My sister got married in 2006 in Cavite. Unfortunately, her husband died in 2009 in a vehicular accident. She went to Thailand for several years but came back because she believes that there is no place like our own country. Despite being a licensed Filipino doctor, she involves herself in a lot of charity works and now she thinks of adopting a child. What steps should she take and consider? Can she avail of the services of your office to represent her in filing the necessary petition for adoption? Thank you and warm regards.
Dear Mr. Knight,
Your sister must establish that she is eligible to adopt. Pursuant to Section 4 (1) of the Rules on Domestic Adoption (A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC), a Filipino citizen may adopt if he or she is 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, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee and is in a position to support and care for his children. Nevertheless, the requirement of a 16-year difference between her age and that of her intended adoptee may be waived if she is the biological parent of the adoptee or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent.
Your sister must also establish that the child she is intending to adopt is qualified for adoption, to wit: (1) A person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been voluntarily committed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development under Articles 154, 155 and 156 of Presidential Decree 603 or judicially declared available for adoption; (2) The legitimate child of her deceased spouse; (3) Her illegitimate child, to raise the child’s status to that of legitimacy; (4) A person of legal age regardless of civil status, if, prior to the adoption, the person has been consistently considered and treated by her as her own child since minority of the child; (5) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; (6) A child whose biological or adoptive parents have died, but no proceedings can be initiated within six (6) months from the time of death of the parents; or (7) A child not otherwise disqualified by law or these rules (Section 5, A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC).
Should both your sister and the child be qualified, she may file her petition before the Family Court of the province or city where she resides (Section 6, A.M. No. 02-6-02-SC).
To secure further legal advice, your sister may visit our District Office nearest to her place of residence. Our district offices are usually located at or near the municipal hall, city hall, provincial hall or hall of justice of each respective municipality, city or province. If, however, she desires to be represented by one of our district lawyers in filing her petition for adoption, she must first qualify as an indigent client. In addition to this, she may only be assisted in the case if she is the biological parent or the step-parent of the adoptee (Section 8 (c), Article II, Public Attorney’s Office Operations Manual).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed 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 firstname.lastname@example.org