updated 24 Dec 2010, 10:39
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Wed, Dec 01, 2010
The New Paper
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Adopted, but she didn't know until row with father
by Veena Bharwani

FOR more than 20 years, she thought she knew who her parents were.

Then, early this year came the bombshell.

Miss Nora Suzanna Ahmid, 23, found out that she was an adopted child.

And after years of not knowing the truth, she is now in a dilemma: Should she look for her birth mum or just carry on with her life?

"I just feel lost. I always felt a bit out of place even as a child. Now I know why," said Miss Nora, a part-time sales assistant.

She found out that she had been adopted when she had an argument with her father and uncle in January.


Miss Nora, who has a brother who is 11 months younger than her, said she looks very different from him and her parents, who have a darker complexion.

She has been slowly piecing together bits of information about her past.

The only person she has asked about it is an older female cousin.

And the only information this cousin could give her is that her birth mother was very poor because she had several other children and couldn't care for her.

She hasn't spoken to her parents about it because she doesn't know how to broach the topic with them.

She said she is not very close to her parents.

Miss Nora's adoptive father, who declined to be named, confirmed that he and his wife adopted Miss Nora at birth.

The 58-year-old technician declined to divulge details, saying that it was a family matter.

He added: "She is being well taken care of, so why does she want to know the truth? The truth might hurt her more."

Another link to her past is her health booklet that she found in her adoptive mother's cupboard in June.

She lives with her adoptive family in an HDB flat in the western part of Singapore.

The booklet contains information about her physical condition at birth.

It also had her birth mother's name and identity card number, but these had been covered with liquid paper and replaced with details of her adoptive parents.

"I'm just wondering if there is a way to get information on my birth parents," she said. "Can the Government help me?"

When contacted, a Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) spokesman said neither it nor any other government agency would be able to disclose any information about an adopted child because all documents filed in the adoption proceedings are confidential.

However, the spokesman said that as provided for in Section 12 (11) of the Adoption of Children Act (Chapter 4), an adopter can apply to the Court for release of information about adoption.

"The young lady may wish to seek the assistance of a lawyer in submitting an application to the Court for this purpose," he said.

About 45 per cent of kids adopted in Singapore - or about 200 a year - over the past three years were born in Singapore, said MCYS.

Miss Nora is still unsure if she wants to apply to the court to find out more.

She said: "I'm still thinking about it."



Through an adoption agency, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) or Project Cherub (a voluntary welfare organisation that provides pregnancy crisis services).

- You must first obtain a valid Home Study Report (HSR).

- An HSR is a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the adoption and the applicants' family situation.

- Once a child is identified, you can apply to the Family Court to adopt the child.

- The Family Court will seek the consent of the Director of Social Welfare (MCYS) to be appointed as the child's Guardian In Adoption (GIA).

- After the Family Court receives consent from MCYS and appoints MCYS as the GIA, MCYS conducts the necessary investigations and prepares the affidavit and social investigation report.

- The Family Court grants the Adoption Order. A new birth certificate is issued for the child.


- You must complete the HSR.

- You may approach friends, relatives, foreign agencies or the embassies concerned to identify a foreign child.

- When a child has been identified, you should submit the HSR to MCYS, along with the application for a Dependant's Pass for the child.

- When the child arrives in Singapore, you will have to take the child to MCYS to be issued with a Dependent's Pass and a visa (where applicable).

- You must sign the Security Bond undertaking the maintenance of the child and pay a Security Deposit ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

- The Court will send the Adoption Order to the Registry of Births (ROB) and the ROB will schedule an appointment for the adopter(s) to complete formalities for the issuance of a birth certificate for the child.

For more information on the legal requirements and adoption process, visit the Family Court website at

For general adoption information, call the MCYS Adoption Hotline: 6355 6388.


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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