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Central Adoption Office / Central Authority for Foreign Adoptions

The Central Adoption Office is the central authority in the sense if the Hague Adoption Convention (HAC). It is responsible for the mediation of intercountry adoptions from HAC contracting states.

It is responsible for the mediation of intercountry adoptions from HAC contracting states. The central Adoption Office is also allowed to mediate adoptions from non-contracting states. However, it is only possible if the administrative structures allowing cooperation in accordance with the necessary regulations are present in the country of origin.

In the preamble of the Hague Adoption Convention, the top priority of an intercountry adoption is described as:

The contracting states must ensure that international adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his fundamental rights. Through the introduction of stricter procedural regulations, the abduction, sale and trafficking of children should be effectively confronted.

During the fulfilment of its tasks, the central Adoption Office of the Rhineland State Youth Welfare Office works closely together with the central adoption offices of the other state youth welfare offices in Germany and with the Central Federal Office for Foreign Adoptions of the Federal Office of Justice (poss. include link).

The work of the central Adoption Office Rhineland covers:

  • Adoption mediation of children living in a foreign country;
  • Consultation for youth welfare offices, voluntary organisations, family courts, no-taries, registry offices and immigration authorities regarding legal questions about intercountry adoptions;
  • Expert assessment duties during family court adoption proceedings with an inter-national element.

Which offices in Germany arrange foreign adoptions?

The mediation of foreign adoptions is only allowed at offices authorised to do this. These are in Germany:

  • Central adoption offices of state youth welfare offices,
  • Recognised foreign adoption agencies of voluntary organisations

The applicant for the intercountry adoption can select which of the named offices he ap-plies to. Applicants can also contact different offices at the same time. After selecting and assigning an authorised office with an intercountry adoption, however, it is mandatory that the applicants declare that there are no other applications for an intercountry adoption pending.

The prerequisites for adopting a child from a foreign country can be found here:

Unassisted Adoptions

While it is not illegal to adopt a child from a foreign country without involving a govern-ment authorised foreign or German agency, there is, however, the fundamental question concerning whether this adoption will be legally recognised in Germany. This can have the consequence, for example, that there are problems during the visa application for the child’s entry to Germany and that the child cannot travel to Germany.


Rhineland Regional Council
State Youth Welfare Office
Central Adoption Office
D-50663 Cologne

Portrait von Diplom-Sozialarbeiter (degree in social work) Wolfgang Köhler

Diplom-Sozialarbeiter (degree in social work) Wolfgang Köhler


+49 221 809-6296
+49 221 8284-1465


Portrait von Diplom-Psychologin (degree in psychology) Anja Plück

Diplom-Psychologin (degree in psychology) Anja Plück


+49 221 809-6295
+49 221 8284-3359


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