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, but there are also requirements specific to each country. 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 permanent resident,
  • be approved as an adoptive parent by the NZ Central Authority for Adoption (part of the Ministry for Children), following preparation and assessment by either AFS or Oranga Tamariki,
  • 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 long hours of day care or other caregivers during the first year,
  • be in good mental and physical health (interpretation differs for each country),
  • meet the requirements specific to your case and the country - see our country pages.
  • 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.

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. From time to time, some programmes may have limited numbers of applicants per year. This situation can change at short notice. Give us a call to chat about your personal situation.