Introduction to intercountry adoption

Although there are many children in Northern Ireland who are looking for an adoptive family, there are children overseas who need homes. If you want to adopt a child from another country - known as intercountry adoption - you could give them a chance to belong to a permanent family.

Who can apply and when

You can adopt a child from another country if:

  • the child cannot be cared for in any suitable way in their own country
  • the adoption would be in the best interests of the child and in line with their fundamental rights
  • the person adopting has been assessed as suitable by an adoption agency

The first step in intercountry adoption

As a first step, you should speak to your local trust or a voluntary adoption agency registered to work on intercountry adoption.  Contacts for these can be found on the Department of Health (DoH) website.

​Helping you with the application process

The 'Regional Intercountry Adoption Assessment Service' (RIASS) is responsible for intercountry adoption services on behalf of all the five Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland.

RIAAS’s role is to provide information, prepare, assess and review applicants in Northern Ireland who wish to adopt a child through intercountry adoption. For more details, follow the link below:

More useful links

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