Our Coronavirus Resource Center is available for anyone who has questions about how efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 are impacting the pursuit of parenthood. It is constantly being updated with answers to your questions, links to resources, and the latest guidance from global experts.
With many questions circulating about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on day-to-day life, there are understandably many uncertainties facing those going through the adoption process. Our Carrot experts are keeping track of rules, regulations, and other factors that may impact ongoing domestic or international adoption. Because the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on domestic and international adoption are quickly evolving, we’ll continue to update this post as more information becomes available.
Do travel restrictions impact whether I can travel for my cross-border adoption? If you’re expecting to travel as part of your adoption process in the near future, it is likely that travel restrictions and reduced air travel schedules may impact your plans. As each country continues to take actions to minimize the impacts of this public health issue, there may be border restrictions for non-citizens. Check your domestic and your child’s local government’s resources for travel advisories. Most importantly, make sure to keep in close contact with your adoption provider for information specific to your situation.
How are initial assessments being affected? Initial assessments such as home studies, home interviews, or initial applications are a key part of any adoption. The information below explains how this is being handled by some countries. For any adoption, always check with your adoption provider to determine if there may be any changes to your process.
- Fortunately, there may be some flexibility to when these assessments need to occur in the adoption process. In the U.S., the in-person requirements may be able to be moved to later in the process. U.S. agencies may also be able to take a look at different in-person interactions that have occurred thus far to determine whether or not they meet local requirements for in-person visits.
- For adoptions within the United States, each state has different requirements for what may qualify as a home study interaction. With the current situation, some of our U.S. agency partners have stated that some aspects of home studies are able to be carried out virtually.
- For U.S. citizens adopting internationally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has not changed their requirement of at least three in-person visits.
The United Kingdom, France, Denmark, and other EU countries have reported delays in their operations due to the ongoing situation.
Please see additional links at the bottom of this post for more information about how assessments and home study interactions are being handled in other countries and always check with your adoption provider.
What about post-adoption and placement assessment requirements? Post-adoption assessments are still required; however, as of March 16, 2020, some adoption authorities are delaying dates on these due to COVID-19. Always check with your adoption provider to determine how you and your family can best manage the post-adoption steps.
I’m just starting the adoption process. Does this impact me? For families who haven’t started the process yet or are just beginning, check with your local adoption provider to see whether there are steps you can do in order to get started. For example, some adoption providers may offer virtual paperwork instead of in-person. If this is the case for your provider, you may be able to start the process with little delay.
I’m scheduled to attend an agency-run orientation, class, or training. Is that still happening? Please check with your local adoption provider to see how these types of sessions are being managed and if they may be available online. For example, if you are in the U.S., many of our partner agencies have said that they’re moving these sessions online. If you are in Canada, information as of March 17, 2020, shows the Adoption Council of Canada has cancelled in-person training, workshops, and events, and will resume sessions at a later date.
I was planning to be present in the delivery room when the child I am adopting is born. Is that still possible? Many hospitals worldwide are taking precautions that include limiting visitors. Your birth or hospital plan may change depending on the current hospital policy. Most hospitals will be sharing these updates on their websites; check there or with your adoption provider for further details.
Effective March 27, 2020, the New York Department of Health has issued new guidance restricting hospital visitation in obstetric and pediatric settings. However, New York officials have issued a new order allowing people giving birth to bring a support person with them.
Will this impact my scheduled court hearings, legal processes, or adoption finalization? There is an extensive amount of variance from country to country in legal processes around adoption; COVID-19 is also impacting some locations more significantly than others. In some countries, many hearings and finalizations are being rescheduled or delayed due to COVID-19 related closures. These are changing day-to-day. Your local courts should list their status on their website; you can also check with your agency or legal counsel to confirm.
How is COVID-19 impacting immigration?
The impact on immigration varies on a country-by-country basis. Many countries have taken steps such as increased screening and closing borders to non-citizens, which has impacted customs and immigration. As of March 17, 2020, immigration courts have remained open in many countries, but it’s possible this could change. Your local courts should list their status on their website; you can also check with your agency or legal counsel to confirm.
Do I need to take extra precautions if I’m traveling for adoption purposes? If you’re traveling for adoption purposes, we recommend following WHO advice for protecting yourself and referring to your domestic as well as your child’s local travel advisories to remain informed. Always check with your adoption provider to make sure you have any new information specific to your situation.
While this may feel like a challenge as you continue on your adoption journey, keep in mind that even in the midst of a global health crisis, there are many children in need of homes ready to be adopted. Our Carrot experts will continue to do everything possible to keep you informed about changing national and local situations to make sure your adoption journey can move forward as smoothly and efficiently as possible at this time.
You can also find the latest COVID-19 and adoption information from the following resources. Please note that not all government adoption authorities have released COVID-19 specific information on their websites.
- Argentina: Argentina Ministry of Health; Government of Argentina
- Australia: Government of Australia; Government of Australia
- Austria: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection; Austrian Government - Domestic Adoption; Austrian Government - International Adoption
- Barbados: Government of Barbados; Child Care Board of Barbados
- Belgium: Belgian Federal Authorities; Belgian Government - Domestic Adoption; Belgian Government - International Adoption
- Brazil: Ministry of Health; Court of Justice - Adoption
- Bulgaria: Ministry of Health; Department of Justice
- Canada: Government of Canada; Government of Canada - International Adoption; Adoption Council of Canada
- China: Chinese Medical Association; Ministry of Civil Affairs - Adoption
- Denmark: Denmark Authorities; Danish Government - Domestic Adoption; Danish Government - International Adoption
- Finland: Finnish Ministry of Health; Finnish Government - Adoption
- France: French Ministry of Health; French Adoption Agency
- Germany: Ministry of Health; German Government
- Gibraltar: Gibraltar Health Authority; Child Protection Team
- Hong Kong: Centre for Health Protection; Social Welfare Department
- Hungary: Government of Hungary
- India: Ministry of Health; Central Adoption Resource Authority
- Ireland: Government of Ireland; Adoption Authority of Ireland
- Israel: Israel Ministry of Health; Israeli Ministry of Social Services
- Italy: Italian Ministry of Health; Italian Commission for International Adoptions
- Japan: Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare; Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare - Child Care
- Luxembourg: Government of Luxembourg; Government of Luxembourg - Adoption
- Malaysia: Ministry of Health; Ministry of Home Affairs
- Mexico: Government of Mexico; National System for the Integral Development of the Family
- Netherlands: Ministry of Health; Adoption Services of the Netherlands
- New Zealand: Ministry of Health; Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children
- Norway: Ministry of Health; Norwegian Directorate for Children and Family Affairs
- Philippines: Ministry of Health; Department of Social Welfare and Development
- Poland: Ministry of Health; Federal Polish Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Affairs
- Portugal: Ministry of Health; Public Ministry of Portugal - Adoption
- Singapore: Ministry of Health; Ministry of Social and Family Development
- South Africa: Department of Health
- South Korea: Korean Medical Association; National Center for the Rights of the Child
- Spain: Ministry of Health
- Sweden: Public Health Agency of Sweden; Adoptionscentrum
- Switzerland: Ministry of Health; Swiss Government
- Taiwan: Ministry of Health; Social and Family Affairs Administration - Ministry of Health and Welfare
- Thailand: Ministry of Public Health; Department of Children and Youth
- Ukraine: Ministry of Health
- United Arab Emirates: Ministry of Health; UAE Government - Adoption
- United States: U.S. CDC