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Law, Life and Society: Adopting a child in Thailand

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: An American recently contacted us to assist him with the adoption of his Thai wife’s nephew. The child has been living with the couple since he was a few months old. The mother (sister of the Thai spouse) was financially incapable of caring for the child. After two years, they decided that it was time to formalize the arrangement. They initially wanted guardianship over the child, but after consultation, decided to adopt him.

So, what is the difference between guardianship and adoption?

A guardianship establishes a legal right between a minor or incapacitated person and the guardian but does not terminate the legal relationship between the minor and the biological parents.

A guardian is usually appointed by a court to take care of a minor and manage the child’s affairs but the guardian’s activities are usually monitored by the court. If the biological parents’ rights have not been terminated, the biological parents can file a court action to remove the guardian.

In an adoption, the legal rights of the biological parents are terminated and the adoptive parents assume full custody over the child. The adoptive parents are given all of the rights and responsibilities that once belonged to the natural parents. Once the adoption has been finalized, the court’s role over the child is finished. Terminated parents no longer have any legal rights to intervene in the affairs of the children.

It is also important to look at the process involved in adopting a child.

All adoptions in Thailand are processed through the Child Adoption Center or through an agency that is authorized by the Department of Social Development and Welfare. The adoptive parents must be at least 25 years of age and must be at least 15 years older than the adopted child.

If an adoptive parent is not a Thai national, he or she must be eligible to adopt under the laws of their country. If a couple is applying to adopt, the couple must be legally married.

After the initial application is made, a home study is generally required. The home study will be made through an approved government authority. They are given the task to inspect the physical health of the prospective parents, their ability to support the child, their community reputation, a criminal background check, and the living conditions of the family.

A non-Thai prospective parent must obtain a police clearance from their home country and the clearance needs to be certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If one of the prospective adoptive parents is related to the biological parent and the child has been in the care of the prospective adoptive parents, a physical home study can be waived.

After all of the documents have been submitted and the home study has been completed, the adoption center will issue an adoption certification. The adoption certificate is valid for 6 months. The adoption certificate needs to be registered with the local government office to complete the process. The adoption process in Thailand generally takes about six months.

The process for foreigners outside of Thailand who want to adopt a Thai child is much more complex. The adoption must comply with multiple levels of legal jurisdictions. For example, an American couple who is seeking to adopt from a Thai orphanage must comply with US Federal Immigration law, Thai adoption laws, and also The Hague Convention on adoption.

The first step for potential international parents usually begins by submitting an application for adoption with the Department of Social Development and Welfare. The adoptive parents can make a request for a specific gender and whether they want a child with special needs. Younger children are generally placed with younger prospective parents.

The Hague Convention requires that Thai orphans be placed with a family in Thailand prior to allowing the child to be placed for international adoption. A home study will have to be completed and the prospective parents will be interviewed by the Child Adoption Board. The process for an international adoption generally takes more than two years.

Adopting a child is a big decision. For those in Thailand who want to adopt a child, the best place to start would be to contact the Child Adoption Center or a reputable agency that understands the legal process.

For those who are currently living outside of Thailand, it is important to obtain guidance from a reputable adoption agency that understands its local adoption procedures as well as Thai adoption procedures.

Yutthachai Sangsirisap is a licensed Thai Attorney at Virasin & Partners who has experience handling adoption and child custody matters. Robert R. Virasin is a licensed US Attorney and managing director of Virasin & Partners. They can be reached at info@virasin.com or at virasin.com.

— Robert Virasin

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Thailand

Thai PM expresses concern over “travel bubbles”

Jack Burton

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Thai PM expresses concern over “travel bubbles” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed serious concerns about the resumption of international travel under the “travel bubble” scheme, stressing that Thailand must implement a vigorous arrivals screening protocol. The scheme is a proposed limited resumption of international travel to and from countries with a reciprocal agreement.

The Thai government has indicated it has taken a risk-averse stance with future Covid-19 legislation after largely getting the local outbreak under control in late May, early June. There hasn’t been a locally transmitted case in Thailand for 40 days.

Prayut discussed the proposed scheme with the media, saying Thailand must be prepared to allow the resumption of some international travel, with the other countries involved to be carefully considered, and adding that a full agreement must be reached, to ensure compliance with public health measures at the national level.

The PM says the government is concerned about the prospects of international aviation and the country’s external revenue.

During this long weekend, the Ministry of Finance expects up to 10 billion baht in cash flow from domestic economic activities. The PM says Thais are now making more domestic trips, with many hotels reporting a slow return of customers, thanks to the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions. But tourist locations, like Pattaya and Phuket, remain quiet due to their popularity with foreign visitors.

The PM stressed that all businesses “must remain strict with their precautionary measures in order to minimise the risk of a new outbreak of the virus”.

SOURCE: Press Release from Thai National News Bureau

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PETA reveals ‘abused’ monkeys used to pick coconuts in Thailand

The Thaiger

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PETA reveals ‘abused’ monkeys used to pick coconuts in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PETA

A boycott is in full swing amongst western retailers to pull Thai coconut products off their shelves following allegations that the coconuts have been picked by monkeys who were ‘abused’ to learn how to pick coconuts. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals director, Elisa Allen, claims the macaque monkeys are “snatched from the wild” and cruelly trained to climb up coconut trees and pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day.

“These curious, highly intelligent animals are denied psychological stimulation, companionship, freedom, and everything else that would make their lives worth living, all so that they can be used to gather coconuts.”

PETA says that the Thai pigtailed macaques are treated like “coconut-picking machines”. A new investigation into Thailand’s coconut industry reveals the monkeys are confined to cramped cages, chained, and forced to work. PETA reports that the monkeys are used by commercial farms that supply 2 of Thailand’s best-known coconut milk brands, Aroy-D and Chaokoh. Both brands are exported EU countries and the US.

In the UK, Waitrose, Ocado, Co-op and Boots have now announced they will stop selling some coconut products from Thailand. A spokesperson for Tesco told the BBC… “Our own-brand coconut milk and coconut water does not use monkey labour in its production and we don’t sell any of the branded products identified by PETA”.

“Following PETA’s Asia’s investigation, more than 15,000 stores will no longer purchase these brands’ products, with the majority also no longer buying any coconut products sourced from Thailand monkey labour.”

PETA has shared a video narrated by Downton Abbey star Peter Egan. According to PETA, the video shows ‘monkeys pacing and circling endlessly on chains… confined to cramped cages with no shelter from the rain… forced to climb trees and pick coconuts for milk sold by major brands’.

PETE claims it had found 8 farms in Thailand where monkeys were forced to pick coconuts for export around the world. Male monkeys can pick up to 1,000 coconuts in a day. It’s thought that a human can pick about 80.

“Other coconut-growing regions, including Brazil, Colombia and Hawaii, harvest coconuts using humane methods such as tractor-mounted hydraulic elevators, willing human tree-climbers, rope or platform systems, or ladders, or they plant dwarf coconut trees.”

The group said it has uncovered “monkey schools”, where the macaque species monkeys are trained to pick coconuts, fruit, as well as ride bikes or play basketball for the entertainment of tourists.

“The animals at these facilities, many of whom are illegally captured as babies, displayed stereotypic behaviour indicative of extreme stress.”

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Today is Asanha Bucha Day – Why is the day special for Thai Buddhists?

The Thaiger

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Today is Asanha Bucha Day – Why is the day special for Thai Buddhists? | The Thaiger

Asanha Bucha Day is a special Buddhist holiday in Thailand marking the day when the Lord Buddha delivered his first sermonat Benares in India over 2,500 years ago. The exact date of the holiday is determined by the waxing moon and the lunar months, but is usually held in July or August each year. In 2020 it falls on July 5. Today is also the start of the period of Buddhist Lent.

A moon that is waxing is one that is getting larger each night, between the new moon and full moon phase.

Because this years’ Asanha Bucha Day falls on a weekend day, Monday, July 6 has been named as a public holiday across Thailand. There is also an alcohol ban that lasts until midnight on Monday night.

The Buddha preached his first sermon at a deer park and from this sermon the Dharma (doctrine) of the Buddha was symbolised as a wheel. The Dharmachakra is also known as the Wheel of Life, Wheel of Law or Wheel of Doctrine and can be seen on flags in temples and buildings all across Thailand. Similarly, pictures or models of deer can often be seen at temples or in depictions of the Buddha.

Like many other Buddhist festivals and holidays, Asahna Bucha (also written as Asalha Puja and other English equivalents) is a day when Thai Buddhists will make merit and visit the local wat. Traditionally, candles are amongst the items donated to the wat for Asahna Bucha and processions featuring candles are held at various towns in Thailand.

The tradition dates back to the times before electricity where extra light was needed at the temple during the darker days of the rainy season. Local people will also ‘wian tian’ which involves walking around the wat with a lit candle, lotus flowers and incense. The day after Asahna Bucha is another significant day with Wan Khao Phansa marking the start of the three-month ‘Phansa’ period which is sometimes referred to as ‘Buddhist Lent’.

Today is Asanha Bucha Day - Why is the day special for Thai Buddhists? | News by The Thaiger

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