Eligibilty and Suitability


In order to be eligible to adopt under the Adoption Acts 1952-2010 applicants must fall into one of the following categories:

Married Couple

A couple who are married to one another and living together.

Single Applicants

The only circumstances where a single person can adopt are the following:

  • A married person living alone. In this circumstance the spouse's consent to the adoption must be obtained, unless they are living apart and are separated under (i) a court decree, (ii) a deed of separation, (iii) the spouse has deserted the prospective adopter or (iv) conduct on the part of the spouse results in the prospective adopter, with just cause, leaving the spouse and living apart;
  • The mother, father or a relative of the child (relative meaning a grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the child and/or the spouse of any such person, the relationship to the child being traced through the mother or the father);
  • A widow/widower;
  • A sole applicant not covered in any of the categories above and the Adoption Authority (AAI) is satisfied that, in the particular circumstances of the case, it is desirable to grant an order.
  • Two unmarried persons living together cannot adopt jointly but one must apply as a sole applicant. The second person will be required to fully participate in the training and assessment process.

In addition you should note the following

  • Be at least 21 years of age if the child is not a relative. If the child is to be adopted by the natural father or mother, or a relative of the child, only one must have attained the age of 21years.
  • While there is no upper age limit, age and health are important and will be taken into consideration.
  • Be ordinarily resident in the State and must have resided in the State for at least one year before the date of the making of the Adoption Order.


In order to be suitable to adopt applicants have to meet the requirements of Section 33 and 34 of Adoption Act and must be:

  1. A suitable person to have parental rights and duties in respect of the child and
  2. Of good moral character, in good health and of an age so that he or she has a reasonable expectation of being capable throughout the child’s childhood of
    1. fulfilling his or her parental duties in respect of the child,
    2. promoting and supporting the child’s development and well being,
    3. safe guarding and supporting the child’s welfare,
    4. providing the necessary health, social, educational and other interventions for the child and
    5. valuing and supporting the child’s need in relation to his or her identity and ethnic, religious and cultural background.
  3. Have adequate financial means to support the child and
  4. Have been provided with appropriate information, advice and counselling concerning adoption.

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