As I mentioned in my last post, there are a zillion reasons for deciding to adopt. Once you've done so—or at least decided you want invest some time in finding out more—your very first step should be contact with ICAA (L'Institut Català de l'Acolliment i de l'Adopció), part of the Generalitat’s Department of Social Welfare. You could choose to pop into their office (Paral.lel 52, Tel. 93 483 1000), pass by the security guy then ask the rather officious receptionist for some information. However, although direct contact with the department will be needed later on, at this point it’s much easier, and no less informative, to direct yourself to their website.
Here, in Catalan, you will find the requirements for international adoption spelled out, including citations of laws and requisites for applicants. Catalunya permits adoption by singles (both sexes) and couples (including unmarried and same sex) as long as the applicant/s is over 25 years of age and at least 14 years older than the adopted child. The minimum financial requirement (which will need to be proven with a tax return) is an income of €18,000 per annum and foreign residents with a NIE can also apply. In truth, the initial, ‘first step on the ladder’ paperwork for an applicant is not terribly arduous, except for one major point: choosing a country to adopt from.
ICAA requires that you must decide on the country you wish to adopt from in the very beginning. At this stage of the game, you probably already have, perhaps based, as I did, on a visit to the country (see last post), family heritage, language, or other, often-intangible reasons. But here’s the rub: take a look at the Informació d'adopció internacional per països on ICAA’s website—the ‘sanctioned’ countries that they propose you adopt from. At present there are 27 of them, and by clicking on each one you will see their requirements for adoption (remember, whilst Catalunya may approve of adoptions from singles and same sex couples, there are few countries in the world that also do, and international adoptions must adhere to the laws of both).
Now, you are probably thinking that out of the 195 countries in the world, 27 is a measly number and certainly limits your options. And you are right. But there are reasons for this. More about those next time.