Legal Opinion: Adoption of orphaned niblingS

**NIBLING: The child of one’s sibling (in other words, one’s niece or nephew), especially in the plural or as a gender-neutral term. 

Conklin, Harold C., “Ethnogenealogical Method”, in Explorations in Cultural Anthropology: Essays in Honor of George Peter Murdock, W. H. Goodenough, ed., McGraw-Hill, New York, 1964

One can adopt their deceased brother’s/sister’s daughters. First of all, one needs to take the consent of their mother (if alive). If she is willingly waiving off her parental rights through the Pakistani Family Court by the filing of “Suit For Declaration And Termination Of Parental Rights’, one can further proceed to adopt kids.

There are currently no laws governing adoption in Pakistan. The only legal relationship one can establish with the child is to become their guardian under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. 

In order to become the guardian of your orphaned nieces and nephews, you have to file a petition in court under section 8 of Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. (2010 CLC 1078)

The court will issue a declaration certificate to you (adoptive-parent) according to which one is authorized to adopt their orphaned nieces and nephews

The requirements after adopting a child   

Under Sect 10 of Guardians and Wards Act, 1890:

  1. On receiving the declaration certificate, you need to get legal custody by applying for guardianship of your nieces in a civil/ family court in Pakistan.
  2. After getting a guardianship decree from the court, the guardian requires to obtain a “B” form, also called CRC (Child Registration Certificate), from the offices of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA)


Guardianship creates a right of the child to be maintained and cared for by the guardian but still does not create the right to inherit. 

The adopted child cannot partake in the inheritance of the adoptive parents. It is recommended that the guardian can gift anything and property to adoptive children. Also, one being an adoptive parent can write up their will (wasiyat) to one-third of their property for adoptive children as Hiba (gift).

Thus, if you adopt someone else’s child, you take it into your own family and make it legally your son or daughter through guardianship.

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Fatima Tariq Written by:

Fatima Tariq, a law student at Kinnaird College for Women and a political science student at the University of Punjab. Research fellow at Insaaf Camp. Follow me at