Adoption can be defined as the creation, through a judicial decision, of non-biological parent-child relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child.
In the face of certain serious aberrations and abuse, States have had to intervene to regulate and introduce ethical principles in the international adoption process: this was done through the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in respect of Intercountry Adoption of 29 May 1993.
The Hague Convention has been implemented in Belgium through the law of 24 April 2003, which not only reformed the law on international adoption but also the law on domestic adoption.
The best interests of the child is at the heart of the reform, and that is the fundamental criterion: only the right of the child to be protected must be taken into account in the adoption process. It is a matter of giving a family to a child, and not the contrary.
There are two types of adoption under Belgian law:
The law (article 244-1 of the Code Civil [Civil Code]) sets out that any adoption must be based on reasonable grounds and, if it relates to a child, may take place only in his or her best interests and by observing his or her fundamental rights.
The law (article 360-2, 3° of the Code Civil) states that international adoption takes place in the following cases: