In connection with a claim for child's benefits under title II of the Social Security
Act, we wrote you an opinion (dated May 10, 1974) on the validity of an adoption which
occurred in Jordan in 1966. Based on the facts available in the claims file, we stated
that there was no legal basis for adoption in Jordan, that the institution of adoption
was not recognized by Islamic law, and that the Jordanian Law of Family Rights, Law
No. 92 (1951), which is a codification of the principles of Islamic law, does not
include among its articles any provision pertaining to adoption.
In a memorandum, dated February 22, 1979, you sent us additional evidence and asked
us to determine whether this new evidence would change the outcome of our first opinion.
We believe that the new evidence does change the result of our prior opinion.
The new pertinent facts, as presented in your memorandum and the accompanying claims
folder, are as follows: Two U.S. citizens adopted a Jordanian child, age 3, in Jerusalem
in February 1966. The natural father of the child consented to the adoption. The natural
mother of the child was deceased. The adoptive parents belonged to the Christian Approach
Mission. The child was born in Amman, Jordan, on October 27, 1962 and was baptized
in Christ the King, Latin Church, Amman, on March 2, 1964. The child is not a Moslem.
A report on adoption from the Law Library provides the following information:
As a general rule, all of the Christian denominations of the Middle East recognize
adoptions. The adoption of a Christian under the laws of Jordan is governed by Law
No. 2 of 1938 (The Law of Religious Councils of the Different non-Muslim Religious
Denominations). This law permits all recognized Jewish and Christian communities to
apply their own religious laws to matters concerning the personal status (e.g., adoption)
of their members. However, when one of the parties involved in the adoption belongs
to a different denomination or is a Moslem, then the secular court (e.g., Court of
First Instance of Jerusalem) has jurisdiction to hear the adoption and to issue an
Based on the above report, it appears that the Court of First In- stance of Jerusalem
had competence under the law to issue the adoption decree since the child belonged
to the Latin Church while the adoptive parents belonged to the Christian Approach
Mission, a non-recognized Christian denomination. Also, it appears that the adoption
decree issued by the Court of First Instance in Jerusalem is valid.