On 1st July 1997 Denmark ratified the Hague Convention for Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption and the Convention became effective on 1st December 1997.

Pursuant to art. 6 of the Hague Convention, Central Authority for Denmark is the Department on Family Affairs at the Ministry of Justice. It is responsible for the elaboration of the requirements to prospective adoptive parents. Issuing licenses to the agencies mediating the process of international adoption, as well as controlling their activity, are among its responsibilities. The Department is also responsible about conducting preparatory courses for the applicants.

Together with the Central authority there are some other bodies in Denmark with certain areas of competence in the adoption procedure:

А. The Danish National Adoption Board – this is the body to which all complaints are sent and which controls the activity of the Joint Council, makes proposals for national adoptions and so on.  

B. Joint Council – There is a Joint Council in each of Denmark’s 5 regions. The Council is actually a first instance court, which determines the eligibility of a prospective adoptive parent. The Councils carry out the home study of the applicants, interview them, etc. Each Council consists of 3 members – a social worker, a lawyer and a doctor. The Joint Councils can withdraw their permission to adopt where the applicant no longer fulfills the requirements to be approved for adoption.

C. Adoption Council – it is responsible for managing the complaints and recommendations to the respective public institutions.

D. The Minister of Family and Consumer Affairs sets out the rules for approval of prospective adoptive parents, for adoptive proceedings, etc.

There are 3 private adoption service providers in Denmark, which are non-profit organizations. According to the Danish Adoption Act, it is advisable that the applicants use the services of one of these agencies, although in some cases (adoption of a child with whom the adopter has a close relationship or for other reasons), adoption can be permitted without the mediation of an adoption agency.

Danish law permits international adoption only by Danish citizens or individuals with permanent residence in the country. At the moment of submitting the application for international adoption, the prospective adoptive parent should not be over 40 and should be at least 25 years old. However, where warranted by special reasons, a permission to adopt can be granted to a person having attained the age of 18. Individuals as well as families can adopt, if their marriage was concluded at least 2 years and a half before submitting the application.  When spouses wish to adopt a child, both of them should file the application to the local state administration. The age difference between the adoptive parent and the child should not be more than 40 years.

The Joint Council Secretariat on regional level conducts a detailed home study of the applicants and then presents its recommendation to the Joint Council, which on the basis of the home study takes final decision whether to approve the prospective adoptive parents as eligible to adopt a child. The assessment process itself entails 3 steps: 1. determining whether the applicant fulfills the eligibility requirements; 2. a two-week preparation course for prospective adoptive parents, which is obligatory for all applicants who are for the first time adopting a child outside Denmark and 3. conducting meetings between the applicant and the regional government department, aiming to establish whether the applicant has the necessary qualities to become an adoptive parent, after which the social report is developed. On the grounds of this report the Joint Council declares its final decision.

After the applicant has been approved for international adoption, a psycho-social report is written and sent to the adoption service provider. When a proposal for an identified child is received, the agency reviews the child’s medical documentation and makes judgement whether the presented documentation matches the characteristics pointed out in the applicants’ permission to adopt. If the child’s profile does not match the one in the permission, the agency asks the applicants to either give their consent for adoption or to withdraw it. If the child’s profile does not match the one in the permission to adopt, the agency might advise the prospective adoptive parents to request expansion of the characteristics included in it. The Joint Council decides whether the characteristics can be changed and asks the regional government department to carry out a study necessary to establish whether the applicants are eligible to adopt a child with the new profile. If the agency has doubts that the child’s profile does not match the profile from the permission, it informs the Joint Council and the Council takes the final decision. In case the child’s profile matches the approved profile from the permission to adopt and the applicants agree to continue the adoption proceedings, the agency issues a letter pursuant to art. 17 c of the Hague Convention.

All the above-said shows that the applicant for international adoption should have registered with an adoption service provider before the beginning of the third step.

International adoption is fully recognized in Denmark and by virtue of the Bulgarian court judgement, the child (if he/she is under 12) acquires Danish citizenship from the moment when the foreign court judgement permitting the adoption becomes effective. If on the date when this judgement becomes effective the child is above 12, he/she is entitled to a permit for permanent residence in Denmark till the moment he/she personally files an application for acquiring Danish citizenship. With the act of adoption, the blood relations with the birth family are interrupted and with the new family new relations and rights are acquired as in the case of blood relationship. The Danish law recognizes only the full adoption, does not allow the re-adoption of the child, but permits termination of the adoption.


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Intercountry Adoption Council sessions

This section contains information on the referrals (proposals) made by the IAC. This is the body within the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice, which makes the referrals.

The phone call that changed my life - Lizanne C., USA

I waited, what felt like an eternity, for the phone call that would forever change my life. I was emotionally and financially invested in what would be the most meaningful event in my life – the adoption of my little boy.

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