Must-Know Q&A About Adoption in Malaysia: Your Guide to a Legal Parenthood Journey

Embarking on the journey of adoption in Malaysia comes with a lot of questions. Whether you’re just starting or already in the process, it’s crucial to understand the key aspects. In this guide, we answer common questions that people often have about adoption. This Q&A is designed to give you the knowledge you need to navigate the adoption process in Malaysia. Let’s explore the important aspects that will help you on this meaningful journey.

1. How can I initiate the adoption process in Malaysia?

To kickstart your adoption journey, obtain the adoption application form from the Office of the District Social Welfare (PKMD) or download it from their official website.

2. What documents are required for the adoption application?

Essential documents include passport-sized photos, supportive letters from medical officers, copies of the marriage certificate, and identity cards of the applicants. Additional relevant documents, such as salary slips, may also be necessary.

3. Who is eligible to apply for adoption in Malaysia?

Adoption in Malaysia is open to valid married couples and single mothers (Single Parents) residing in the country.

The age requirement for an adoptive parent is 25 and above, with an age difference of 18 years between the adoptive parent and adopted child. For adoptive parents with blood ties to the child’s biological parents, the age requirement is 21.

4. What are the basic requirements to apply for adoption under ROAA?

(a) The child must be in the care of the adopter for at least two (2) years.

(b) The applicant and the child must be ordinarily resident in Peninsular Malaysia.

(c) The child cannot be subjected to any adoption order under the Adoption Act.

5. Who can be the applicant for an adoption order?

Non-Muslim residents in Peninsular Malaysia, including single individuals, pairs of spouses, and even the child’s mother or father, can apply.

In the case of a joint application by a pair of spouses, one of the applicants must have attained the age of 25 and be at least 21 years older than the child, unless special circumstances exist.

Adoption of a female child by a single male applicant is subject to the court’s approval based on exceptional circumstances.

6.  Should the natural parents be present during the adoption proceedings?

Natural parents need not be present if a statutory letter of consent, accompanied by a statutory declaration, has been submitted.

7. Can the basic requirement of Natural Parents’ consent be exempted?

Yes, exemptions are possible in specific circumstances, such as abandonment, neglect, or if the person whose consent is required cannot be found.

8. How do adoptive parents prove they have been taking care of the child for two years?

The proof lies in the letter of consent provided by the natural parents, a statutory declaration made during the child’s handover. The 2-year period starts from the date of handover.

9. Can the custody period be reduced at the discretion of the Registrar of Adoptions?

No, as the 2-year custody period is stipulated in Act 253.

10. How can adoption be legally certified?

Legal certification can be achieved through two avenues: submitting applications to the Court or High Court within three months of the child coming under your care or applying to the National Registration Department after two years of fostering.

11. What are the legal implications of unregistered adoption?

Failure to register or inform the Social Welfare Department within one week is a serious offense.

Section 35 (1) of the Children’s Act of 2001 mandates timely notification. Non-compliance could result in a maximum fine or imprisonment.

12. How to adopt an undocumented child?

To adopt a child, you must provide their birth certificate. If the child was born overseas, they must also have a valid passport. If the child was born in Malaysia but does not have a birth certificate, you must first apply for late registration of birth. Once you have obtained the birth certificate, you can submit an adoption application.

13. Can adoptive parents choose a new name for their adopted child?

Yes. According to section 25(3)(b), the name of an adopted child can be legally changed through the adoption process. This is done by specifying the desired name in the adoption order. Once the adoption order is granted, the court will instruct the Registrar General to update the child’s birth certificate to reflect their new name.

The questions addressed here offer a foundation for understanding the nuances of adoption in Malaysia. However, it’s crucial to note that these are general guidelines, and for personalized advice tailored to your specific situation, consulting with a legal professional is recommended.

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