Our Adoption Services

The first step towards being able to adopt from overseas is to be approved by the New Zealand Government. This involves adoptive parents having various checks, undertaking an education program and being assessed for suitability. Upon approval adoptive parents can then work with a Placement Agency to be matched with a child.

Adoption First steps is accredited by the Government to provide these initial education and assessment services for adoptions from Chile, India, Lithuania, Thailand and the Philippines. Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children also provides services to adopt from these countries as well as China.

We also help you consider the many emotional and practical aspects involved in inter-country adoption.

Free on-line Introductory Course

Our Free Introductory Course tells you more about the requirements, challenges and costs. It will help you decide whether you are ready and able to meet the unique needs of a child adopted from overseas as this is always the primary consideration.
Start our free Intoductory Course here.


You can talk to us about any aspect of overseas adoption such as whether you may be eligible, the process, what countries you may be able to adopt from what to expect, costs etc. We can also help you meet other parents who have adopted from overseas. If you meet the initial criteria for inter-country adoption, we can then start the process. Contact Us >>

AFS Services

Step 1 – Checks

All Prospective Adoptive Parents must provide detailed personal information, have a medical assessment, provide character references and undergo a New Zealand and overseas Police Check as well as a Oranga Tamariki (OT) – Ministry for Children check. We provide the relevant forms and work with you to complete them before sending them to the New Zealand Government’s Central Authority (NZCA). The NZCA undertake the Police and OT checks and review the medical assessment and references. If NZCA approve this Documentation Assessment it is valid for 2 years.

Step 2 – Education

Each parent needs to complete an Education Programme on inter-country adoption so they are well prepared to raise and nurture a child adopted from an orphanage or other State care. These children have often been have been affected by their early life experiences and this comes with particular challenges and rewards. If you are still considering whether inter-country adoption is right for you it can also help you decide.

Our Programme is based on the experience of other adoptive parents with input from New Zealand and international experts, so it is realistic and supportive. We can also support your on-line learning if needed. Learn more about AFS Education Programme >>

Step 3 – Assessment

Once you have completed the entire Education Programme – and providing the NZCA has approved your checks, medical assessment and referee reports – Adoption First Steps works with you on the third step towards gaining Government approval.
An AFS Social Worker who specialises in inter-country adoption will formally assess you for suitability against criteria such as your parenting skills, ability to meet a child’s developmental needs, your home and family environment etc. The Assessment is also an opportunity to talk about any aspect of adopting from overseas or address any concerns.
Learn more about Assessment >>

Step 4 – Home Study Report

If you have been assessed as suitable to adopt the AFS Social Worker writes a Home Study Report (HSR) based on the outcomes from the Assessment. The HRS is the key document that recommends you to the authorities of the country from which you are assessed as suitable to adopt. It also includes recommendations on the numbers, age range, gender and health characteristics of a child or children.

The Report must be approved by New Zealand Government’s Central Authority (NZCA) and this report is used to match you with your child or children.

Learn more about HSR >>