Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Adoption Rules in Brazil

Patrick Bruha

Patrick Bruha

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Despite Brazil being renowned worldwide for its adoption system, many doubts remain as to who can apply to adopt Brazilian children and adolescents. In this article, we will take a closer look at the adoption rules in Brazil.


According to a report by CNA, which is the National Adoption Register in Brazil, there were over 5.400 children and adolescents ready for adoption in Brazil in 2013. Of these, 3.000 were male and 2.400 were female. Also, slightly more than 32% of all children and adolescents ready for adoption in Brazil were caucasians.

As for the people interested in adopting children in Brazil, there were around 29.440 in 2013, with nearly 39% of them being indifferent to the skin color, while more than 32% of them stated that they only wanted to adopt caucasians.

There is a National Adoption Day in Brazil, which is on May 25.

Adopting in Brazil

As of today, the process of adopting a child in Brazil is much easier and more systematized than previously, especially before the creation of the CNA, but it is still characterized by its long duration. The whole process of adopting a child in Brazil from beginning to end takes at least a year.


In order to adopt children or adolescents in Brazil, it is necessary to be at least 18 years old, be 16 years older than the adopted children or adolescents and offer an appropriate family environment. Children and adolescents may not be adopted by their grandparents or siblings. People who are single, divorced or widowed, can apply for adoption, provided that they live in stable socioeconomic conditions.

Process of Adoption

First of all, the person or couple interested in applying for adoption, must attend the nearest Vara da Infância e da Juventude, which is Portuguese for Childhood and Youth Court, or to the nearest Forum.

Then, it is necessary to go to the Social Service office and enroll in the Cadastro de Pretendentes à Adoção, which is Portuguese for Adoption Applicant Register, CPA. Generally, the documents required for enrolling with the CPA are:

Photos of the applicant and of their residence - internally and externally - may also be requested.

After all the documentation is gathered, the process of qualification for adoption takes place. Interviews will then be scheduled with psychologists and social workers and household visits may also be scheduled.

Once the professionals from the CPA finish assessing the applicant, all documentation will be sent to the Public Ministry, which will then accept or decline the applicants request for adoption. If a person accepted to adopt they will then be included in the CNA, and added to the waiting list to adopt children or adolescents.

When a child or adolescent that matches the applicant’s wishes is found, the child or adolescent will temporarily move in with the adoptive applicant. In this experimentation period, both the applicant and the adopted child or adolescent will get to know each other and see if they can live together. The whole experimentation period generally lasts 20 days, and at the end of it a social service assistant will submit a recommendation for approval of the applicant.

Since 2009, it is mandatory for all adoption applicants to take a preparatory course for adoption, which will be indicated by the Childhood and Youth Court where the applicant registered.

Adopting as a Foreigner

As a foreigner, it is possible to adopt Brazilian children and adolescents in two different ways:

  • As a resident of Brazil
  • As a foreigner living abroad

In the first case, it is necessary for the foreigner residing in Brazil to own a Permanent Residence Visa in order to adopt a child or adolescent. After this, the application will follow the same process as a Brazilian person.

In the second case, the process is a little more complicated. First of all, it is necessary to say that international adoption is an exceptional procedure, as priority to adopt Brazilian children and adolescents will be given to Brazilian residents.

So, foreigners who live abroad and are interested in adopting Brazilian children or adolescents must find a foreign organization that is accredited to intermediate the international adoption process. The foreign organization must be registered with the Federal Police, accredited by the Autoridade Central Administrativa Federal, which is Portuguese for Federal Administrative Central Authority. The foreign organization that intermediates the international adoption process must also be licensed by the Comissão Estadual Judiciária de Adoção Internacional, which is Portuguese for the State Judicial Commissions of International Adoptions.

The following documents are needed for foreigners to apply for international adoption:

  • Copy of the applicant’s passport
  • Certificate stating that a search was conducted but was not successful to find a Brazilian resident interested in adopting the children or adolescent in question
  • Copy of the child’s birth certificate
  • Proof of address of the applicant

If a Brazilian resident interested in the adoption is not found, the foreigner will be summoned to Brazil in order to start the period when the adopted child or adolescent temporarily moves in with the new family, after a special document is issued: the Autorização para o Início do Processo de Adoção, which is Portuguese for Authorization for the Beginning of the Adoption Process.

If everything goes well and the Childhood and Youth Court grants approval for the foreigner to adopt, a Certificado de Conformidade da Adoção Internacional, which is Portuguese for Certificate of Compliance of International Adoption will be issued.