Do you wish to adopt a child whom you do not know beforehand?

To adopt a child whom you do not know beforehand, you must be approved as an adopter

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Stranger adoption is also known as anonymous adoption. If the child is born in Denmark, it is a national stranger adoption. If the child is adopted from abroad, it is an international stranger adoption.

To be approved for adopting, you must undergo an examination and approval process. It is divided into 4 separate stages:

  1. Stage 1: Here we examine your health, your finances, your housing situation and other objective criteria.
  2. Stage 2: Here you undergo a compulsory course to prepare for adoption.
  3. Stage 3: Here we will assess, by personal interviews, whether you can be approved to adopt. The decision is taken in the Joint Adoption Council.
  4. Stage 4: Here you receive 6 hours’ compulsory adoption counselling both before and after you have taken your child home. Counselling is provided by an adoption counsellor attached to the Appeal Board.

If you are approved within the general framework, you are approved to adopt a child in the 0-48 month age group. The child must be assessed as having normal development potential, both physically and mentally. Therefore, the child must, over time, be capable of being self-reliant and able to cope with everyday life, possibly with limited use of support measures.

If you are approved for a child outside the general framework, extended approval is required. This is the case, for example, if you wish to adopt siblings or an older child.

Persons who are married or cohabiting can, as a rule, only adopt together with their spouse or cohabitee respectively. Only spouses or cohabitees may adopt together.

To be approved as an adopter you must have reached the age of 25. There may be a maximum age difference of 42 years and 364 between you and the child. If you have reached the age of 43, you can be approved for a child that is older than 12 months. 

It is a condition of adopting that you have a dwelling which is capable of providing a setting for rearing a child and that you have the finances to support a family – also after receiving the adopted child. It is a condition of being approved as an adopter that you have not been penalised for any act which casts doubt on your suitability to adopt. The Agency of Family Law (Familieretshuset) will therefore obtain your criminal record – you give us your consent to do so when you make your application. It is a condition of being approved as an adopter that your state of physical and mental health does not reduce the chances of the adoption process being in the best interests of the child.

Foreign children for Danish adoption applicants are placed by Danish International Adoption (DIA).

Danish children are placed by the Adoption Board.

You may lodge a complaint about the Joint Adoption Council's decision with the Adoption Board. The complaint must be sent to us within 6 months of the joint council's decision.

You must send the complaint to the Agency of Family Law or via email:

The Agency of Family Law will forward the complaint to the Adoption Board together with the case files.

Last updated: 11 April 2023