Inter-Country Adoption New Zealand

Adoption Process - a summary

Click each heading to open that section of the Process


1. Check ICANZ Country Programme Requirements

Check you meet the requirements for your country of choice

2. Pre-registration with ICANZ - optional for some countries

If you are really committed to adopting in a particular country with ICANZ, then while you're undergoing assessment, we can help you more if you complete our pre-registration to receive further information on your country of choice, to discuss your personal situation with our staff, to keep updated about any changes in that country's process, and to book your place in our system.  It also gives you access to our Members only page on this website for your country of choice. For our Thai programme, pre-registration is required; for all other countries it is optional.

There's no requirement for you to already have links to the culture of the country you wish to apply to, although for India it does give you an advantage. You do need to be able to help your child learn about their heritage, to integrate that with your family culture and you must respect their heritage. Take a look at resources that will help you to build your child's awareness of their heritage.

3. Education, Assessment/Approval to be an adoptive parent, Home Study Report - Either AFS or MfVC, with approval by the NZCA

This is the first step towards intercountry adoption. For this step, you have a choice of using either the New Zealand Government the Ministry for Vulnerable Children (formerly CYF); or, an accredited non-government organisation called  Adoption First Steps (AFS)  ICANZ is not an Assessment Service and does not carry out this step.

Whichever organisation you use, this steps involves

1. police, medical and referee reports to check your legal eligibility

2. an education course on adoption

3. social worker visits to your home for interviews to assess your suitability to become an adoptive parent

4. the social worker's report called a Home Study Report

5. review of the Home Study Report by the NZCA (New Zealand Central Authority) and issue of an approval certificate to adopt a certain number of children, of a particular age range, from one specified country.

If you use MfVC, their education course, called "Ways to Care",  starts with a short information session, covering fostering, long term shared guardianship ("Home for Life"), NZ adoption, plus intercountry adoption. You then attend 3 workshops, referred to as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3. Be aware that there are two versions of Day 3 - one to prepare you to go into the pool for local "Home for Life" children and one to prepare you to adopt a child or children intercountry. Make sure you know which one you've chosen to attend.

If you use AFS, their course involves some online education that you can complete at home, followed by a workshop run by AFS.

For some countries you'll also need a report from a psychologist.

The NZCA will send your Home Study Report to ICANZ provided you've told the AFS or CYF social worker you wish to use ICANZ. We'll then work on your behalf to prepare an application and make the arrangements that lead to you being offered a child to adopt into your family (see below).

4. Placement of a child in your home - ICANZ

ICANZ (that's us - Inter-Country Adoption New Zealand) is a placement organisation, with authority to arrange the placement (and finally adoption) of a child from overseas into your home. We'll do the paperwork, apply on your behalf to the overseas authorities, and make all the arrangements needed. ICANZ can assist you to adopt a child from countries listed on this website. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for information about the country you are interested in. 

Registration with ICANZ
If you decide to engage ICANZ as the organisation to arrange for a child to be placed with you, inform your AFS or CYF social worker of this. Once you are approved to adopt, you may complete full registration with us. At any stage you're welcome to contact the ICANZ office with your questions. We'll provide information by email.
Dossier of Documents
We prepare your dossier of documents as an application to meet the overseas country’s requirements and arrange for these to be submitted to the overseas country in the appropriate way. ICANZ visits each country in person and maintains regular contact to keep aware of the best way to present your application.
Child Referral and Acceptance
A referral, or child study, are terms used for the information sent to you about a child waiting for adoption. Sometimes this process of choosing a child/children for you is referred to as "matching". The information usually includes medical and social information about the child and their background, with a photo of the child. You consider this information carefully before deciding to proceed to adopt the child. Some countries require you to make a trip to meet the child in person at this stage, before you can proceed to adopt the child. The NZCA must approve you as suitable parents for the particular child matched to you before the adoption can proceed.
The Adoption Legal work
We'll get your documents filed in the foreign courts, or government departments, to adopt the child. Depending on the country, ICANZ may work with lawyers, our representatives, a liaison agency or an accredited agency overseas.
Travel and Finalisation
You'll travel to the overseas country to meet your child, complete the required legal process to be permitted to bring your new son or daughter to NZ.

5. After you get home - post placement reports on your child - ICANZ

Post-Placement Reports  In all cases you'll have visits by an ICANZ social worker. This may be required in order to finalize the adoption, and/or to report to the foreign country
The summary we've given you here is a generalized overview. Each country varies in its process; we give you more details as you work through the process with us.