Intercountry adoptions continue despite the pandemic

31.5.2022 15:50

The pandemic did not stop adoption processes, but they have been somewhat prolonged. In 2021, the Section for Adoption Permission Matters of the Adoption Board granted 72 new permissions for intercountry adoption. Extensions were granted for 55 intercountry adoption permissions.  In 2020, by comparison, 60 new permissions for intercountry adoption were granted, and the validity of 60 permissions was extended. Intercountry adoptions to Finland are carried out through Save the Children or Interpedia.

In 2021, the Section for Adoption Permission Matters of the Adoption Board granted 33 new permissions for domestic adoption and extended the validity of 24 permissions. The figures for 2020 were 30 and 10, respectively.

The reliability of intercountry adoptions and suspicions of illegality prompted much public debate concerning needs for investigation in adoption matters in Europe in 2021. This debate involved Finland as well. The plenary session of the Adoption Board released a statement welcoming investigations. According to the plenary session, such an investigation should consider the special features of the Finnish adoption system, such as the starting point of global adoption activities, the validity of adoption legislation and the Hague Adoption Convention, the number of private adoptions and the countries with which Finland is engaged in intercountry adoption. The investigation should also focus sufficiently on the system improvement aspect. 

Further attention to post-adoption services

The need for development of post-adoption services is becoming increasingly acute as the number of adoptees reaching adulthood grows. 

”Adoptive families should receive more support than they do now after their adoptive child has become a family member − but without forfeiting any of the benefits of our current front-loaded adoption system,” says Irene Pärssinen-Hentula, Chair of the Adoption Board.

“In strengthening post-adoption support, the focus should be on the specific adoption-related needs of adoptees and adoptive families, including supporting bonding between child and parent, facilitating corrective experiences for the child through therapeutic parenthood, discussion of the adoption background with support for the identity rights of adoptees, and leveraging peer support at various stages of an adoptee’s life.”

The Finnish Adoption Board operates under Valvira, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health, as a special expert, permission and supervisory authority in adoption matters. The Adoption Board grants permissions for both domestic and intercountry adoptions. The Adoption Board also licenses intercountry adoption service providers and supervises their operations.

The annual report of the Adoption Board for 2021 (pdf, in Finnish).

Further information:

Irene Pärssinen-Hentula, Chair of the Adoption Board, tel. +358 (0) 29 520 9247

Further information on the Adoption Board (