Intercountry Adoption for Children

Intercountry adoption is when an individual or a couple becomes a legal parent of children by adopting and raising them in another country. Those children will have better opportunities to live in a healthy environment and good education which has an excellent effect on children themselves and society.

Thailand ratified the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption B.E. 2536 (1993) (“Hague”) to ensure that the intercountry adoption is in the child’s best interest and the adoption process is legal. For this purpose, the Thai government established the Child Adoption Centre of the Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW), a central authority, who will make a final decision on allowing for adoption.

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For adoption of child in Thailand, the overseas adoptive parents must submit an application to the central authority or agency of their own country. Then, the central authority or agency will contact and coordinate with the competent authorities in Thailand (i.e.  Sahathai Foundation, Friends For All Children Foundation, Pattaya Orphanage and Thai Red Cross Children Home). These Thai authorities will consider the qualifications of overseas adopters under the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. For example, the adoptive parents must be at least 25 years old and must be at least 15 years older than the adopted child. Moreover, one of the important qualifications of adopters is that they must be a married couple or a single female who is qualified to adopt the child under the law of their own country.

The Thai competent authority will consider the qualifications of overseas adopter under many factors such as age difference, health and mind. Then, the Thai authority will send the documents and its opinion to the DSDW for final approval. The consideration process and decision of adopting Thai child is required to be taken place in Thailand as mentioned above.

Please note that currently Thailand is still not accepting the legal status of homosexual marriage and the intercountry adopter must have married status (between man and woman), so it is still impossible for LGBTQ couples to adopt the Thai child. However, there is a draft civil partnership bill allowing a legal homosexual status providing the right for adoption as a married couple. If the draft civil partnership bill is approved and become enforced and related laws have been revised to be in line with, the LGBTQ couple is able to apply for adopting the child in Thailand under the conditions as specified in such relevant Thai laws and approval of DSDW.

Civil Partnership Bill and Amendment to Civil and Commercial Code

On 7 June 2022, at Santi Maitree Building Government House, the Cabinet has approved a draft “Act on Civil Partnership Bill (“Act”) and amendment to Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”)” which were considered by the Council of State.

The purpose of this draft Act is to enact a specific law to support the rights and duties of LGBT+ people and for gender equality and to amend the CCC which is a general law to be in line with the draft Act.

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1. This draft Act consists of 4 Chapters and 46 Sections as follows:

 1.1 Prologue (Sections 1–5) establishes the timeline for law enforcement and various important definitions, especially the term “partners”.

1.2 Chapter 1 registration of a life partners (Sections 6 – 14) prescribing rules and procedures for registration of a life partner.

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1.3 Chapter 2 partners (Sections 15 – 38) dividing into 5 parts as follows:

(1) Part 1 general provisions (Sections 15 – 21) stipulates those provisions of the CCC on the family shall be applied to the partners if there is no specific provision in this Chapter.

(2) Part 2 relationship between partners (Sections 22 – 23)

(3) Part 3 properties between partners (Sections 24 – 27)

(4) Part 4 void of registration of being partners (Sections 28-31)

(5) Part 5 termination of partnership (Sections 32 – 38)

  1. Chapter 3 adopted children (Sections 39 – 44)

1.5 Chapter 4 inheritance (Sections 45 – 46)

2. A amendment to CCC consists of 5 Sections with the purpose of amending Sections 1452 (duplication of Marriage Registration), 1516 (1) (grounds for divorce) and 1528 (termination of right to receive pension) in the order to support the life partner’s matter as well.