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Adoption is a legal process by which the rights and responsibilities for a child are given up by the biological parents and taken on by the adoptive parents.
Useful online information on adoption in Singapore is available from the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Adoptive parents must be:
These rules may be waived if special circumstances justify the adoption (if the prospective parent and the adopted child are blood relatives, for instance).
The child must be under 21 years old and a Singapore resident.
A foreign-born child may be adopted, but will need to get a Dependant's Pass from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Permanent residents who intend to adopt a child already resident in Singapore or a child from another country will be supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, which will be involved and can provide advice and information.
There are many reputable adoption agents in Singapore. Once a suitable child has been located file a petition with the Family Court Adoption Petition Service on the Attorney General's Chambers.
The Family Court will appoint the MSF's Director of Social Welfare as Guardian-In-Adoption (temporary legal guardian).
The MSF then conducts any necessary investigations, draws up the affidavit and prepares the social investigation report.
After the Family Court hears the petition, and assuming everything is satisfactory the Family Court will then grant the Adoption Order and issue a new birth certificate for the child.
The procedure for adopting a foreign-born child is more complex as many more parties are involved.
Briefly, the permanent Singapore residents wishing to adopt a child from another country must:
From here on the process is the same as for a Singapore-born child: the adopter must petition the Family Court for the adoption of the child:
The Family Court will appoint the Director of Social Welfare, MSF, as Guardian-In-Adoption (temporary legal guardian).
The MSF then conducts any necessary investigations and draws up the affidavit and prepares the social investigation report.
The Family Court will hear the petition and grant the Adoption Order. This will be sent to the Registry of Births, where the adopters must go to finalise the process and receive the birth certificate. Parents may apply for Singapore citizenship or permanent residency for the child at the same time.
All prospective adoptive parents should be aware that if they are convicted of any offence in obtaining possession of the child for the purpose of adoption in Singapore, the adoption order made by the Court in respect of the child is liable to be set aside. All petitioners are required to sign a statutory declaration to acknowledge that they understand this and that they may also be liable to prosecution if they have acted unlawfully.
All petitioners are also required to declare that the natural parents of the child have given up their child for adoption of their own free will, and have fully understood the implications of the adoption.
The adoption of a child by a permanent Singapore resident does not automatically convey either Singapore citizenship or citizenship of the home country of the adoptive parents. It is advisable to consult the appropriate Embassy or Consulate to determine what options are available and how to pursue them.
For citizens of the UK the Consular Centre of the British High Commission can provide information about British nationality or a UK visa for an adopted child.
Adoptive mothers may take four weeks flexible leave to care for adopted children of six months of age and under.