Relative Adoption in the Philippines

Filippinos who live in New Zealand and have a NZ permanent residency visa, or dual citizenship for New Zealand, may adopt a relative child in the Philippines. This is only possible up to the 4th degree of sanguinity. Typically this involves adopting a sibling, a niece, nephew, first cousin or grandchild. The child must be found to need a new family - this is not a way to side-step normal immigration procedures for a child that is well able to be cared for in their current family situation. It is also not to provide a child for a family in NZ.

The adoption process is very well defined and does NOT involve a domestic adoption through the Philippines court and does not require a lawyer in the Philippines. You can only adopt in the Philippines court if you have lived permanently in the Philippines for THREE years prior to applying for adoption. If you reside in New Zealand you must follow the Hague Convention process for inter-country adoption. If you do not follow this official process, you may find the child can never come to New Zealand.

ICANZ can assist you to adopt a relative provided you follow the correct procedure and meet the requirements. The process requires a lot of work in NZ and in the Philippines. Our liaison agency, Samaritans' Place, assists at the Philippines end. There are costs involved at each stage, paid in small stages, as you meet the requirements for eligibility at each step. Some steps are free of costs.

Here is a simplified overview of the process. There are many detailed steps not described here. These are explained as we work through the process with you.

Step One: Provisional check

Provisional check of eligiblity, advice on the process. ICANZ will send you a form to complete, giving details about you, your situation, the child and the child's situation. We'll meet with you, or spend time on the phone and by email to assist you with this step. You're required to sign a declaration that you're providing true and correct information.  ICANZ and its liaison agency in the Philippines will review the information and provide provisional advice on whether you're likely to meet the broad requirements in order to submit a formal application for relative adoption. The fee for this step is $500 (Note NZ$)

Step two: Application to ICAB, Child Eligibility Assessment

We'll submit an application to the Inter Country Adoption Board of the Philippines (ICAB). ICAB will assign a social worker to review the information and give their approval for you to progress to the next step, which is for the child's situation to be assessed, to see if they meet ICAB's criteria for adoption. The case is referred to a DSWD Field Office for an Eligiblity Assessment.

Step three: Applicant Assessment in NZ

While the child's situation is being assessed to see if the child is eligible to be adopted by you, you start an assessment in NZ to see if you are eligible and suitable to adopt the child. This assessment is done either by Adoption First Steps (a non-government agency that charges a fee for service) or Child, Youth and Family (the government child protection service). For adoption to be approved, you need to be found eligible and suitable to adopt AND the child must be found eligible to be adopted. ICANZ will provide advice on this, but the ultimate decision to approve an adoption lies with ICAB and the NZ Central Authority.

Step Four: Home visit to child

The DSWD Social Worker will make a home visit to the child's birth family and assess the child's situation and reason for the proposed adoption. In some cases an ICAB Social Worker will also visit the home. Various documents will be gathered. An Eligibility Assessment is made, which will recommend (or not recommend) that the child is eligible for adoption. The Child Study Report is reviewed by ICAB.

Step Five: Dossier preparation by ICANZ

ICAB then requests ICANZ to send the full dossier on the proposed adoptive parents (ie various documents ICANZ gathers and prepares about you, including the Home Study Report you' have completed with either AFS or CYF). Cost = $NZ 1,000

Step Six: Provisional check

The proposed match is approved (or not approved) by ICAB.

Step Seven: Travel to collect child

Step Eight: Post Placement Visits and Reports

ICANZ visits you, sends reports back to ICAB. Provided these are positive, ICAB approves the finalisation of the adoption.  Cost = $NZ 1,000 plus travel costs if applicable.

Step Nine: CYF visits

During this time a CYF Social Worker will also visit you and write a report to the NZ Court supporting an Interim Adoption Order.

Step Ten: Court

A CYF Social Worker visits you again and writes a report to the NZ Court, supporting your adoption. Your NZ lawyer applies to the NZ Court to finalise the adoption. Your lawyer will charge for this step. Your child then has the right to a new birth certificate, naming you as the parents, and NZ Citizenship. The process is ended.

Contact ICANZ to start the process