• Have you thought of adopting a child?

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    Today is the last day of Adoption Consciousness Week. It started on February 15. Commendably the Social Welfare Department organized the law-mandated celebration aimed to raise awareness of adoption and generate support from the public for adoptive parenthood.

    Many activities were held throughout the week to encourage able and loving couples and families to consider “opening their hearts and homes to the abandoned, and neglected children legally available for adoption.”

    The theme for this year is “Legal na Ampon Ako, Anak na Totoo” to emphasize the need for legal adoption.

    The campaign underscored the fact that there is no distinction between an adopted child and a biological child because their rights are the same. And from the Christian sense caring for an adopted child should be given the same love as for a biological child. We are after all brothers and sisters as children of God and brethren of Jesus Christ.

    From a legal standpoint the DSWD managed celebration is really a necessary one. For there are more and more cases of children “whose birth certificates were simulated and did not go through the legal process of adoption, or whose custody is with families who are not authorized to do so.”

    Here are some important legal points about adoption.

    Three laws govern the adoption process in our country. These are

    Republic Act 8552, the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998;

    Republic Act 8043, “An Act establishing the rules to govern Inter-country Adoption of Filipino Children, and Republic Act 9523, an act requiring the Certification of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to declare a “Child Legally Available for Adoption” as a pre-requisite for adoption proceedings. This law amends certain provision of R.A. 8552, and R.A. 8043, otherwise known as the Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995, Presidential Decree No. 603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code.

    It is worthwhile learning what “adoption” means in legal terms. It is a socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily relinquished parental authority over the child.

    When you have adopted a child, you become his or her parent. You are more than the child’s guardian. Guardianship is a legal relationship created when a person or institution i8s named in a will or assigned by the court to take care of minor children or incompetent adults.

    Adoption can be an “agency adoption” or a “family or relative adoption.”

    Agency adoption is when a licensed adoption agency finds and develops adoptive families for children who are voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the state. The adoptive families go through a process from application as prospective adoptive family facilitated by Department of Social Welfare and Development or a licensed child-placing agency like the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, to the finalization of the child’s adoption in court, to matching to a child by the Child Welfare Specialist Group (CWSG).

    Family or relative adoption happens when the biological parents make a direct placement of the child to a relative within the 4th degree of consanguinity.

    Not everyone may adopt a child. Only those who are of legal age can. In addition the adoptive parent must be at least 16 years older than the adoptee. But the minimum age gap between the adopter and adoptee may not be required if the adopter is the biological parent or sibling of the adoptee or the spouse of the adoptee’s parent. In addition, the adoptive parent must have the capacity to act and assume all the rights and duties incident to the exercise of parental authority.

    Plus, he or she must be a person of good moral character.

    This, to us, means Mayor Digong Duterte, who immorally boasts having four mistresses and parades them around, may be considered qualified to become president of the Philippines — but he cannot be legally qualified to become a child’s adoptive parent.

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