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Planning to Adopt? Updated Guidelines About Adoption From DSWD
  • Adoption is a socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily given up their parental authority over the child. It is part of the alternative parental care program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

    There are two types of adoption in the Philippines. The first is you go through a licensed adoption agency, which finds adoptive families for children who are voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the state under DSWD care. The licensed and accredited agencies by DSWD are Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), NORFIL Foundation, and Association of Child Caring Agencies in the Philippines (ACCAP).

    The second type of adoption is “relative adoption” where biological parents place a child in the care of a relative within the 4th degree of consanguinity.

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    The documents you need to adopt in the Philippines

    Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) go through two phases: administrative and judicial. The process sounds simple enough, but it is the paperwork required that has given Philippine adoption its “tedious” label. When you think about it, however, you are applying to care for a child, and the government cannot be too careful. 


    Apart from attending an adoption seminar, DSWD requires PAPs to submit 13 documents.

    1. Authenticated birth certificate
    2. Marriage Contract or Divorce, Annulment, Declaration of Nullity, or Legal Separation documents
    3. Written consent to the adoption by the legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, and illegitimate sons/daughters if living with the applicant, who is at least ten (10) years old
    4. Physical and medical evaluation by a duly licensed physician and when appropriate, psychological evaluation
    5. NBI/Police Clearance
    6. Latest income tax return or any other documents showing financial capability, e.g., Certificate of Employment, Bank Certificate or Statement of Assets and Liabilities
    7. Three (3) character references, namely from the local church/minister, the employer, and a non-relative member of the immediate community who have known the applicant(s) for at least three (3) years
    8. 3×5 sized pictures of the applicant(s) and his/her immediate family taken within the last three (3) months
    9. Certificate of attendance to pre-adoption fora or seminars
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    If you are a foreign national, you are required to submit

    • certification that shows you have the legal capacity to adopt in your country and your country has a policy allowing a child adopted in the Philippines to enter and reside there. 
    • Certificate of Residence in the Philippines issued by the Bureau of Immigration or Department of Foreign Affairs
    • Two (2) character references from a non-relatives who knew the applicant(s) in the country of which he/she is a citizen or was a resident prior to residing in the Philippines, except for those who have resided in the Philippines for more than fifteen (15) years
    • Police clearance from all places of residence in the past two years immediately prior to residing in the Philippines
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    Legal adoption is not only for the wealthy or who are married

    PAPs are required under RA 8552 to attend adoption forums to receive a certificate of attendance. It will also serve as a basis for the approval of the request to be an adoptive parent. In the forum, the social worker will discuss the processes that will help the PAPs decide and determine their readiness to adopt.


    Coordination with DSWD regarding the matching, placement, home study, and issuance of the consent to adoption, takes six to nine months.

    After the administrative phase, it is the judicial phase, and it may take around two to three court trials before the court finalizes the adoption petition and make the adoption legal.

    One of the recent updates on the adoption process is the signing of the Simulated Birth Rectification Act or Republic Act No. 11222, which will hasten the legalization of the placement of the child in the adoptive family.

    A critical provision of the newly-signed law is that the person who committed birth simulation will be given amnesty if proven that the act was made “for the best interest of the child and that child has been consistently considered and treated by the person or persons who simulated such birth as her, his, or their own daughter or son.”

    However, it is only applicable to cases of birth simulation from the year 2016 or below (before the effectivity of the law.)

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    Another misconception about adoption in the Philippines is the process may only be availed by the wealthy, married Filipinos. It is not true since the law does not discriminate. Legal adoption can be availed by those who are single, solo parents, and those from the LGBT sector, as long as they prove they can provide the needs of the adopted child.

    To encourage more people to adopt, DSWD continues to improve its advocacy activities to inform the public that its legal adoption services are FREE and that it is the only process that can ensure that the rights of adopted children will be upheld and protected.

    DSWD also appeals to the public to refrain from engaging in illegal adoption through simulation of birth and social media pages, which are involved in unlawful adoption of children since these criminal offenses endanger the lives of adopted children, biological parents, and adoptive parents as their rights are not protected under RA 8552. Instead, the public is encouraged to support and promote the legal adoption process to ensure that the best interest of adopted children will be upheld and protected.


    Click here to know more about adoption. If you are interested to adopt, you may start here.

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