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This week, I was consulted by three different people about adoption. They are all unmarried, they do not know each other, but they have one common goal: to adopt a child.
So, I advised them on the requirements for adoption and the possible costs of adopting a child in the Philippines. Allow me to share some info with you.
At present, we have two laws on adoption: Inter-country Adoption Act and the Domestic Adoption Law. The first provides for the requirements and the procedure for adoption by a foreigner of a Filipino child and the second governs local adoption.
I would like to focus right now on domestic or local adoption.
Who may adopt under the Domestic Adoption Law?
Section 4 of the law enumerates the persons who may adopt, to wit:
(1) Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude; who is emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of a 16-year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent;
(2) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above-stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the petition for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he has been certified by his diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency to have the legal capacity to adopt in his country, and that his government allows the adoptee to enter his country as his adopted child. Provided, further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his country may be waived for the following:
(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity;
(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his Filipino spouse; or chan robles virtual law library
(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse.
(3) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his financial accountabilities.
Husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases:
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of one spouse by the other spouse; or
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child: Provided, however, That the other spouse has signified his consent thereto; or
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.
In case husband and wife jointly adopt or one spouse adopts the illegitimate child of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses.
Section 5 provides for a list of those who may be adopted, and they are:
(1) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been voluntarily committed to the Department under Articles 154, 155 and 156 of PD 603 or judicially declared available for adoption;
(2) The legitimate child of one spouse, by the other spouse;
(3) An illegitimate child, by a qualified adopter to raise the status of the former to that of legitimacy;
(4) A person of legal age regardless of civil status, if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopters as their own child since minority;
(5) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or
(6) A child whose biological or adoptive parents have died: Provided, That no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parents.
(7) A child not otherwise disqualified by law or these rules.
The Cribs foundation lists down the procedure proper for adoption:
1. Complete the following documents.
a) Authenticated birth certificate
b) Marriage Contract or Divorce, Annulment, Declaration of Nullity, or legal separation documents.
c) Physical and medical evaluation by a duly licensed physical and psychological evaluation by a psychologist,
d) NBI/Police clearance
e) Latest Income Tax Return (ITR) or any other documents showing financial capability,
f) Three (3) character references, namely from the local church/ministries, the employer, and a non-relative member of the immediate community who have known the applicant(s) for at least 3 years.
g) Recent Postcard-size pictures
h) Affidavit of guardianship
2. Certificate of attendance to pre-adoption fora or seminars.
3. Accomplish application form
In addition to foreign nationals who want to adopt a child in the Phils.
1. a. Certification that the applicant(s) have legal capacity to adopt in his/her country has a policy, or is a signatory of an international agreement, which allows a child adopted in the Philippines by its national to enter his/her country and permanently reside therein as his her legitimate child which may be issued by his/her country’s diplomatic or consular office or central authority in inter-country adoption or any government which has jurisdiction over the child and family matters; or in the absence of the foregoing, the Philippines Inter-country Adoption Board may also certify that the Philippines and the applicant’ country have an existing agreement or arrangement on inter-country adoption whereby a child who has been adopted in the Philippines or has a pre-adoption placement approved by the Board is allowed to enter and remain as permanent resident in the applicant’s country as his/her legitimate child.
b. Certificate of Residence in the Philippines issued by the Bureau of Immigration or Department of Foreign Affairs, as appropriate.
c. Two character references from a non-relative who knew the applicants in the country of which he/she is a citizen or as a resident prior to residing in the Philippines, except for those who have resided in the Philippines for more than fifteen years.
d. Police clearance from all places of residence in the past two years immediately prior to residing in the Philippines.
e. Individual and joint interview with the couple, through home visitation/collateral interview with the relatives.
f. Preparation and approval of Home Study Report.
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h. Placement or physical transfer of the child to the adoptive parents.
i. Six months supervised trail custody- the family social worker conducts monthly home visit, phone calls, or interviews in order to monitor the child’s integration in the adoptive family. This would also be the basis for the recommendation for termination or finalization of the adoption.
j. Sharing of Post Placement Report to the Child-caring Agency where the child was fetched.
k. Finalization of adoption- adoptive family, thru lawyer files the petition in court.
l. Adoption Registration- Adoptive family presents a certified photocopy of Court Order and Certificate of Finality to respective Local Civil Registrar.
m. Amended Birth Certificate- Adoptive family presents certified true copies of the Court Decision, Certificate of Finality, Adoption Registration and the copy of the child’s old Birth Certificate to the LCR where the child was originally registered.
n. Motherland Tour for tracing the roots- this would only happen if the child desires to locate his/her biological parents.
Adoption requires the filing of a petition for adoption in the family court where the petitioner resides, so be prepared to shell out money for the filing fee, lawyer's fees and other expenses.
But make sure you contact your lawyer and these offices first for the other nitty-gritty details: DSWD-ARRU (Department of Social Welfare and Development- Adoption Resource and Referral Unit) and KBF- (Kaisahang Buhay Foundation).