Child Adoption

Child Adoption

Child Adoption with GJC Law

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Criteria for Adoption (Summary)

Residency Status

You and your spouse must be residents in Singapore to adopt, i.e. Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents, or holders of Employment Pass, Dependant's Pass or any other Pass which the Family Court deems as residents in Singapore.


You and your spouse must be at least 25 and 21 years older than the child to be adopted.

If you or your spouse is under 25 years old and less than 21 years older than the child, the adoption may be allowed if you or your spouse and the child are related by blood or if other special circumstances justify the adoption. This is in accordance with Section 4(2) a(i)(ii) of the ACA.

Maximum age gap between adopter and child

Both you and your spouse should not be over 50 years older than the child. As an adoptive parent, you are responsible for providing education and protecting the welfare of your adopted child until they are independent. You must ensure you have the physical and financial means to see the child through this journey.

Marital Status

If you are a single male, you are not allowed to adopt a girl unless there are exceptional circumstances to justify the adoption. This is in accordance with Section 4(3) of the ACA.

If you are married and intend to adopt alone, you must obtain your spouse's consent. This is in accordance with Section 4(5) of the ACA.

Home Study Report

If you wish to adopt a foreign child from MSF or Project Cherub, you must apply for a Home Study Report.

Pre-adoption Briefing

You and your spouse should attend a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB) before you apply for a home study or begin the legal proceedings on adoption. For more information, refer to Pre-Adoption Briefing.

More Information

If you are adopting a Singaporean citizen stepchild, the local laws of adoption apply (check out our post on adoption laws applicable to Singaporean citizens here).

A key difference between adopting a stepchild and a non-stepchild is the ability to apply for a waiver for the Home Study Report.

A Home Study Report assesses your family’s readiness to care for an adopted child. It is conducted by professional social service staff from voluntary welfare organisations accredited by MSF.

If you and your stepchild are citizens of Singapore, you can apply to the Ministry of Social and Family Welfare (MSF) for a Home Study Report to be waived. The documents you need to submit to MSF for a waiver request include:

a. Your and your spouse’s NRIC
b. The stepchild’s birth certificate
c. Marriage Certificate
d. Your residential address

If the child is not residing in Singapore and is born overseas, you must submit the travel documents when the child arrives in Singapore.

Do note that MSF has ultimate discretion over whether to grant you a waiver of the Home Study Report.

Pre-adoption Briefing
You and your spouse should attend a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB) before you apply for a home study or begin the legal proceedings on adoption. For more information, refer to Pre-Adoption Briefing.

If you are adopting a stepchild who is not a Singaporean citizen, additional procedures may be applicable if the stepchild’s country of residence has laws prohibiting foreign adoption proceedings.

Example: Adopting a stepchild who is a citizen of China

If your stepchild is a citizen of China, you may need to comply with the requirements set out in China and Singapore.

To elaborate, you must legalise the adoption in China by being present with your stepchild.

Once you return to Singapore with the stepchild, you must apply for a DP (Dependent’s Pass) for your stepchild.

Applications to adopt a child from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) must be made through agencies accredited by MSF and the Ministry of Civil Affairs of PRC. These agencies are:

  •     TOUCH Community Services Ltd
  •     Fei Yue Community Services

This is followed by the adoption application to Singapore Family Court, where all the standard procedures for a foreign child adoption will apply.

One of the most important steps in the adoption process is the preparation of the Home Study Report. You will need a Home Study Report (HSR) if you are adopting a child in MSF care or a foreign-born child.

Here is a closer look at what the Home Study Report is all about, what factors social workers will look out for, and its costs.

The HSR is an investigation conducted by MSF-accredited social service organisations into the applicants’ family’s circumstances and the other aspects surrounding the adoption to assess the applicant’s eligibility.

The social worker will interview the family to assess their finances, attitudes towards parenting, and the status of the applicant’s marriage.

Apart from visiting the adoptive parents’ home and speaking to family members, the social worker may also speak to the applicants’ friends.

Background checks will also be conducted to check if the applicants have a criminal record or any history of mental illness.

The HSR is required before the applicants start searching for a child to adopt. The applicants must obtain a favourable HSR to adopt a child introduced to them by any individual or adoption agencies or initiate the adoption proceedings.

The Home Study Report is valid for up to two years and only one adoption. If the validity expires or you wish to adopt a second child, you need a fresh Home Study Report.

According to MSF, the cost of HSR currently is $1750.

Apart from conducting criminal checks and assessing the status of applicants’ marriage, the social worker looks into the following:

• Your life choices
• Insurance
• Family history
• Bank statements
• Monthly expense breakdown
• Declaration of income
• Investments
• The reason for adoption
• The applicants’ childhood
• The applicants’ job
• The relationship the applicants have with each of their family members

In addition, the applicants may also have to provide character references to prove they can be good parents to their adopted child.

Contact our Lawyer.
sandra ong
Sandra Ong
Head of Private Client Practice

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