Intercountry Adoptions in Iceland
Iceland is a member of the Hague Conference and the 1993 Hague Adoption Convention. The Convention entered into force on May 1, 2000.
Intercountry adoptions in Iceland are governed by the Convention and the Icelandic Adoption Act, no 130/1999, and ministerial regulations, no 238/2005 and 453/2009.
As a general rule all intercountry adoptions must be mediated by accredited adoption organisations cf. the Adoption Act. Only in exceptional cases can prospective adoptive parents adopt a child abroad without the mediation of an accredited organisation, for example in cases of family adoptions.
There are four key parties that play a role in the adoption procedures in Iceland, namely;
- the Ministry of Justice, as the Central Authority,
- the National Commissioner on Adoption,
- the local Child Protection Committees and the
- accredited adoption organisation.
The fifth party is the Adoption Board which the National Commissioner and the Ministry can refer cases to if needed. The Adoption Board is not a part of the procedure in general but extraordinary cases can be referred to the Board, for example if there is doubt about the prospective parent´s suitability to adopt a child.
The National Commissioner on Adoption issues all Advance Approvals for prospective adoptive parents. This means that it is the National Commissioner on Adoption who determines, according to Article 17, letter d), cf. Article 5 of the Hague Convention, that prospective adoptive parents are eligible and suited to adopt and that a child will be authorized to enter and reside permanently in Iceland.
The National Commissioner´s decisions are subject to appeal to the Ministry of the Justice.
An Advance Approval is issued after a thorough examination of the prospective adoptive parents by the relevant local Child Protection Committee. The Committee, which is a government agency, has to conclude whether to recommend to the National Commissioner on Adoption to issue an Advance Approval or not.
As a general rule all first time adoption applicants have to attend a compulsory parent preparation course before an Advance Approval can be issued.
To give an overview, the adoption procedure in Iceland is as follows (not an exhaustive description):
Prospective adoptive parents send their application for adoption with necessary documents to the accredited adoption organisation
The accredited adoption organisation sees to, that all documents needed are gathered, and transmits the application to the National Commissioner on Adoption
The National Commissioner on Adoption reviews the application and – if the application is satisfactory – sends it to the relevant Child Protection Committee which makes the home study report
The Child Protection Committee forwards the home study report to the National Commissioner on Adoption who issues an Advance Approval for an adoption – if all requirements are fulfilled
The National Commissioner on Adoptions forwards the Advance Approval to the accredited adoption organisation which sends it to the country of origin along with necessary documents; cf. Article 15 (2) of the Convention – all in accordance with the requirements of the country of origin
After the country of origin accepts the prospective adoptive parents and identifies a child to be referred to them, the country of origin sends the information regarding the child, cf. Article 16 (2) to the accredited adoption organisation
It is the accredited adoption organisation which forwards the prospective adoptive parent´s acceptance to the country of origin
The accredited adoption organisation gives acceptance in accordance with Article 17 c) of the Convention
It is also the accredited adoption organisation's duty i.a. to see to that all the procedure is in accordance with the law of both Iceland and the country of origin, to assist the prospective adoptive parents in planning their trip to the country of origin and to ensure that requested follow-up reports are forwarded to the country of origin after the adoption
After the child arrives in Iceland the adoption documents are forwarded to the National Commissioner on Adoption who makes the necessary final arrangements for the adoption to be registered
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