Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Family Adoption


What is Family Adoption?

The term family  adoption refers to the adoption of a child habitually resident in Ireland, who is eligible for adoption as per the Adoption Act 2010 as amended, by a person/s over the age of 21 years habitually resident in Ireland, who have met the standards of eligibility and suitability as per Sections 33/34 of the Adoption Act 2010 and are seeking to adopt an infant placed for adoption by their birth parent/s.

Contrary to adoption of infant’s applicants where there is no pre-existing relation, family adoption relies on a pre-existing relationship. In addition to this criterion, the family or the state would have had to place the child in the care of these relative.

Legal framework

The Adoption Act 2010 gives all applicants who wish to adopt the right to an assessment. Once an application is made, applicants must establish their Eligibility and Suitability to Adopt under Section 33 and Section 34 of the Adoption Act 2010. Applicants must be over the age of 21 and habitually resident in the state The Adoption (Amendment) Act 2017 amended the categories of those eligible to adopt, the following may make an application:

  1. sole applicants
  2. applicants who are married to each other,
  3. applicants who are civil partners of each other,
  4. applicants who are a cohabiting couple,

Section 34 sets out the criteria for an applicant’s suitability. This section was also amended by the Adoption Amendment Act 2017 to substitute a married couple with the applicants mentioned above.

The Assessment Process

  • Stage One: Information meeting
  • Stage Two: Application form and “pack”
  • Stage Three: Initial Assessment
  • Stage Four: Adoption workshop/preparation course
  • Stage Five: Final assessment and report
  • Stage Six: Presentation to the Adoption Committee
  • Stage Seven: Decision of the Adoption Authority of Ireland
  • Stage Eight: Registration with an adoption mediation agency or registration on the National Domestic Adoption Database


It can be expected that any assessment is likely to take up a minimum of two years to complete to get a declaration. If a child is placed with an applicant, the process can take longer before the child is adopted and the needs of the child will also have to be assessed.

Granting an Adoption Order

The Authority can grant the order once it is satisfied that the provision of the Adoption Act 2010 have been met

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