Who Can Be Adopted from Poland

Wawel cathedral, Krakow.

Because Poland is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Poland 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 Poland have determined that placement of the child within Poland has been given due consideration and that an intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interests. In addition to Poland’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.

At the present time, Polish law requires both adoptive parents to have met the child prior to adoption.

Only adoption centers authorized by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy can evaluate a Polish child’s eligibility for intercountry adoption. At present, only the Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center (former Public Adoptive-Guardian Center - Publiczny Osrodek Adopcyjno-Opiekunczy) has such authorization. The Mazowieckie Regional Adoption Center maintains a database of all children residing in children homes or foster families in Poland who are available for international adoption because their parents have died, have relinquished all rights to them, or their right were involuntarily terminated.


Relinquishment: A single mother may relinquish her parental rights in the family court no earlier than six weeks after giving birth. The court will make the final decision about the termination of parental rights.

Abandonment: The majority of Polish children eligible for intercountry adoption have been separated from their biological parents, by the court’s decision to terminate their parental rights and to place the children in the foster care.

Age of Adoptive Child: Polish law allows for children younger than age 18 to be adopted. Children older than 13 must give their consent for adoption. (Note: Under U.S. immigration laws, children adopted through the Convention process must be under the age of 16 at the time a petition is filed on their behalf, unless they are the older sibling under age 18 of a child also adopted by the same prospective adoptive parents.)

Sibling Adoptions: It is usually more difficult to find a suitable family domestically to adopt siblings; therefore, these children are often eligible for intercountry adoption. Sibling groups, which can range from two to six children, are generally not separated. An adopting parent would be immediately notified and have priority to adopt if a sibling of a child already adopted becomes eligible for adoptions.

Special Needs or Medical Conditions: Young and healthy children are most often placed with Polish families. Children with medical conditions or special needs are more likely to be placed for intercountry adoption, even if they are very young.

Waiting Period or Foster Care: Prospective parents adopting children in Poland are not granted temporary care under Polish law. Children remain in state care or foster care until the adoption is finalized. While there is no standard or mandatory waiting period between matching and the bonding period, parents typically wait about six months until the first hearing before a judge. Afterward, the mandatory bonding period lasts between two and four weeks and the standard appeals period following the judge's approval of the adoption is three weeks. In addition, the civil documents necessary for the child to travel may take between two and three weeks.

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