Popular television’s portrayal of the “ampon” or what is loosely called “adopted” has been far from how the adopted child is perceived now in Philippine context. Gone are the days when an adopted person has little rights compared to one’s own real, biological child. Adopting children in the Philippines has become easier with the signing of Republic Act 9523 also known as “An Act Requiring the Certification of the DSWD to Declare a Child Legally Available for Adoption” which gives the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) the authority to issue a certification declaring the child legally available for adoption as a prerequisite to all adoption proceedings and to facilitate early placement of abandoned children. The law also provides shorter and simplified adoption procedures and changes the nature of the proceedings from judicial to administrative.
Legally adopted children have been recognized as an integral part of the society and deserve equal treatment and rights as that of biological children not only in terms of inheritance and right to use the surname of the adoptive parents, but also from the point of view of care.
The month of February has been a time for the observance of many things like arts, love, oral and heart care, etc. And what makes the month truly special for Filipinos is the country’s observance of Adoption Consciousness Week. Scheduled on February 4 until 10, 2012, Adoption Consciousness Week aims to enhance public awareness on the growing number of orphaned, abandoned or neglected Filipino children in need of love and permanent families, and encourages couples or parents of right age to legally adopt in to reduce the rising number of orphaned, neglected, and abandoned children in the country.
Presently, there are 216 abandoned children who are in need of parental care and guidance. They are housed under DSWD’s Reception and Study Center for Children. According to the DSWD, 6,558 children were placed under domestic adoption from 2000- 2011.
The time period before a child is considered abandoned is three months, a reduction from the original minimum of six months, while the period for the child to be declared legally available for adoption will be limited to less than two months from almost three years in court proceedings. With this, legal adoption has become less tedious and even less expensive, making it easier for parents who want to adopt.
All the developments in the process of legal adoption are all in consideration of the need of an orphaned, abandoned, or neglected child to experience love and support by perceived family members.
This year’s celebration of Adoption Consciousness Week centers on the theme “Isulong! Legal na Pag-aampon.” Massive information campaigns regarding adoption and the legal procedure are spread throughout the country to update parents who want to adopt of the law covering adoption. The DSWD has recently set up adoption help desks in SM and Ayala malls where prospective adoptive parents were given advice on adoption procedures.
The DSWD is also advising prospective adoptive families to inquire about adoption process and procedures at the Adoption Resource and Referral Unit of DSWD-National Capital Region office in Manila or the nearest DSWD field office.
Likewise, the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation located on 10th Avenue in Cubao, Quezon City and NORFIL Foundation Inc. located on Mother Ignacia corner Roces avenues, Quezon City, are accredited child placement agencies and can assist families who are interested in adopting a child.
Adoption Consciousness Week is indeed a reminder of the universal basic human need of children, biological or adopted, to experience parental love and care.