You may refer to this flow-chart for the process.
Before applying to the Family Court for the Adoption
Step 1 Attend Pre-Adoption Briefing
The Pre-Adoption Briefing is compulsory. You must attend it before you identify a child to adopt or begin the adoption process.
For more information, please refer to Pre-Adoption Briefing.
Step 2 Adoption Endorsement for European Union Nationals
Singapore adoption orders made on or after 3 January 2014 will not be recognised automatically in these countries:
- Northern Ireland
For British Nationals:
You will not be able to adopt a child in Singapore. Visit Gov.UK for more information.
For all other Nationals of the European Union:
Before identifying a child in Singapore and starting on your adoption application, you have to submit a completed and endorsed letter of support.
- Download the Letter of Support for EU nationals (PDF) issued on 1 Feb 2014.
Step 3 Identify a child to adopt
You can identify a child on your own or through MSF. For more information, please refer to How do I find a child for adoption.
If you are adopting your stepchild, please refer to How to adopt a stepchild.
Step 4 Obtain the Notarised Consent of the child's parents
You must obtain the notarised consent of the parents or any of the following persons (if the parents are not available):
- the guardian of the child;
- the person who has the actual custody of the child;
- the person who is liable (i.e. has a duty) to support the child; or
- the parents or guardian of the biological parent, if the biological parent is below 21 years old.
If you cannot obtain the notarised consent of the relevant persons under (1) - (4) above, you can apply to the Court to have their consent dispensed with. The Court may decide to dispense with the consent if there are special circumstances that justify this.
For more information about the Consent from parents or the relevant persons under (1) - (4), please refer to the Family Court website.
Step 5 Obtain all identification documents of the child
You must obtain and ensure that all documents with regards to the child’s identity are genuine. These documents include:
- Birth Certificate of child
- Passport of child (if child is a Permanent Resident)
Step 6 Prepare an itemised breakdown of costs involved (if any) in obtaining the child
Section 11 of the Adoption of Children Act restricts payment or any other reward in consideration of the adoption, except those with the sanction of the Court.
If you have incurred cost during the transfer of the child (e.g. token of appreciation to parents, payment to an agency for the services rendered or any other parties), the Family Court requires you to provide a breakdown of the amount, with proof of original receipts.
Applying to the Family Court for the Adoption
Step 7 Submit an application to the Family Court
If you have completed steps 1 to 5, you can proceed to submit an application to the Family Court. You can do so in person or through a lawyer. For more information such as procedures to submit application and the required documents, A Procedural Guide to Adoptions.
Step 8 Court appoints a Guardian-In-Adoption for the child
The Court will instruct you or your lawyer to seek consent from the Director of Social Welfare from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to act as Guardian-In-Adoption (GIA) for the child during the adoption process. This is in accordance with Section 10 (3) of the ACA.
The GIA has the duty of safeguarding the interest of the child being considered for adoption. The GIA conducts the necessary social investigations into the circumstances of the adoption application and submits an affidavit to the Family Court. This is in accordance with the Rule 7, Order 68 of Rules of Court.
MSF will review your request for the Director of Social Welfare to be the GIA and issue the consent if it is accepted. When you have obtained the consent from MSF, you or your lawyer will have to submit it to the Family Court.
The Family Court will then appoint the Director of Social Welfare as the GIA.
In order for MSF to process your request for the Director of Social Welfare to be the GIA and issue the consent if it is accepted, kindly ensure that the following documents listed below are prepared. Please seal the documents in an envelope addressed to Child Welfare, Child Protective Service (10th Floor) and deposit it at the MSF DROP BOX which is located at MSF Building Level 1 (beside the security counter).
Do note that only applications with complete set of forms and documents will be processed.
- Date of Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB)
Note: The prospective adopters must attend a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (PAB). Registration of PAB can be made via the Adoption Portal.
- Originating summons for adoption
- Adoption statement
- Affidavit in support of the originating summons
- Consent for adoption by natural parents
(a) If consent for adoption by natural parents are unavailable, an affidavit stating the reasons for failure to obtain natural parents’ consent for adoption is required.
(b) If natural parents are below 21 years-old, consent for adoption by natural grandparents is required. If consent for adoption by natural grandparents are unavailable, an affidavit stating the reasons for failure to obtain natural grandparents’ consent for adoption is required.
- The NRICs of the prospective adopters (front and back)
Note: For foreign nationals, the Employment Pass or Visit Pass is required
- The marriage certificate of the prospective adopters
- The birth certificate of the child to be adopted
- GIA fee of $250 for per adoption application. The cheque should be made payable to “AG/MSF”.
Step 9 Attend interviews with MSF
The GIA will appoint a Child Welfare Officer (CWO) from MSF to conduct the necessary interviews regarding your family and the child’s status and circumstances. You need to cooperate with the appointed CWO and provide the information asked.
You need to attend all interviews at the MSF office or other premises as required, and also allow the CWO to visit your home. Upon completion of the investigation, MSF will prepare an affidavit (which is an assessment on the adoption application based on the findings of the social investigation) to the Family Court.
Step 10 Apply for date of hearing
MSF will send the affidavit to you or your lawyer when it is completed and notify the Family Court. You or your lawyer will submit the affidavit to the Family Court within 2 weeks and apply for a date of hearing.
Step 11 Case Hearing
You or your lawyer has to be present during the court hearing of the case. The Court may decide to call on other parties such as the CWO and the child's natural parents to be present during the hearing.
Step 12 Registration or Return of the child after the Family Court hearing
If the Family Court grants the Adoption Order, the Family Court will inform the Registry of Births & Deaths, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) for the issuance of a new Birth Certificate for the child. You or your lawyer will receive a letter from ICA to collect the Birth Certificate.
If the Court dismisses your application, you will have to return the child to his/her family at your own cost.