption from abroad. However, there are specific requirements for receiving the grant, such as receiving the permission of the Adoption Board for the adoption. The adoption must also be conducted through an adoption service provider that has been included in a list of specific adoption service providers.
When adopted, a child who is under 12 years old will be granted Finnish citizenship if at least one of the parents is a Finnish citizen.
An adoptive child between 12 and 17 will be granted Finnish citizenship when the parents notify the Finnish Immigration Service of the adoption. The notification can be submitted on the Enter Finland online service.
In adoption, the child gets their surname from the adoptive parents on the same basis as a child gets their surname from the biological parents. However, an adopted child may also keep their previous surname as such or as part of a compound surname.
If a child adopted from a foreign country does not have a first name when arriving to Finland, the parents must notify the Digital and Population Data Services Agency of the first name/first names selected for the child within six months of the date on which the child is entered into the Finnish Population Information System.