“Can I Adopt my Niece Or Stepson?” Your Common Questions About Adopting A Child In The Philippines, Answered

“Can I Adopt my Niece Or Stepson?” Your Common Questions About Adopting A Child In The Philippines, Answered
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Parenthood is a wonderful thing and an aspiration for many. However, in some cases, this may not come naturally to a couple or an individual for a number of reasons. For others, the decision intentionally does not involve having their biological children because they would rather become a mother or a father by adoption. Though still considered unconventional, choosing to be responsible for the future of another person by guiding him with love and care is one noble act.

From the onset though, adoption in the Philippines sounds like a complex process. If you are decided to have a child by adoption, some of the questions you are probably seeking to answer are, “Where do we start?” “Who can we ask?” “What should we do?” and many others. To give you an idea, here’s a simplified guide if you’re a Filipino resident planning to adopt a child.

What is adoption?

According to the website of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), adoption is the “socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily relinquished parental authority over the child.” In a broad sense, it is the social, emotional, and legal process wherein a parent-child relationship will be established among persons who are not related by birth. This means that adopted children will have the same rights and privileges as that of a birth child.

In the Philippines, children may be adopted through family or relative adoption, which means that a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity can put the adoptees under his care. Another type, independent adoption, is similar to relative adoption. This type respects the decision of biological parents to put their birth children under the care of a person they trust.

These types are processed by filing a petition to adopt directly with the Family Court. The DSWD is not required to be involved, unless ordered by the court.

The last type is agency adoption, which seeks the help of DSWD-approved agencies and care facilities in linking adoptive families.

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Who may adopt?

Couples or individuals that are of legal age and who are at least 16 years older than the adoptee are allowed to adopt. However, the minimum age gap is not required if the adopter is the biological parent or sibling of the adoptee.

As adoptive parents, you need to make sure that you have the capacity to act and assume all the rights and duties exercising parental authority, that you have good moral character, and that you have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.

In addition, the adoptive parent/s must have undergone all necessary procedures required by law, and be able to support, educate, and care for his children.

Who can be adopted?

Republic Act No. 8552 (Domestic Adoption Act of 1998), or “An act establishing the rules and policies on the domestic adoption of Filipino children and for other purposes” states that those who fall under these categories may be adopted:

  • Persons below 18 years of age, who have been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;
  • The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;
  • An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter 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
  • A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, that no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parent(s).

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What are the requirements needed for adoption?

Filipino applicants are required to provide the following documents:

  • Authenticated birth certificate
  • Marriage Certificate (only if it applies) in security paper form. If you are separated, however, authenticated divorce papers with a copy of the court’s decision are required.
  • Written consent from the legitimate and adopted children living with the applicant, who are at least 10 years old
  • Physical and medical evaluation by a licensed physician, confirming that the applicant is capable of performing his parental duties
  • Psychological evaluation report
  • NBI clearance / police clearance
  • Recent Income Tax Return (ITR) or documents showing the applicant’s financial capability
  • 3 character references from persons who have known the applicant for at least 3 years
  • 3x5-inch whole body photos of the applicant and his immediate family members, taken within the last 3 months
  • Affidavit of Guardianship
  • Certificate of attendance in pre-adoption seminar
  • Adoptive Family Profile
  • Application form

What are the steps?

There are two processes needed to successfully adopt a child in the Philippines: the administrative phase and judicial phase.


This process is done with the help of the DSWD, which means that you have to attend seminars, handle all DSWD paperwork, and pass the assessments.


This includes filing a petition for adoption, a supervised trial custody period of 6 months of less, attending the hearing of your petition, and the issuance of Decree of Adoption and Entry of Judgment.

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Who can we contact?

If you are planning to adopt through a licensed agency, here is a list of facilities in the Philippines that you can get in touch with:

Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Inc.

Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila

For more information, you may contact Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Inc. on Facebook or visit their website.

 Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home Inc.

Location: Pasig, Metro Manila

For more information, you may contact Tahanan ng Pagmamahal Children’s Home Inc. on Facebook or visit their website.

Angel House Orphanage Philippines

San Isidro, Davao City

For more information, you may contact Angel House Orphanage Philippines on Facebook or visit their website.

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