The Philippines operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague Convention information
The Convention requires the Philippines to attempt to place a child with a family in the Philippines before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.
The central authority in the Philippines is the Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB).
ICAB allocates each Australian state and territory central authority a quota for new applications each year. The quota allocated for 2016 is 28. ICAB determines how the quota is allocated to each State and Territory. Please contact the central authority in your state or territory to discuss the individual quota for your state or territory.
For families who are currently being matched, waiting times are between three to four years from when the application is approved by ICAB. You should be prepared for the possibility of a long wait.
Who can adopt?
To adopt from the Philippines you must first be found eligible to adopt according to your State or Territory’s eligibility requirements for intercountry adoption.
The program with the Philippines currently accepts applications from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
In addition to these Australian requirements, the Philippines has the following requirements:
- Applicants must have been married for three years.
- Applicants who have been married for 12 months and were previously living in a de facto relationship for several years are also eligible to adopt.
- Couples with a history of more than two divorces will not be accepted.
- Single applicants may apply to adopt an older child (aged 9–15 years) subject to the eligibility requirements in their home state or territory.
- De facto couples and same-sex couples are not eligible.
- Applicants must be aged more than 27 years.
- Applicants should be at least 16 years older than the child. The maximum age gap between applicant and the child to be adopted is 45 years. This is usually judged against the age of the female applicant.
- At least one applicant must be an Australian citizen.
- Preference is given to applicants of Filipino heritage.
- Applicants should be in good health, physically and mentally.
- ICAB will not accept couples with the following medical or psychological health conditions:
- Any current or previous form of cancer
- Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes
- obesity (Body mass index (BMI) of applicants should be 35 and below)
- kidney transplant and any other major organ transplant (e.g. heart, lung, liver)
- pacemaker/stroke/myocardial infarction
- multiple sclerosis and other degenerative muscular disorders
- Hepatitis C
- autoimmune disorders
- risk factors that are considered to impede care for the child (e.g. blindness, deafness, wheelchair bound)
- psychiatric disorders
- mood disorders/major depressive disorders
- anxiety disorders
- substance use disorders
- sexual disorders.
- The eligibility of applicants with health conditions seeking to adopt a child with special needs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- ICAB requires applicants who have not previously adopted a child from the Philippines to undergo two specific psychological tests:
- the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF)
- the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCMI III).
- The MMPI-2-RF is the updated (refined) version of the older MMPI-2. Not all psychologists administer this test, so applicants will need to discuss this with the psychologist they intend to consult.
- Results from the Adult Adolescent Parenting Inventory (AAPI-2) may be included as supporting evidence on behalf of an applicant, but cannot take the place of testing under the MMPI-2-RF or MCMI III.
- Applicants who have previously adopted from the Philippines do not have to undergo the MMRI-2-RF or the MCMI III, but are still required to provide a psychological report from a licensed psychologist.
- Applicants should have completed a minimum of four years of secondary education.
- Applicants must submit a diploma or certificate of completion as evidence that they have completed this level of secondary education.
- Tertiary qualifications exceed this requirement.
- Applicants are required to demonstrate commitment to Christian beliefs and values through regular church attendance and participation in their church community.
- Jehovah’s Witness applicants are not accepted unless they are prepared to sign a statement that they would consent to a blood transfusion for the child.
Number of children in family
- ICAB gives childless applicants priority.
- Applicants with a larger than average family will not be a priority.
- Children above the age of 10 will need to formally consent to the adoption of another child.
- Previously adopted children must have been placed with their adoptive family for a minimum of two years before any subsequent placement is made.
- Applicants should have a combined income of USD$40,000 or more.
- A criminal record check must be provided.
- Applicants convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude will not be accepted.
- Applicants must provide three character references in their application.
- The first must be from a church minister or priest who has known the applicants for at least five years, and address issues such as:
- the applicants’ religious beliefs
- how the applicants practice their faith including regular church attendance
- the applicants’ relationship with the church community
- the applicants’ intentions for fostering their adoptive child’s spirituality.
- The second must be from the employer/s of the applicants, who have known the applicants for at least five years.
- The third must be from a member of the community who has known the applicants for at least five years.
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
The Filipino children in need of intercountry adoption are children with special needs, including older children, sibling groups or children with medical conditions. Children adopted through the general adoption program, rather than through the Special Home Finding List, are mostly aged two years or older.
Special Home Finding List
Children with more complex needs may be included in ICAB’s Special Home Finding List to assist in identifying potential families. ICAB states that most of the children currently on the Special Home Finding List have the following characteristics:
- aged six years and above
- sibling groups of three or more
- multiple and/or complex medical needs
- global development delays or seizure disorders
- mental retardation
- complex social backgrounds, including exposure to physical and sexual abuse.
Applicants interested in caring for children with special needs should contact their state or territory central authority for more information.
The estimated adoption fees and costs are US$3500. This does not include travel and accommodation costs, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.
Applicants must travel to the Philippines to accept placement of their child. Children from the family are welcome and encouraged to accompany their parents.
Applicants will need to spend about two weeks (10 working days) in the Philippines as part of the adoption placement process.
Finalisation and post-adoption
Adoptions from the Philippines must be finalised through an Australian State or Territory court after successful completion of a six-month trial placement period, and any other requirements of the relevant State or Territory.
ICAB requires three post-placement reports following the adoption. The relevant state or territory central authority needs to prepare these reports at two-monthly intervals during the trial custody period. If ICAB is satisfied that an appropriate relationship has formed between the parents and the child, the adoption will then be finalised in Australia.
Applicants must also fulfil any post-placement reporting requirements in their home state or territory.
The Australian Government is working to improve post-adoption support for newly formed families. For more information, visit Post adoption and support.
Immigration and citizenship
Children must travel to Australia on an Adoption Visa (subclass 102) and under guardianship of the new parents. Following the finalisation of the adoption in an Australian state or territory court, the child will automatically acquire Australian citizenship. An application for Australian citizenship is not required, but parents may apply for evidence of Australian citizenship.