Adoption by Turkish citizens is regulated between the Articles 305-320 of the Turkish Civil Code and the statute titled ‘Execution of Interventions Regarding Adoption’ based on Council of Ministers Decision No. 2009/14729 (Adoption Statute). Turkey is a part of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Turkey and other countries must meet the requirements of the Convention and both countries’ national law implementing the Convention.
The United Nations Universal Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was drafted in 1989 and has been ratified by all but two member countries to the United Nations, heralded a new era of activism and global awareness of children’s rights as human rights.
“The provision of international adoption by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in Article 21 (b) stipulates ”international adoption constitutes an appropriate solution only if a child can not be cared sufficiently in his/her own country or where there is no family to adopt or to be placed with them” presents a tendency to limitation of adoption practice, which includes foreign elements, due to the sensitivity of the interests it contains.
According to Turkish law there are conditions to be fulfilled if a person or a couple wants to adopt a child in Turkey regardless of their nationality.
According to Articles 305 to 320 of the Turkish Civil Code the following conditions must be fulfilled;
- The person wanting to adopt must have care for the child for at least one year.
- A couple wanting to adopt must have been married for at least five years and both must be at least 30 years of age.
- An unmarried person wanting to adopt must be at least 30 years of age.
- There must be at least 18 years’ difference between the adopting person and the child being adopted.
According to amendments to the Turkish Civil Code, Section 305, the adoptive parents must care and provide education for the child for at least one-year before an adoption can be finalized. To initiate this one-year period, a ‘Child Care Contract’ must be signed between the prospective adoptive parents and the Director of Social Services and Child Protection Agency in the related city. The Director of Social Services and Child Protection is the legal guardian of the child and remains the legal guardian until the adoption process is finalized.
There are two ways to adopt a child in Turkey; 1) By reaching an agreement between biological parent(s) and adoptive parent(s), follow up the legal procedures, and sign up a contract at a notary public. 2) Through the authorized adoption authority; General Directorate of Social Services and the Child Protection Agency.
The documents required to be submitted for an adoption are:
- Sample of the civil registry obtained by the Directorate of Civil Registration (a civil status certifying document),
- Criminal record of the applicants and their family members living with the applicants,
- Documents that prove ownership of financial assets, income and social security status,
- Certificate of residency (local),
- Certificate showing the educational status of the applicants,
- A health report issued by an authorized commission of doctors showing that the applicant neither have physical, mental, physiological disability nor is addicted to alcohol or drugs,
- Residence permit for the foreigners and the Turkish citizens applicants who reside abroad,
- Residence permit of the child if care at a foreign country is allowed by Social Services.
Adoption Steps for Foreign Citizens
Foreign country nationals who have residency permits to reside in Turkey for more than one year and the Turkish families who are residing out of Turkey can submit their applications directly to the General Directorate of Social Service and Child Protection Agency. Foreign country nationals should submit their applications to the authorized institutions at their respective countries.
Foreign country nationals should submit their applications to the authorized institutions at their own countries. On the other hand the legal procedures related to adoption should be completed at both countries and the requirements of both countries should be fulfilled according to Clause 18 of International Private and Civil Procedure Law. Once the administrative process is completed the families are contacted and invited to Turkey to meet the children eligible to be adopted. Should the family decide on a child, the legal adoption procedure begins with signature of a care contract.
If an applicant’s initial application is approved, the prospective adopted child is to be kept under the temporary care of the applicants, after the child has been placed with them by Social Services, for a period of at least one year, under the terms of a “Child Care Contract” executed between the applicant and Social Services. The relationship between the applicant and the child governed by the agreement is to be strictly monitored and reported on every quarter of a year. Turkish law allows for a prospective adoptive child to leave Turkey during the one-year probationary period, but after prior notice to Social Services and by authorization of it.
At the final process of the temporary care period, Social Services will inform the applicants in writing of the need to file a claim with the court within a two-month period. The parties are to apply either to a specialized domestic relations court or, if there is no such specialized court in the relevant province, to the civil court of first instance, in order to obtain a court judgment and complete the adoption process. Before a judge issues a decision on the claim, the Civil Code prescribes that Judge will be reviewing the research and evaluation submitted in a comprehensive report by Social Services on the condition of the applicants and the prospective adoptive child. The judge makes his final decision as to whether a child may be adopted based on the file prepared by Social Services and the social research investigation that has been conducted by the agency.