Poland operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague Convention information
On 9 November 2015 the Australian Government announced the opening of the Poland-Australia Intercountry Adoption Programme. Poland ratified the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption in June 1995 and entered into force in October 1995. The Convention requires Poland to attempt to place a child with a family in Poland before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.
Australia will work with the Polish Central Authority, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy and three agencies in Poland: Public Adoption and Custody Centre (also known as Provincial Adoption Centre), National Adoption and Custody Centre, and Catholic Adoption and Custody Centre. The Catholic Adoption Centre in Warsaw which is the only accredited agency for the purposes of intercountry adoption in Poland.
Waiting times depend on the characteristics of the child/children eligible for adoption and are difficult to predict. The Polish Central Authority suggests the waiting period for foreign couples to adopt a child under 7 is one year or more (two years on average).
Who can adopt?
Australians interested in adopting a Polish child will need to meet the eligibility criteria set by their state or territory central authority, as well as criteria set by Poland. Key Polish eligibility criteria include:
- Both married and single prospective adoptive parents are eligible to adopt
- Couples wishing to adopt a child must be married for at least 5 years
- Unmarried couples may adopt, however it is a single parent that adopts with the written agreement of the partner
- Same-sex couples are ineligible to adopt
- Couples with children may adopt (biological or previously adopted) however these children must be older than the prospective adoptee
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
- There is no minimum age difference, however it must be reasonable.
- The age difference between the oldest applicant and the child should not exceed 40 years.
- Although Roman Catholicism is Poland’s official religion, non-Catholic applicants are eligible to adopt.
- Priority will be given to domestic adoptions, except in the case of intercountry adoptions of:
- siblings related to children already adopted through intercountry adoption,
- intrafamily adoptions, and
- adoptions by Polish citizens living abroad.
- Applicants are required to provide a police clearance certificate and a certificate of financial standing.
- Applicants should be able to handle the transracial, transcultural and transnational aspects of an intercountry adoption.
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
Poland has a strong commitment to finding families within its borders to care for children in need. The Polish Central Authority advises that children in need of intercountry adoption are those who are hard to place with Polish families. Each year, approximately 310 Polish children are placed through intercountry adoption.
Polish children in need of intercountry adoption include both boys and girls aged 0‑17 years. Polish children in need of intercountry adoption are usually aged 7 years or older or within a sibling group of 2 or more children (about 75% of all children registered in the Central Adoption Data Base).
It is understood that the emotional and/or health conditions of Polish children in need of intercountry adoption include heart disease, neurological disturbances, hepatitis, cleft palate and lip cleft, blindness, cerebral palsy, Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder, developmental delays, emotional disorders or hereditary issues.
There is also a small number of children under the age of 7 years, in good health (or with curable illness) in need of intercountry adoption. There is generally a long list for foreign applicants wishing to adopt these children.
Fees: There are no adoption fees in Poland.
Cost to the PAPs: There is likely to be considerable expense adopting a Polish child, including (but not limited to):
- Flights to and from Poland to meet and bond with the child in Poland, and finalise the adoption in Poland.
- Accommodation in Poland (2-3 weeks for the bonding period, and a number of months, if the prospective adoptive parents decide to continue the pre-adoption bonding period in Poland prior to the finalisation of the adoption).
- Legal costs
- Miscellaneous expenses including:
- Complete form of the birth certificate
- Short form of the birth certificate
- Polish temporary passport
- Visa and passport photos
- Immigrant visa fee
- Medical exam
- Translations of Polish documents into English
- Court interpretation services
- Formal psychological evaluation of the bonding process
- In some areas of Poland, prospective adoptive parents may have to pay the housing costs of the child in the orphanage, from the time an adoption is finalised through to the child’s removal from the orphanage.
This list does not include fees paid to state and territory central authorities, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.
Finalisation and post-adoption and Immigration and citizenship
Information regarding finalisation, post adoption, immigration and citizenship will become available as this new program evolves.