Testamonial11Adopting from the Philippines

Philippines Adoption is a stable international adoption program.  The Philippines adoption process is established and transparent.  Hand In Hand’s Philippines adoption program was begun in 1974 by MaryLee Fahrenbrink Lane, the founder and Executive Director of Hand In Hand, when she was living in the Philippines. The Philippine government’s Intercountry Adoption Board (ICAB) reviews your dossier and matches availabTestamonial10le children with approved adoptive families. Hand in Hand works directly with assigned social workers from ICAB to secure and process the children’s documents. Hand In Hand is very experienced working in the Philippines; our agency has had continuous accreditation to work in the Philippines since 1974.

The Philippine adoption board takes their task very seriously in matching the children with you, the family. Following three post placement visits with reports and pictures sent to the Philippines, ICAB will issue their Consent to Adopt so that the adoption can be finalized under United States laws. Hand in Hand has worked cooperatively with the Philippine government in placing over 2000 children since 1974.

Program Director is Vickie Truelove, Administrative Director of Hand In Hand’s Indiana office.

See Hand In Hand’s KidsWait Blog for information about Children and Sibling Groups Currently Waiting in the Philippines.

Types of Children Available

  • 2 years to 16 years
  • More boys than girls; families may not choose gender except in Special Home Find cases
  • Sibling groups are available
  • Healthy children and children with mild to moderate medical conditions
  • Children are of Asian/Malay/Spanish descent
  • Children come from orphanages and foster care throughout the Philippines
  • Most common reasons for these children becoming available for adoption are social reasons, economic conditions, legal decision, or death of parent(s)
  • Most children of school age speak at least some English
  • Older children are generally Roman Catholic or Protestant, depending on the beliefs of their orphanage and/or their birth family
  • Each child placing agency receives a number from ICAB of how many applications for young (under the age of 9), healthy child adoptions they can submit each year. Please contact Hand In Hand to ask if we are accepting applications for this program.

Travel Requirements

  • At least one parent must travel
  • Only one trip required
  • Minimum stay of seven days (in order to meet the child, see the orphanage and visit ICAB)

Time Frames

  • Dossier to Match – 24 or more months for “regular” program matches; 6-12 months for Special Home Find cases.
  • Match to Placement – approximately 4 to 6 months

Program Flexibility

Note that applicants seeking a relative or a special needs child will be assessed on a case-to-case basis. Children on the Special Home Find list, including those proposed for the orphan hosting program, are considered special needs, even if the need is their age.

Types of Families Accepted

  • Couples must be married at least three years (or married at least one year plus several years of cohabitation)
  • Single, heterosexual women may adopt but must be accepting of a child six years old or older, of either gender, and with minor correctable medical conditions or negative background.
  • At time of application, adoptive parents must be at least 27 years old and at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted; a maximum of 45 years age gap between the adoptive parents and adoptive child should be maintained except in cases where the circumstances will be favorable to the child and in cases of older children
  • The Philippines has a one-year rule, which requires a family to wait one year from the birth or adoption of one child before an adoption application can be filed
  • ICAB requires practicing Christian families
  • Preference is given to childless or Filipino heritage families

Additional Requirements from the InterCountry Adoption Board (ICAB)

Effective November 1, 2009, foreign adoption agencies should no longer accept families for the Philippine program who have the following medical and psychological issues, as they will no longer be accepted by ICAB:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Obese (BMI of PAPs should be 35 and below)
  • Cancer
  • Kidney transplant and any major transplant (heart, lung, liver)
  • Pacemaker/stroke/myocardial infarction
  • Multiple sclerosis and other degenerative muscular disorder
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Risk factors that will impede care for the child (e.g. blind, deaf, wheelchair bound)
  • Hepa C

List of unacceptable psychological issues:

  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Mood disorders/major depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Sexual disorders

Effective February 4, 2013, ICAB indicates that PAPs with Diabetes Mellitus are not automatically disqualified as PAPs; only those with “Complicated Diabetes” and/or “Metabolic Syndrome” are disqualified from the Philippine program. Other unacceptable medical conditions previously issued by the Board remain the same. On the psychological requirements, some personality disorders have been added as unacceptable psychological conditions effecting in automatic disqualification. Other unacceptable psychological conditions earlier issued remain.

Effective October 2013, ICAB has clarified the following regarding couples of mixed religions: “ICAB does not discriminate prospective adoptive applicants based on their religious orientations or beliefs. However, child caring agencies who select the families for the children in their care are reluctant in choosing families with mixed religious beliefs. Most of the child caring agencies in the Philippines [are] run by Christian or Catholic organizations/missionaries, and they generally prefer families who belong to the same religious orientations or beliefs. The adoption application of [mixed-religion applicants] may be processed and approved by ICAB but it will take a very long time for them to be considered for matching.” 


About the Philippines

philippinesMore than 7,100 islands make up the Philippines archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam.

The third largest English speaking country in the world (behind the U.S. and the U.K.), the Philippines has a rich history combining Asian, European, and American influences. Ceded by Spain to the U.S. in 1898 following the Spanish-American War, the Philippines attained their independence in 1946 after being occupied by the Japanese in World War II.

Today, the population of the Philippines exceeds 76 million people. Filipinos are a freedom-loving people, as evidenced by two recent peaceful, bloodless revolutions against what were perceived as corrupt governmental regimes.

The Philippines is also the only Christian-majority country in southeast Asia. Although the country is primarily Roman Catholic, there are also many Protestant churches.