Adoption is not easy in the Philippines. The bureaucracy of the process makes it exhausting and extremely difficult both for the families wishing to adopt, and the children waiting to be adopted.
The time-consuming and costly hurdles of adoption leaves thousands of aspiring adoptive parents discouraged and dejected. And even sadder, it leaves thousands of little hearts broken. Little hearts yearning for loving families and homes they can call their own.
In her manifestation speech for the Domestic Administrative Adoption Bill, Senator Grace Poe detailed that:
“The administrative phase of adoption takes around three to six months, after which the judicial phase would normally take one to three years. The lengthy period in the courts is due to the backlog of cases and constant rescheduling of hearings.”
For the longest time, this is what the adoption process in the country looked like. It was slow, uncertain, and dispiriting. The judicial phase of the process in particular makes the endeavor tedious and costly.
No wonder families tend to give up mid-way, leading to the pile up of abandoned children in the country. In 2020, it’s been reported that there are more or less 2 Million abandoned Filipino children, all longing for permanent homes.
However, a landmark in child care legislation aims to change all of this. When finally passed into law, it can change the adoption game in the country. It will be easier for families to adopt, and for abandoned children to finally come home to families of their own.
Not too long ago, the Domestic Administrative Adoption Bill passed its 3rd and final reading in the Senate. This brings the hope of a simpler, less-costly administrative process of adoption to be managed by a new government body, the National Authority for Child Care (NACC).
“By removing the judicial phase in the process of adoption, we have shortened it, made it less tedious and less costly. By creating an adequately staffed one-stop shop on alternative child care, applications and procedures will be handled more efficiently and effectively.” Senator Poe explained.
At the same time, she assured that a hastened up process won’t mean a heedless one.
“Swiftness should not translate into recklessness. Consequently, we have added many safeguards in order to protect and uphold the best interest of the child.”
The passage of this law would bring a multitude of good things: More adults will be encouraged to adopt, the costs of adoption will be mitigated, and most important of all–4,934 Filipino children under the care of the Department of Social Welfare and Development will now have a fighting chance at a better future and loving families.
But perhaps, the most beautiful thing about this legislation is that it was pioneered by someone who first and foremost, understands the value of being adopted into a loving family.
Senator Grace Poe, in the final parts of her manifestation speech, gave a subtle but heartfelt thanks to her adoptive parents for the precious gift of a loving family.
“I give thanks to my adoptive parents, my mom, Susan, and of course, my father. Totoo pala na ang pamilya ay nasa puso at wala lamang sa dugo.”
It’s also heartwarming to know that this legislation was heavily supported by other lawmakers who share the vision of bringing more abandoned children home. Senators Risa Hontiveros and Pia Cayetano, generously shared their time, inputs and insights that helped bring the Domestic Administrative Adoption Bill into fruition.
Truly, it takes a village to raise a child. And it also takes a village of senators to change the adoption process in the Philippines.
Beyond beating bureaucracy and streamlining judicial processes, simplifying the adoption process in the Philippines is really about leading abandoned children to better lives–through loving families with arms and hearts eager to embrace them.