Who Can Be Adopted from Germany

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Because Germany is party to The Hague Adoption Convention, children from Germany must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the adoption may take place only if the competent authorities of Germany have determined that placement of the child within Germany has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Germany’s requirements, a child must meet the definition of Convention adoptee to be eligible for an immigrant visa that will allow you to bring him or her to the United States.


Relinquishment/Consent: The parents of the child must provide consent to the adoption; this consent cannot be accepted by the court if the child is less than eight weeks of age. If the child is over eight weeks old and under the age of 14, the child’s legal guardian (sometimes, but not always, the parents) must also consent to the adoption on the child’s behalf. If the child is over the age of 14, s/he must personally consent to the adoption, with the concurrence of his/her legal guardian. In the case of children born out of wedlock, the biological father can surrender parental rights and consent to the adoption any time after conception and prior to the child’s birth. In this case, the mother must still wait until the child is eight weeks old to consent to adoption. As an additional requirement in cases where the citizenship of the adopting parent and the child being adopted are different, this consent has to be approved by the family court. However, it does not apply in the case of a domestic adoption subject to German law.

Abandonment: Consent is not required from a parent whose whereabouts are unknown (the court will determine the whereabouts unknown after six months of searching unsuccessfully). In addition, the court may waive the need for parental consent in several circumstances, including those related to the parent’s treatment of the child and the parent’s mental capacity. Ultimately, the courts will look at each case individually to determine if consent of a biological parent is needed.

Age of Adoptive Child: A person can be adopted at any age. Parents must wait until the child is eight weeks of age before consenting to adoption. Adoption of a person who has reached age 18, the age of majority in Germany, must be justifiable.

Sibling Adoptions: Sibling relationships are given consideration in adoption proceedings, but are considered on a case-by-case basis, with particular emphasis given to the positive or negative nature of the relationship between the siblings.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: On a case-by-case basis, the court may require evidence that an adopting family is aware of and able to cope with a child’s special needs and may require families to submit to follow up assessment.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: Typically, the child must live with the prospective adoptive parents for a probationary period prior to the court issuing the adoption order.

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