Child Adoption Lawyer in Pakistan Child Adoption Procedure for Overseas and Pakistani Citizens

Child Adoption in Pakistan

Adoption is defined as a judicial or administrative act that establishes a permanent legal parent-child relationship between a minor and an adult, who is not already the minor’s legal parent and terminates the legal parent-child relationship between the adopted child and any former parents.

Child Adoption in Pakistan:

No codified law on adoption was promulgated in Pakistan, as adoption in Islam was based on the concept as ordained in ‘Surah Al-Ahzab’ and no law to the contrary could be enacted.

Custody of a Muslim or non-Muslim child in absence of his/her mother or father, could be given to a person in prohibitory degree on the basis of guardianship certificate to be issued by the court of competent jurisdiction but in Pakistan, the custody of a parentless and deserted child, or a child whose parentage was not known, could not be given by the Guardian Court to a stranger without being satisfied for the welfare of the child and permission of the concerned authorities because custody of parentless, deserted or children of unknown parentage was always considered to be with the State and custody of such a child could not be given to any person without the permission of the court.

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Complete Details

Procedure for Overseas Pakistani for Child Adoption:

If you’re an overseas Pakistani and planning to adopt a child from Pakistan, then your physical presence is not required.

1. Appointment of attorney
2. Adoption deed
3. Filing a Suit For Declaration
4. Guardianship Certificate
5. Registration of adopted children in NADRA and other institutions.
6. Permission for international travel
7. Submission of surety

Child Adoption from a Private Person:

If you have planned to adopt a child of your relative or any private person other than an organization with whom you have no relation, then the following procedure is to be followed:

1. Preparation of an adoption deed (on non-judicial stamp paper valuing PKR 1200/-)
2. Filing a Suit For Declaration And Termination Of Parental Rights
3. Obtaining Guardianship Certificate also known as Adoption Certificate
4. Registration of adopted children in NADRA and other institutions.

Status of Adopted Child:

In light of the principle settled by the Honorable High Court, Adoption did not change the relationship of a person with his real parents and siblings, nor did it create a real relationship between him and his adoptive parents, and their children. Practical implications of such view were that all rules which applied between blood relatives were still valid; for example the child would still be a mahram; that an adopted child could not marry his or her real siblings, he or she was also eligible for inheritance from the real parents, and there was no need for hijab between the child and his or her real family. On the other hand, the rules that applied between non-related persons were still valid, for example adoption would not create the mahrammiyyat between the child and the new family. In cases of adoption, a sort of semi-familial relationship and mehrammiyyat was created between the adopted child and the adoptive family, when such adopted child was below two years of age, and was also breast-fed directly by the adoptive mother for at least a day and a night which created a foster “rizai” relationship and the child was thus mehram to the new family, and there was no need for hijab, nor could the child marry the real children of his adoptive parents. Al-Qur’an Verse 33:4 rel.

Adoption in Islam:

Adoption is allowed in Islam, however, changing the family name of the adopted child is not allowed. As ordained in the Holy Quran in ‘Surah Al Ahzab’, the change of parentage of an adopted child, was strictly prohibited, because he was not a natural child of adoptive parents, he could have the rights and privileges of his adoptive parents. Adopted child could have all affections and love of adoptive parents and was entitled to all financial and other benefits from his/her adoptive parents. In Islam, adopted child had no right of inheritance in the property of his/her adoptive parents, but adoptive parents could willingly, during their life time, give their property to their adopted child by way of gift or will. Adopted child on attaining the age of majority, was at liberty to opt for the nationality of the country of his/her adoptive parents, or real parents, as the case may be, if the nationality of adoptive parents was different to that of the nationality of his/her natural parents.

Relationship with Adopted Child:

If the child was two years old or less and was also breast-fed directly by the adoptive mother for at least a day and a night (or fifteen times consequently), then the child will become mahram to the new family. If the child was not breast-fed as mentioned above then he or she will remain non-mahram to the new family.

Can an Adopted Child Get Property of Inheritance:

In Islam, the right of inheritance was based on uterine relationship. In case of inheritance, however, even a rizai child had no right to the estate of the adoptive parents, although, adoptive parents could write up to one-third of their estate for their adoptive child. Adoption in rizai or non-rizai form does not give the adopted child a right to inherit the estate of the adoptive parents; nor does it deprive him or her from inheriting the estate of the real parents.

Adoption of Muslim Child by Non-Muslim:

Muslim child can not be a non-Muslim, as general presumption was that a child born in Muslim Society belonged to a Muslim family unless specifically proved that the child was not born out of Muslim wedlock, or his father was not Muslim by faith. Said presumption is rebuttable, and without rebuttal of the presumption by evidence, the custody of a Muslim child of unknown parentage, could not be given to a non-Muslim. Adoption of a child by a non-Muslim without proof that the child was born in a non-Muslim family, could result in conversion of a child into non-Muslim, and by compulsion without consent. Presumption, that parentless child in a Muslim Society was born in Muslim Family, was rebuttable through evidence of parentage before the court of competent jurisdiction and if it was proved that child was not born in Muslim Family, court could decide the question of custody of child accordingly. Non-Muslim could not be given custody of a deserted or parentless child or a child whose parentage was not known from an orphnage, or otherwise, Child born in non-Muslim family, could be adopted by a Muslim and his custody was to be regulated accordingly.

“Adoption” and “guardianship of a child” – The Difference

Guardianship – Custody of a male or female child, could be given to the relatives on paternal or maternal line in the order of relationship in prohibited degree under Islamic law, and a person having relation with a child in prohibited degree, could act as guardian of a child without a formal order of the court, but there was nothing to prevent a person from applying to the court under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, for his appointment, as a guardian, or declare him to be the guardian of a child; but a person, was not bound to wait to seek such declaration, until, his/her title or fitness to act as guardian of a child was disputed by another person. Application for the appointment of a guardian, could be made, not only by a person desirous of being or claiming to be, the guardian of the minor, but also by any relative or friend of the minor, and in some cases by the Collector of the District. Right of custody of a child in case of a boy under the age of seven years, and of a girl before attaining puberty, belonged to the male and female relatives in the order of prohibited degree in the paternal and maternal line of the child. Consideration for guardianship was based on the welfare of the minor and his/her interest, rather than the interest of parents. Presumption that welfare of the minor lay with the party entitled to the Hizanat was rebuttable and if in a given case the circumstances justified depriving a party, otherwise entitled to the custody under Islamic law, the court could pass an order accordingly.

Adoption, on the other hand, had different considerations. Adoption of a child had no legal effect in Shariah, rather it was for emotional and psychological satisfaction. Adoptive parents could treat an adopted child as their natural child in the matters of love, affection and general behaviour. Adoption of a child with the purpose to provide shelter to him, was virtuous, which carried much reward in welfare of the child but adoption had no legal consequence in Islam. Children should be attributed to the natural parents and not to the father or mother who had adopted him and marriage of adopted children with natural children of adoptive parents, were not prohibited, unless they related to each other in a prohibited degree. Adoption would not create a new legal relationship, which did not exist before adoption. Said Rule is inferred from the principle ordained by Holy Quran in ‘Surah Al-Ahzab’—People in ‘Jahiliyyah’ used to treat an adopted child in all respect as the real one, and the Allah Almighty in Holy Quran, condemned that practice.

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