Adoption in the Philippines

The Philippines

The Philippines is a tropical country made up of 7,107 islands. Here you'll find active volcanoes, beautiful beaches, coral reefs and rain forests and over 80 million people with a blend of cultures. The close family relations that characterize society are said to have been inherited from the Chinese and the piety from the Spaniards who introduced Christianity in the 16th century. A large number of the people are Catholic. Filipinos are very hospitable people who love to joke, laugh, entertain, celebrate and dance.

Who can be adopted?

New Zealanders can adopt children who don't have a family to care for them, are living in the care of "Child Caring Agencies" and approved for adoption by the Philippines Inter Country Adoption Board (ICAB). As in most developing countries, some families in the Philippines struggle with providing basic needs for their children. Poverty, difficult social circumstances and lack of opportunity conspire against families often resulting in great need for some children.

You can apply to adopt children of all ages. Children are seldom ready for adoption before 12 months and many are over 5 years. From time to time quota restrictions put limits on the number of applications we can accept for children under 6 years. Older children long for a mum and dad too.  ICANZ is especially keen to hear from families with a heart for "waiting children", children who are ready and waiting to be adopted right now. These waiting children may simply be older (over 6 years). Others have experienced sad circumstances in their life history, or are part of a family group of 3, 4 or 5 children who need to stay together. Others may be young children but have moderate or severe medical needs. There are no quota restrictions on numbers of applications for children over six or children with medical needs. Contact ICANZ for more details.

Who can adopt? those who  meet these requirements -
  • Approved by the New Zealand Central Authority (NZCA) with a home study report from either AFS or MfVC.
  • Married for 3 years, with no more than two divorces per couple. A de facto relationship of 3 years can be accepted if you have been married for at least one year. Same sex couples not eligible.
  • Single women accepted, for children aged 9 + years.
  • No more than 45 years older than the oldest child you wish to adopt at time of adoption. You must be at least 20 years older than your child.
  • Healthy, (no significant physical or mental health issues) preferably non-smokers, and within healthy weight ranges. More details here.
  • Open to adopting a child of either gender.
  • The Philippines Adoption Law (Republic Act 8043) requires you both to provide a character reference from a church/minister(s) who can write through knowing you over the last 5 years. ICANZ can advise you on this criteria. ICAB requires that your home study report shows that you both actively practice your religious beliefs through your lifestyle and values.
  • Have an income of at least $US40,000. Check the current exchange rate on www.oanda.com.
  • Have at least a High School Diploma. As NZ does not give "diplomas", you'll need evidence of whatever qualifications you have, from school or tertiary education
  • Have no more than 3 children at home. This criteria may be waived on a case by case basis if you are applying for older children (6+) or medically needy children. Some exceptions are made to this for second adoptions.
  • Have not been convicted of a crime involving "moral turpitude" (ie "conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals").
  • Can provide the proper care and support and give the necessary moral values and example to the child and, if applicable, to all your other children;

Contact ICANZ to discuss your situation as each case is considered individually and the above generalised requirements can vary, especially if you are applying for older children, or family groups, the "waiting children". 

Who is involved in the process?

Children are cared for by an authorised Child Caring Agency. Some Child Caring Agencies are authorised church based organisations. Other children are cared for in facilities run by the Government.

All adoptions are approved by the Inter Country Adoption Board (ICAB), the Central Authority for Adoption in the Philippines.  At the New Zealand end, all adoptions are approved by our Central Authority for Adoption (NZCA). ICANZ works with our Liaison Partner agency, Samaritan's Place, to assist with the applications of adoptive parents.

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How can I adopt?
  • Pre-register with ICANZ on-line.  This enables us to give staff time to send you more details of the adoption process, answer phone calls and emails from you about the process and your own application, and provide contact to other adoptive families.  As part of the approval process you will be asked to complete a checklist of child's needs you feel able to cope with as a parent. We will send this checklist to you so that you can research the medical terms describing the health needs of children you feel you can parent.
  • Choose either AFS (Adoption First Steps) or the Ministry for Vulnerable Children (formerly CYF) as your adoption preparation/assessment/approval agency. Contact one of these agencies to begin an education/preparation course.
  • When you know you have been approved to adopt, contact ICANZ to check the current position regarding the number of applicatipns we can accept and if we have space, register with ICANZ for adoption in the Philippines. ICANZ will prepare your application and our liaison agency will submit it to ICAB in the Philippines. ICANZ and our liaison agency Samaritan's Place will communicate with the Philippines Central Authority about your adoption.
  • Once a child is matched to you, this is approved for you by ICAB and the NZCA, before ICANZ presents the file to you for your own approval.
  • You will fly to the Philippines to meet your child, staying for about 7 days. You will be well looked after on your trip by our liaison agency Samaritan's Place, to ensure your safety, well-being and to help you have a smooth experience in meeting your child in those vital early days.
  • When you arrive back in NZ with your child, an ICANZ Social Worker will visit your home and write 3 reports about your child over the first 6 months, to report to ICAB. After 3 satisfactory reports are received by the ICAB you will receive permission to finalise the adoption. You'll need to send a photo of the child to the Child Caring Agency every year.
How long will it take?

Timing is very variable, from 12-24+ months to referral, depending on the age, number of children, characteristics of child(ren) you are applying for. For those wishing to adopt older children or large family groups the wait may be far less. Contact us to chat about this.

What costs are involved?

You will need to pay for costs associated with ICANZ and Samaritans' Place work for you, the ICAB charges in the Philippines, the ICAB approved donation to the Child Caring Agency, travel, accommodation and personal costs. Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also see our article on why there are costs involved in adoption.

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