Thinking of adopting a child? Here’s how

Aika Rey
Thinking of adopting a child? Here’s how
Close to 6,500 Filipino children are in need of a permanent home

MANILA, Philippines – Thinking of adopting a child?

Close to 6,500 Filipino children are in need of a permanent home.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 3,793 children have already been made legally available for adoption since 2009, under the care of residential care facilities.

Some 2,000 children were directly placed by their biological parents to the care of another family other than their relatives, while 236 children are in foster care whose parents signified interest to adopt them.

The Philippines celebrates Adoption Consciousness every February 10 to 18, with the government supporting awareness campaigns on legal adoption of children. (READ: Consider adopting a child, gov’t asks couples)

Philippine laws allow legal adoption of Filipino children. Republic Act (RA) No. 8552 or the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998 allows Filipino citizens to adopt Filipino children while foreign nationals are also allowed under RA 8043. (READ: Being a mother goes beyond bearing children)

Have you ever thought of adoption? Here are some guidelines under the law:

What are the types of adoption?

Prospective parents may adopt through agencies or through their relatives. Agency adoption takes place when a licensed adoption agency finds adoptive families for children as facilitated by the DSWD.

Direct placement of children to a relative within the 4th degree of consanguinity is considered family or relative adoption. 

Who can adopt?

Individuals or couples of legal age that are at least 16 years older than the adoptee may adopt. In the case that the adopter is the biological parent or sibling of the adoptee, the minimum age gap may no longer be required.

The adopter must also have the capacity to act and assume all rights and duties to exercise parental authority. He or she should be of good moral character and has not been convicted of any crime involving morality.

The adopter should also be in the position to support, educate, and care for his or her children and the child to be adopted. 

Prospective parents and adoptee should undergo counselling services and adoption seminars organized by the DSWD.

In the case of foreign nationals interested in adopting in the Philippines, the adopter should be a citizen of a state that has diplomatic relations with the country. The diplomatic or consular office of the prospective parent must also be certify that:

  • He or she is qualified in his or her country to adopt
  • His or her government will allow the adoptee to enter the parent’s country and reside there permanently as an adopted child

The foreign national interested in adopting should submit all necessary clearances and certification as required by the DSWD.

Who may be adopted?

According to RA 8552, the following may be adopted:

  • Any person below 18 years of age that has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption
  • The legitimate child of one spouse from another spouse
  • An illegitimate child by a qualified adopter to be considered as a legitimate child
  • A person of legal age, prior to adoption, that has been consistently considered as his own child since the prospective adoptee is a minor
  • A child whose adoption has been previously revoked
  • A child whose biological or adoptive parents has died. However, no proceedings can be started within 6 months from the time of death of the parents

What are the requirements?

Here are the documents needed for adoption:


  1. Child Study Report prepared and signed by a licensed social worker handling the case
  2. Birth Certificate or Foundling Certificate
  3. Death certificates of parents, if applicable
  4. Certification of A Child Legally Available for Adoption. This may not be necessary if the adopters are within the 4th degree of affinity or the child’s step-parent.
  5. Medical or Health profile and history
  6. Psychological evaluation for children 5 years old and above
  7. Recent photo of the child
  8. Child profile signed by the social worker handling the case
  9. Written consent to adoption for children 10 years and above

Prospective adoptive parents

  • Filipino applicants
  1. Home study report with the following documents:
  • Authenticated Birth Certificate
  • If married, marriage Certificate in Security Paper form. If separated, authenticated divorce papers with copy of court decision and Certificate of Finality, or Annulment Decree with Certificate of Finality, Declaration of Nullity, or Legal Separation Documents
  • Written consent to adoption by the legitimate and adopted children living with the applicant who are at least 10 years old
  • Physical and medical evaluation by a duly license physican to certify that the applicant has no medical condition that will prevent him or her from assuming parental duties
  • Psychological evaluation report
  • NBI or Police clearance
  • Latest income tax return or any other documents showing the financial capability of the parent. These may be Certificate of Employment, Bank Certificate, or Statement of Assets and Liabilities among others
  • 3 Character References who have known the applicant for at least 3 years
  • 3 x 5 inch photos of the applicants and his or her immediate family members taken within the last 3 months
  • Affidavit of Guardianship
  • Certificate of attendance in pre-adoption seminar
  • Adoptive Family Profile
  • Foreign nationals
      1. Certification that the applicant has the legal capacity to adopt
      2. Certificate of Residence in the Philippines issued by the Bureau of Immigration or the Department of Foreign Affairs
      3. Two character references from non-relatives who knew the applicants in their country of citizenship or was a resident in prior to residing in the Philippines. This may be waived for those residing in the Philippines for more than 15 years.
      4. Police clearance from all places of residence in the past two years immediately prior to residing in the Philippines`

    What are the steps in adoption?

    Here are the steps in adoption:

    • Administrative phase
      1. Attend adoption seminars.
      2. Application in DSWD Field Offices. Interested parents may also check licensed foster care agencies or child placing agencies that the DSWD Field Offices accredited.
      3. Parents will then be assessed by a social worker from the field office or the child placing agency for a Home Study Report
      4. A child will then be matched to prospective adoptive parents
      5. A Pre-Adoption Placement Authority and Affidavit of Consent to Adoption will then be issued
      6. After being issued the certifications, the child will be placed with the prospective parents
      7. There will be a supervision period of at least 3 months.
      8. A Certificate of Consent to Adoption will be issued.
    • Judicial phase
      1. File a petition for adoption
      2. A supervised trial custody period of 6 months or less will then take place
      3. Court hearings on the petition
      4. A Decree of Adoption and Entry of Judgement with the amended birth certificate will be issued

    What are the costs?

    The applicant will have to spend for securing the documents required for adoption.

    DSWD services are free, but the services of accredited child placing agencies may vary.

    The applicant will also have to consider lawyer fees when he or she undergo the judicial phase of adoption.–

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    Aika Rey

    Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at