While Bangladesh does not legally recognize adoption and is not a party to the Hague Convention, the law allows its citizens (at least one parent must be a Bangladeshi citizen) to obtain legal guardianship of children. If a prospective adoptive couple is resident of a foreign country, they are able to complete the guardianship procedure in Bangladesh and then take the child through the adoption process in their country of residence.
The process for adopting a child from Bangladesh generally includes the following steps:
Step 1: Obtain necessary permissions from the country of residence
Most countries which allow international adoption from Bangladesh require certain assessments to be completed through state-authorised adoption agencies which must be passed before a couple or an individual can qualify to be prospective adoptive parents.
Step 2: Be matched with a child
Despite Bangladesh being a developing country with a lot of children under the poverty line, it is sometimes surprisingly difficult to find a child for adoption in Bangladesh. Orphanages which have experience of international adoption and can provide requisite documents for the guardianship process are few and sometimes waiting times for a child to be matched can be long.
Step 3: Obtain the guardianship of Child in Bangladesh
There is no formal adoption authority in Bangladesh and the authority responsible for granting legal guardianship is the Family Court which is located in all districts of Bangladesh. Once prospective adoptive parents have been matched with a child, they must submit an application for legal guardianship to the Family Court having jurisdiction over the child’s place of residence and the Court, after reviewing the application and subject to legal conditions being fulfilled, will issue a guardianship order in favour of the prospective adoptive parent.
The following documents may be required by the Family Court in order to obtain guardianship:
1. Birth certificate of the minor; 2. Irrevocable release/undertaking of the sole or surviving biological parent (if any) of the child before a Notary Public, 1st Class Magistrate, or the relevant Family Court in Bangladesh. 3. Proof of Bangladeshi citizenship of at least one prospective “guardian” Furthermore, the potential parents may be asked to provide proof that a foreign document is authentic.
Step 4: Post-guardianship Birth Certificate
Once a guardianship order is obtained, the next stage in the process is obtaining a post-guardianship birth certificate for the child. This certificate will reflect the status of the prospective adoptive parents as “legal guardians” of the child.
Step 5: Obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Home Affairs
After legal guardianship and birth certificate of the child are obtained, the Ministry of Home Affairs is the authority which provides the NOC which is required to take the child out of the country. In order to obtain the NOC, a standard form is required to be filled after which the Ministry, through its investigation agencies, carries out a detailed investigation and finally provides the NOC. This can sometimes be the most cumbersome step in the process.
Step 6: Obtain the Child’s Passport
In order to obtain a visa from the country of residence of his/her adoptive parents and travel out of the country, the child requires a passport to be issued by the Bangladeshi authorities. Obtaining a passport involves filling up a form either online or in hard copy along with the NOC, proof of address and other documents. A biometric registration is done prior to obtaining a police clearance. A passport is then issued in favour of the child with the name of the legal guardian(s) imprinted on it.
Step 7: Perform medical assessment and obtain visa
Most countries which allow international adoption from Bangladesh requires a to-be-adopted child to go through a medical test and in some cases additional vaccination. Once a visa interview date is obtained, the child must go through a medical test/vaccination at a Embassy/High Commission approved medical centre.
Step 8: Adoption in the country of residence
The last stage of the process takes place in the country of residence of the adoptive parents when the child is legally adopted according to the adoption laws of the country.
Authors: Saqeb Mahbub, Senior Associate and D.M. Saiful Islam, Associate