Information compiled by Rosalie Vella Piscopo, Social Marketing & Communications Team Leader at the Foundation for Social Welfare Services (Agenzija Appogg)
The Adoption Service has various responsibilities which include:
assessing the prospective adoptive parent/s’ suitability
guiding and supporting them through the adoption process and ensuring their preparation
completing the necessary documentation and procedures for them to be approved as adoptive parents
giving them the necessary support services once the adoption has gone through and a child has joined the family.
Adopted children can even be followed up to two years or more by a social worker, if the need arises.
Department / Entity
Agenzija Appogg, Foundation for Social Welfare Services
There are a number of criteria, established by law, which prospective adoptive parents have to satisfy in order to be eligible to adopt a child:
If the persons who would like to adopt a child are a couple, at least one of them must be 28 years of age or older. This also applies to a single person.
Between the child and any one of the adoptive parents, there must be a maximum discrepancy of 45 years of age. This also applies for a single person.
In the case of couples, they need to have been married for 3 years.
A single applicant can adopt both a boy and a girl.
Cohabiting couples cannot adopt. Only one person from the couple can adopt and the other person is not obliged to maintain the child and has no rights over the child.
If the eligibility criteria are met, the prospective adoptive parents are provided with an Application Form and Declaration of Consent Form to fill in and submit.
At their fist contact with the Agency, the Prospective Adoptive Parents are briefed on the adoption legislation and procedures they have to follow in order to adopt. After the necessary documents are processed, Agenzija Appogg will then provide a number of Preparation Sessions which the prospective adoptive parents are obliged to attend to prepare them for a possible addition to their family through adoption.
After the completion of the Preparation Course, social workers from the Appogg Adoption Service carry out home visits and organize meetings with the prospective adoptive parents in order to prepare a Home Study Report which includes a thorough assessment of the prospective adoptive parents. This report is then presented to the Adoption Board which, after evaluating the contents of the report, either approves for the adoption to proceed or does not approve the Prospective Adoptive Parents.
Prospective adoptive parents can adopt either foreign or Maltese children. Those who show interest in adopting a foreign child, would need to follow the procedure established by the country from where they would like to adopt and submit the required documentation. The application is put on the foreign country’s waiting list, until a child is matched for adoption. Once a child is matched, an Adoption Medical Report, containing the child’s medical history, has to be screened by the Head Pediatrician at Mater Dei Hospital for approval to be given for the child to be adopted in Malta. Judicial proceedings in both the foreign and Maltese Courts are required for the adoption to be legally valid.
Those who show interest in adopting a Maltese child are placed on a waiting list until a child who matches the prospective adoptive parents is available for adoption. Afterwards an application is filed in the Maltese Courts where the proceedings for adoption start.
In both foreign and local adoptions, adopted children are monitored by Appogg social workers who review their progress. In the case of foreign adopted children, this progress is reported to their country of origin.
Support services are also provided to those persons, usually mothers, who are contemplating giving their children up for adoption and those who are contemplating adoption but have not yet taken the decision. These services are provided in the light of what is in the best interest of the child, which is not always easy to identity and which entails the use of sensitivity and a number of professional skills, particularly those of assessment.
No processing fees are incurred in making use of this service.
Those interested first would need to make an appointment with the Adoption Team of Agenzija Appogg. Social workers will explain the way forward. Any documentation required will be explained at that stage.
There is also a non-profit agency that can assist you with the adoption process: Beyond Borders Adoption Agency is an organisation that provides international and local adoption services. Beyond Borders is an accredited Adoption Agency Licensed by the Central Authority (Government of Malta).
This organisation was founded to see more orphans settled happily within families who so long to share their love and lives with a child.
Beyond Borders aims to:
- assist children in need of homes by building families through adoptions. We strongly believe that every child has a right to grow up within a family unit, to be loved, cared for and appreciated for who he/she is.
- provide humanitarian aid to institutionalised children as well as those at risk of becoming institutionalised, mainly through funding but also through provision of supplies so necessary for their survival and comfort.
- provide information on issues related to adoption.