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Inter-family adoption counselling

A person who wishes to adopt their spouse's minor child must register to the adoption counselling queue. The counselling usually consists of 1-3 office visits and one home visit.

The duration of the adoption process and the granting of adoption are affected by, for example, the life situation of the applicants and other factors related to the adoption, such as the current location of the other biological parent and their opinion on the matter.

The adoption of a minor cannot be granted if his or her biological parents do not consent to the adoption. Consent is not required if one of the parents cannot validly express his or her will, for example due to an illness, or if there are very serious grounds based on the best interests of the child to grant the adoption. The parties can agree upon if and how the child will maintain contact with his or her previous parent when adoption is granted or at a later date.

An adoption may not be granted without the consent of the adoptee if he or she has attained the age of 12 years. Moreover, adoption may not be granted against the will of a child who has not attained the age of 12 years if the child is so mature that his or her will should be taken into consideration. The adoption is always discussed with the child, regardless of his or her age. Adoption may not proceed if the parents have not discussed the fact that one of the spouses is not the child's biological parent with the child. The family's situation and issues related to the child's background should always be openly discussed with the child in a manner appropriate for the child's level of maturity. Adoption has an impact on maintenance, custody and inheritance issues. Adoption is granted based on a written petition filed with a District Court. Adoption cannot be revoked.

The adoption of an adult may be granted if it has been established that, while still a minor, he or she was in the care of and was brought up by the prospective adopter or that a relationship comparable with that between a child and parent was otherwise established between him or her and the prospective adopter while the adoptee was still a minor. In this case, the adoption application should be submitted directly to a District Court.

Persons living in a registered relationship who have had a child by mutual decision may apply for adoption after the birth of the child. In cases where the child was conceived after the registration of the relationship, the biological mother has an eight week period of reflection. The eight week period of reflection also applies in cases where the identity of the donor/biological father is known. For the purpose of counselling, the applicants must register for adoption counselling. There is no separate queue for the counselling, which usually consists of a single office visit. If the pregnancy did not result from gametes received from an anonymous donor, the number of visits may be higher since all parties must be heard and the legal ramifications of the adoption must be made clear to all parties. If the pregnancy did result from gametes received from an anonymous donor, the child's biological mother may visit the Child Welfare Officer in order to object to the determination of paternity.

If paternity is determined, adoption cannot be granted without consent from the child's father. Once an adoption has been granted, the child's former parents are discharged from all their rights and obligations as the parents and guardians of the child, but the parties may prepare an agreement on if and how the contact is to be maintained between the child and one of the biological parents if they so choose. If the agreement is made during the adoption process, is is confirmed by the District Court in connection with the granting of adoption. Adoption is granted based on a written petition filed with a District Court.

Available languages:

Finnish, Swedish, English

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The Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division

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