General information about releasing a child for adoption

General information about releasing a child for adoption

If you would like to release your child for adoption, please contact an adoption advice centre during your pregnancy, without obligation. These centres provide you with impartial support and assistance in making your decision.

Expectant mothers who are unable to keep their child also have the possibility of leaving it in a baby hatch (Babynest) after birth or giving birth to it anonymously in a hospital (this ensures medical care for both mother and child). Women can opt for one of these possibilities without fear of prosecution.

Immediately after giving birth, the mother can sign the declaration of consent to the adoption and determine the form of adoption (incognito adoption, open adoption or semi-open adoption). After that, suitable adoptive parents are sought for the child. In some cases, the other people’s consent is also required.


The consent to the adoption can be withdrawn by the mother up until the point at which the adoption is judicially approved. This period is usually half a year. During this time, it is observed how the adoptive parents get along with the child and how the child is doing with its new parents. The adoptive parents can also still withdraw from the adoption during this time.

General information about adopting a child

There are a variety of reasons for wanting to adopt a child. Adoption offers a fresh start for everyone involved.

Due to the considerable amount of interest in adoption, applicants should expect a fairly long waiting period.


Adoptive parents are also entitled to parental leave for their adopted child, also referred to as an adoptee.

More detailed information on the ‘adoption process’ can also be found at

You can find information on allowances and support for parents in the topic ‘birth’. The only allowance that you are not entitled to as an adoptive mother is maternity benefit, as the granting of that allowance is linked to pregnancy and childbirth.

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2023
Responsible for the content:
  • Editorial Staff
  • Federal Ministry of Justice