The Complete Guide to Child Adoption in Hong Kong

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Adoption is a big decision and is often a lengthy process. You can adopt a child from Hong Kong or a child who is overseas. Both options follow a similar procedure, but adopting an overseas child may be more complicated and costly.


Who is in charge of child adoption in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) is in charge of child adoption. With the help of local nongovernmental organizations, the SWD finds homes for children in need.


What are the requirements to adopt a child in Hong Kong?

  1. Couples should meet the age requirements (one over 25, and the other over 21), and be mature and willing to make a lifelong commitment to adopting and raising a child in a stable environment. A single person can adopt in Hong Kong, but single people have lower priority than couples.
  2. You should be physically and mentally fit to raise a child until independence.
  3. You should be reasonably well educated.
  4. You should have been married for at least three years. This period is increased to five years if you have had multiple divorces.
  5. You must be gainfully employed and have sufficient financial means to take on the responsibility.
  6. You must have resided in Hong Kong for more than 12 months and must be prepared to live in Hong Kong for at least 12 more months or until the adoption process is completed. Local adoptions in Hong Kong typically take 12–24 months, though some local and inter-country adoptions can take significantly longer.
  7. You should have no previous criminal record.

Cases may vary according to circumstances.

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What is the adoption procedure in Hong Kong?

Initial eligibility assessment

When you have decided to adopt (as a couple or as a single parent), contact the SWD, which will determine your eligibility to adopt in Hong Kong. The SWD will inquire about your marital status, age, the length of your stay in Hong Kong and your occupation.


First adoption briefing

After the initial inquiry, the SWD will invite you to attend an adoption briefing. Everyone hoping to adopt locally must attend the briefing session, where you will complete an adoption questionnaire that you will submit to the agency you’d like to work with for your home study assessment.


Second adoption briefing

If you are eligible to adopt, you will be invited to a briefing session where you will receive more information about the adoption process. You can adopt directly through the SWD or through one of Hong Kong’s three accredited non-governmental organizations.


Home assessment

After choosing an adoption service, a home assessment takes place and you attend pre-adoption training. During the assessment, a social worker visits your home and determines whether you can provide the right environment for a child. You must pass a criminal background check and provide information about your medical and financial situation. This is when you can express your willingness to adopt a child with special needs and indicate the kind of special needs you would consider.


Matching waiting time

After passing the home assessment, you wait for an indeterminate time to be matched with a child.  There is no guarantee that your family will be matched with a child. Matching decisions are made in the child’s best interests, to find a family that is best suited to meet a particular child’s needs.


What are the adoption costs in Hong Kong?

Adoption through the SWD is free, but it charges a fee for acting as a guardian for the child and for the criminal record check. When the adoption is finalized, the SWD does not provide post-adoption support services.


Nongovernmental organizations charge an adoption fee but provide post-adoption support.


To learn more, get The Hong Kong Maternity & Baby Book available online and at bookstores like Bookazine in Hong Kong.


Information about adoption is available from Adoptive Families of Hong Kong ( and from the Social Welfare Department (

This article was independently written by Healthy Matters and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.

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