Requirements for an adoption – The adoption law in Germany

With an adoption a parent-child relationship is established that establishes the same rights and obligations as with consanguinity.

It not only helps in the case of infertility or fertility problems for mother and father happiness. Even with blended families, adoption is increasingly being considered in order to strengthen the family bond. Since 2014, same-sex couples have also fulfilled their desire to have children through adoption.

Requirements for adoption

For a successful adoption, the parents-to-be have to meet a number of requirements (Sections 1741 to 1766 of the German Civil Code – BGB):

  • Age restrictions
    For domestic adoptions, the minimum age of parents is 25 years. In the case of married couples, at least one spouse must be 21 years old and the other 25 years old. A maximum age has not been set. However, there should be a natural age difference to the child.
  • Proof of economic stability
    It is checked whether the adoptive parents can offer their child a financially secure life. Proof of income or other sources of wealth must be submitted for this purpose.
  • Living situation
    Evidence must also be given for the current living space. In any case, the adoptive child should have an age-appropriate area of ​​play and life of its own. An opportunity to contact children of the same age in the neighborhood is also rated positively.
  • physical and mental fitness
    Another requirement is the physical and mental health of the parents at the time of the adoption application.
  • further requirements
    The adoption placement office checks the applicants’ personal suitability, especially in interviews. For example, they should be able to provide comprehensible information about their motivation for adoption or their ideas about upbringing. The willingness to inform the child about his or her origin and to deal openly with the adoption in an age-appropriate manner should also be present. Of course, questions about the partnership between the parents should also be expected. The conversation should show that the child is growing up in a stable partnership.

The process of an adoption

The first step is to apply for an adoption at an adoption agency. This includes the youth welfare office in the parents’ area of ​​residence or recognized adoption agencies. As part of an aptitude test, it is then determined whether the requirements for adoption are met. Then the waiting phase begins until a suitable child can be placed.

Once a child has been found, the adoption care period begins. The child is handed over to the adoptive parents, but the youth welfare office remains the guardian for the time being. This time is used to get to know each other and to build up a relationship of trust between the parents and the child. If this time is positive, the judicial procedure for adoption will only start. The parents submit the adoption application to the family court, which decides on it.

Special features of an international adoption

Often children from other countries are adopted. If the child leaves its country of origin through adoption to live in the country of origin of the adoptive parents, an international adoption (or international adoption) has taken place. The following points must be observed in particular:

  • Stricter aptitude test
    For the best interests of the child, it should be ensured that the parents have dealt with the child’s country of origin in order, above all, to be able to positively encounter cultural differences.
  • Legal framework of the country of origin
    In the case of cross-border issues such as an international adoption, different legal systems collide. There are countries which, for example, do not know about adoption or have completely different legal consequences attached to it. The adoption of children from such countries is therefore not possible. The 1993 Hague Convention was signed by numerous countries for the protection of children and for cooperation between states in international adoptions. These countries have undertaken to carefully adhere to the specified procedure. It is advisable to adopt children whose country of origin is a party to this agreement.


Parents with an unfulfilled desire to have children should be clear about whether they are suitable for adoption before contacting the youth welfare office. In addition to economic stability, numerous personal factors are particularly important. If parents are convinced that they are doing justice to the best interests of the child from all of these points of view, nothing stands in the way of a successful adoption.

You can find more information on the subject of adoption law in the free guide

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