Last week, I shared about a childcare agency here in Negros Occidental who facilitated an adoption. A friend messaged me about the adoption process here in the Philippines and it made me realize that it will also be nice to write about this.
I had the chance the chance to interview Ms. Bahiyyih Ruth G. Robinson, also called Ms. Bai, the Social Welfare and Development (SWAD) Negros Occidental Team Leader, who has experience in adoption processes and other childcare protection programs in the Province of Negros Occidental.
She introduced me to the new adoption law, approved and signed by then President Rodrigo Duterte on January 6, 2022 and took effect on January 28, 2022.
Republic Act No. 11642, also known as the Domestic Administration Adoption and Alternative Child Act, authored by Senators Risa Hontiveros, Pia Cayetano and Grace Poe, will allow domestic adoption proceedings simpler and less costly. The law seeks to streamline alternative childcare services. This law continues to protect the best interests of the Filipino child and the process will be lessened from six years to approximately six months to three years.
The law declares that every child shall remain in the care and custody of his or her parents and should be provided with love, care, understanding and security towards the full and harmonious development of the child’s personality. When it is proven to be insufficient and no one can take the child from the extended family, adoption by unrelated person can be considered. (Complete information is available at Official Gazette of the Philippines website).
The law created the National Authority for Child Care (NACC) to do all the functions and responsibilities of the Department of Child Welfare and Development (DSWD), Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) and other government agencies relating to alternative child care and adoption. NACC is now the one-stop quasi-judicial agency on alternative child care.
Adoption (as defined the document) refers to the socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents had voluntarily or involuntarily given up their parental rights, permanently transferring all rights and responsibilities, along with filiation, making the child a legitimate child of the adoptive parents.
There are many types of adoption:
⦁ Regular adoption – which is highly promoted DSWD – where adoption is legally processed through NACC and other parties.
⦁ Independent or the Voluntary Placement – usually happens when a parent gives the child directly to the new parent. The state is concerned with child trafficking. As much as possible, there will be nothing in exchange.
⦁ Relative adoption is common with when a single mother marries, and her spouse wants to legally adopt her child or a parent died and wished that an aunt or Grandmother take care of their child.
⦁ Adult adoption is when a child now 18 years old or above decides to be adopted by a foster parent.
Before a child can be adopted, there are many documents to be prepared, usually done, by a Social Worker. One act that a Social Worker needs is to process papers to apply for a CDCLAA. He or she might prepare a Case study and other documents.
Article III says that a CDCLAA or the Certificate Declaring a Child Legally Available for Adoption is needed from the NACC.
There are many steps to adopt a child – the first and the most important is to apply at the local DSWD to become an adoptive parent. There are documentary requirements needed when applying which includes a PSA birth certificate, PSA marriage certificate and many more. Single people are also welcome to apply. Once accepted after a thorough screening, there will be meetings to attend and a matching.
Ms. Bai mentioned that she has handled more than 200 cases of successful adoptions, both local and international. There is a couple who have tried to have children for years but have not been given a child. They decided to adopt and after a couple of unsuccessful matching, was finally blessed with a child. Now, their adopted son is happy and growing up in a loving family. I was touched by her stories. There was also an unsuccessful adoption – the parents divorced so it was hard to match a child. Unsuccessful adoptions a few, many are graced by God.
If you wish to adopt a child or become a foster parent, please visit your local Social Welfare and Development Office.
To read more about RA 11642, you can visit websites that have a copy, and you can even download a PDF file.
As we celebrate the feast of Sto. Nino this coming Sunday, let us be reminded of the God’s love for children. Many Filipino families have the image of Sto. Niño in their homes and businesses to protect us. Happy feast day Sto. Niño!