We differentiate the standard adoption from stepparent adoption and co-mother adoption. In all cases the decision about the adoption is made by the court.
Standard adoption means that one or two adults adopt a child to take care of the child. This procedure is the same for adopting Dutch children as it is for adopting children from abroad. The difference is however that before you can start the procedure for adopting a Dutch child, the child must be within your home as a foster child for at least a year.
If you wish to adopt the child of your partner, the most important requirements are that you must have lived with your partner for at least three years and that you have raised and cared for the child at least one year. If the child was born from the relationship between you and your partner, this last requirement does not apply.
When the child’s biological parent or parents are alive, adoption is not possible if the parents still have custody. If you wish to adopt the child of your partner, it is not possible to adopt if the other parent has custody. Furthermore it is necessary that the biological parent or parents do not object to the adoption.
If the child is twelve years old or older, it must be clear that is does not object to the adoption.
In all cases the court will determine if the adoption is in the best interest of the child. The court will also consider if the child can expect care from the biological parents in the future.
In case of co-mother adoption the requirements (living together for 3 years, taking care of the child for 1 year) do not apply. The co-mother can adopt before or after the child is born.
Since 2014 adoption is not necessary when the child is conceived from an unknown donor. In that case, the co-mother is automatically the co-parent when she is married to the mother, or has a registered partnership with her. Otherwise, she can recognize the child before or after it is born. In case of marriage or registered partnership, there will be joint custody. If this is not the case, one can request the court for joint custody. If the donor is known, adoption or recognition is still necessary.
After the court decision
The adoption has effect on subjects as the last name, the possibility of inheritance and the obligation to support the child. Between the age of 20 and 23, the adopted person can ask the court to revoke the adoption. The court will determine if this is in the best interest of the adopted person.