Getting Started

A father and his son play with wooden blocks together on the floor

Adoption as a way to create or grow your family requires motivation, patience and persistence.  Coram IAC will help you to understand and navigate the processes here in the UK and the country you choose to adopt from.  Attending intercountry adoption Information Sessions, along with contact with our expert Advice Line will enable you to find out more about what is involved in adopting a child from abroad.

Anyone living in the UK and considering intercountry adoption is welcome to attend an intercountry adoption Information Session run by Coram IAC.  However, the Advice Line is only available to prospective adopters where your home Local Authority has a partnership with Coram IAC to run their services.  You can see the full list of our partner authorities via where do you live.  If you live in a Local Authority which does not partner with IAC, their Adoption Service has a legal duty to provide you with advice and information.  

However, we may still be able to work with you if you:

  •  have already adopted a child abroad 
  •  want to adopt from a country with which Coram IAC has a Special Programme
  •  wish to adopt a child resident overseas, to whom you are related

The service we will be able to offer you will depends upon  the agreement with your Local Authority so if we cannot work with you we will still try to signpost you to the correct services.

If you are resident in a partner Local Authority where Coram IAC does offer an assessment service, then once you have attended an Information Session, you can request an Initial Interview with a Social Worker to help in your decision making. Following this interview, and assuming that you are eligible to adopt both in the UK and the country you wish to adopt from, Coram IAC will send you a Registration of Interest (ROI) form, which, once accepted, marks the formal start of the Assessment & Approval Process.

In the north west and north east of England, Coram IAC works in partnership with other adoption charities in order to provide prospective and existing adopters with more localised services. Whilst Coram IAC would be responsible for the process of assessing and supporting you through to the placement of a child, certain aspects of the work would be undertaken locally by Adoption Matters, Nugent Care and ARC Adoption.

The Approval Process

The following is a brief overview. Our Information Pack, which is available on request from the Advice Line, will provide a more detailed explanation.

Stage One (normally 2-3 months)

  • Registration of Interest Form accepted by agency
  • Stage One of the Approval Process formally commences
  • Prospective Adopters attend Preparation Course
  • Prospective Adopters gather information for Adoption Portfolio
  • Coram IAC undertakes all statutory checks on Prospective Adopters

Stage One Review

If all checks are satisfactory Prospective Adopters proceed to Stage Two.

Stage Two (normally 4 months to Agency Decision)

  • Attendance at additional training modules
  • Assessment with Social Worker
  • Adoption Panel and Recommendation 
  • Agency Decision Maker approval

Post Approval

  • Papers collated and sent to the Central Adoption Authority for England at the Department for Education for processing
  • The Central Adoption Authority team prepare the Certificate of Eligibility, which proves you have followed the correct procedures, and issue all the required paperwork to your country of approval 

Please note that the Central Authority are independent of Coram IAC and charge for their services.

Once your papers have been sent abroad you will be placed on a waiting list by your country of choice. How long you might wait to be matched with a child will depend upon each individual country. In general, if you are open to either gender, flexible about age and / or are willing to accept a child with additional or special needs, the wait for a match is likely to be shorter.  Neither Coram IAC nor the Central Authority have any control over how other countries manage their waiting lists but we will try and keep communication open where possible.  Our Special Programmes are designed with this as a distinct advantage. 

Current Waiting Times

As of April 2023 waiting times for our most popular countries, on average, were:

  • Philippines – 3 to 5 years for a younger child, 1 to 2 years for a child 5 and upwards. If willing to accept specific special needs, this will also reduce the waiting time.
  • India – 3 ½ to 4 years for a child between 0-4, 5 to 6 years for an older child aged 4-8 (these times apply to Overseas Citizens of India and Non Resident Indians). Foreign applicants have recently been given the lowest priority and while they may in principle apply to India, in practice it is likely they will only be successful if they are open to adopting a child with additional needs.
  • China – programme is on hold
  • USA – 2 to 3 years
  • Nigeria – 1 to 2 years
  • South Africa – 18 months to 2 ½ years 
  • Colombia – 1 year and 6 months
  • Pakistan – 1 year or less.