A person wishing to adopt a child or give his or her child up for adoption is required to first attend adoption counselling.
The minimum and maximum age of adoptive parents is defined in the Adoption Act: the minimum age is 25 years and the maximum age is 50 years. The age difference between the child and the adopter may be no more than 45 years. The purpose of the limit is to try to ensure care for the child until he or she reaches adulthood. According to the Adoption Act, a couple wishing to adopt a child must be married to be eligible for adoption. Adoption counselling is also available to applicants who live alone, but some target countries do not accept persons living alone as adoptive parents or may prefer to give adoptees primarily to childless couples.
Adoption counselling is approximately a year-long process, consisting of an average of eight office meetings and usually one home meeting. The purpose of adoption counselling is to determine the applicants' readiness for becoming adoptive parents. In addition to this, adoption counselling aims to help applicants evaluate their own willingness and preparedness for adoptive parenthood through discussions and guidance. Adoption counselling also explores the many factors involved in international adoption. The themes of the counselling include the applicants' motives, parenting skills, social relations and health, as well as the adoptive child's background and health-related issues. At the end of the counselling period, a home report is prepared on the applicants.
The service is free of charge.
The service is meant for residents of Helsinki and Vantaa.