By Justin Mays:
All over the world, there are people who are willing and eager to adopt children to give them love, show them care, and provide for their daily needs. Often, people who grew up in positive environments tend to love creating the same platforms for children. There are children who are also waiting to be adopted so that they can experience growing up in a home setup with loving parents who give them attention. However, there are many issues that surround the adoption of children.
Different groups of people seek adoption of children and these include same-sex couples, single-parent families, empty nesters, and couples that are facing fertility issues. Fertility issues have increased substantially over the years. As such as these can be treated, treatments are not always successful. In Turkey, both families and single people can adopt as long as they are above 18 years of age.
In October 2017, Turkey lifted the age limit to adopt children for those who are above 40 years of age and could not do this previously. However, after a social inspection, the age limit was revised.
In Turkey, there are a number of laws that govern the adoption of children and they will be described below;
There are two ways for filing for adoption in Turkey. The individuals or the couples (spouses) who would like to adopt a child could apply to provincial offices of Social Services in person (and together in the case of spouses) and in writing for the determination of a suitable child or the applicants could also apply directly to the child's parents or his/her legal guardian which process will again be supervised by Social Services.
According to Article 320 of the Turkish Civil Code (TCC), the domestic (intervention) operations of adoption should be carried on through the institutions authorized by the Council of Ministers and accordingly Article 3 of the Execution Statue states that 'General Directorate of Social Services and Protection of Children' (Social Services) possesses the legal determination powers on the execution of adoption issues.
An applicant whose initial application is approved is provided the subject child with temporary care for one (1) year. The applicant and Social Services execute a "Temporary Caring Agreement" for such a period where the relationship between the applicants and the child is kept under strict surveillance and reported every three months.
At the end of the temporary caring period of one year (supervised by Social Services), where Social Services place the child in the care of the applicants, the Social Services informs the applicants in writing to file a claim no later than two months. Then the parties apply to the Domestic Relations Court or to the Civil Court of First Instance in order to obtain a Court judgment and conclude the adoption process. According to the 316th Article of TCC, the judge reviews the research and evaluation of the Social Services submitted as a comprehensive report regarding the conditions of the applicants and the subject child before issuing a decision.
If the applicant is a foreigner (application based on Convention), primarily he/she should apply to the competent authority in his/her country of residence. Such application is again processed by Social Services.
The Minimum Requirements for Adoption in Turkey are as follows;
a) Applicants should care and educate the child at least for one (1) year before adoption ruling;
b) Adoption shall be for the benefit of the child in review of all circumstances;
c) Applicants shall be at least eighteen (18) years older than the child;
d) Consent of the child shall be obtained if reviewed to have the capacity to act on his/her behalf;
e) Consent of the biological parents shall be obtained in accordance with the 309th Article of TCC, however, exceptions noted in Articles 311 and 312 are reserved (if the parents cannot be located or if their care for the child is not adequate);
f) A single applicant shall be older than thirty (30) years old;
g) Spouse applicants shall be married for at least five (5) years or both of them should be over thirty (30) years old;
h) Applicants shall also possess educational degrees equivalent to primary school graduation in Turkey;
i) Applicants shall be physically and mentally fit for adoption.
In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, several social issues are also taken into consideration for the evaluation process by Social Services and the Court. Having enough financial resources and eligibility to provide an appropriate environment for the child could be provided as examples of such criteria.
As mentioned above, the adoption applications could also be made from abroad as well as in Turkey. Turkish citizens and the foreigners holding residence permits in Turkey at least for one year could apply directly to Social Services. However, Turkish citizens living abroad should also inform the relative institute at the country of their residence regarding the application made in accordance with the Convention.
On the other hand, foreigners who do not hold residence permits in Turkey for longer than one year shall directly apply to the relative authority in their original country of residence for adopting a child from Turkey.
The applicants shall submit the documents that are listed in the 6th article of the Adoption Statue no later than two (2) months following their initial application. After the completion of the documents, Social Services visit the applicants at their residence within six (6) months and initiate social research with at least five (5) meetings.
The documents required to be submitted are:
i) Sample of the civil registry obtained by the Directorate of Civil Registration (a civil status certifying document);
ii) Criminal record of the applicants and their family members living with the applicants;
iii) Documents that prove ownership of financial assets, income, and social security status;
iv) Certificate of residency (local);
v) Certificate showing the educational status of the applicants;
vi) 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;
vii) Residence permit for the foreigners and the Turkish citizens’ applicants who reside abroad;
viii) Residence permit of the child if care at a foreign country is allowed by Social Services.
As a legal conclusion of adoption, the adopted child benefits from any and all kinds of rights including inheritance that a biological child benefits from. The adoptive parents have a right to re-name the adopted child.