Adoption is the process by which a person or a couple adopt a child (anyone under 18 years of age) and recognise him/her as they would a natural child through filiation. Through recent amendments to the Maltese Civil Code, it is now also possible for same sex couples to adopt children provided they satisfy the necessary requirements.
There are various criteria which are stated in the Maltese Civil Code as well as in the Hague Convention (to which Malta is a party to) which are to be satisfied for a person or couple to have adoption opportunities in Malta and to be able to adopt a child. Such requirements for adoptions are set in order to ensure that the minor child which is to be adopted will find a loving and caring family as well as to prevent the abduction, sale of and trafficking of children.
The Hague Convention was promulgated for various reasons one of which is to allow intercountry adoptions and for those adoptions to take place in the best interest of the minor child. The Convention also provides adoption opportunities to persons from different countries who are signatory of it.
In order for one to adopt in Malta, one must have at least attained 28 years of age or is at least 21 years older than the adoptee but shall not be more than 45 years older than the person to be adopted. Unlike in with adoption opportunities in Malta, for adoptions from Bulgaria, an applicant for adoption must be at least 15 years older than the person to be adopted but shall not be more than 45 years older than him/her. For adoptions from Ukraine the applicant needs to be between 25 and 65 years old.
There are various adoption opportunities in Malta and due to the recent legal amendments to the Civil Code, such adoption opportunities have now increased and are also encompassing same sex couples. However, adoption is not only limited to persons or couples who wish to have more children but it may also apply to persons who are partners or spouses of the natural parent of the child. In such cases, as in any other case of adoption, that persons shall have the full rights and responsibilities of a natural parent provided that s/he is competent to fulfil such duties.