National Adoption in the Philippines

“My husband and I are unfortunately unable to have children. A distant relative from the province has 7 children, the youngest two are 11 months old and a newborn baby about 2 weeks old. Due to financial constraints, she offered us to adopt her two younger children. We take the children home after we execute an Adoption Agreement and have it notarized. I would like our children to have my husband’s name on them to formalize their status. How do we do this?”

First things first, an executed mother adoption agreement between the parents and prospective adoptive parents is not valid. This is because adoption procedures are judicial in nature. The signing of the Adoption Agreement does not ipso facto separate the parental authority of the parents over their two children and confers it to the adoptive parents. The jurisprudence establishes that to establish the relationship, the legal requirements must be strictly complied with, otherwise, the adoption is absolutely null.

National adoption is governed by Republic Law 8552, which establishes guidelines on the requirements and procedures for the adoption of a child.

Who can adopt?
1) Any Filipino citizen who is of legal age, possessing full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral, emotional and psychological turpitude capable of caring for children, at least sixteen years older than the person to be adopted, and who is able to support and care for their children according to the means of the family;
2) Any foreigner who possesses the same qualifications as above for Filipino nationals, provided that:
a) The foreign country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines;
(b) The alien has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the adoption application and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is issued;
c) The foreigner has been certified by the diplomatic or consular office or any competent government agency that they have the legal capacity to adopt in their country;
d) That the foreign government allows the adoptee to enter the foreign country as his or her son or daughter.

Who can be adopted?
(a) Any person under eighteen (18) years of age who has been declared administratively or judicially 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 upgrade his/her status to that of legitimacy;
(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, such person has been consistently regarded and treated by the adopters as their own child since minority;
e) The child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; Prayed
(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) is/are deceased: Provided, that no proceeding shall be initiated within six (6) months after the death of said parent(s).

Who is a child declared available for adoption?
A child who has been voluntarily or involuntarily released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or a duly licensed and accredited child care or placement agency, free from the custody of his or her birth parents or guardians or adopters in the event of termination of adoption.

“I am financially stable and single. Can I adopt on my own?”
Yes. According to RA 8552, the husband and wife must adopt jointly, except in the following cases:
(1) When one of the spouses seeks to adopt their own illegitimate child; Prayed
(2) When one of the spouses intends to adopt the legitimate child of the other; Prayed
(3) When the spouses are legally separated.

Also, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) allows a person to adopt a child if they can show that they are capable of adopting a child. As long as the applicant meets all the requirements and has demonstrated adequate motivation for wanting to care for a child, he or she will be considered. A single prospective adoptive parent will also need to go through the same pairwise adoption process.

What is the procedure for national adoption?

Prospective parents or single parents who wish to adopt must first attend DSWD’s adoption forums to assess their motivation and receive counseling from a licensed social worker.

The request will be submitted to the Regional Court of First Instance of the province or city where the prospective adoptive parents reside. The Court will then issue an Order that includes a directive for publication of the Petition in a newspaper of general circulation and a directive for the court social worker to conduct a home study report.

Subsequently, the official social worker will carry out the home study and present the report. If the report is approved, there would be a family matching or selection process, where the petitioner meets the future adoptee. During the hearing, the applicant and the adoptee must appear in person and the first must testify before the president of the court.

Afterwards, the intended parents would be allowed to gain physical custody of the child for a trial period of six months. If the trial produces satisfactory results, DSWD will issue a consent to adoption. The adoptive parents would then have to file a brief petition to have the adoption finalized.

The final step would be the issuance of an amended birth certificate that will state the name of the child that the adoptive parents want her to take.

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