The Adoption Act was amended on 1 July 2012. After the amendment, supervision of the Finnish Adoption Board was transferred to Valvira from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The primary objective of the Act is to promote the best interests of the child in adoption issues.
The Adoption Act lays down provisions on issues including the minimum and maximum age difference between the child and the adopter when the adoptee is a minor. This age difference must be at least 18 years and may not exceed 45 years. In addition, the adopter may not be over the age of 50 years, and the minimum age is 25 years.
The adoption process
The first stage in the adoption process is adoption counselling. Adoption counselling is provided by municipal social welfare organs and Save the Children Finland. Adoption counselling is provided free of charge to the customer.
The adoption of a minor child requires a permission granted by the Adoption Board in domestic as well as intercountry adoptions.
The adoption permission is not needed if the adoptee is the child of the prospective adopter’s spouse or a child who has otherwise already been cared for and brought up by the prospective adopter in an established manner, for example as a foster child.
As a rule, those adopting from abroad must, in addition to receiving adoption counselling, always apply for intercountry adoption services. Such services are provided by the City of Helsinki Social Services Department, Save the Children Finland and Interpedia.
In exceptional cases, however, a child can also be adopted from abroad without using a service provider. Such independent adoptions also require a permission granted by the Adoption Board.
Permission for intercountry adoptions without a service provider can mainly be granted in cases where the adopted child is a close relative of the prospective adopter. In such cases it must always first be ensured that the adoption cannot take place via a service provider.
The Finnish Adoption Board
The Finnish Adoption Board working under Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority of Welfare and Health, is a special expert, licensing and supervisory authority. The adoption board is a central authority as per Section 6 Paragraph 1 of the Hague convention.
The composition, sections, tasks and organisation of other operations are regulated by the Adoption Act (22/2012) and the Adoption Degree (202/2012).
The Government appoints the board for a term of five years. The current adoption board began their work on 1 July 2012.
The board has a Chairman of the Board, Vice Chairman of the Board and a required number of other members. The other members have deputy members.
Contact details for the Finnish Adoption Board
Merja Vuori, Chairman of the Board Tel. +358 295 209 623 firstname.lastname@example.org