Can a single parent adopt a child in Malaysia?

In this post, we will answer the question “Can a single parent adopt a child in Malaysia?” Throughout the article, we will focus on the factors that concern the adoption of Malaysian babies, the process of adoption for prospective parents, and the possible limitations and impacts of adoption. 

Can a single parent adopt a child in Malaysia?

Yes, a single parent can adopt a child in Malaysia. However, the process for such adoption might not be as easy as the process of adoption for a married couple. Let us take a look into how this plays in the real world. 

Adoption of Malaysian children

Some people could be thinking of adopting. Are you one of those adoptive parents? We can assist with such issues. Child adoption is a significant aspect of family law. Our family law firm handles court applications for adoptions.

Adoptions may be carried out in Malaysia via the Registration of Adoptions Act 1952 and the Adoption Act 1952 (by court order for adoption) (through de facto adoption with JPN procedures).

Three factors concerning Malaysia’s adoption laws

People are employed for a variety of factors. Some couples decide on adoption in addition to those who have fertility and health issues due to the rising number of abandoned babies, orphans, and overpopulation worldwide.

According to data from the National Registration Authority (NRD), there were 7,300 adoptions in Malaysia in 2018. It could appear to be a challenging or unfamiliar process to individuals trying to hire. 

But if you’re fortunate, it might be a really simple procedure, and we’re here to explain how it goes.

However, you must first confirm that you are qualified to adopt your child. And among the things, you should be aware of is: 

1. Being married makes adoption simpler

A Malaysian couple over 25 who is financially secure is the ideal adoptive parent, however, this is not a strict requirement. 

Even if they are not married, a single parent is free to apply to be an adoptive father or mother. 

However, if they are not encouraged to adopt a female child, adoptive fathers are subject to some implied limitations.

You must fulfil the following criteria in order to be considered as a prospective adoptive parent:

  • There must be a Malaysian citizen or lawful permanent resident among the parents.
  • Adoptive parents (including single adoptive parents) must be at least 25 years old and their adopted child must be at least 18 years older than them.
  • The couple needs to be formally wed. (Unfortunately, in order to qualify, you must get married if you intend to adopt and have a stable connection with your spouse.)
  • The mother or father of your kid must consent to the adoption. However, the adoption procedure can go through without a court order or Social Welfare Department clearance for social reporting. 
  • The NRD in the adoptive parent’s area of residence must receive the application.

If a foreigner lives in Malaysia, they can also be adopted (permanent resident). The case of Neil Duncan Gillies & Anor v. Liew Mei Ling & Ors [2010] 4 MLJ 179 demonstrates this. 

2. There are two adoption paths.

Typically, there are two possibilities for adoption:

  1. You are already a child that I wish to look after and employ.
  2. You’re looking for an adopted child.

1. You wish to adopt a child and are already raising one.

In the first case, your child has been in your care for a while. Most frequently, these are informal “adoptions” meant to care for family members and maybe abandoned children.

In this case, a departmental adoption or registrar adoption must be registered with the NRD in order to submit a de facto adoption application. De facto application denotes the presence of youngsters who have been looking after you for at least two years. 

In Section 6 (1) of the Adoption Act of 1952 (Law 253), the NRD provides the following definition of de facto adoption:

“Children provide longer-than-two-year-long care for individuals or couples. adoption under ROAA 1952 by both departments Muslim and non-Muslim adoption. Your declaration must be verified by the court. In order to apply through the social welfare office, expectant parents must care for their children for at least two years.”

The NRD is permitted by ROAA 1952 to call witnesses, question adoptive parents, and examine reports from welfare agencies. Additionally, the decision to forego permission might be made if it serves the child’s interests.

Departmental adoption merely gives parents possession of the adopted kid; the child’s upkeep, maintenance, and nurturing are the responsibility of adoption. Adoptive parents who pass away without leaving a will (parental death) do not leave any property to their children.

Shariah law must be considered in Muslim adoption. In this group, the true parents of children and their identities are not concealed. They can then trace their ancestry and avoid unintentionally being involved in incestuous relationships with their families or Murim.

In the Sinetron series, we aim to stay away from scenarios where someone is exchanged at birth and somehow ends up in a relationship with their siblings (note: Muhrim implies relatives, typically those who can’t get married). 

The rights of the Islamic Inheritance Law are applicable to inheritance, also known as Fareid. One-third of the adopted child’s property might be secured by the adoptive parents as a gift to the youngster (Hibah).

2. You’relooking for an adoptive child.

Only non-Islamic adoption falls under the second scenario of seeking to find a child for adoption.

A court order may be used to apply for adoption. That is, to submit an adoption application, get in touch with a legal aid office or attorney. The court will initially assign your child as your caregiver. 

Consider this a test phase. After caring for their child for three months, adoptive parents will eventually acquire a court order in court or a higher court.

The adopted child must be under 21 years old and possess the original birth certificate. The application must then be delivered to the NRD’s Putrajaya headquarters.

According to the Adoption Act of 1952, adoptive parents must also obtain the birth parent’s permission before filing this application.

The welfare of the children they adopt is their responsibility. In other words, they are responsible for giving their families shelter, food, clothing, and medical care if they become ill. Under Section 9 of AA 1952, adoptive parents must be aware of their rights, obligations, and responsibilities when adopting children while they are still in school.

AA 1952 After being legally adopted, a kid has the right to inherit property from a parent who passed away without a will under Section 9(2). 

A new birth certificate for the child with the name of the adoptive parent as the legal parent will be issued once the adoption has been granted. Get ready now that you are aware of the procedure.

3. The adoption procedure can be drawn out.

Although it may appear straightforward, adoption can occasionally be a time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining process. NRD estimates that the hiring procedure takes 6 to 9 months. 

However, issues might sometimes arise, and some individuals might discover that there aren’t many moral and unlawful actions to take. As a result, there is a large amount of child trafficking and selling at the borders of Thailand and other nearby nations. 

This transgresses a number of laws and regulations relating to labour, gender, and human trafficking, to name a few.

It may also be challenging to get citizenship after adopting a kid who is stateless. In accordance with the law, regardless of race, all children born and legitimately adopted in Malaysia are entitled to citizenship. 

Children cannot enrol in school, apply for a MyKad (ID card), have a job, own property, or get married without a birth certificate. 

Children with Malaysian citizenship may find the procedure detailed in NRD to be simple, but it is best to get in touch with them directly out of concern for their safety.

Actually, the entire adoption process can test your patience at times. Adoption is not hampered by seeking legal counsel and being able to offer expert assistance on a case-by-case basis, though. 

There are plenty of successful cases to keep an eye on despite fate and darkness.

Is adoption right for you?

This question is the first step. If you want to know if adoption is right for you, consider these questions:

  • What made you decide to adopt? 
  • Can you put your child’s needs first? 
  • Does your house have room for him or her? 
  • Do you gleefully assist him/her in overcoming trauma, both bodily and emotional? 
  • Can you guarantee your child’s financial security? 
  • Can anyone seek out counsel, assistance, or support? 

Assuming you confidently and positively answered each question, it’s wonderful!

What court to go to for adoption? 

Instead of going through the High Court, applicants may request an adoption order by presenting a subpoena supported by an affidavit to the Sessions Court.

Within 3 to 4 months of submitting an application to the court, an adoption order can be obtained under the Adoption Act. Compare your application with the ROAA Employment Certificate that will be accessible at least two years later.

Typically, adoption applications are scheduled for two hearings. 

A parental adviser, who is typically a social welfare officer, is chosen for the kid at the initial hearing to verify the veracity of the application’s details and the adoptive parent’s financial and legal standing (raising the child).

Before issuing an adoption order, the court will also consider the Welfare Commissioner’s report.

All parties must participate in both processes, with the exception of those covered by a court order.

Individuals that are adoptable

Article 2 of the Adoption Act specifies that divorced women under the age of 21 who live on the Malaysian Peninsula and are unmarried are eligible for adoption.

In addition, the applicant must have had custody of the child for at least three months in a row prior to the order date.

Requirements that must be fulfilled

The applicant, or in the case of a joint application, the spouse, must agree to the adoption order and comprehend its nature and effects, as this is the fundamental need. However, if there is proof that the kid has been neglected, abused, disregarded or their consent has been unjustly delayed, this may be waived.

The child’s best interests are one of the court’s other main factors. The Social Welfare Office created a report to document the child’s preferences in this regard, taking into account the child’s age and cognition. 

The court will take this into consideration. The court further guarantees that, unless specifically permitted by the court, financial interests won’t be taken into account when adopting a child.

Impact of adoption on the adoption act

According to Article 9 of the Adoption Act, all of the adopted child’s rights, obligations, and responsibilities are transferred to him or her with the issuance of the adoption order, making the adoption a legally binding union.

Adoption will therefore also legitimately affect illegitimate children if it is carried out at the joint request of the birth parents.

In line with Section 9 of the Adoption Act, adopted children may also share or share a movable property, either through the will or testament of the adoptive parent.

“The overall consequence of adoption orders destroys the legal tie between the infant and his born parents, Putting him in exactly the same position, like the biological kid of his adopted parent,” writes Edgar Joseph Jr. in ReTSY [1988] 3 MLJ 43. 

As a result, it is accurate to refer to the process of drafting an adoption order as “using the legal guillotine.”

The original birth certificate of the adopted kid is subsequently submitted by the applicant to the Malaysian Birth and Death Registration Office for invalidation, and a new birth certificate with the name “adopted” for the adopted child is issued. 

The terms “Adoption” or “adoption” or words that have a similar meaning shall not appear at all on the certificate.