I have been married to my wife for more than 10 years now. When I met my wife 15 years ago, she had already two children out of wedlock, who were then 7 and 4 years of age, respectively. When I married their mother, I started to treat them as my own children. My wife and I were not blessed with a child of our own. So right now, since I consider my wife’s children as my own, though belatedly, I want to adopt them. Can I still do it even if they are already of legal age?
According to Republic Act No. 8552 or the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998, the following may be adopted:
“Section 8. Who May Be Adopted. – The following may be adopted:
(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;
(b) The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;
(c) An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy;
(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter(s) as his/her own child since minority;
(e) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or
(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died: Provided, That no proceedings shall be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of said parent(s).” (Emphasis supplied)
Clearly, a person of legal age may still be adopted, provided that he/she was regarded by the adopter as his/her own child prior to reaching the age of majority. Applying the foregoing provision to your situation, you may still adopt the children of your wife even if they are already of legal age. Once adoption is granted, a legal tie is created between you and the children, which is that of a legitimate parent and legitimate children. This is according to Section 17 of the said law:
“Section 17. Legitimacy. – The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate son/daughter of the adopter(s) for all intents and purposes and as such is entitled to all the rights and obligations provided by law to legitimate sons/daughters born to them without discrimination of any kind. To this end, the adoptee is entitled to love, guidance, and support in keeping with the means of the family.”
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to guide you with our opinion on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org