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How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child In Singapore?

profileRachel Yeo

In between feastings and the usual social talk this Chinese New Year, I came across a short comic strip while mindlessly scrolling Instagram:

Source: @webcomic_name

To be sure, I have nothing against couples wanting to have their own kids, nor do I think that one should opt for adoption above giving birth to their own offspring. Adoption is a difficult process, and it isn’t something that should be done without due consideration.

Yet, it seems that most people don’t consider adoption as an option, much less talk about it unless they are unable to have biological children.

This makes me think that perhaps, there should be more awareness surrounding the adoption process in Singapore, and how to go about adopting a child!

After all, adopted children are no less your children, and there are many kids out there who would love to have a good home to grow up in.


TL;DR: How Much Does It Cost To Adopt A Child In Singapore?

Steps Cost Processing Time
Pre-Adoption Briefing FREE A few hours
Choosing a child with an adoption agent* $25,000 to $35,000 Varies
If child is foreign, apply for a Dependant’s Pass (DP) for child to remain in Singapore (valid for 21 months) $360
($105 for application fee
| $225 for the issuance of DP
| $30 for each visa)
Within 1 month from application
Home study by the MSF (valid for 2 years)** $1,750 1 to 2 months
Approval from Family Court - 5-8 months
Depending on whether the child is adopted within Singapore
Guardian-In-Adoption (GIA) Fee for Adoption Application$250-
Adoption order to ICA for Singapore Birth Certificate $18 1 month
Citizenship Application $100Around 2 months
Issue of Citizenship Certificate $70~1 day
Flights to visit child (for those adopting a foreign child) ~$500 -
Reimbursement for prenatal and postnatal expenses Varies -
Token for the nanny $88 to $288 -
TOTAL $28,136 - $38,336~1 year

*It may not be necessary to engage an agent. Touch Adoption Services and Apkim Centre for Social Services, accredited with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, are voluntary welfare organisations.

**Do note that you can apply for a waiver of the Home Study Report if you are adopting your foreign stepchild (biological child of your spouse) as a Singapore citizen.


Can I Adopt a Child in Singapore?

Source: Giphy

To adopt a child in Singapore, you will need to be 25 years old or above; be at least 21 years older than the child, and not more than 50 years older than the child.

Most of the time, a single male cannot adopt a female child, except under special circumstances.

Also, homosexual couples are not able to jointly apply to adopt a child, as they are not considered married in Singapore. In such cases, one partner will have to make the adoption application as an individual instead.

Of course, you also have to obtain notarized consent from the biological parent, or guardian of the child.

1. Going for Pre-Adoption Briefing + Workshop

Source: Giphy

If you are looking to adopt a child, you have to go for a pre-adoption briefing under a Ministry of Social and Family (MSF) accredited agency.

  • Touch Family Services Limited
  • Lutheran Community Care Services
  • Fei Yue Community Services
  • Apkim Centre for Social Services

2. Looking For a Child to Adopt

Source: Giphy

When it comes to looking for a child to adopt, you can either look for a child through your own contacts, or via an adoption agency.

If you choose to deal with an adoption agency, most adoption agencies are usually for-profit and can charge up to $35,000 on adoption fees.

However, there are also agencies such as Touch Adoption Services and Apkim Centre for Social Services, which are voluntary welfare organizations.

Below are the pros and cons of getting a child through your own contacts VS via an agency.

Own Contacts Agency
Pros Cons ProsCons
- Less expensive
- No guarantee that birth parents won't change their mind.
- Guided process where all the paperwork and legalities will be handled by the agency.
- High agency fees that can cost around $25,000 to $35,000.
- Direct contact with child's family. You will be able to know more information.
- You have to handle the paperwork yourself. - Process of finding a child is easier, as you will be notified by the agency if a child is available. - You won't get to know much about the child's background and family history. Usually little to no direct contact with birth parents.
- Freedom to engage your own lawyer- You may not fully understand the legalities, and risk getting some things wrong in the process.

3. Apply for an Adoption

Source; Giphy

To apply for adoption, you will have to go through a few hoops, depending on whether your child is adopted locally, or from overseas/ neighbouring countries.

With Singapore’s low birth rate, it is unlikely that you will be adopting a child that’s from Singapore. Assuming that you are going ahead with the adoption of a child overseas, here’s a breakdown of the cost during the application stage:

 Cost
Application Fee $105
Issuance Cost $225
Visa for Child $30
Security Deposit $1,000-$2,000 (refundable)

4. Go Through a Home Study Report (HSR)

A home study report means that someone from an MSF accredited agency will be visiting and assessing your home, to ensure that it is safe and suitable for a child. While it may be considered slightly intrusive, this is still compulsory to protect the welfare of the child.

You will need to show financial statements and testimonials from the people around you as well!

HSR costs $1,750 and has a two-year validity period. You can go to MSF’s portal to schedule an appointment.

But, do note that you can apply for a waiver of the Home Study Report if you are adopting your foreign stepchild (biological child of your spouse) as a Singapore citizen.

5. Settle the Administrative Matters

Source: Giphy

Once the HSR is being approved, you will just have to settle the necessary paperwork before bringing your child home. You will need a lawyer who can help you obtain an adoption order based on the report, and you can apply for citizenship for your adopted child.

The Court will then

That aside, you will need to have two certificates: First the Singapore Birth Certificate and the Citizenship Certificate. With the birth certificate, you can apply for Singapore citizenship, where you will need to provide your financial details and personal particulars again.

If you are adopting a newborn baby, it is also customary to give a token of reimbursement to the birth parent for pre and postnatal expenses. This amount is up to you to decide what’s appropriate.

Here’s a breakdown of the cost at this stage:

 Cost
Singapore Birth Certificate $18
Citizenship Application $100
Issue of Citizenship Certificate $70
Reimbursement for prenatal and postnatal expenses Varies

Adopting a Child in Singapore

Adopting a child may be a complicated process, and potential parents may find the process tedious, and a little intrusive. Yet, bringing your little one home may be all the more rewarding.

Of course, do keep in mind that adopting a child is a long term commitment, so do think through your decision thoroughly, before taking action.

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