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Overview – Philippines Relative Adoptions


There are two ways to adopt a relative child from the Philippines.

  1. Adopt through the Philippine Domestic Courts and then apply with the US Immigration Service (USCIS).  However, once the adoption is final in the Philippines, the USCIS requires the adopting parent to reside in the Philippines for a minimum of two years, regardless of how long they resided with the child before the adoption.  A family that is not able to meet this requirement should not consider adopting through the domestic court system.
  2. Adopt through the intercountry process through Hawaii International Child (HIC).  The family and the child’s paperwork are completed and evaluated through HIC and the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) in Manila.  Provided that both the family and the child are eligible for adoption, the family is given permission to bring the child to the US.  After a six month monitoring period, the family can proceed with the legal adoption process in the US Courts.

HIC is recognized as a partner agency of the ICAB and works directly with the Philippine government to facilitate the adoption process. HIC families can relax and rest assured that the necessary paperwork and procedures will be handled efficiently and professionally.

Parent Requirements – Philippines Relative Adoptions


The same requirements listed in non-relative adoptions apply for relative adoptions. This is done in the best interest of the child. This is also to ensure that the same standards set forth by law for non-relative adoptions are met.

HIC strongly encourages anyone considering application for a Philippines Adoption, to carefully read the following information prior to submitting an application to adopt.

General Adoptive Parent requirements

Preference stated for couples with no more than two (2) children already in the home. Single women accepted for children over 9 years of age. Prospective parents must have adequate income to care for children and their needs and must have each completed at least high school. Clients must be free of anxiety, depression, and communicable disease. Preference is given to Hawaii residents. Non-Hawaii residents, please contact HIC for update.


At least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be a U.S. citizen.


Prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least three years (marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman). If either the husband or wife has been divorced (no more than two divorces), the prospective adoptive parents must be married for at least five years before applying to adopt from the Philippines. Single women are eligible to adopt a child over the age of 9.


Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 27 years old. There must be an age difference between both prospective parents and the adoptive child(ren) of no less than 16 years and no more than 45 years unless considering a waiting child or a large sibling group. Prospective adoptive parents who are older may adopt through this program but must adopt a child who is no more than 47 years their junior. Both the husband and wife must be at least 27 years old.


Both the husband and wife must be physically and mentally fit and must not have the following medical conditions: complicated diabetes and/or “metablic syndrome,” obesity (BMI of prospective adoptive parents should not exceed 35), a history of cancer, a kidney transplant or any other major transplant (heart, lung, liver), a pacemaker, a history of stroke or myocardial infarction, multiple sclerosis or other degenerative muscular disorders, autoimmune disorders, hepatitis C, or any other risk factors that would impede care for the child (e.g. blindness, deafness, or confinement to a wheelchair). Prospective adoptive parents may not have psychiatric disorders, mood disorders or major depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, or sexual disorders.

Psychological Evaluation

Both prospective adoptive parents must have a favorable psychological evaluation from a competent practitioner that employs a reasonable combination of assessment processes – clinical interview, evaluation of collateral information and psychological testing among others. The psychological evaluation report should reflect the practitioner’s synthesis of all the gathered data and shall include, but not be limited to, the following: early experiences (e.g. childhood or adolescent years) that played a significant role in their development as individuals (How did those experiences shape their development? Will unresolved issues, if any, likely impact the applicants’ parenting capability?); functional assessment; general coping mechanisms and problem-solving strategies as individuals and as a couple; clinical impressions; the results of administered objective tests (briefly describe what each test is meant to measure and give the results as well as their implications on the individual’s capability as prospective adoptive parents); and conclusions and recommendations.

List of Required Psychological Tests

Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF); Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory III (MCMI-III)*

List of Optional Psychological Tests

16 Personality Factor Questionnaire; Parent Awareness Skills Survey; Hare Psychopathy Checklist-R.; Rorschach and Projective Personality Tests; Bender Gestalt Test; Fired Sentence Completion Test; DAP and RBE 2.*

*The psychologist is expected to have access to valid and reliable psychological tests within his/her jurisdiction. The Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) will expect a more comprehensive psychological and medical assessment for prospective adoptive parents who intend to adopt a non-special needs child. Prospective adoptive parents who seek to adopt a special needs child or a relative will be assessed on a case by case basis.


Either the husband or wife must have stable employment. The family must at least satisfy the state and federal poverty guidelines.


Both prospective adoptive parents must be high school graduates or have vocational training equivalent to that of a high school graduate.

Religious Background

Prospective adoptive parents must demonstrate five years of affiliation with a church with a letter on church letterhead attesting to the couple’s faith and moral character.

Other Children

There must be no more than two children in the family under the age of 18 years. Preference will be given to childless couples.

Criminal History

Neither of the prospective adoptive parents may have a criminal history; they must behave honorably, with good moral character, and be law-abiding. Neither should have any of the following histories: a. Domestic violence, sex abuse, abandonment or abuse of children (even if they are not consequently arrested or convicted); b. Use of narcotics, use of opium, morphine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc., or any medication for mental illness; c. If they have a history of alcohol abuse they must show they have been sober for at least ten years. Adoption applications from persons with past criminal violations will be considered on a case-by-case basis when either the husband or the wife has fewer than three minor criminal convictions and it has been ten or more years since the last conviction, or has fewer than 5 records of minor traffic law violation.

Understanding Adopton

The prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of what adoption is and the expectations to provide a warm family for the orphaned children (or children with handicap or disability) via adoption and to meet the needs of the children for their proper development. Prospective adoptive parents must have an understanding of intercountry adoption as well, and be fully prepared for the potential risks associated with intercountry adoption such as potential diseases, developmental delays, post- placement maladjustment, etc.

Post-Placement/Post-Adoption Reports

The prospective adoptive parents make clear in their adoption application letter their willingness to allow post follow-ups and provide post reports and photos as required.

Profile of Children Available – Philippines Relative Adoptions


Relative children that will be considered for adoption can range in age from 0 to 14 years. A family must start the process with HIC prior to a child turning 15 years of age due to the timelines and deadlines set by the USCIS.

Relatives within the 4th degree are allowed to be considered to adopt.

Families may also consider sibling groups in a relative adoption.

Children eligible for adoption can be orphaned, half-orphaned, or if both parents are still alive, extenuating circumstances must be present to justify the need for the child to be adopted and leave their birth parents. The issue of poverty is often not enough to qualify a child eligible for adoption. Our staff at HIC will discuss with families the specifics of their potential case to determine eligibility.

Adoption Process – Philippines Relative Adoptions


The Philippine government requires interested families to use the services of a licensed, approved child placing agency such as Hawaii International Child (HIC) to handle the paperwork and help with immigration details. Relative adoptions can vary between 10 months to two years to complete, depending on the location of the child in the Philippines, the ease of getting documentation within the region, and completing the paperwork of the adoptive family. Once approved to bring the child to the US, the total time spent in the Philippines by adoptive parents is about seven to ten days. The legal adoption occurs in the US.

Why Relative Adoption?


Singles and couples wanting to build their families through adoption often long for familial and cultural connection with their children. Adopting a relative means that much of these connections already exist. Relative adoptions do not have the long wait time for a match compared to regular adoptions where no specific child is immediately identified. The close-knit family ties in the Philippines will also play a big role in helping the adoption process proceed more quickly.