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Compassionate act

ADOPTION is compassion spelled another way.

It is the noble act of vesting parental love for those denied such basic human need – to be loved and have a family.

It not only provides identity to an individual abandoned by their biological parents unable or unwilling to raise them.

More importantly, it bestows dignity to the person adopted.

During this season of joy and love, couples unable to bear children of their own can opt to adopt and forever change the life of an orphan/abandoned child while achieving marital/familial bliss and fulfillment.

And so we fully agree with and strongly support Sen. Grace Poe’s call for the relaxation of adoption polices to expedite the process, noting that thousands of abandoned children could find new families with secure yet less stringent domestic adoption process in place.

In her sponsorship speech of her measure, Senate Bill 1070 or the Domestic Administrative Adoption bill, Poe said it’s high time to do away with the judicial phase of the adoption process, which usually takes one to three years.

The administrative process of adoption under the current law takes about three to six months, but the judicial proceedings to make it final takes years.

“I firmly believe that adopting one child may not change the world, but it will certainly change the world for that child,” the lady lawmaker said.

“Unfortunately, adoption in the Philippines is currently a long, costly and tedious process. This has discouraged many potential parents from pursuing adoption,” she lamented.

The bill seeks to provide for domestic administrative adoption that seeks to eliminate the judicial process. Poe said this would accelerate the entire process, minimize the cost, and declog the courts.

“With this bill, it is my hope that more Filipinos will be able to adopt children because every child deserves a good home, a family and a future. Ang pamilya ay nasa puso, hindi lamang sa dugo,” she said.

Citing data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the lawmaker said that from 2009 to September 2020, a total of 7,890 children have been declared legally available for adoption because they were found to be either abandoned, neglected, dependent or voluntarily surrendered by their biological parents or legal guardians.

To date, the DSWD said there are 4,943 children under their care, waiting for a permanent home.

According to the senator, previous state policies such as Republic Act 9532 or the Administrative Declaration of the Child Legally Available for Adoption have recognize that administrative processes under the DSWD are the most expeditious proceedings for the best interest and welfare of the child.

Under the bill, procedural safeguards are in place such as the following documentary requirements: Home Study Report conducted by a licensed social worker on the adopter; child study report conducted by a licensed social worker on the adoptee; certification declaring a child legally available for adoption; mandatory result of psychological evaluation of the prospective adoptive parents; and National Bureau of Investigation/police clearance.

The petition for adoption would also be published upon filing so that any person with information that could protect the child from harm can offer an objection, Poe said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros also sponsored a similar bill.

The Domestic Administrative Adoption Act, according to Hontiveros, seeks to address the problem of tedious and expensive adoption proceedings. It also proposes a simpler and less costly process without compromising the safety and integrity of the child.

“This bill will allow domestic adoptions to be undertaken through an administrative process within the Department of Social Welfare and Development. This will dispense with the lengthy process associated with judicial adoption and will abbreviate the waiting time of adoptive parents to 6-9 months. Matatapatan nito ang panahon ng pagdadalang-tao ng isang ina,” she said during her sponsorship speech.