Adoption refers to the permanent transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to his/her adoptive parents. In Singapore, adoption is governed by the Adoption of Children Act.

adoption in singapore



Adoption in Singapore


A. Introduction

Adoption refers to the permanent transfer of all parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to his/her adoptive parents. In Singapore, adoption is governed by the Adoption of Children Act (“ACA”).


B. The Law

The first step towards adopting a child is to determine whether one meets the eligibility requirements for doing so. The eligibility requirements for adoption are:

1. The child must be below 21 years old and single;
2. The applicant must be at least 25 years old; and
3. The applicant must be at least 21 years older (but not more than 50 years older) than the child.

In addition, solitary male applicants are prohibited from adopting female children, and only married couples are allowed to jointly adopt children.

Notwithstanding the above, section 4(2) of the ACA confers upon the Court the power to make exceptions to the general rule where the child and the applicant are blood relatives, as well as in cases where both parties to the marriage are at least 25 years old, and they are trying to jointly adopt a child whose age is less than 21 years below their respective ages.

The Court will also look to whether consent has been received from all relevant parties to the adoption. In this regard, the relevant parties include:

1. The child’s parents;
2. The child’s grandparents (where the child’s parents are below 21 years old);
3. The child’s guardian (if applicable);
4. The child’s custodian (in cases where custody of the child has been granted to a non-parent);
5. The party responsible for supporting the child financially (in cases where this does not automatically apply to the child’s parents); and
6. The applicant’s spouse (if applicable).

Adoption orders may be unconditional, conditional (where differing conditions are set by the court on a case-to-case basis), or interim (where the applicant is essentially placed on probation and the Court is free to give directions as to how the child should be raised).


C. The Process

The adoption process begins with the applicant attending a compulsory Pre-Adoption Briefing (“PAB”). The PAB is a one-off 2½ hour session aimed at explaining to the applicant everything that he/she ought to know about the process of adoption, as well as how to handle being an adoptive parent.

Next, the applicant must identify the child that he/she wishes to adopt, and obtain notarised consent for the adoption from the individuals listed above. If for any reason (other than by way of choice) consent cannot be given, then under these special circumstances the applicant may apply to Court to have this requirement dispensed with.

At the same time, the applicant must obtain official documentation of the child’s birth certificate or passport (for PRs), and prepare an itemised list of costs incurred in the adoption of the child. The purpose of the latter requirement is to ensure that money has not been paid to the child’s birth parents in return for their consent to the adoption.

Having completed the above steps, the applicant may then submit an adoption application to the Family Court, either in-person or through a lawyer, to which the Court will then direct the applicant to file a request at the Ministry of Social and Family Development (“MSF”) containing the following documents:


1. Date of Pre-Adoption Briefing;
2. Originating summons for adoption;
3. Adoption Statement;
4. Affidavit in support of the originating summons;
5. Consent for adoption by natural parents;
6. The NRICs of the prospective adoptive parents (both front and back)
7. The marriage certificate of the prospective adoptive parents;
8. The birth certificate of the child to be adopted; and
9. A cheque of $250.00 to be made payable to “AG/MSF”.

If the application is successful, the Court will appoint a Guardian-In-Adoption (“GIA”) to safeguard the interests of the child during the adoption process. The GIA will in turn appoint a Child Welfare Officer (“CWO”) from MSF to conduct interviews with the prospective adoptive parents, as well as visit the prospective home, in order to determine if the applicants are suitable to adopt a child.

Upon completion of the investigation, MSF will then prepare an affidavit (based on its findings) to be submitted to Court by either the applicants or their lawyers within two weeks, at which point a hearing date must be booked. At the hearing, which requires either the applicants or their lawyers to be present, the Court will decide if the adoption order is to be granted.



If you have any enquiry on adoption in Singapore, kindly contact us using the form below or call us.  At PKWA Law, our team of experienced Family Lawyers can assist you on adoption matters in Singapore.

Contact us at tel 6854-5336 for a free first consultation. 






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