How to adopt a baby in Singapore

Adopting a baby is common in Singapore and easier than you may think. Perhaps you’ve had no success with IVF, or maybe you’ve always just thought of adopting a child who needs a home. The good news is that in baby-scarce Singapore, you have resources to support you in the process of adopting, which include help from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and various non-profit organisations. Find out more below about whether you qualify and what procedures are required in order to adopt a baby in Singapore.

Who can adopt a child?

To adopt a child, you must be a resident of Singapore and at least 25 years old. You must also be 21 years older than the child you are adopting. There is no requirement to be married, but a single man is not allowed to adopt. Most adopters in Singapore are married couples over the age of 30.

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The child must be under 21 and be a Singapore resident. You can adopt a foreign baby, but you must meet the requirements of the Singapore government, the country of adoption, and your embassy if you are not a Singaporean. The requirements may not apply if there are special circumstances involved e.g. the adoptive parent is related to the child. Check with MSF if the rules can be waived if you have such a case.

Where can I adopt a child?

Adopting a Singaporean baby is hard as there are fewer babies given up for adoption in Singapore, and there is a long waiting list. Adopting a foreign baby costs more with hoops to jump through, but it can be a quick process if all goes well.

In Singapore, most babies are adopted from the following countries: China, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and Thailand. You should take note that most of these countries have rules governing adoption, such as requiring Home Study Reports to assess the suitability of prospective parents.

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Some countries only work with specific organisations. China for example, has appointed Touch Community Services and Fei Yue Community Services as their only accredited agents as they are non-profit organisations and have plenty of experience.There are many private agencies that can provide fast results for the baby you want provided you can pay the price. Some agencies charge up to $30,000 for a baby boy. You should be cautious and do your research before picking an agency. If you are a foreigner, take note that your country may impose more restrictions on you than Singapore, including limits on the country you can adopt from, as well as additional procedures.

What are the procedures for adopting a foreign baby?

First of all, to adopt a foreign baby, you should first visit MSF or the agency you have chosen to be assigned a Home Study Report. This is a process that can take about five weeks. If you are a foreigner, visit your embassy. In the interim, you or your agency can source for a child to adopt. Once the child has been found, you must submit the Home Study Report. You should also apply for a Dependent’s Pass from MSF. Once approved, MSF will issue your child an entry visa.

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With the entry visa, you can then go to the child’s country of birth and make your arrangements to bring your new baby home. There, you will need to comply with the foreign government’s requirements. Your adoption agency can help handle the paperwork for you.

Once back in Singapore, you should then take the baby to MSF to get the Dependent’s Pass and sign a security bond to state your financial responsibility for the child. You will also have to submit a petition to Singapore’s Family Court to legally adopt the child. The Family Court will give you a hearing before granting an Adoption Order. The Adoption Order allows you to register your child with the Registry of Births so you can receive a birth certificate. You can at the same time apply for citizenship for your child.

Take note that China follows a different set of procedures for adoption. Our upcoming article will address this topic in more detail. You should approach MSF and the two accredited agents for more details.

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