More than 7,100 islands make up the Philippines archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam. The third largest English-speaking country in the world (behind the U.S. and the U.K), the Philippines has a rich history combing Asian, European, and American influences. Ceded by Spain to the U.S. in 1898 following the Spanish-American War, the Philippines attained their independence in 1946 after being occupied by the Japanese in World War II. Today the population of the Philippines exceeds 76 million people. The Philippines is the only Christian-majority country in southeast Asia. Although the country is primarily Roman Catholic, there are also many Protestant churches. The climate in the Philippines alternates between wet and dry seasons. There are many warm, sunny days in the Philippines that reflect the disposition of the Filipino people.
There are 1.8 million children in the Philippines who are orphans or have lost one parent. A domestic adoption program is available to Filipino citizens and local families are always sought before a child becomes available for international adoption. The Philippine international adoption program is well-established and stable. The Philippines is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, all intercountry adoptions between the Philippines and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention. Philippine adoptions are conducted through a collaborative effort of a Hague accredited adoption agency in the U.S. and by the Philippine Central Adoption Authority (ICAB).
Children Available for Intercountry Adoption
Children available for Intercountry adoption placement are those who cannot be placed with an adoptive family in the Philippines. All children have to be cleared for intercountry adoption by the Competent Authority - Programs and Projects Bureau of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (PPBDSWD) Central Office.
The children are of Asian/Malay/Spanish descent and have been cared for in orphanages or in foster care placements. Children of either sex are usually available but there may be a longer waiting period for girls. Families requesting a child younger than 7 years old may not specify gender of child desired.
The general age of children cleared for Intercountry adoption usually ranges from 2 years to 15 years old. The allowable maximum age of Filipino children for intercountry adoption is below 15 years old. A child who is above 15 years old may be processed for intercountry adoption when the child is part of a sibling group or if the application for adoption was filed before the child reached the age of 15.
The Traditional Program is for families who are interested in adoption of children with minimal needs under the age of five.
The Special Home Finding Program is for families willing to adopt older children who are 7 to 15 years old, siblings groups of three or more, or children with developmental and/or medical needs. HopeFull Connections receives a regular list of the children who are waiting for adoptive homes. This list is sent to HopeFull Connections by the Intercountry Adoption Board and can be shared with prospective adoptive parents who have an openness and ability to parent various needs.
The Relative Adoption Program is coordinated through the Intercountry Adoption Board of the Philippines (ICAB) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). We help families in the United States attempting adopt a relative who meets the requirements of DSWD's relative adoption program.
Who Can Adopt?
Adoption between the United States and the Philippines is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore, to adopt from the Philippines, the prospective adoptive parent(s) must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS requires the adoptive parent(s) to be a U.S. Citizen and, if unmarried, at least 25 years old. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must meet certain requirements that will determine their suitability as a prospective adoptive parent(s), including criminal background checks, fingerprinting, and a home study. In addition to qualifying to adopt under U.S. law, they must also meet their home state's requirements for prospective adoptive parent(s). Learn more about individual state requirements on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parent(s), the Philippines also has the following requirements:
- Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 27 years of age and at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted at the time of application. The maximum age gap between the adoptive parent and the child to be adopted must not exceed 45 years (exceptions to the maximum age gap of 45 years can be made on cases of relative, Special Needs Child-Special Home Finding and step-parent adoption).
- The prospective adoptive couple must be a legally married husband and wife and must have been married for three (3) years. They must file jointly to adopt a child.
- Prospective adoptive parents must have a minimal annual income of $40,000 and meet at least 125% of the federal poverty guidelines for size of family to include proposed number of children being adopted.
- Prospective adoptive parents must have at least a high school diploma.
- Prospective adoptive parents must not have ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude
- The prospective adoptive parents must be in a position to provide proper care and support and to give necessary moral values to all his/her children, including the child to be adopted. The prospective adoptive parents must agree to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under the Philippine laws and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Obesity is an unacceptable condition for prospective adoptive parents - defined as a BMI of 35 and above.
- Single applicants are eligible to adopt children between the ages of six and 15 years old from the Special Home Finding list.
Estimated Time Frame for Philippine Adoptions
Adoption applications that have a substantive Home Study Report and complete supporting documents are reviewed by the Intercountry Adoption Board of the Philippines (Central Authority) and approved within one month to three months from receipt of the adoption applicants' dossier. Once approved, the waiting time to receive a referral of a child largely depends upon the stated child preference of the prospective adoptive parents (i.e. child's age, gender and state of health or extent of known background). Families seeking to adopt a child with minimal needs under the age of five can expect to wait up to three years for a referral of a child. However, this can vary according to the availability of children to be matched, the number of prospective adoptive parent(s) on the waiting list, and the caseload of Philippine social service agencies and the courts. If adopting a pre-identified child from the special home finding list, the adoption process will typically take one year or more.
Travel to Country
U.S. citizens require a valid U.S. passport to enter and leave the Philippines. If traveling from the U.S., a visa is not required if the stay in country is 30 days or less. If a couple, it is strongly preferred that both parents travel although one parent may travel in some circumstances. Adoptive parents can estimate their stay in the country to be generally 7 days or less to include a 5-day bonding period.
According to Philippine law, after the adoptive parent(s) escort the child to the U.S. and assume custody of the child, they enter a six-month trial period where the accredited adoption agency in the U.S. monitors the child's welfare. Post placement visits by a social worker are required at 1, 4, and 6 months following arrival home. An additional report at 8 months is required for children from the Special Home Finding program. After the adoptive parent(s) complete the trial custody period, the adoptive parent(s) should file a petition for adoption before the court in the U.S. The final U.S. adoption decree must be submitted to the Intercountry Adoption Board of the Philippines within one month after its issuance.
Please click here to view an Itemized Schedule of Fees and Costs for adopting from the Philippines.
Please click here to view a Schedule of Refunds.
For more detailed information on the requirements and process to adopt a child from the Philippines, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website.