Legal Effects of Adoption
Once a child is adopted the child ends all ties with the biological parents and will be regarded as the natural child of the adopting parents. For all legal purposes, that child will be considered as the offspring of the adopting parents. Hence, for example, an adopted child will have the same inheritance rights as his or her sibling.
Following the adoption decree the ties with the natural parents are completely severed. The natural parents does not have any right by law to access the child nor to make contact with the child. A parent who gave away a child in adoption cannot change his or her mind later on as the court cannot reverse an adoption.
Changes to the law in 2008 make it possible that the court which approves an adoption, could authorise that the adoption will remain ‘open’. Through an open adoption the natural family could still maintain limited contact with the child. This could only happen if the child is at least 11 years old and there is a request for such an open adoption. To date, very few cases of open adoption are known to have taken place in Malta.
Right to information
A person who has been adopted and has attained the age of 18 may apply to the court so that the adopted person is provided with details on the natural parents or more information about the adoption placement. Prior to acceding to this request, the court shall determine whether it first needs to hear any submissions from any other interested party.