According to Law No. 136-03 (Code of Fundamental Protection and Rights for Children and Adolescents), adoption is an exceptional measure made only through the National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI), which means that private adoptions cannot be done in Dominican Republic.
There are several requirements to allow an international adoption under Dominican legislation, including the following:
a. The adopting parents must be heterosexual couples who have been married for five years or more.
b. The adopting parents must be thirty years old or older and no more than sixty years old.
c. The age difference between the adopting parents and the adopted child must be at least fifteen years.
c. The child’s parents must consent to the adoption. In case of orphans, the authorization is obtained from the Court of Children and Adolescents.
d. Children twelve years old or more must approve their own adoption.
e. The adopting parents’ biological children who are twelve years old or older must give their opinion on the adoption.
The adoption process is comprised of an administrative and judicial phase. To begin the administrative phase, prospective adoptive parents must initiate contact with CONANI to submit their petition file.
If CONANI finds the applicants are fit for adoption, it will assign them a child as soon as one is available. Adopting parents must cohabitate with the child under Conani´ s supervision for at least 60 days and only 30 days if the child is twelve years old or older.
If cohabitation with the child is successful, CONANI will issue a Certificate of Suitability stating the applicants have been found to be fit to adopt the child. The decision by CONANI must be reviewed and approved by the Court for Children and Adolescents of the Dominican Republic which subsequently issues a Final Order of Adoption.
Finally, the decision by the Court is reviewed by the Civil Registry Division of the Junta Central Electoral which authorizes the issuance of a new birth certificate.