Children who need families
This programme is especially suitable for New Zealanders wishing to adopt children from the following groups:
1. An individual child from 5 to 14 years with some health or behavioural problems. Younger children 5-6 years are more likely to have more serious health problems. Older children may be healthy, but have some learning difficulties or behavioural problems that are common to the children growing up in the orphanages. Children over 8 years might not have any health, learning or behavioural problems but have experienced trauma and sadness in their past.
2. A sibling group of two children. This might be two children up to about 10 years, where one of them might have some health problems. It might also be two children with the older sibling up to about 12 years and the younger sibling up to about 5 years; they might be healthy or have some learning difficulties or health problems. Another option could be two children over 8 years that may have no health problems.
3. A sibling group of three or more children. These sibling groups can consist of children from 4 to 14 years. The most common case is three children from 5 to 10 years. Usually such children do not have any identified health or behavioural problems.
4. In some rare cases, it is possible to adopt an individual child or a sibling group without any health problems, but where the adoptive family are required to maintain regular contact with biological siblings of the child/children in Lithuania.
Statistics on adoptions from Lithuania including numbers (in age groups) of children available can be viewed here.
As in other European countries, children are cared for in orphanages after coming into government care earlier in their lives. Children are usually of European ethnicity, aged 1-15 years of age, with many older family groups waiting for adoption. Children may have backgrounds of abandonment, neglect or abuse. Families should be comfortable dealing with issues from their difficult past. Children often need personal attention from a dedicated parent to reverse the the effects of their earlier life.
Who can adopt?
Prospective adoptive parents must be
- Approved by the NZ Central Authority for adoption following adoption education and assessment by AFS or Oranga Tamariki.
- Married. Single women who have Lithuanian heritage can adopt, but no other singles.
- Aged between 18 and 50 years at time of adoption although there's some flexibility with age if you're adopting children over 9 years, allowing older applicants for older children.
- Healthy, meeting the specific Lithuanian requirements for health.
Who's involved in the process?
All adoptions are approved by the Lithuanian State Child Rights Protection and Adoption Service, under the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the Central Authority for Adoption in Lithuania. At the New Zealand end the adoption is approved by the New Zealand Central Authority for Adoption (NZCA).
In Lithuania ICANZ works through its representative, an attorney-at-law in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. The Attorney liaises with the Lithuanian Adoption Service on behalf of ICANZ and the adoptive parents, and represents parents during the legal process, including the court hearing.
How long will it take?
The adoption process is very well regulated and adoptions are typically completed in under a year.
What costs are involved?