Everything you need to know about Child Adoption in the UAE

The word adopt is derived from the Latin verb adopter, which means “to choose for oneself,” and opter, which means ‘to choose’, as your son or daughter, someone who is not biologically your son or daughter, to admit them into your world and, by default, approve of them. There is a movement of adoption intrinsic to parenthood in all its aspects, and attachment to a baby is never immediate. Instead, it is building a relationship that is always in progress.

It’s not enough to just bring a child to the world and raise him or her. A parent must accept them as unique individuals and integrate them into their world, and this is a dynamic that affects both biological and adoptive children. Families may face a variety of struggles, especially when adopting a child, which can have an effect on the child’s and parents’ well-being. The pain of being abandoned for the first time instils in them a fear of being abandoned again. This anxiety, along with a lack of familiarity resulting from physical similarity, can make an adopted child feel as though they do not really belong in their family.

These fears can cause them to overcompensate by being too submissive or agreeable to whatever the adoptive parent request of them. Concerns and inquiries about the birth parents of an adopted child can be seen not only as upsetting the family’s balance but also as a challenge to the adoptive parents’ place and authority. Secrets or disclosures regarding the child’s origins, taboos in the extended family, oversharing or being secretive about the adoption process with the child and the family’s social circle will all have an effect on the nature of the child and his/her adoptive parents.

Adoption is a method of providing a new home for a child or children that cannot be raised by their biological parents. Adoption is a legal procedure that gives adoptive parents parental responsibility for their children. Except in sporadic cases, an adoption order cannot be revoked after it has been granted. Adopted children lose any legal ties with their birth parents and become full members of their adoptive families, typically changing their surname to that of their adoptive parents.


Child Adoption in UAE

Expats living in the UAE have a common misconception that adoption is impossible, but this is far from reality. Expatriate residents in the UAE may adopt as long as they follow the laws of their home country. Every year, a large number of children in the UAE are abandoned. This is most likely due to young mothers’ fear of the consequences of having a child outside of marriage. In the UAE, up to six newborn babies are abandoned each year. 

Article 2(e) of Federal Law 10 of 1975, which amends Federal Law 17 of 1972, states that abandoned children born in the UAE may apply for UAE citizenship and a passport. In the UAE, an infant is said to have been abandoned before it can be proven otherwise. It is a well-known fact that adoptions are not conducted in the UAE, and adoptions that take place outside of the UAE are accepted. Adopted children will have the same rights and protection as biological children after they arrive in the UAE. The sole reason for this is because children’s adoption orders given outside of the UAE are recognized in the UAE if the children have adopted their adoptive parents’ names. Legal consultants in UAE can help shed light on this regard.

For example, suppose a child is adopted in the United Kingdom and the child’s name is legally changed to the name of the adoptive parents. In that case, the adopted child will be eligible to come to the UAE and obtain residency sponsorship as the legitimate offspring of a UAE resident. The country’s local law makes no distinction between biological and adoptive children.


Child Adoption for Muslims in UAE

Legally, adoption is forbidden in Islam, but it encourages people to provide care and financial assistance to those in need, such as orphaned children. In other terms, any adult can give a child with parental care and affection without imposing any legal obligations on them, such as an inheritance. The Quran, on the other hand, specifies the legal relationship between an infant and his or her adoptive family. The biological family of the child is never concealed, and their links to the child are never broken or severed. Adoptive parents are clearly reminded in the Holy Quran that they are not the biological parents of the children.

Under Islamic law, the relationship between a guardian and a child is governed by strict rules, which vary from standard adoption practices. The Islamic term for adoption is kafala, which comes from the Arabic word kafala, which means ‘to feed.’ It represents the bond between a foster parent and a child. A few of the Islamic laws that govern this relationship are as follows:

  1. Adopted children have their own biological family names and do not change their names to match their adoptive families.
  2. Adopted children inherit from their birth parents rather than from their adoptive parents.
  3. Members of the adopted family are not considered blood relatives to the child when they attain the age of adulthood and therefore are not mahram to him or her. The term ‘mahram’ denotes a legal relationship that governs marriage as well as other facets of life. Members of the adoptive family are acceptable as potential marital partners. There are laws of privacy in place for the grown child and members of the adoptive family of the opposite sex.

The adoptive family is constantly reminded by these Islamic laws that they are not replacing the biological family. Adoption establishes a legal parent-child relationship that includes child care responsibilities, inheritance rights, and custody.


The Procedure of Child Adoption in the UAE

Prospective parents should seek their embassy for guidance on adoption laws in their home countries and to ensure that adopted children will gain citizenship before proceeding with the adoption process. Following that, local authorities will conduct a home study. For example, the Human Relations Institute and Clinics (HRIC) in Dubai conduct this study.

A psychological evaluation with a report signed and certified by a licensed psychologist will be required for showing eligibility as a potential parent as part of the home study program. The treatment will consist of multiple weekly therapy sessions, and the process will take up to ten weeks.

The sessions are used to assist potential parents in preparing for child adoption. It is the children, not the parents, who profit from the program. When the home study program is being implemented, the adoption papers will be set up by the family lawyer in UAE hired by the adoptive parents. It is advised that one chooses a legal representative who has effectively facilitated adoption in the past. Setting a court date, finishing and filing documents, and obtaining exit documentation are all done by the family lawyers.

Following are the steps of adopting a child by UAE ex-pats:

  1. Finished home study program with the HRIC.
  2. Compiling and submitting paperwork.
  3. Contacting an adoption facilitator in the chosen country or the adoptive parents’ home country.
  4. Flying out to see the child that will be adopted.
  5. Having the paperwork done.
  6. Awaiting a court date in the UAE before flying to the child’s country of birth.
  7. Obtaining a visa and bringing the child to the UAE.
  8. Application for citizenship in the parent(s)’ home country for the adopted child.
  9. Reports to the child’s home country on a regular basis before the child reaches the age of eighteen.


General Conditions for Child Adoption in UAE

  1. Foster parents or single mothers must be financially able to support the adopted child and other family members.
  2. Foster parents must be capable of caring for a child, including treating him or her, raising him or her properly, and looking after his or her health and general well-being.
  3. The foster family or single mothers should be free of any infectious diseases, as well as behavioural or psychiatric illnesses.
  4. Proof of good conduct should be shown by the family.
  5. A single mother who wants to adopt a child must be willing to do so.
  6. A single mother should be at least thirty years old.
  7. Couples should be at least twenty-five years old.