1. What law governs domestic adoption?
— Republic Act No. 8552 , or the Domestic Adoption Act of 1998, as amended by Republic Act No. 9523, governs local adoption.
2. Who may adopt?
— Sec. 7 of RA 8552 provides that the following may adopt:
(a) Any Filipino citizen 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 who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family. The requirement of sixteen (16) year difference between the age of the adopter and adoptee may be waived when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee’s parent;
(b) Any alien possessing the same qualifications as above stated for Filipino nationals: Provided, That his/her country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines, that he/she has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adoption and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered, that he/she has been certified by his/her diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has the legal capacity to adopt in his/her country, and that his/her government allows the adoptee to enter his/her country as his/her adopted son/daughter: Provided, Further, That the requirements on residency and certification of the alien’s qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:
(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or
(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or
(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse;
(c) The guardian with respect to the ward after the termination of the guardianship and clearance of his/her financial accountabilities.
3. Can only one spouse adopt?
— As a general rule, no because the husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases:
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, However, that the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto; or
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.
In case husband and wife jointly adopt, or one spouse adopts the illegitimate son/daughter of the other, joint parental authority shall be exercised by the spouses.
4. Who may be adopted?
— Sec. 8 of RA 8552 provides that the following may be adopted:
(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been certified by the DSWD as 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).
5. Whose consent to the adoption must be secured?
— Sec. 9 of RA 8552 provides that the written consent of the following must be secured:
(a) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;
(b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or the legal guardian, or the proper government instrumentality which has legal custody of the child;
(c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any;
(d) The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter if living with said adopter and the latter’s spouse, if any; and
(e) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to be adopted.
6. What is the procedure for domestic adoption?
— The procedure, as provided in www.dswd.gov.ph with minor amendments from the author, is as follows
Submission of application form and other requirements to DSWD and attendance in adoption seminar.
B. Preparation of Home Study Report
The Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) shall make themselves available for interview and visit by the social worker. Thereafter, the Social Worker will prepare the home study report and make recommendation.
This refers to the pairing of a child with a family based on the child’s needs and his capacity to benefit from the placement as well as the capacity and interest of the adoptive parents to his needs.
D. Supervised Trial Custody
The Social Worker shall conduct monthly home visit to the family immediately after the placement of the child to the adoptive family and submit report to the Department.
E. Consent to Adoption
The Department shall issue a written consent to adoption based on a favorable recommendation by the Social Worker.
F. Filing of Petition for Adoption
The PAP shall hire lawyer to prepare petition to be filed in court. It is important that the Certificate issued by the DSWD that the child is legally available for adoption should be presented in court. The order of hearing will be published once a week for 3 successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation. Hearings will thereafter be conducted.
G. Issuance of Decree of Adoption and Entry of Judgement
Once the court renders judgement, the Court Decision and the Entry of Judgment must be secured.
H. Civil Registry Record
The amended birth certificate of adopted child must be processed and secured from the civil registrar and forwarded to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
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