Adoptive parents can be adults of both sexes of working age who are well prepared to adopt.
Spouses have the right to adopt. Marriage is a voluntary agreement between a man and a woman to enter into a family legal relationship as established by law.
Unmarried persons cannot adopt the same child.
In exceptional cases, adoption is allowed to an unmarried (single) person or to one of the spouses. An exception can be made by the court when the spouses do not wish to adopt the child in question, or when the spouses who wish to adopt are unable to adopt because the adoption would not be in the child’s best interests.
Age – adults of working age (of full legal capacity, who understand the consequences of their actions and are able to take responsibility for their actions). In exceptional cases, the court may also allow older persons to adopt.
The court makes an exception in the best interests of the child, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, for example:
* when the adoption is carried out by spouses, one of whom is over the required age and one of whom is physically and mentally well enough to raise the adopted child;
* when older adoptive parents wish to adopt an older child (e.g. aged eight or over);
* when older adoptive parents wish to adopt a child who has been in their family for a long time;
* when the adopted parent and the child are related by kinship;
* when a spouse’s child is adopted.
The age difference between the adoptive parent and the child must be at least 18 years. In the case of adoption of a spouse’s child, the age difference can be reduced to 15 years.
Health – you have not been declared incapacitated or have limited legal capacity and you do not suffer from any of the diseases listed in the Order of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania and the Minister of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania of 21 June 2022 No. V-1123/A1-429 “On the approval of the list of diseases for which a person suffering from a disease cannot be an adoptive parent and/or cannot be appointed as a guardian (carer) of a child”.
Criminal record – the territorial division of the Service in Your place of residence requests the Information Technology and Communications Department under the Ministry of the Interior and the territorial police office about Your criminal record and administrative offences. The persons certified by the Service to carry out the Guardians and Adoptive Parents Training and Counselling Programme (hereinafter – GIMK employees) will assess the data collected and the ability of the spouses (unmarried person) to ensure the best interests of the child.
The children growing up in Your family are personalities and combinations of needs. The GIMK employees will assess the conditions that would allow the adopted child to grow up in Your family together with Your children, taking into account the needs of all the children according to their age.
Living conditions – GIMK employees will assess whether You have adequate living conditions to ensure the safety of the adopted child. The first step in making a child feel safe is to create a safe home. The accommodation can also be rented (You do not have to own the property).
Income – the law does not specify how much income a family must have. The income should be sufficient to enable the family to provide a full life for themselves and their child.
Adoption of biological children, brothers and sisters is not allowed. Adoption is also denied to persons who have been declared incapacitated or have limited capacity, who have or have had their parental authority limited, and to the child’s former guardians (carers) if the guardianship (care) has been withdrawn for their own fault.
The origin of the child – one of the topics of the GIMK employee training is talking openly with an adopted child. It is important to understand that a child has a past and a background that cannot be denied. Every child has the right to an identity, to know their roots. Knowing who you are is a lifelong strength and confidence. That is why the GIMK employees advise You to tell the child, according to his age and maturity, the story of his origin and his emergence in the adoptive family (for example, that he grew up in one mother’s tummy, but when he was born, the woman was unable to take care of him, and that’s why You, the family that loves and cares for him/her and will be by his/her side always, have appeared). Knowing his/her origins will help your child grow into a self-confident person. It is very important that your child learns this information from You and not from strangers. Talking about Your child’s background and past could also hurt Your child and make them distrust You.
Place of residence – if Your permanent place of residence is in the Republic of Lithuania, You must apply to the territorial division of the Service of the place of residence (see section National adoption). If You are permanently residing in a foreign country, You have to contact the competent authority in Your place of residence (see section International adoption).