25 Factors to Consider When Adopting from the Philippines

adopting from the Philippines

Click on each factor to learn more. Current as of August, 2017. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.

+ Parental Age
Parents must be at least 27 years old and between 16 and 45 years older than the child.

+ Length of Marriage
3 years. Couples who were in a long-term common-law marriage are eligible to adopt after one year of legal marriage.

+ Divorce
1 divorce per spouse; some agencies say they have had referrals where 1 spouse has had 2 divorces and the other has had none. 

+ Children in Family
Up to 3 children, although parents with 4 children will be considered on a case-by-case basis if they are interested in adopting an older child or a child with special needs. Childless couples are given priority. Parents must to wait 12 months after the birth or adoption of the youngest child before filing for adoption.

+ Medical Restrictions
Parents must not have a medical condition that affects their life expectancy or ability to parent. Parents are ineligible to adopt if any of the following conditions apply to either parent:

  • Obesity (BMI of 35 or over);
  • “Complicated” diabetes mellitus (parents with well controlled diabetes are still eligible to adopt);
  • Metabolic syndrome, which is defined as a medical disorder that, when occurring together with a high BMI, increases a person’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes;
  • Cancer;
  • Major transplant (heart, lung, liver, kidney);
  • Pacemaker/stroke/myocardial infarction;
  • Multiple sclerosis and other degenerative muscular disorder;
  • Autoimmune disorders;
  • Any disability that would impede care of a child (e.g. blind, deaf, wheelchair bound);
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Psychiatric disorders;
  • Major depression or mood disorders;
  • Anxiety;
  • Substance abuse/addiction;
  • Sexual disorders.

+ Single Applicant
Single women and men are allowed to adopt children between 6 and 15 years old from the Waiting Child Program. Men are only allowed to adopt male children.   

+ Sexual Orientation
Filipino law does not recognize same-sex marriage, but does not expressly forbid LGBT individuals from adopting individually. Talk to an adoption agency about the current political situation and the likelihood of adopting as an LGBT individual.

+ Children Available
Healthy children 2 to 15 years old, children with special needs and sibling groups (Waiting Child Program).

+ Race/Ethnicity
Asian, Malay, Spanish and mixed race

+ Gender
Boys and girls; parents may not request a gender unless they are adopting an older child or a child with special needs.

+ Referral Method
Once the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) formally approves the dossier, the family is placed on the Roster of Approved Applicants. Families in the healthy referral program then wait to receive a referral for a specific child. Families receive photos of the child, a background study and other information, if available, before making their decision. Families adopting from the Waiting Child Program select a specific child and ask to be matched.

+ Travel in Country
1 trip; approximately 5-7 days long. Only one parents is required to travel, but it is strongly recommended that both parents make the trip. Parents, visit the orphanage, meet their child and with the ICAB before they apply for an immigration visa and escort their child home.

+ Wait For Referral (After Dossier Submitted)
24+ months for a healthy child, 6-12 months for a waiting child

+ Approximate Cost
$20,000 – $25,000 + travel

+ Youngest Age Upon Arrival Home
18 months, but most likely 2-3 years

+ Orphanage/Foster Care
Government and private orphanages

+ How Children Enter Government Care
Relinquishment or abandonment due to poverty and social stigma and lack of support for single mothers. 

+ Prevalence of FASD
Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.

+ Adequacy of Medical Reports
Good; medical reports and background information are usually fairly detailed.

+ Post Adoption Reports
After returning to the US, the family enters a six-month post-placement period with bi-monthly reports by the adoption agency. After the post-placement period, the adoptive parents file for adoption in the US and the final US adoption decree is submitted to the ICAB within one month.

+ Additional Information

  • The Waiting Child Program is for children with one of the following conditions:
    • Is 73 months or older (6 years);
    • Be in need of major surgery or have a major illness;
    • Have developmental delays;
    • Have a handicap;
    • Be part of a sibling group of older children; or
    • Have been sexually or physically abused.
  • Parents with Catholic or Christian background strongly preferred; atheists likely will not get a placement. To be eligible to adopt from the Philippines, families must provide a letter of reference from their church that confirms the adoptive family has been attending for at least five years.
  • Most people in the Philippines speak English, which makes travel easier.
  • Slight preference given to families of Filipino descent.
  • Prospective adoptive parents must have at least a high school diploma.
  • The State Department periodically issues travel warnings for travel to the Philippines. Go to the State Department to check the status.

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Available from www.CreatingaFamily.org, the national adoption and infertility education and support non-profit. Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.

Image credit: Jeff Pioquinto, SJ

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