Expats Guide: Things to Know When Adopting a Filipino Child

Every Filipino child deserves to have a family who cares for him/her, not only physically and materially, but also mentally and emotionally. Hence, when you’ve been around long enough in the Philippines to see or hear of children who have been abandoned by their parents, you can’t help but ask yourself, “How can I make life better for this child”?

This especially hits a mark when you’ve been hoping for a son or daughter of your own. If you’ve been planning to adopt in your country but to no avail, perhaps considering fostering a child in the Philippines might be the answer you’ve been waiting for.

Read on below the essential things to know when adopting a Filipino child. It’s going to be a tedious process, but the satisfaction and gratification it brings is beyond worthy.


Can foreign nationals adopt a Filipino child?

Certainly. This is made possible with the implementation of the Inter-Country Adoption Act or Republic Act 8403 in 1995. One of the important things to know when adopting a Filipino child is that this process may only be executed as a last resort when all options for local adoption have been tried and such Filipino children cannot be adopted by qualified Filipino citizens.


Who may be adopted?

A legally free child who is below 15 years old and who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the Department of Social Work and Services (DSWD) may be the subject of Inter-Country Adoption.


Who may adopt?

Under the Inter-Country Adoption law, an alien or a Filipino citizen who permanently resides abroad may adopt a Filipino child given the following qualifications:

  1. The applicant must be at least 27 years of age and at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted at the time of application, unless the applicant is the natural parent of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent;
  2. For married applicant, his/her spouse must jointly file for the adoption;
  3. He/She is capable of acting and assuming all rights and responsibilities of parental authority under his national law, and has undergone the appropriate counseling from an accredited counselor in his/her country;
  4. The applicant has not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude;
  5. Adoptive parent(s) is eligible to adopt under his/her national law;
  6. He/She is able to provide for the proper care and support and to give the necessary moral values and example to his children, including the child to be adopted;
  7. Applicant agrees to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under Philippine laws, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to abide by the rules and regulations issued to implement the provisions of this Act;
  8. The applicant comes from a country with whom the Philippines has diplomatic relations and whose government maintains a similarly authorized and accredited agency, and that adoption is allowed under his/her national laws; and
  9. He/She possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications provided by applicable Philippine laws.


What are the requirements?

The adoptee must also possess the following documents and submit them to DSWD’s Inter-Country Adoption Board:

  1. Child Study prepared by the social worker of the DSWD or the accredited placement NGOs;
  2. Original copy of Birth Certificate/Foundling Certificate;
  3. Deed of voluntary commitment/decree of abandonment/death certificate of parents;
  4. Medical evaluation/history;
  5. Psychological evaluation by the social worker of the DSWD or accredited placement NGO; and
  6. Recent photo of the child.

If you pass all the qualifications to adopt a Filipino child, here are the requirements you need to prepare to begin the process:

  1. Birth Certificate of applicant(s);
  2. Marriage contract, if married, and divorce decree, if applicable;
  3. Written consent from their biological or adopted children above ten (10) years of age, in the form of sworn statement;
  4. Physical, medical, and psychological evaluation by a duly licensed physician and psychologist;
  5. Income tax returns or any document showing the financial capability of the applicant(s);
  6. Police clearance of applicant(s);
  7. Character reference from the local church/minister, the applicant’s employer and a member of the immediate community who have known the applicant(s) for at least five (5) years; and
  8. Recent postcard-size pictures of the applicant(s) and his immediate family.


What are the fees and time-frame for adoption? 

Adoption fees can be costly and can be time-consuming. As of 2007, processing fee for a single placement is at around USD 2,000.00. The process can probably take months up to several years before it reaches its finality so it’s best to ready yourself financially.

Pre-adoptive placement fees varies from child to child. This includes travel expenses from the Philippines to the country of residence of the prospective adoptive parents to the cost of passport, visa, medical examinations, etc.


For more information on all the things to know when adopting a Filipino child , contact:

The Inter-Country Adoption Board
Department of Social Welfare and Development
6th Floor Sinagoga Bldg.,
Sinagoga St.,
Malate, Manila
Attn: The Executive Director
Tel. Nos. : 525-1375; 524-1243



Expats in the Philipppines

Expats in the Philipppines

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