I am married but not blessed with a child. My husband and I always wanted to have a child and my friends advised us to adopt. There was this woman who gave birth to a child and she wanted to have the child adopted. Taking the opportunity as a blessing, we legally adopted the child. However, I am worried because the natural mother may get back my adopted child. Will she have the right to do so?
Adoption is the process of making a child, whether related or not to the adopter, possess the rights accorded to a legitimate child. The rationale behind adoption is to promote the welfare of the child. Hence, the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration. Article 189 of the Family Code of the Philippines provides the legal consequences of adoption as follows:
“ 1) For civil purposes, the adopted shall be deemed to be a legitimate child of the adopters and both shall acquire reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of parent and child, including the right of the adopted terminating the parental authority of the parents by nature over the adopted and be vested in the adopters;
2) The parental authority of the parents by nature over the adopted shall terminate and be vested in the adopters, except that if the adopter is the spouse of the parent by nature of the adopted, parental authority over the adopted shall be exercised jointly by both spouses; and
3) The adopted shall remain an intestate heir of his parents and other blood relatives.
It is clear from the foregoing provisions of the law that upon the legal adoption of a child, the parental authority of the natural parents is terminated and is transferred to the adopter.”
From the moment the court granted your petition for adoption, parental authority over your adopted child has already been vested in you. The natural parents had already lost their parental authority over the said adopted child. Likewise, the rights and obligations pertaining to the natural parents have been transferred to you.
As a matter of course the adopted shall be considered for all intents and purposes the legitimate child of the adopter and shall be entitled to all the rights accorded to legitimate children, to wit:
1) The right to use the surnames of the father and the mother;
2) The right to receive support from their parents, their ascendants, and in proper cases, their brothers and sisters, in conformity with the provisions of the Family Code of the Philippines on support; and
3) To be entitled to the legitimate and other successional rights granted to them by the Civil Code (Article 174, The Family Code of the Philippines).
Furthermore, the adopted and the adopter shall have the reciprocal rights and obligations arising from the relationship of a parent and a child. You become the mother of your adopted child and the latter becomes your child. You, as a parent, have the duty to rear, love, and support such child as your own. In the same token that your adopted child shall have the right to call you his mother and shall have the duty to love and to respect you as his very own mother.
The natural mother does not have the right to regain custody and/or parental authority over the child from you unless, before the child reaches the age of majority, she will file an action in court to have the adoption judicially rescinded and pray for the cancellation of the adoption, on any of the following grounds, to wit:
1) If the child is treated with excessive harshness or cruelty ;
2) If the child is given corrupt orders, counsel or example;
3) If the child is compelled to beg; or
4) If the child is subjected or allowed to be subjected to acts of lasciviousness.
The natural mother, even if she should thereafter realize that she wants her child back, she cannot do so because she does not have the right to deprive you of your rights over the child by virtue of the order of the court granting your petition for adoption unless you commit acts which would endanger the child and when you do acts which are contrary to your obligation as a mother to the child which she can use as a ground for cancellation of the adoption.
We hope that we were able to address your concern. However, please be reminded that our opinion is based on your narration of facts and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary if other facts are added or elaborated.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilAatimes.net