Adopt from Portugal

Portugal is located in the Southwestern Europe, it is bordering with the North Atlantic Ocean and the west of Spain. The official languages are Portuguese and Mirandese (which is mainly used locally). Lisbon is Portugal’s capital and economic and cultural center. Due to its rich history, scenic landscapes, and numerous museums and restaurants, Portugal is a popular destination for many tourists. Portugal has a maritime temperate climate, which is cool and rainy in north, and warmer and drier in south. There is a domestic adoption program available to Portuguese citizens. Portuguese citizens generally receive preference in child placement before foreign adopters.

Portugal is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all intercountry adoptions between Portugal and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. Portuguese adoptions are conducted through a collaborative effort of a Hague accredited adoption agency in the U.S. and by the Portuguese Central Adoption Authority (CAFIA, SSI).

View children available for adoption. Single children above age 7, sibling groups, and children of all ages with various special needs are available. Younger children are available for adoption by Portuguese citizens, including those residing in the U.S.

  • The Portuguese adoption law requires 4 years of living together either in civil union or marriage, or both, however NCA requires at least two years of marriage.
  • The prospective adoptive parents both have to be over 25 years of age.
  • Single women and men are accepted into the program. In this case the PAP must be over 30 years of age.
  • The maximum age to adopt a child in Portugal is 60 years of age. The age difference between the PAP and a child should not be more than 50 years, although NCA in general considers it best that there be no more than 45 years between the PAPs and the child. Exceptions may be considered in case of adopting siblings, if the requirements are met for some of the children but not for all, and if this would be in the best interest of the child.
  • Singles are allowed to adopt.
  • If you have any criminal background or any mental health history, please let us know so that we can determine if the authorities in Portugal will accept your application.
  1. Submit your application to Nightlight Christian Adoptions.
  2. Complete the home study and required Hague education.
  3. File I-800A with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  4. Prepare dossier which includes the I-800A Approval letter.
  5. Accept a referral of a waiting child once the home study is completed, while working on the dossier documents and awaiting Immigration approval (I-800A Adoption Approval).
  6. Complete commitment documents to “hold” a child for a pre-approval before Immigration Approval and dossier are complete.
  7. If waiting for a referral of a child instead of selecting a waiting child, complete dossier and include I-800A Adoption Approval letter.
  8. Dossier sent to Portugal, where it is translated and legalized and then submitted the Portugal Central Adoption Authority.
  9. Referral received and approved by Nightlight.
  10. Complete official referral review with Nightlight’s Social Services Department and accept the referral.
  11. File form I-800 that includes the child’s information with USCIS (in order to receive approval to adopt a specific child).
  12. Provisional approval issued by USCIS, sent to the family and the client’s file sent to the U.S. Embassy in Portugal
  13. File the DS 260 online. After its approval U.S. Embassy issues the Article 5 letter, which is delivered to the Portugal’s Central Authority.
  14. Article 17 is issued by the Portugal’s Central Authority.
  15. Travel to Portugal for socialization period with child (4-6 weeks). (Note: Family should receive provisional approval prior to traveling to Portugal).
  16. First week in Portugal, family visits the child every day, after the first week and when appropriate, child is transferred into their care and child remains with family throughout the balance of the stay.
  17. Guardianship petition is filed, requesting guardianship be given to the adoptive parents.
  18. Adoptive parents appear in Court; Judge issues Guardianship decision.
  19. Request an appointment date with the US embassy for visa interview.
  20. Take the child to get the official medical exam, and obtain the child’s U.S. visa at the Consular section of the U.S. Embassy.
  21. Travel back to the U.S.
  22. Contact an attorney in your State to process a full and final adoption.
  23. Complete post placement reports 1 month after arrival, then every 3 months until the adoption is finalized.
  24. After the adoption is finalized in the court hearing, a court adoption decree is issued.
  25. All legal documents will be translated and sent to the Portugal Central Adoption Authority.

Once you decide to accept a referral, you will be considered “matched” with the child. You coordinate travel dates with Nightlight and will travel to Portugal for socialization period with the child (4-6 weeks). Both parents are required to travel to Portugal. During your trip, you will visit the child every day to get to know your child and begin bonding with him or her. After the first week and when appropriate, the child is transferred into your care and remains with you throughout the balance of the stay. During these daily bonding visits and stay with the family, a social worker will observe your interactions with the child and prepare a recommendation for the court. After the court hearing you will receive the Guardianship Court Decision. Once you receive it, our Portuguese representative will schedule appointment for your child’s medical exam and visa. After you take your child to get evaluated at the medical clinic approved by the Embassy, and visit the US Embassy in Lisbon to obtain your child’s visa, you can travel home with the child.

Nightlight Christian Adoptions is committed to preparing families for the adoption of a child with special needs. We provide pre- and post-adoption education and information regarding medical resources.

Within 30 days of your arrival home, you must have a home visit by your home study provider. Your home study provider will prepare post-placement reports and submit them to Nightlight at 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months after you arrive home. If you have not finalized your adoption in the 12 months after arriving home, you must continue a post placement visit with your social worker to be submitted to Portugal every 3 months until finalization. These reports include your child’s developmental progress and pictures. This is a very serious commitment; Nightlight is committed to showing the Portugal Central Adoption Authority that children adopted by US citizens are healthy and well cared for. Compliance with post placement reports is also required by The Hague Convention. Every state has different requirements for finalization. Some states may require ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children) before finalization.

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To learn more about our Portugal Adoption Program, you may contact us, call our office at (502) 423-5780, or email inquiries to Viktoriia at

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