AS THE "Adoption Consciousness Week" of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) ends its weeklong celebration today, the agency warns mothers who are giving out the child in their wombs to others to think twice because doing so is considered trafficking, therefore a crime.
Pamela Balais, Social Welfare Officer II of DSWD-Northern Mindanao, said that simulation of birth or a parent who cannot afford to deliver and raise a child and later will decide to let someone like relatives to raise the child is discouraged.
“Simulation of birth is a crime. If we find it out, we will advise them to apply a legal adoption to make sure that there will be no problems [in the future],” Balais said.
Social Welfare Officer III Gloria Mosqueda of DSWD-Northern Mindanao added that simulation of birth is considered trafficking.
“There is a sanction on that [see RA 9208]... a penalty, especially that teen pregnancy and infidelity is rampant which usually are the reasons for resorting to simulation of birth,” said Delia Maravillosa, Social Officer II of DSWD-Northern Mindanao.
In cases when the child has been legally adopted and the biological mother decides to take the child back, the latter has no rights since the child has already been adopted.
Aside from simulation of birth, Mosqueda also discouraged independent placement which is happening in the community.
Independent placement could either be a direct placement to a family known by the child’s biological parents or through the use of an intermediary or a go-between. In an intermediary placement, an individual knows of parents who want to have their child adopted and arranges such placement to a family or someone who wants to adopt.
In this weeklong activity, Legal na Ampon Ako: Anak na Totoo (A child finds worth in legal adoption), that has started from February 21 and ends today, the DSWD aimed at providing a home and a family to children bereft of homes and families through legal adoption.
Balais cited that adoption is a legal process of giving a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily have given up their parental rights.
Balais emphasized that a biological kid and adopted one have no difference because they both have the same rights.
At present, Maravillosa said that there are many children who are available for adoption or foster care.
Mosqueda added that DSWD continues to conduct advocacy forum to disseminate the legal adoption process through the local government units (LGUs).
“A lot of people in the community do not know how to adopt and where to go – I say, go to DSWD,” Mosqueda said.
Balais also explained the process of adoption involves persons who must signify their interest to adopt.
“First, they need to have complete documents because these are necessary requirements to be submitted in the DSWD central office. We also have a matching conference twice a month... here the interested person [to adopt] will check the reference as to age, gender and health and if these meet, which also relies in the availability of the [child], a trial custody will take place for six months to see the adjustment of the child and the parents,” Balais said.
Aside from that, the social worker will closely monitor and have a monthly supervision to the parents and if everything turns out well, the DSWD will then issue a legal consent to adopt and submit it to the court, then the parents will hire a lawyer.
However, Balais said it will then depend on the court proceedings (since it has its own calendar) as to when the adoption will effect.
“Mostly, the average is a year or less,” said Balais.
As of December 2014, Maravillosa said there are a total of 47 children in their shelter wherein 21 of them were discharged. But as of this month, there are four children who are newly admitted, making it 30.
She also said that the average age of children who are available for adoption are seven years old and below.
But in cases where there are children who exceed the age limit or category, these kids are then transferred to home for girls or boys and in rare cases, if they [again] exceed the age category there, they will be transferred to home for women or men.
DSWD will make sure that these individuals are prepared – socially, physically and mentally – when they decide to leave the center.