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Thailand Inter-Country Adoption

Thailand inter-country adoption operates in accordance with the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.  Under Thailand’s Child Adoption Act of 1979, all inter-country adoption applications have to process through the Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW referred to as a “Competent Authority”) or non-governmental child welfare agencies (Authorized Agencies) which are particularly authorized by DSDW and under the direction of the Child Adoption Board of Thailand.


Foreign applicants who intend to adopt a Thai child must apply through the Social Welfare authority in their country or the non-governmental Child Welfare Organization licensed by their Government to handle the matters of inter-country adoption.

What are the preliminary qualifications of a prospective foreign adoptive parent?

A prospective foreign adoptive parent must:

1. be more than 25 years old and at least 15 years older than the adoptee;

2. have a legitimate spouse in case of applying as a couple or family;

3. be eligible to adopt a child from Thailand under the laws of their home country.

What are the Thai regulations regarding the adopted children?

  1. The person to be adopted who is more than 15 years old must give his or her consent.
  2. If the person to be adopted is a minor, they must receive consent from:
  • both parents if they are still alive;
  • either parent if only one is alive or has custody;
  • the legal representative or the prosecutor who has made a request to the court to approve the adoption;
  • the person in charge of the hospital or other institution approved by the local governmental agency;
  • the person who has taken care of an abandoned child for more than one year.

3. The adoptive parent and the adoptee must receive consent from their spouse except where the spouse is not capable of giving consent or the spouse has left the area and his or her whereabouts are unknown for more than one year.

4. A minor cannot be an adopted child of someone else, except where your spouse has adopted the child.

5. It is not possible to adopt more than one child at a time, except for twins, siblings, or in cases of adopting the children of the applicant’s Thai spouse.

6. DSDW advises that it is extremely unlikely that an abandoned child under the age of 1 year would be available for foreign adoption.

According to the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand, a minor is a person under the age of 20.

What are the benefits of the registration of adoption?

Once registered, the Thai government recognizes the adoption and both parties gain the benefits of adoption.

  1. The adopted child has the right to use the last name and inherit the assets of the adoptive parent. However, the adoptive parent cannot inherit the assets of the adopted person.
  2. From registration, the adoptive parent has the authority to raise the adopted child as his or her own legal child.
  3. From the date of registration, biological parents no longer have power or rights over the child.

Are the foreign adoptive parents required to travel to Thailand?

According to the Ministerial Regulation, both of the prospective adoptive parents have to travel to Thailand.  In case of approval of the pre-adoption placement, DSDW will set an appointment for the prospective adoptive parents to present themselves to the Child Adoption Board in Thailand. They need to come for interview, and to receive the child for pre-adoption placement.

Are the foreign adoptive parents without permanent residence in a foreign country eligible for inter-country adoption?

For applicants who are temporarily residing in a foreign country, they must comply with a Home Study Report. The Competent Authority in their country of residence will assess and confirm their eligibility.  Unless the applicants have lived in that country for at least 6 months and will remain in that country until finalizing the adoption, the applicant may need assistance from the competent authority in the country where they are temporarily residing.  The Competent Authority may prepare the Home Study Report and supervise the pre-adoption placement when due.  The Embassy of their country of residence in such country confirms the eligibility for inter-country adoption.  Furthermore, the concerned authorities of both countries has to confirm with the DSDW, the permission for the adopted child to enter the countries.