ICANZ can assist you through our programmes if:

1. You are permanent residents of New Zealand, 

2. You receive a positive, supportive home study report from the New Zealand Central Authority for Adoption, following an adoption education course and assessment by one of the pre-adoption approval agencies, AFS or OT.

3. You understand the needs of children who have experienced grief and loss and you are prepared to accept and work with a child of an appropriate age.

4. You meet the requirements of the country you wish to adopt from.

NOTE - Each adoption is viewed individually. Adoption requirements are sometimes flexible if you are applying for older children, sibling groups of three or more children from one family, those with medical needs, or if you have cultural heritage that matches the child's culture. Other conditions may apply in your particular case, so we strongly recommend you talk to us before progressing too far. 

 No, although in some countries this may give you priority. ICANZ helps all New Zealanders, of any ethnicity, religious or cultural background to adopt children from overseas, so long as you meet the requirements of the child's country. You do need to learn to provide familiar food for the first year and to speak a few familiar phrases. You need to commit to encouraging your child to respect their heritage while growing up as a New Zealander. There are many resources to help you build your child's pride in his heritage. 
First, contact ICANZ to check the requirements for your country of choice. Ask ICANZ for more information on countries you are interested in. We have detailed information packs we supply to those seriously interested in adoption. We are also happy to talk with you, as most of our staff and board are adoptive parents and understand the questions you will have. 

After this, the first formal step is to undertake adoption education/preparation courses and be approved as an adoptive family. You have a choice of two routes for this -

1. Adoption First Steps OR

2. Oranga Tamariki Ministry For Children.

Once you are approved, ICANZ can begin the actual adoption application to the overseas country for you.

 The actual adoption timeframe depends on:

The country you choose to apply to,

The age, gender, number of children you choose to apply for, and any restrictions you place on the characteristics of child you will accept

How well you fit the type of parent that country is looking for and how your application is presented,

How many other parents are applying at the same time,

How many children enter the orphanage or other form of government care in the months or years before your application is received.

Some examples, based on our experience: If you apply to Thailand for one child up to 2 years, you may wait 4-8 months to receive information on your child, then a further 6-8 or more months to bring your child home.If you apply to the Philippines for one child aged 8-11 years or a child with medical or developmental needs, you may be matched in a few months. If you apply for a healthy child up to 3 years, you might be matched in 2 years. If you are willing to accept some medical needs, this will be much shorter. Timeframes for India and Lithuania are also variable (a few months for children  8-11, far longer for little children), but in general those applying for older children are matched far more quickly, as are those who accept waiting children. See our waiting children page for more information

Please note: These time frames are for the adoption process with ICANZ only and do not include the time for pre-adoption approval agencies AFS or OT to assess and approve you to be adoptive parents.  Adoption processes and timeframes with other placement agencies may be very different.

 See our information on Timeframes. This explains why the adoption process takes time, coping with the wait, and using your time productively to prepare for your adoption. Remember, ICANZ staff have personal experience in waiting to adopt, and will do everything in our power to reduce the waiting time.
 India - for girls 5-10 years, or younger ones with definite medical needs.

Philippines - for children over 9 years so long as you can meet other criteria.

Thailand for children over about 8 or 9 years.

 Adoption involves a complex legal process with court hearing, in another language, another culture, another legal system, on the other side of the world. "Adoption comes from the heart, but the process must follow the law". There are costs involved in such work.

There is no government funding to help you in NZ or the child's country of origin.ICANZ is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that must charge fees on a cost-recovery basis.

Many people are involved in each adoption. In New Zealand we employ qualified trained professionals whose sole job is to assist you. They are not volunteers trying to squeeze this work in between other jobs. We must pay for staff to answer enquirers seeking information and to process adoption paperwork for those undertaking an adoption.

To set up the adoption programme you use, our team had to travel to the overseas countries to meet with government officials, and our partner organisations that will help you overseas.

In NZ, ICANZ is required to have a secure office, to protect very personal documents for the families we assist, telephone and computer systems to communicate with NZ families and overseas authorities. Each month, we must pay these overhead costs of rent, power, phone bills, internet service provider, alarm company, water rates, insurance company as well as maintain viable office equipment.

Your adoption will involve engaging experienced personnel in your child’s region. These overseas service providers facilitate your application through the legal process and obtain the paperwork necessary for the child’s adoption, visa, NZ Citizenship and passport. In some countries there is the additional cost of employing translators to translate each and every communication and document that is required for the court case for the adoption. When parents travel to pick up their child, facilitators, guides and translators may meet them at the airport, transport them to their pre-arranged meetings and help them as they meet their child for the first time. Some overseas partner agencies are also child caring agencies, and must fund the costs of the staff, buildings, equipment, overheads, food, clothing, to care for the children.

Although the ICANZ team and the associated personnel in the child's country of origin view their work as a mission, like anyone, they must earn a living to provide for their families. Each employee needs a salary, an office, a computer, a phone, office supplies and ongoing training and ICANZ faces capital expenditures for equipment, furniture and maintenance, insurance, etc.

All of this and more requires money to pay expenses. So, as you can see, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes! We welcome your calls and questions so we can help you understand the process and costs involved.

 For each country you may need to cover the following costs:

Documentation costs, usually involving notary's fees, government department costs, costs for your own medical reports, psychologist report, home study report, as well as translations

Travel costs internationally and within the child's country, including visas, passports

Overseas accommodation costs

ICANZ costs within NZ

Overseas agency costs including interpreter costs, court fees, lawyers' fees, the child's medical examination

Post adoption monitoring costs

NZ citizenship costs

These vary from country to country. ICANZ supplies a detailed written list of predicted expenses for your process of adoption for each country. Contact us for this information.