Who Can Adopt from Estonia

Tarvasjogi at Korvemaa Nature Park.

Adoption between the United States and Estonia is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Estonia, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Read more on Who Can Adopt.

According to the Estonian Family Law only those children whose parents are deceased or whose parents have had their parental rights taken away may be adopted. There are few such children and long waiting lists of Estonian families who by law take precedence. Consequently, identifying a child for adoption can be lengthy (several years or more) as the number of children that can be adopted by foreigners is quite limited (only about 20 children a year). Since foreign parents with Estonian background are given preference over foreigners with no Estonian heritage, prospective adoptive parents should explain their ties to Estonia.

In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, Estonia also has the following eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents:


There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents in Estonia.

Age of Adopting Parents

A prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years old. In exceptional cases, the Court may give permission to a younger person.


Both single individuals and legally married couples can adopt. Married couples must have the written consent of the spouse. Per the Estonian Family Law Act, an adoption can occur without the consent of the spouse if the conjugal relations of the spouses have terminated and they live apart.


Estonia does not have any income requirements for intercountry adoptions.


Same-sex couples cannot adopt in Estonia.

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