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  • Intercountry adoption from Latvia

On the 18th of November 2009 Amendments to the "Children Right Protection Law" came into force. These Amendments have established that the rule of adoption from Latvia will only take place with the countries that have either signed to the  Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 for Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption being binding, or to the countries having signed the bilateral Agreements on Legal Cooperation in the field of Adoption with the Republic of Latvia.

Countries where Hague Convention is binding (web site: http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=69)

Republic of Latvia has signed the bilateral agreements with the following countries:

  • Russian Federation,
  • Republic of Moldova,
  • Republic of Kirghizia,
  • Ukraine,
  • Republic of Poland,
  • Belarus.

Adoption foreign adopters can apply for

Ministry will accept and evaluate unlimited number of those foreign adopters' dossiers expressing a wish to adopt in Latvia:

1) three and more children of one family (siblings);

2) children above age of 9;

3) children who are seriously ill or with remarkable health (mental and/or physical development) problems; 

4) children to whom finding foreign adopters has not succeeded (according to applications of adopters already submitted in the Ministry) and on whom the Ministry has provided information in separate information summary lists of adoptable children for adoption agencies;

5)  children, who are adoptable to foreign countries, without age and health limitations, if this wish is expressed by a person or spouses habitually residing abroad and from whom at least one has a citizenship of Latvia or status of a non-citizen of Latvia. In Latvia adopters shall be represented by an adoption institution accredited to work in Latvia or by the Central Authority of country where adopters habitually reside.

The Ministry informs that adoption agencies willing to obtain accreditation or reaccreditation to work in Latvia are going to be accredited according to all above mentioned criteria or with at least one of the above mentioned criteria.

As the Hague convention On Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (hereinafter - Convention), concluded in May 29th 1993, is binding to Latvia, then in accordance with the article 12 of the Convention a body accredited in one Contracting State may act in another Contracting State only if the competent authorities of both States have authorized it to do so. In order to become accredited adoption agency in Latvia, adoption agency shall submit:

1)    agency's Certificate of Accreditation, which is awarded by the Central Authority of the member state of Convention or competent institution appointed by Central Authority, which asserts the authorization and suitability of the agency to perform the activities in the scope of adoption to foreign countries including Latvia;

2)    agency's licence on provided services issued by state's authorities;

3)    agency's cover letter that states agency's planned directions of activities in Latvia and what children (age and health) agency would mostly be interested in for adoption purposes taking into account the criteria of the Ministry on children who are adoptable to foreign countries.

The Ministry kindly asks accredited adoption agencies to follow expiration date of their agency's accreditation in Latvia and to submit above mentioned documentation for the reaccreditation in a timely manner. If the accreditation of the agency has expired, the Ministry will not provide families, represented by the particular adoption agency, with information on adoptable children.

To assist foreign adopters, the Ministry would like to provide a deeper insight on children to whom mainly foreign adopters are being searched for, as well the Ministry asks for adoption agencies to draw attention of the adopters that in most cases children who are adoptable to foreign countries up to 4 years of age have moderate health problems some of (from frequently several) diagnoses that have been defined for children are, for example, premature birth, low birth weight, HIV and/or HCV exposure, state after syphilis, congenital or acquired heart disease, encephalopathy, perinatal hypoxia, frequent respiratory illnesses, CNS damage, lack of protein energy, cow's milk protein intolerance, moderate to severe vision problems, surgically correctable health problems, such as but not limited to - hydrocele, syndaktylia, cleft lip, etc.

Whereas children who are adoptable to foreign countries from 4 to 9 years of age have mild-moderate health problems, for example, mild mental development delay, learning and behavioural disorders, speech development delay and disorders, language development delay, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders, emotional and attachment disorders. Often children in this age have enrolled in a specialized pre-school educational institution or specialized educational institution for children with mental disorders, speech development disorders, vision disorders etc. Mostly these children, alongside to already mentioned diagnoses, might also have correctable surgical problems, state after tuberculosis, celiac disease, sugar diabetes, bronchial asthma, epilepsy, moderate to severe vision problems, effects after undergone physical and/or sexual abuse etc.

As well it should be taken into account that the biological parents of children, who are adoptable to foreign countries, have lastingly consumed alcohol or drugs (also during the pregnancy), besides in many cases biological parents have mental development problems.

In order for the Ministry to find suitable family for adoptable child as soon as possible, we recommend the adopters to determine in their application and/or adoption allowance the number and age of adoptable children and as well the health problems of adoptable children with whom adopters would be ready to cope with. Simultaneously, the Ministry asks to determine those health problems to whom adopters are not suitable or ready to cope with.

Children adoptable abroad

Child is adoptable abroad only if it is not possible to ensure the care and education in the family in Latvia and the Orphan's Court has made such decision.

Foreigners, who do not have permanent residence permit, or citizens of Republic of Latvia living abroad can adopt:

  • child of spouse;
  • child from guardianship, in case adopters are child's relatives;
  • child residing in the foster family or in the orphanage, if it has not been possible to ensure the necessary care and education in the family in Latvia.

How to submit application for adoption in Latvia*

According to Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 for Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, only the Central Authority or Accredited Body to work in Latvia can submit  the adoption file in the Ministry of Welfare.

Foreigner willing to adopt in Latvia must submit the adoption documents in the Central Authority or Accredited Body of the residing state and only if Competent Authority has confirmed the person suitable to adopt in Latvia, the adoption files will be sent to Ministry for evaluation. To see the list of acceding countries and their Competent Authorities, please click on the link below:

http://www.hcch.net/index_en.php?act=conventions.authorities&cid=69

* for foreign adopters (also - citizens of Latvia and residents living abroad)

Documents to submit to start the process of adoption in Latvia

1) initial application indicating the reasons of adoption, the preferable number of children, gender and age, also the religion, if adopters have any;

2) marriage certificate and/or license copy (notarially certified), if adopters are married;

3) document approving the divorce, if there is any;

4) reference of  guaranteed living space;

5) autobiography;

6) medical report indicating congenital or contracted diseases if there are any (report is required for each household member above 18 years of age);

7) adoptive home study, made by competent authority (social service);

8) criminal report (report is required for each household member above 18 years of age).

All documents shall be submitted in duplicate with a notarially certified translation in the Latvian language. Documents issued abroad shall be legalized or certified in accordance with the Hague Convention of 5th October, 1961 „On Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents", if the different order has not been prescribed in the international contracts binding to Latvia.

Legal acts prescribing procedure of adoption in Latvia

The legal basis of adoption in Latvia is prescribed by the Civil Law of the Republic of Latvia and the regulations No.111 of the Cabinet of Ministers of 11th March, 2003 "Procedures of Adoption" (henceforth - the regulations). Link where these legal acts can be found: http://www.lm.gov.lv/text/1123

How foreign adopters can follow on the submitted adoption file

Within every month updated information is placed in the Ministry's web page - http://www.lm.gov.lv/text/2439