Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Children eligible for adoption

The law permits the adoption of:

(a)        orphans, and

(b)        children born outside marriage, including in certain circumstances, children whose natural parents subsequently marry each other.

In addition, in exceptional cases, the High Court may make an order authorising the adoption of children whose parents have failed in their duty of care towards them.  Children born within marriage may be adopted under this provision.

A child born outside marriage who is legitimated by the subsequent marriage of the natural parents is eligible for adoption provided his/her birth has not been re-registered.

A child born to a married woman but whose husband is not the father, is eligible for adoption provided the facts of the child's paternity can be proven to the satisfaction of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

The child must reside in the State, be at least six weeks old and under 18 years of age.  The child need not have been born in this country. An agency cannot place a child for adoption until the child is at least four weeks old.

In making an adoption order the Adoption Authority of Ireland must regard the welfare of the child as the first and paramount consideration.

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