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Adoption is a process where you give legal consent for your child to become part of another family on a permanent basis.

A legal adoption:

  • releases you from your responsibilities towards your child
  • passes parental rights to the adoptive parents or parent

If you’re considering adoption, an adoption social worker can discuss this with you.

You may consider and decide on adoption at any stage during the pregnancy. You do not need to make a final decision until some months after the birth of your baby.

Tusla Adoption Service

If you are considering adoption for your child, a counsellor or GP can put you in contact with your local Tusla Adoption Service.

For more information visit or call 01 635 2854 (Tusla).

The adoption social worker will support you to explore:

  • your reasons for choosing adoption
  • the supports available to you if you choose to raise your baby yourself
  • the effect your decision can have on you and your child
  • your wishes for the baby’s future family

They will support you through the process of matching your baby with an adoptive family or person. They will continue to support you until the adoption order is made, and after this if needed.

Tusla - Child and Family Agency

After the birth

After the birth, you will be encouraged to care for your baby in the hospital. You will then take your baby home for a while or place them in temporary (pre-adoptive) foster care. Tusla will support you to do this.

This will to give you time to keep in contact with your baby and to decide what you want to do.

If you decide to go ahead with the adoption, the social worker will help you:

  • complete all the necessary legal forms
  • encourage you to play a part in matching your baby with a family or person

Your baby will then be placed with the prospective adoptive parents or parent. When the baby has been with them for a few months they will apply to formally adopt your baby. When you are sure that legal adoption is the right choice for you and your baby you will sign your final consent to the adoption.

Adoption orders

The adoption order is the legal document that makes the child part of their adoptive family.

It’s normally granted after the baby has been with the adoptive family for at least 6 months. Social workers will visit the baby in the adoptive home to ensure that the baby is being well cared for. They will ensure that the adoptive family and the baby are bonding.

You can change your mind at any time during the process.

Consent from both parents

Where the father is not the legal guardian of the child, he must be told of the decision to place the child for adoption. If he is not happy with this decision, he must apply to become the legal guardian. This will mean that his consent is required before the adoption order can be granted.

With a married couple, both parents must give consent to place the child for adoption.

Page last reviewed: 9 June 2022
Next review due: 9 June 2025