Can you adopt a child from France? 

In this blog post, we will answer the question,”Can you adopt a child from France?” In doing so, we will answer all the possible queries you might have relating to the procedural and other aspects of adoption. By the end of this article, you will understand who can adopt in France, who can be adopted, the process of adoption, role of concerned stakeholders etc. 

Can you adopt a child from France? 

Yes, you can adopt a child from France. Due to France being a party signatory in the Hague Adoption Convention which causes certain complexities in the process of adoption. Let us look at it from scratch.

What is Adoption?

Adoption is a legal process in which a family takes permanent responsibility for the upbringing of a child or young person when the child or young person is unable to live with their birth parents. 

Adoption is one method by which children’s charities find permanent and stable homes. Learn more about how children’s charities plan for long-term viability.

Adoption specialists find suitable families for the child and her adolescent years. This means a family that can see and meet important aspects of a child’s or young person’s identity, such as race, gender, ability, religion, and culture. 

This takes time and requires comprehension, empathy, and effort. Adopted children and families frequently require post-adoption support in order to grow and thrive after adoption.

Adoption is primarily a loving gesture in which a child is given to a family and a family is given to a child.

Between the adoptee and the adoptee, a true parent-child relationship is formed. This relationship, however, exists only when expressly requested by the adopter in the context of the adoption proceedings and duly established by a district court [Grand Chamber] decision. 

Adoption of siblings from the same family It is also possible to go through the adoption process. In that case, it is a straightforward adoption that does not disrupt the original lineage.

Who can adopt in France? 

A spouse who has been married for at least two years and is not separated from the body, regardless of gender. Unless they have been married for two years or more, both must be at least 28 years old.

 A civil partnership partner and an unmarried couple, on the other hand, cannot adopt together (only one partner or one member of the couple can be the adoptive parent).

Individual: Anyone aged 28 and up (male or female). If you are married, however, your spouse’s consent is required. 

The adoptee or adoptee must be at least 15 years older than the child seeking adoption, but judges can make exceptions if the age difference is small.

In the case of adopting a spouse’s child, the adopter is exempt from the age requirements. Furthermore, the minimum age gap between adoptee and adoptee will be reduced to ten years.

Which children are eligible for adoption?

Not every child can be adopted. You are only eligible for adoption if you meet the following criteria:

Children [pupilles de l’Etat] detained with official approval (orphans without a family, children with unknown or unproven parentage);

Children who are subject to a legal stay;

A child whose father and mother (or, if the child is orphaned, a family council chaired by a guardian judge) have given legally notarized consent to an authorized adoption agency (OAA).

You have two months to start kindergarten, so you cannot adopt a baby younger than two months.

The governor determines adoption plans for state children’s departments with the approval of the state department’s family council. Parents choose projects for their children who have been transferred to OAA with the approval of the Parents’ Family Council.

Furthermore, for full adoption, the child must always:

  • You must be under the age of 15. (and possibly up to 20).
  • You have given your personal consent to the adoption if you are 13 or older.
  • She must have spent at least six months in the adoptive home.
  • If the child is over the age of 13, you must have given personal consent to adopt for a simple adoption (the adoptee may be an adult).

Adoption from France: the Procedure 

Because France is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, adoptions from France must follow specific procedures designed to meet the Convention’s requirements.

A summary of the Convention’s adoption procedure is provided below. In order for the adoption to be legal, these steps must be completed in the order listed below.

Note: The information provided primarily supports rare French adoption cases, such as adoptions of French children by relatives in the US and third-country adoptions by Americans living in France. 

Anyone wishing to adopt a child in France must first obtain approval from the Ministry of Child and Social Welfare (ASE), which operates under the authority of the President of the General Council of the Administrative Department and is guided by the Permits Commission’s recommendations. 

A social and psychological evaluation ensures that the adopter’s terms of acceptance are compatible with the adoptee’s needs and interests. 

If a couple with joint approval divorces, one of them must continue approval, and if an unmarried couple wants joint approval after getting married, the previous consent must be cancelled and new consent must be obtained.

If the adoption plan involves a child living in another country, the applicant must follow the legal requirements of the child’s home country in addition to French national regulations. 

If the applicant already has biological children, some countries will not allow adoption.

After obtaining consent, the adopter must file an application for adoption of the child (full adoption or sole adoption) with the local court of residence. The decision is registered in the civil registry of the child’s place of birth and recorded in the family book [livret de famille].

A full adoption breaks all ties of pedigree with the birth parent or birth parents and creates a new pedigree with the adopted child. The adopted child becomes the legal heir of the adopted child, but does not inherit from the parent’s family. 

Conversely, through simple adoption, the adopted child retains all ties to the family of origin. The adopted child inherits from both families, but does not benefit from the adoptive family’s vested interests.

Full adoption is uncommon in the adoption process for mixed-race families.

Children who are affected include:

  • The second parent’s pedigree has not been determined.
  • The other parent was denied custody.
  • Her other parent died without leaving any children.

Note: Adoption is not possible if the stepparents are not married to the parents of the minor child.

In most cases, simple adoption is preferred.

Step 1. Select an approved adoption service provider.

The first step in adopting a child from France is to find a licensed adoption service provider in the United States. 

Adoption services between the United States and France can only be provided by these agencies and attorneys. A list of approved adoption service providers is available on our website.

Step 2. Fill out an application for adoption eligibility:

Apply for adoption approval from the United States Government, Department of Homeland Security, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) once you have chosen an approved adoption service provider (Form I-800A). Requirements for admission

Once the United States government determines that you are “eligible” and “suitable” for adoption, you or your agency will forward your information to the French adoption agency. 

Your application will be reviewed by the French adoption agency to see if you are eligible to adopt under French law.

Step 3. Children’s consent:

If the child is eligible for adoption in both the United States and France and the French Central Adoption Authority determines that the child is available for international adoption, the French Central Adoption Authority can make a referral for the child. 

Each family must decide for themselves whether they can meet the needs of the children involved and whether the children can remain in their care indefinitely.

Step 4. Submit an adoption application:

After accepting a matching child, apply to the United States Government, Department of Homeland Security, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for preliminary approval to adopt that child (Form I-800). 

USCIS determines whether a child is eligible for adoption under US law before allowing them to enter the country.

Your visa application will then be submitted to a consular officer at the US Embassy in Paris by you or your adoption service provider. The consular officer will review the child’s information and determine whether the child is visa eligible. 

If the consular officer determines that the child is eligible to immigrate to the United States, he will send a letter to the French Central Authorities (“article 5 letter”). 

Do not adopt or obtain custody of children in France until an Article 5 letter is issued by a US Consular Officer.

Step 5. Adopt (or obtain legal custody of) a child in France:

Please keep in mind that you must complete her four steps above before adopting (or obtaining legal custody) of a child in France. Only after these steps have been completed can the adoption or transfer of custody for the purpose of adoption in France be finalized.

What is the distinction between a simple and a full hire?

These two types of recruitment have different effects.

Full adoption permanently ends the adopter’s parent-child relationship with their biological parents (if the adopter is not a child of the spouse). 

The adopted child in this case has a new parentage that replaces the previous parentage.

A simple adoption results in the adoptee and the adoptee developing a new parent-child relationship. It does not, however, separate the adoptee’s parent-child relationship from the parent’s home; the two coexist.

Role of different stakeholders 

Adoption Authorities’ Role: 

US citizens interested in or considering adopting a child in France should visit the website of the Agence Francaise de l’Adoption. This website can be found under “Contact Information”

Role of the French Court 

The prospective parent must apply to the Tribunal de Grand Court that has jurisdiction over the place of residence. Although it is not required, it is strongly advised that you hire an attorney. 

The court has six months to decide whether the adoption conditions have been met and whether adoption is in the best interests of the child. 

Once an adoption is approved, the public prosecutor will request proof of adoption from the adopter’s birth city hall. There are no signs of biological parents.

Adoption Agencies’ Role: 

For domestic adoptions, parents interested in adopting should contact social services directly. Other adoption agencies are more focused on international adoptions.


International adoption in France is a lengthy process that can last several years. The domestic adoption process takes about a year on average.

Application Form for Acceptance: 

The required documents are usually prepared by a lawyer.

Adoption Fees:

Although there are no “adoption fees” in France, adoptive parents frequently hire lawyers to represent them in administrative and judicial proceedings.

Bringing the child home

There are a few steps you must take after completing the adoption (or obtaining legal custody of your child) before you can return home. 

You must obtain the following three documents for your child before she travels to the United States:

1. Certificate of Birth

You must first obtain a new birth certificate for your child before applying for a passport. Your new birth certificate will include your name. A birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents will be issued by the city office of the adoptee’s birthplace.

2. Passport from France

Because your child is not yet a US citizen, he or she will require a travel document or passport from France. Passports for children can be obtained at the Mairies d’Arrondissement or in other prefectures and departments outside of Paris.

3. Immigration to the United States

You will need to apply for your child’s US visa at the US Embassy once you have received his or her new birth certificate and passport. 

After your adoption (or custody for adoption) is finalized, go to the US Embassy to have your child’s I-800 petition reviewed and approved, and to obtain your child’s visa. Your child can return home with you if you have an immigrant visa. 

A medical report of the child’s “casenarts” will be presented to the consular officer as part of this procedure. See Health checkup for more information.