Requirements for Adoptive Parents

Philippines baby room
Who can adopt? 

All countries have requirements for adoptive parents, criteria they feel are in the best interests of their children that need adoptive families and meet their legal and cultural requirements.  Below are the key criteria for adoptions via ICANZ. Some are fixed, some are flexible if you're applying for waiting children. In some countries singles are accepted as adoptive applicants. No countries we work with accept applications from couples in de facto, civil union or same-sex relationships; this results from the overseas countries' legislation, policies and culture.

To adopt with ICANZ you must:

  • be a New Zealand resident,
  • be approved as an adoptive parent by the NZ Central Authority for Adoption (part of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki), following preparation and assessment by AFS or the Ministry for Vulnerable Children,
  • be financially secure, able to support a child, with suitable housing, and have the funds to finance the adoption costs and travel,
  • be able to commit to parenting the child yourself, not using day care or other caregivers regularly during the first year,
  • be in good mental and physical health (interpretation differs for each country),
  • meet the general requirements below, and any further requirements specific to your case and the country,
  • commit to residing in NZ for the length of time required for post placement reporting requirements for your child's country. This may be 2-4 years.

This chart is not inclusive of all requirements, only the basic requirements. Extra requirements may be applied by the NZCA in individual cases. For example, you'll often only be approved to adopt children younger than any children already in your family.  In some countries criteria can be waived or eased if you are applying to adopt Special Focus or Waiting children. Timeframes may also differ in these cases. Give us a call to chat about your personal situation.

Some programmes have limited numbers of applicants per year. Pre-registration is essential for these programmes.

  Your Age Marital Status  Family Size Child's age Travel reqd

Child under 4 -couples combined age must be under 90 (singles, under 45) and have Indian heritage unless applying for a child with medical needs.

Child 4-8 -combined age must be under 100 (singles, under 50).

Child 8-18- combined age must be under 110 (singles under 55).

Married 2 years.


Single women accepted.

Families with 3 or more children can apply only for waiting children (older children or medically needy children) Indian heritage couples (must have OCI card or Indian passport) can apply for any age but see age restrictions. Those without OCI or Indian passport can adopt children 5+ or with medical needs 1, 2 or 3 trips, final trip 2 weeks, others a few days only.
 LITHUANIA Preferably no more than 40 yr average age gap between parent(s) and oldest child. Applicants accepted up to early 50s for children aged 9-11 years. Married couples only, no more than 1 divorce. Singles only accepted if Lithuanian citizens.  no restrictions
1) Siblings groups of 3+ children,
2) Individual children over 9.
3) 2 siblings, oldest over 8.
4) younger children 3-7 with health needs.
1 trip 2 1/2 weeks, but sometimes 2 trips required.



No more than 45 years between mother's and child's age. Couples over 50 accepted for waiting list children.

Also education, finance, reference & health criteria - see the Philippines adoption page.

Couples who are married 3 yrs, or 1 yr marriage with 3 year relationship, 2 divorces permitted/parent.

Single women accepted for children 9+

Prefer no more than 3 children at home (may be waived for waiting children, school age children) Infants, toddlers, children of all ages. Note - there are limits on the number of applicants we accept for children under 6. No limits on the number of applicants for children over 6 or with medical needs. 1 trip, 7 days



Prospective parents must be under 50.

Average age of adoptive parents should not be more than 41 years older than the child at the time of adoption.

Older applicants are welcome to apply for older  children.

Couples who are married 3 yrs, or 1 yr marriage with 3 year relationship. No more than 1 divorce.

Single women accepted for older children and "special needs" children, with some extra requirements .

Couples unable to have children by birth can apply for a child 0-3 years. Others accepted for older children or with medical needs. Children of all ages. Note -  there are limits on the number of applicants we accept each year for children under 5. No limits on the number of applicants for children over 5 or children with medical needs.. 1 trip, 14-18 days
RUSSIA NZers can no longer adopt in Russia as the NZ Ministry of Social Development has not succeeded in negotiating a bilateral agreement satisfactory to the Russian authorities.