First adoptions by same-sex families finally take place in Finland, three whole years since becoming legal

Finland adoption

The first-ever domestic adoptions by same-sex couples in Finland have been confirmed, three years after it was legalised.

In March 2017, reforms to Finland’s Marriage Act finally came into force, allowing same-sex couples to marry and making it the last Nordic country to legalise marriage equality.

The changes to the law also meant that same-sex couples would be able to adopt children together, but the process in Finland is complicated.

According to News Now Finland, all couples wanting to adopt must go through an extensive counselling period which can take several years.

Now, the first same-sex couples, one male and one female, have officially adopted their children in Helsinki.

Social worker Aulikki Haimi-Kaikkonen told Sateenkaariperheet, Finland’s Rainbow Family Association: “In domestic adoptions, the decision on which family the child will be placed in is made in the adoption working group.

“For each child, careful consideration is given to which family best meets the child’s needs.

“The decision also takes into account, where possible, the wishes of the biological parents as to the type of family in which the child will be placed. This may have an impact on applicants’ waiting times.”

Equal access to fertility treatments has been legal for same-sex female couples in Finland since 2006, and so the change in adoption law has been especially significant to same-sex male couples.

Sateenkaariperheet executive director Juha Jämsä explained: “Adoption is especially important from the perspective of male couples’ opportunities, a new way to parenthood.

“Adoption is unlikely to be the most common way for male couples to have children. However it is an important additional opportunity for men, whose opportunities to form a family with children as a whole have been very limited.”

Sanna Marin, Finland’s prime minister elected last year, has a special connection to rainbow families, having been raised by same-sex parents. 

Marin told the Finnish site Menaiset in 2015 that she felt her upbringing in a LGBT+ household influenced her values as a politician.

She said: “For me, people have always been equal. It’s not a matter of opinion. That’s the foundation of everything.”