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Adoption (standard adoption and stepparent adoption, co-mother adoption)

Who can apply for adoption in the Netherlands?

Two people who meet the conditions required to be able to enter into marriage.
The stepparent who lived together with the parent of the child for a continuous period of three years (stepparent adoption). This concerns the parent’s new husband, registered partner or life companion.
The stepparent must have raised and cared for the child for at least one year; this condition does not apply when the child was born from the relationship between the adoptant and the parent.
What are the conditions for adoption?

The adoptant is not allowed to be a grandparent of the child.
The age difference between the child and the adoptant has to be at least 18 years.
On the day the request for adoption is submitted, the child has to be a minor.
When the child is older than 12, it has to be clear that he or she does not object to the request.
The child’s biological parent or parents ought no longer have custody of the child; in the case of stepparent adoption, the parent the child does not live with, ought not to have custody of the child.
It has to be clear that the biological parent does not or the biological parents do not object to the request for adoption.
The child’s mother should at least be 16 years old on the day the request is submitted.
What will the court consider?

The court decides and the court has its own legal duty. The court will look at:

the child’s apparent interest;
the position the child will obtain by adoption;
can the child expect nothing any longer from its biological parent or parents in their capacity as parents?
is the contact between the biological parent or parents and the child harmful for the child?
Are co-parenting women eligible for adoption?

Adoption by the co-mother is a relatively new type of adoption. When a co-mother submits a request for adoption, there are different conditions. The request for adoption may already be submitted before the child is born. The adoption will be pronounced practically immediately after the child has been born and is retroactive to the moment of birth. No period of time is set concerning the cohabitation with the mother, or concerning the period of time of the co-mother’s care and upbringing of the child. Adoption is thought to be in the child’s interest.

The adoption procedure may be quick if there is an unknown donor or a known donor who indicated not to be an interested party in the procedure. The adoption request may be submitted before the child is born.

There is a bill pending in the Dutch Lower House (Tweede Kamer) that seeks to change this situation. The purpose of the bill is to realise legal parenthood of the co-mother more quickly. The bill provides for the female partner of the mother to become the legal parent of a child without the requirement of legal proceedings.

What are the consequences of adoption?

Adoption leads to a family law relationship between the adoptant and the child. The relation between the child and the parents or biological parents and blood relatives will end, unless it concerns stepparent adoption.

Adoption leads to a descent relationship between adoptant and child. This descent law connection influences such issues as the law on surnames, the law of inheritance, the obligation to support someone.

Can adoption be revoked?

Adoption may be revoked on request by the adopted person. The court will only allow it if it is in the apparent interest of the adopted person and the request will be submitted when the adopted person is between 20 and 23 years old.