Adopting a Child

How does one adopt a child in the Philippines?  Whether you are adopting a child from any of the local orphanages and DSWD offices in the country, or the child of a relative, or maybe even your own child, you need to be aware of the requirements and processes you have to go through.  Be forewarned that this is not a simple process.  Unlike when applying for a marriage license or registering the birth of a child, adopting a child involves a long and tedious process of qualifying the adopting couple or family and waiting for the approval (or disapproval) of the application.  So it is important that you are physically, mentally, and financially prepared before you decide to take the plunge.

To help you get started, here are the list of requirements and procedures in adopting a child in the Philippines. These were lifted from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) website and  These are based on the Domestic Adoption Law (RA 8552).

Who are qualified to adopt (in the Philippines)?

  • Filipino citizen or alien residing in the Philippines
  • Of legal age
  • At least 16 years older than adoptee, except when the adopting party is the biological parent.
  • Has the capacity to act and assume all the rights and duties related to the exercise of parental authority.
  • Is of good moral character and has not been convicted of any crime involving moral issues.
  • Is in a good position to support, educate, and care for his/her legitimate and illegitimate children and the child to be adopted.
  • Has undergone the pre-adoption services.
  • An alien may adopt if he/she has diplomatic relations with the Philippines, and has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriated agency that he/she is qualified to adopt in his country, and that his/her government will allow the adoption.
  • An alien who has been residing in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered.

Who can be adopted?

  • Any person below 18 years old who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption.
  • Legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse.
  • An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter/s to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy.
  • A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter/s as his /her own child since minority.
  • A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded or cancelled.
  • A child whose biological parent/s has died provided that no proceedings shall be initiated within 6 months from the time of death of the said parent/s.

What are the requirements?

  • PSA birth certificate
  • PSA marriage certificate (if adopters are married)
  • Written consent to the adoption of the legitimate, adopted, or illegitimate children living with the applicant who are aged 10 years old and above.
  • Health certificates of adopting couple and their family members.
  • NBI Clearance or Police Clearance
  • Latest ITR (Income Tax Return) or any proof of income.
  • Three character references
  • Statement of Acceptance from designated guardian
  • Latest family picture and home photos
  • Home study report

What are the processes involved?

  • Adopting party must attend the adoption counseling facilitated by the DSWD.
  • Submit application requirements to the DSWD to trigger preparation of home study report.
  • Stand-by for the approval or disapproval of the application.
  • If approved, the agency will facilitate matching or family selection.
  • Pre-placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents. When cleared, the child will be placed with the adoptive parents.
  • This will trigger the start of supervised trial custody to see how the child adjusts to his new environment.
  • When cleared, the family will be issued the Adoption Decree/Certificate of Finality
  • The adoptive parents will be issued the amended birth certificate of the adopted child.
  • The family will be offered provision of post-adoptive services.