Philippines International Adoption Process and Cost

Among the top traits that Filipinos take pride in is their love and respect for their elders. Children are being taught to greet the elderly, whether they are their relatives or not. They show this by making the gesture called “mano”- it is being done by taking the right hand of the person and bringing it up to touch one’s forehead. With that said, it’s really a great idea to adopt a Filipino kid. And the good thing, it is possible.

With the authority of the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB), many international organizations offer services to facilitate adoption in the Philippines, which partner with various local child-caring and welfare agencies such as the national Department of Social Welfare and Development.

What are the specific stages to undertake and how much will the entire process cost? The usual process takes 1 to 4 years from the date of the adoption application to the date the child is allowed to be fetched by the adoptive parents. Apparently, it is going to be a relatively long process with all the paper chase and the preparation in the adoptive parents’ part and the child’s. It will cost roughly around $25,000 to $40,000 to do so.

Philippines International Adoption

The process varies nonetheless among the different facilitating agencies. It is then best to know the eligibility requirements if you want to apply for adoption in the Philippines. 


Surely, you have an idea of how the adoption process works in your locality. Hence, you must expect that international adoption will be a little more hectic and lengthy than your local adoption process. However, you must not worry because several facilitating agencies will cover the majority of the help needed to accommodate your needs and your future adopted child’s needs as well. To give you an overview of the whole adoption journey, below are the major stages you will have to undertake if you desire to adopt from the Philippines.

  • Application

To apply, you must fill in a data sheet that will be processed for approval. In this stage, will you also be presented with a contract that includes terms, conditions, and the adoption fees. Adoption fees vary from agency to agency as some offer more and secured parental services and childcare pre and post-adoption processes. A detailed table of the expenses and fees for an entire adoption process is provided below. You might also want to prepare your dossier in advance, as it will be needed along the following stages as well.

  • Selection

Some agencies allow adoptive parents to select the gender of the child they want to adopt; however, some don’t. This stage is heavily supervised by the ICAB as they monitor the child-family matching. If you are a married couple, you can adopt children with ages that range from 2-15. Single aspiring adoptive parents will only be allowed to adopt older children, at least six years old, depending on the facilitating agency and partnering Philippine child-care center. More detailed information about the requirements for eligible adoptive parents and up-for-adoption children is listed below.

Philippines International Adoption
  • Preparation

Usually, agencies provide detailed information, especially medical, about their children. In this stage, they prepare the child that is to be adopted, physically, mentally, and emotionally. A brief session of parental training is also mandatory for the aspiring adoptive parents as required by the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption – an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptions.

Children with special needs who are up in the listing will apparently require more preparation. However, your kind and patient heart will surely not mind how much longer the process will take.

It also in this stage that the dossier of the adoptive parents and the child will be most importantly needed for the legal processes, but since you have prepared it already as is stated in the first stage, it’s probably not going to be too difficult to have yours on the go by this time.

  • Finalization

This stage entails the point at which the child is to be fetched by at least one of the adoptive parents. You will have to stay in the Philippines by 5 to 7 days before flying back home with your child. Also, the post-adoption process will require you to submit a report regarding the child’s placement and proof of your child’s new citizenship. These reports shall be submitted within 3 to 6 months of the placement of the child and his or her renewed citizenship. Some agencies will cover the post-placement processes for you, but it will obviously cost more. It will save you the hassle, though!


Philippines International Adoption

 Below is a table for all of the expenses that adoptive parents are going to spend on all throughout the adoption process. On average, the adoption process will approximately cost $30,000 at most, excluding travel and third party expenses. However, the table below provides a rough estimation that includes such just so you will have an idea of how much to expect on your total adoption expenses.

Application Fee$350
Philippine Country Fee (pre-adoption child care and legal fees)$8,700
Facilitating Agency Fee$7,000
Fingerprinting (FBI)$85 (each adult)
Immigration-Related  & USCIS Fees$775+
Translation & Document Authentication Fees  $400-$3,600
Notary Services & Authentication (County & State)$250+
IAAME Accreditation Monitoring & Oversight$500
Re-Adoption Charge$500-$1,500
Post-Placement Fee$2,500
Referral Education for Adoptive Parent Fee$600
Home Study Education for Adoptive Parent Fee$300
Travel Expenses (back & forth)$3,000-$15,000

The list looks a lot, but it should not scare you that much as there is financial assistance available for those who are really decided to adopt a child internationally. The cost will vary from agency to agency too. Also, it just looks too hectic, but that is why facilitating agencies are there to help you. It will all be worth it once you get to have your adopted child in your care!


Aside from the application process and the various adoption process fees, to-be adoptive parents should qualify for the following requirements to ensure that nothing will impede the care that will be due to the adopted child.

  • Adoptive parents must be at least 27 years old and have a 16 to 45 years age gap with the child.
  • Couples are eligible to adopt if they have been at least three years married.
  • Children for adoption are 2 to 15 years old and older for those with special needs.
  • Single parents are eligible to adopt older children depending on the agency – usually at least six years old.
  • Families with at most 2 to 3 children already in the household are eligible to adopt.
  • Parents must have a stable income, approximately $40,000 annually.
  • Parents must have high school (equivalent) diplomas.
  • Parents must be physically and psychologically healthy with no record of major medical procedures and no history of drug use and other psychological problems.
  • Parents must have a good church relationship for at least five years.
  • Parents must have no criminal record, especially on child abuse and domestic violence.
  • At least one of the adoptive parents must be a natural citizen of his or her own country.

Again, these are not strictly the entire requirements for the Philippine adoption process. Whether you pass to be an adoptive parent will depend on the qualifications set by your facilitating agency and especially the ICAB. Those 1 to 4 years of waiting is to execute the due assessments and processes for your benefit, especially to your future adopted child.


Does the Philippines allow for multiple adoptions?

The Philippines only allows for one adoption at a time. Moreover, it also does not allow adoption in the country if there is another adoption proceedings ongoing in another country. One adoption, one country at a time.

Does the Philippines allow for sibling groups adoption?

Sibling groups, consisting of 2 or more children, are available for listing. However, the ICAB does strictly oversee which family they match. Listed sibling groups are children of all ages.

Is relative adoption allowed in the Philippines?

It must be upon the child’s interest whether or not adoption should proceed with a relative that wishes to be an adoptive parent. Parental consent will also be required from the biological parents. Financial difficulty should not be a valid reason for adoption. A valid reason is when a child is orphaned due to parents’ separation, death of the parents, and the like. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or local child-care centers shall assess whether adoption for a specific child’s case is appropriate. The findings will have to be submitted to the ICAB for further evaluation. (Some but not all agencies offer relative adoption program.)

Eni Gordove

is a freelance writer who has a degree in Bachelor of Arts major in Political Science. She has also taken Bachelor of Laws, making her adept in domestic and international adoption regulations and processes.

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