Step by step to intercountry adoption from
Overall, the process from the decision to adopt to the court verdict took about 1.5 years. There are cases in which it takes longer (see here why).
The following phases await you (click here or scroll down):
The rules and procedures for Germany are presented here. In other countries these differ. See our overview of links for information for other countries.
Step 1: Decision making
May 13, 2019, Central Adoption Office
Examine the alternatives:
National adoption in own country
Permanent foster care
In our case, the process of intercountry adoption was explained to us over the phone. The caseworker sent us various brochures and informational materials. As soon as we had decided, we should get back to her.
You can find contacts to the central adoption offices ("zentrale Adoptionsstellen") of the state youth welfare offices ("Landesjugendämter") in Germany here.
Note: You can only adopt from Romania, if one partner has the Romanian citizenship.
Step 2: Beginning the Adoption
We communicated our decision to initiate the intercountry adoption from Romania. The case worker then asked the local Youth Welfare Office to prepare a social report on us.
We then made the appointment at the local Youth Welfare Office for the initial interview for the home study ourselves.
October 29, 2019, Central Adoption Office
Step 3: Home study
The home study is identical as for the national adoption in Germany and includes according to the law
the personal and family circumstances of the adoption applicants,
the health status of the adoption applicants,
the social environment of the adoption applicants,
the motives of the adoption applicants for adoption as well
the characteristics of the children that the adoption applicants are able and willing to care for.
Each youth welfare office designs the process differently. In our case, four meetings took place, which we describe in more detail here. The core of the discussions was a questionnaire that had to be filled out in advance and the content of which you find here.
November 12, 2019 - February 17, 2020, local youth welfare office
Step 4: Evaluation of country-specific fit
After the central adoption office of the state youth welfare office had received the social report from the local youth welfare office, we made an appointment. In this meeting, the caseworker at the state youth welfare office evaluated our country-specific suitability for intercountry adoption from Romania (see §7c AdVermiG).
On this basis, she wrote her official statement on our suitability as adoptive parents.
In the second part of the 2-3 hour appointment, she explained the necessary documents for the adoption application in Romania and handed over a version translated into German (a current version of the process described in Romanian on the ANDPDCA website).
March 10, 2020, Central Adoption Office
Step 5: Seminar with the Central Adoption Office
<canceled in our case>, Central Adoption Office
In our case, the one-day seminar was canceled twice due to Corona, so that we could not attend.
This is usually a good opportunity to get to know other adoptive applicants, exchange ideas, and receive information.
Tip: Don't worry - you won't be tested or graded there. Ask any questions that are on your mind.
Important: We have heard of some cases in which the further process was held up because participation in a seminar was not made possible. In our opinion, there is no basis for this. It would have to be argued that you were not sufficiently prepared without the seminar. It is, therefore, all the more worthwhile to participate independently in any courses offered (from the youth welfare office, independent organizations, etc.) at an early stage and to document this.
Step 6: Preparing the application
March 10, 2020 - May 20, 2020, adoptive parents and Central Adoption Office
The tasks involved in preparing the application documents are shared by the family and the caseworker at the State Youth Welfare Office. You can find the overview in our document management excel (in German).
The following steps must typically be followed for all official documents:
Notarization (of the signature or copy)
Apostille by the district court (confirms the signature of the notary)
Apostille by the district court (confirms the translator's signature)
The necessary medical certificates are very unusual for German doctors (especially for psychiatrists). It helps if you present/send an example when you ask the doctor. That is why we have linked a template/example for you (family doctor, psychiatrist).
Photos of your family must also be submitted. Here you should strive for a good resolution and a nice design. The photos will be shown to your future child when it is prepared for your visit.
Tip: To keep track of things, we recommend that you update the Excel document together with the caseworker at the State Youth Welfare Office.
Important: Find a certified translator who promises timely processing. Also, compare the prices of several translators before you make a decision ( see also "Costs of intercountry adoption from Romania" )
Our documents were always sent with DHL Express. The invoice goes to the adoptive applicant.
Step 7: Resending
It is very annoying when documents are missing or incorrect. Receiving the feedback from Bucharest, adjusting the documents, and resending easily take 1-2 months. Unfortunately, this was the case for us with two documents. There was a discrepancy between the age of the child in the home study report and the report of the Central Adoption Office and a translation was mising.
Tip: Before sending, read through all documents in the central adoption office (they may not be handed out, but you can read them there).
July 29, 2020, Central Adoption Office
Step 8: Registration in Romania
The official registration as an adoptive applicant is confirmed in a letter from Bucharest. It means that from this moment on your profile is registered in the electronic matching system so that local youth welfare offices (DGASCP) will see it when they are looking for a possible family for a child.
August 3, 2020, ANDPDCA
Step 9: Waiting for a proposal
In the first two months after registration, we waited.
Then, on October 12, 2020, we contacted the caseworker at ANDPDCA and introduced ourselves personally.
The contact did not replace the formal communication and did not speed up the process. However, it was very helpful as we were able to closely coordinate all further steps.
Around 3 months, adoptive parents
Step 10: Child proposal
October 22, 2020 (call) and October 30, 2020 (appointment), Central Adoption Office
The caseworker at the state child welfare agency called my wife at work. It was highly emotional. She was able to give us the first, rough information by phone (twins, age, place of origin).
The next days we sat on pins and needles until the translation into German was done and the appointment to discuss the child proposal could take place.
In the appointment, we first read through the profile of our daughters: The story of their birth, their character traits, the medical information, etc.
After that, we could discuss open questions. In some cases, it is necessary to send these questions again to Romania to get clarification.
Only at the end of the appointment, the caseworker showed us the photos and a video of our daughters.
My wife and I cried and hugged.
Step 11: Acceptance
Between October 31, 2020 and November 19, 2020, Central Adoption Office and adoptive parents
For the acceptance of the child profile and the initiation of the matching process, some documents are again necessary, which are prepared according to the same logic as in the original application.
In detail these are:
Notarized declaration under the Hague Adoption Convention that the adoptive applicants wish to initiate the process of becoming acquainted with the child/children from the child profile.
Declaration of consent according to article 17 lit. c of the Hague Adoption Convention (by Central Adoption Office)
Confirmation from the Foreigners' Registration Office that the child/children are allowed to enter Germany without a visa after the adoption has taken place.
For the German authorities, we had to sign a declaration at the youth welfare office that we - in case our daughters cause costs of youth welfare in the first six years after adoption - will bear these costs.
The following documents from the original application are only valid for six months and have to be presented again up-to-date for the Romanian family court (they have to be sent to ANDPDCA in Bucharest at the end of the 30-day-matching-phase at the latest):
Medical and psychiatric certificate
Police clearance certificates
Tip: As soon as you have decided, make an appointment with a notary, the doctors, and apply for police clearance certificates.
Important: We have seen in several cases that the immigration authorities either do not react or only issue the short certificate after asking for it several times. The Central Adoption Office should point out the urgency from the start.
At our request, the administration at the Central Adoption Office kindly sent the documents in advance by email.
In this email, she also stated the point in time from which we plan to be in Romania and that we would be happy if the process of getting to know each other could start at this point.
Tip: It is worthwhile to work closely with ANDPDCA. From there, approval must be given to the local youth welfare office, which then initiates the preparation of the child and coordinates the start date with the adoptive parents.
Step 12: Apartment
We looked for apartments in the nearest city to the girls' foster care family via various platforms and then contacted the respective providers as to whether a rental for three months would be possible and under what conditions.
Tip: Rent an apartment in which you can also set up a room for your child. You will spend a lot of time there and it would be a shame if it didn't feel a bit "like home".
Mid-November 2020, adoptive parents
Step 13: Getting to know your child
December 4, 2020 (first visit)
December 12, 2020 (first night with us)
December 18, 2020 (they move in)
January 4, 2021 (final meeting DGASPC)
Employed foster mother (AM), DGASPC, adoptive parents
On December 3, 2020, an appointment took place at the local youth welfare office (DGASCP). We met the caseworker and the head of the adoption department.
The next day we visited our daughters for the first time with the employed foster mother (assistenta maternala, AM). We brought a Duplo set for each of the girls, a bit of chocolate and a large basket with fruit. Our daughters still talk about this first visit today.
From then on we were there every day. We usually came around 11 a.m. and drove back to our apartment around 9 p.m.
Shortly before Christmas, we were able to take the girls in permanently. If that is possible depends on the process of getting to know each other. The decision lies with the DGASCP.
Important: After we finished our process, new rules were published that regulate the stay of children with the adoptive applicants during and after the 30-day-matching phase in Article 110 of the Implementing Ordinance to the Act on the Adoption Process. For the time between the 30-day-matching-phase and the court judgment, this requires a notarized application to the DGASCP.
The DGASCP case manager sent the report on the 30-day-matching-phase to the ANDPCDA caseworker in Bucharest with a positive vote.
At the end of the 30-day-matching-phase, we formulated an application for adoption for the court, which was submitted together with the applications of the DGASCP and the ANDPDCA. The DGASCP had given us a template for this.
In our case, there was a slight delay in sending it, so our file for the court was not finalized until around two weeks later in Bucharest.
The caseworker, then, sent it directly to the responsible regional court.
There is a 5-day deadline for completing the report after the 30-day-matching-phase.
The district court has a 14-day deadline after receipt of the adoption file, in which an appointment must be set.
Step 14: Court verdict
February 3, 2021 (court date), Feburary 16, 2021 (collection of final judgment),
The judge of the regional court made the decision on the basis of the available documents. We confirmed on-site that we want to adopt our daughters. The judge asked our daughters who their mother and father are and they pointed to us.
We had three certified copies of the final judgment made. This takes place directly at the regional court.
Important: You have to leave a certified copy at the registry office and at the ANDPDCA. Normal copies do not suffice. You should also have an original and a certified copy for later administrative procedures in Germany.
Step 15: Confirmation of inclusion in the household
February 3, 2021, DGASCP
After the court decision on February 3, 2021, the DGASCP certified the admission of our daughters into our household.
Tip: This certificate is important for applying for parental leave and parental allowance in Germany.
I had already agreed with my employer in advance that my parental leave would start with the court date. Until then, I had worked remotely for a month.
I was able to submit the necessary documents for my employer later.
The following criteria must be met for parental leave in Germany (legal basis):
Residence in Germany
Inclusion in the household
Caring for your child yourself
Assessment: In our opinion, these criteria are met as soon as the child/children live with you permanently (i.e. also before a court judgment) and this is officially confirmed.
Step 16: Birth certificates and passports
February 17, 2021 (birth certificates), Registry office
February 18, 2021 (passport photos)
February 24, 2021 (collection of passports)
Local office of Ministry of Interior
With the final judgment, I drove to the office of the registry that issues birth certificates. This is often located in the local hospital's birth tract.
The following documents were required for issuing the new birth certificates:
Previous birth certificates
Marriage certificate in the Romanian original and a copy
Birth certificates in the Romanian original or German birth certificate with a certified translation, as well as a copy of each
Certified copy of the final judgment
Copies of identity cards/passports
In our case, the registry office issued the new birth certificates with our names as parents on the same day.
Immediately after receiving the final judgment, we made appointments for the passports. This is done nationwide via the electronic platform https://www.epasapoarte.ro/. You also pay online at www.ghiseul.ro.
The following documents are required:
Child's birth certificate
Parents ID cards
Proof of payment of the fee
Step 17: Deregistration from Romanian health insurance
Before we left, we had to deregister our daughters from the Romanian health insurance. With the deregistration we were able to apply for the E104 form, which confirms that our daughters had state health insurance from birth. This form was required for registration with the German health insurance (in our case: private).
The following documents are required for deregistration:
Child's birth certificate
Parents ID cards
February 18, 2021, CNAS
Step 18: Apply for Post-Adoption Grant
For children who leave the national youth welfare measure, the Romanian state pays a one-time grant equal to the applicable monthly minimum wage (Art. 129, Paragraph 4, Lege 272).
We had to submit an informal application to the DGASCP for this. The certificates according to the Hague Convention (which we submitted later) and the birth certificates had to be enclosed.
February 19, 2021, DGASCP
Step 19: Certification according to the Hague Convention
February 17, 2021 (application)
February 22, 2021 (pick up)
The confirmation that the adoption process complied with the rules of the Hague Convention was issued by the ANDPDCA in Bucharest.
One of the lawyers is responsible for this, not the respective caseworker.
As soon as we had the birth certificates, we sent the official application form (website ANDPDCA or directly from the responsible lawyer) with the following documents by email:
Copy of identity cards of adoptive parents
By phone, we agreed on a pick-up date for the following week. I flew to Bucharest for it. On-site I had to make two signatures and handed over a legalized copy of the final judgment.
Alternatively, a person authorized by a notary can also pick it up, with the judgment sent by courier beforehand.
Important: The title of the German organization (the respective central adoption office) must be filled in completely and correctly on the certificate. In our case, this had to be corrected again later.
Step 20: Translations
March 03, 2021, translation agency
We have had the following documents translated in order to have them available to German authorities/institutions:
Certificates of conformity according to the Hague Convention
Certificate of inclusion in the household
E104 health insurance certificates
Step 21: Applications for Germany
Parental allowance via the responsible parental allowance office: The start time is the inclusion of the child in the household, which the DGASCP has confirmed to you.
Child benefit via the relevant family benefits office: starting time is the day of the court verdict.
Kindergarten: In many municipalities, there are long lead times and specific application procedures. Well worth taking care of early.
Health insurance: Contact your health insurance company before the court ruling so that you have the necessary applications ready when you deregister from the Romanian system.
from Feb 2021, adoptive parents
Step 22: Registration in Germany
As soon as we arrived in Germany, we contacted the citizens' office/town hall. We submitted copies of our translated documents. On this basis, the girls were registered around two weeks later.
March 26, 2021, Office for Public Order
Step 23: German birth certificates
March 26, 2021 (request to ANDPDCA)
April 21, 2021 (letter ANDPDCA)
May 31, 2021 (application submitted)
As a final administrative step, we applied for German birth certificates for our daughters. It is a “re-certification of a birth abroad”, since the adoption is immediately legally binding in Germany according to the Hague Convention.
We submitted the relevant application forms and the following documents (translated, legalized) to the registry office:
Children's birth certificate
Birth certificate of adoptive parents
Certified copies of parents' passports / ID cards
Completely translated adoption documents (judgment, Hague Convention certificate)
Stuttgart requested civil documents from the birth parents as well as original birth certificates. In the case of full adoption, as in Romania, these are not made available or are no longer valid. In order to receive confirmation of this, the central adoption office wrote again to Romania. ANDPDCA confirmed the legal situation in a letter.
Step 24: Monitoring
Every 3 months for 2 years after the final judgment
Youth Welfare Office, Central Adoption Office, ANDPDCA
Monitoring reports need to be provided every three months for each child for two years after the final verdict. For this, the local youth welfare office meets the family and then creates the report, which also includes photos. The central adoption office of the State Youth Welfare Office takes care of the dispatch to Romania.
We appreciate these meetings because they offer an opportunity for advice and feedback.
Tip: We organized the process in such a way that the state youth welfare office sends the reports to a translation agency in Romania. The translation agency takes care of the translation and legalization and then sends it to ANDPDCA by courier.
Application in Germany: Many people take too much time and do not take charge of the process. That is why we have created tips for dealing with authorities to help you avoid delays.
Long waiting time until a child profile is sent from Romania: In contrast to Germany, there are significantly more children in Romania waiting for adoption than adoptive applicants. If there are long waiting times, it means that the adoptive parents' criteria do not match the children's profiles. Read the information in "The way to a fitting child profile".
Rejection of a child proposal: We consider this to be a delay that you should definitely accept if you have a reason that the proposal does not suit you. Because you want to offer a child a family and that is only possible if you fully support it.