Guyana is open for adoption, but there are many rules and guidelines to follow before an adoption can be finalized. Whether it is a joint or sole application, it is required for at least one of the applicants to be over the age of 25 and at least 21 years older than the adopted child. However, there are exceptions to this rule: if the child is a relative or at least 18 years old. Another rule is that a male sole applicant can’t adopt a female child unless the court deems it as a special circumstance. In years past Guyana did not allow non-nationals to adopt; the adoptive parents had to be permanent residents. However, an amendment was added. Now Guyanese that live abroad and non-citizens can adopt when a home study has been completed by an approved social service agency in Guyana. There were 45 adoptions in Guyana in 2011.