Share this article

In Indonesia, child adoption is not a new issue. There are many reasons for married couples to get children through adoption, but the lack of knowledge regarding the correct procedures for child adoption often causes the adopted child’s status to be considered ‘illegitimate’ under the law. This article will discuss the provision of child adoption in Indonesia, specifically on domestic adoption (the adoption between fellow Indonesian citizens) based on laws and regulations.

In 2002, for the sake of protecting, fulfilling rights, and improving the welfare of the children, the Indonesian government established a law specifically on child protection, namely Law Number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection as amended by Law Number 35 of 2014 regarding Amendments to Law Number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection and amended the second time by Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 1 of 2016 concerning the Second Amendment to Law Number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection and has been enacted into Law Number 17 of 2016 concerning Enactment of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 1 of 2016 concerning the Second Amendment to Law Number 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection Into Law (“Child Protection Law”).

The definition of Child in Article 1 point 1 of the Child Protection Law is:

“A Child shall mean a person under eighteen (18) years of age, including unborn.”

Further, the meaning of Adopted Child can be found in Article 1 point 9 of the Child Protection Law and Article 1 point 1 of the Government Regulation Number 54 of 2007 concerning the Implementation of Adoption (“GR 54/2007”), namely:

“Adopted Child shall mean a child over whom rights have been diverted from the parent, legal guardian, or such other person who may have responsibility in respect of the care, education, and rearing to adoptive parents pursuant to a decision or ruling of the court.”

Meanwhile, the definition of Adoption is contained in Article 1 point 2 of the GR 54/2007 and Article 1 point 2 of the Regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs Number 110/HUK/2009 concerning Eligibility Requirement for Adoption (“RoMSA 110/2009”), namely:

“Adoption is a legal act that diverts a child from the authority of the parent, legal guardian, or other person responsible for the care, education, and rearing of the child, into the family of the adoptive parent.”

Child adoption can only be carried out for the best interest of the child, and in order to fulfill the child’s welfare and protection, adoption is based upon local customs and the provisions of the applicable laws and regulations.[1] That was the main principle in adoption, another principle that is also important is contained in Article 2 of the RoMSA 110/2009, which consists of:

“(1) The principle of adoption includes:

  1. the adoption of a child may only be carried out for the best interests of the child and  based upon local custom and the provisions of prevailing laws and regulations;
  2. the adoption of a child shall not break the blood relationship between the adopted child and the biological parents;
  3. the Prospective Adopted Parents must be of the same religion as the Prospective Adopted Child;
  4. in the event where the background of a child is unknown, the child’s religion shall be adjusted to the religion of the majority of the population where the child is found; and
  5. adopting a child with an Indonesian citizen by a foreigner shall only be permitted as a last resort.

(2) In addition to the principles as referred to in paragraph (1) adoptive parents are obliged to inform their adopted child of the child’s origins and biological parents by considering the child’s mental readiness.”

Child adoption must also be recorded on the birth certificate without losing the child’s initial identity.[2] In the event that the Child’s background is unknown (the birth process and the parents whereabouts is unknown), the person who will adopt the Child must include the Child’s identity by making a Child’s birth certificate based on the information of the person who found the Child and equipped with the police minutes of investigation.[3]

Of course, the adoption process requires conditions and criteria that must be fulfilled, both from the Prospective Adoptive Child (“PAC”) and the Prospective Adoptive Parents (“PAP”). The PAC’s criteria are:

“The criteria for the child to be adopted includes:

  1. under 18 (eighteen) years old;
  2. an abandoned or neglected child;
  3. is in family care or child care agency; and
  4. requires special protection.”[4]

Meanwhile, the PAP’s requirements are much more numerous and detailed. This article will focus on the PAP requirements for adoption through Child Care Agency, which includes material requirements and administrative requirements.[5]

“Prospective Adoptive Parents must meet the following requirements:

  1. physically and mentally healthy;
  2. have a minimum age of 30 (thirty) years and a maximum of 55 (fifty-five) years;
  3. have the same religion as the Prospective Adopted Child;
  4. have good conduct and never be punished for committing a crime;
  5. married for at least 5 (five) years;
  6. not the same-sex partner;
  7. do not have children or only have one biological child;
  8. economically and socially capable;
  9. obtain the child’s consent, for children who have been able to express their opinions, and written consent from the child’s biological parents or guardian;
  10. make a written statement that adoption is for the best interests of the child, the welfare and protection of the child;
  11. there is a social report from the Social Worker of Provincial Social Agency;
  12. has cared for the prospective adopted child for at least 6 (six) months since the foster care permit was granted;
  13. obtains a recommendation from the Head of the District Social Agency; and
  14. obtain permission for adoption from the Minister and/or the Head of the Provincial Social Agency.”[6]

Furthermore, the administrative requirements for adoption through child care agency are contained in Article 26 of the RoMSA 110/2009, namely:

“(1) PAP’s administrative requirements as referred to in Article 24 letter b, must attach:

  1. Health certificate from Government Hospital;
  2. Mental health certificate from Psychiatric of Government Hospital;
  3. Copy of Birth Certificate of PAP;
  4. Certificate of Good Conduct of PAPs issued by the National Police Headquarter;
  5. Copy of Marriage Certificate of PAP;
  6. Family card and ID card of PAP;
  7. Copy of Birth Certificate of PAC;
  8. Income statement from the PAP’s workplace;
  9. PAC’s statement of approval letter on sufficiently stamped paper for the child who is able to express his/her opinion and/or the Social Worker’s report;
  10. Permit in the form of a letter on sufficiently stamped paper from biological parents/legal guardian/relatives;
  11. Statement letter on sufficiently stamped paper stating that adoption is for the best interests of the child and child protection;
  12. Statement letter on sufficiently stamped paper stating that the Adoptive Parents will treat adopted and biological children without discrimination according to the child’s rights and needs;
  13. PAP’s statement letter and guarantee on sufficiently stamped paper stating that all submitted documents are valid and in accordance with the facts;
  14. Statement letter that PAP will notify their adopted child regarding his/her origin and biological parents by considering the child’s readiness;
  15. Social Report on children made by the Social Worker of Child Care Agency or a certificate from PAP regarding the child’s chronology until the child in their care;
  16. Letter of submission/hand-over of children from parents/legal guardian/relatives to the hospital/police/community, followed by hand-over of the child to the Social Agency;
  17. Letter of submission/hand-over of the child from the Social Agency to the Child Care Agency;
  18. Court Order of child custody from the Court to the Child Care Agency;
  19. Social Worker makes social Report on PAP of Provincial Social Agency and Child Care Agency;
  20. Decree for care permit from the Head of the Social Agency;
  21. Social Report of child development is prepared by Social Worker from Social Agency and Child Care Agency;
  22. Recommendation Letter from the Head of Regency/City Social Agency;
  23. Recommendation Letter for consideration permit of child adoption from the Regional Team for Consideration of the Child’s Licensing Permit (TIM PIPA); and
  24. Decree of the Child Adoption Licensing Permit issued by the Head of the Provincial Social Agency to be determined in court.

(2) PAP’s administrative requirements as referred to in paragraph (1), the copy documents must be legalized by the institution that issued the document or the authorized institution in accordance with the laws and regulations.”

After applying for adoption by following the legal procedures, the adoption is legalized through a court decision which was issued in the form of a court order or declarative decision. It is a statement from the Panel of Judges that the child is legally adopted as the adopted child of the adoptive parent who petitioned for adoption.

In fact, there are still many problems regarding child adoption in Indonesia, such as the adoption process that does not follow the existing procedures, fabrication of birth certificates, and the absence of legal documents when entrusting the children to other families or an agency. According to the Chairman of the Indonesia Child Protection Commission, Susanto, the case of abandoned babies in an orphanage that does not carry legal documents has resulted in not all the orphanage children getting legality that accountable.[7] However, back to the original principle of adoption, adoption is carried out for the child’s best interests and is oriented towards the child’s happiness. So whatever actions are taken, both in terms of adoption and the regulations, it must still prioritize the principle of “the best interests of the child” so, in the end, it can provide the children with happiness, protection, and improve children’s welfare for their future.

Hope this is useful.

FREDRIK J PINAKUNARY LAW OFFICES

This article is also available in Bahasa Indonesia : Pengaturan Pengangkatan Anak di Indonesia


[1] Article 39 paragraph (1) Child Protection Law, Article 2 GR 54/2007, Article 2 paragraph (1) letter a RoMSA 110/2009

[2] Article 39 paragraph 2a Child Protection Law

[3] Article 39 paragraph 4a in conjunction with Article 27 paragraph (4) Child Protection Law

[4] Article 12 paragraph (1) GR 54/2007 in conjunction with Article 4 RoMSA 110/2009

[5] Article 24 RoMSA 110/2009

[6] Article 13 GR 54/2009 in conjunction with Article 25 RoMSA 110/2009

[7] Masalah Anak Indonesia, Pengasuhan Tak Layak Hingga Adopsi Sembarangan, https://www.medcom.id/pendidikan/news-pendidikan/nbwjrW3N-masalah-anak-indonesia-pengasuhan-tak-layak-hingga-adopsi-sembarangan, accessed on 26 June 2020


Share this article