III. Adoption applications

According to section 4 of the Adoption Ordinance , applications for adoption must be made to the District Court, and can be made by a sole applicant or a married couple as joint applicants.

Section 5 of the Adoption Ordinance sets out:

  1. The Court shall not make an adoption order authorizing a sole applicant to adopt an infant unless the applicant-
    1. is the mother or father of the infant;
    2. is a relative of the infant and is at least 21 years old;
    3. is a person who is married to a parent of the infant; or
    4. is at least 25 years old.
  2. The Court shall not make an adoption order authorizing applicants who apply jointly as two spouses to adopt an infant unless–
    1. one of the applicants is the mother or father of the infant; or
    2. the condition set out in subsection (1)(b) or (d) is satisfied in the case of one of the applicants, and the other applicant is at least 21 years old.
  3. An adoption order shall not be made in respect of a female infant in favour of a sole male applicant, unless the Court is satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify as an exceptional measure the making of an adoption order.

As set out in section 23A of the Adoption Ordinance , only the Director of the Social Welfare Department, an Accredited Body or a person acting in pursuance of an order of the Court may deal with applications for unrelated adoptions and make arrangements for the adoption of a child.

It is not lawful for any person, except the persons and bodies stated above, to take or send a child residing in Hong Kong to any place outside Hong Kong for the adoption of the child by any person who is not a parent or relative of the child. Under section 23C of the Adoption Ordinance , a person who does so is guilty of an offence and is be liable to a fine at level 6 (currently $100,000) and to imprisonment for six months.