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Frequently asked questions on Intercountry adoption from Latvia
 Where can be found the 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
 Who are intercountry adopters?
  •  foreigners, who do not have permanent residence permit for staying in Latvia
  • citizens of Republic of Latvia living abroad

Foreign citizen can adopt as a local adopter if he/she has a permanent residence permit and if his/her place of residence is Latvia. This criteria applies only to single adopters. If a married foreign couple wants to adopt, both need to have permanent residence permit. These rules do not apply for diplomatic and consular personnel and also to foreigners, who have received registration card as a citizen of the EU, EEZ or Confederation of Switzerland.

The only exception is in a case if the foreign citizen is married to the Latvian citizen or resident. The couple can adopt as local adopters if the place of residence is Latvia and if a spouse (foreigner)  has at least temporary resident permit.

The Latvian citizens who permanently reside abroad can adopt as intercountry adopters by implementing all the required procedures as for foreign adopters. Latvian citizens or permanent residents must stay in Latvia for the adoption process in order to adopt as local adopters. According to procedures of adoption the initial home study for suitability of the adoption is at least 6 month long. The Orphans court can shorten this period if there is adequate reason for that as for example in case of adoption of spouse's child, or when the Orphans Court has gained enough confidence about the family in shorter period of time. After procedure of family study the child can be given for pre-adoption care for the period that is not longer than 6 moth. Usually this period takes around 3 month. If a family wants to adopt a child under 5 without health problems one has to take in consideration that Latvian adopters have to wait for more than 1 year until they receive information on adoptable child. Finally adoption is approved by the Court which takes around 3 month.

 Which country children form Latvia can be adopted to?
 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.
 What kind of Children are 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 Orphans court has made the decision.

Foreigners that do not have permanent resident permit or Latvian citizen who reside outside Latvia can adopt:

  • child of his/her 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.
 What kind of children intercountry adopters can apply for?
 Taking into account adoption tendencies in Latvia since 2006 (http://www.lm.gov.lv/text/1091), Ministry informs that until 31st of December 2012 Ministry will accept only those foreign adoption cases expressing wish to adopt:

1) three or more children of a one family (siblings);

2) children above age of 9;

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

4) children that the Orphans` Court has made a decision on adoption to the foreign countries and that finding of foreign adopters has not succeeded (according to adoption applications already submitted in the Ministry) and that the information has been provided in the Ministry's website www.lm.gov.lv, section "Brach information", subsection "out of family care", section "Adoption", subsection "Information on adoptable children" (electronic address: http://www.lm.gov.lv/text/1112).

We kindly ask you not to submit adoption files not corresponding to the mentioned criteria. In case there exist any specific reasons or conditions why Central Authority or Accredited Body has confirmed the necessity to start the process of adoption in Latvia even if adopters do not correspond to the mentioned criteria, please contact Ministry before submitting the adoption file.

 How long one has to wait for adoptable child?
 Each year the number of adopted children and also adopters is increasing in Latvia, thus less and less new families are looked abroad for intercountry adoption. Accordingly the time spent on waiting list for the information about adoptable child extends. In the last 3 years there have not been cases when totally healthy preschool child is adopted abroad. Even children at the school age under 10 years often have health problems and they frequently are abused. 

Most often adopted children have health problems. Also, for the most part of adopted children they have sisters and/or brothers and in these cases a single family is looked for them. Children are separated only if it is not possible to find one family for all of them or in other circumstances such as brother or sister has severe health problems, big age gap or one of the child does not agree to the adoption etc.

It is impossible to predict exact period of waiting because it depends on what kind of child adopters want to adopt although some trends can be observed:

1.    The tendencies of 1 child

A single child younger than 1 year have not been adopted already for many years. The only exceptions were few children with serious health problems or they were adopted together with their elder sisters or brothers.

The average waiting time is 5 years if adopters want to adopt a girl up to 10 years old without any serious health problems, and 2-4 years, if adopters want to adopt a boy up to 10 years old without any serious health problems.

2.  The tendencies of 2 children

The average waiting time is 4 years if adopters want to adopt the preschool children not older than 7 years without any serious health problems and at least 1-3 years if adopters want to adopt two children up to 10 years old, from whom at least one is already in a school age without serious health problems.

Sooner adoption is possible if the adopters are ready to adopt  3 and more children (brothers/sisters), child with serious health problems and children older than 11 years.

3.  The tendencies of 3 and more children

The average waiting time is at least 2-3 years if the adopters want to adopt the child not older than 7years without any serious health problems. The adopters need to wait for 1 year till the information about adoptable children is gathered if they want to adopt  children from 7 - 9 years old, because the majority of these children included in Adoption Register are with serious health problems or children that are older than 9 years.  

Sooner adoption is possible if the adopters are ready to adopt  4 and more children (brothers/sisters) or  3 children from which the oldest child is older than 9 years.

 How old adopter should be in order to adopt?
 Adopter must be at least 25 years old and art least 18 years older than adoptable child. The same rule applies to married couples.  

Exceptions:

  • Adoption of spouses `s child - adopter must be at least 21 years old and the age difference between adopter and adoptable child can not be less than 16 years.
  • Adoption of many children (brothers, sisters) - the age difference between adopter and adoptable child can not be less than 16 years.
  • Adopter and adoptee have established parent-child relationship.
 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 to 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:

 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 (reports are required for each adult household member);

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

8) criminal report (reports are required for each adult household member).

All documents shall be submitted in duplicate with a notarially certified translation in the Latvian languageDocuments 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.

 How foreign adopters can follow the submitted adoption file?
 Within every month updated information is placed in the Ministry's web page - http://www.lm.gov.lv/text/2439 where it is possible to follow the progress of adoption procedure.
 Whom to contact in the Ministry regarding the adoption questions?

Intercountry adoption

Senior Desk Officer Kristīne Pole, phone nr. 67782954. e-mail: kristine.pole@lm.gov.lv

Local adoption:

Senior Desk Officer Laura Miltoviča, phone: +371 64331820, e-mail: laura.miltovica@lm.gov.lv