Published 5 April 2019, The Daily Tribune

I had first discussed the topic of adoption in my article published on December 10, 2018.  Given the recent passage of Republic Act No. 11222 (RA  11222, otherwise known as “Simulated Birth Rectification Act”), there is a need to update our readers on the changes introduced by this new legislation.

It is not only by siring a child or giving birth that one can become a parent. Parenting requires so much more than mere blood relations but rather lots of patience, love, and dedication, as proven by accounts of successful adoption. But because the adoption process is long, expensive, and complicated, some have resorted to taking the law into their own hands. The shortcut usually involves making it appear in official records that the child is theirs without the benefit of a court order.

RA 11222 was passed in response to the need to simplify the process in order to encourage more prospective adopters to adopt legally, and to prevent the widespread practice of simulation of birth.

The new law simplified adoption by making the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) the agency in charge of the process, instead of the courts. It is now the DSWD Secretary who will have the ultimate power to grant a petition for adoption.

Who are qualified to adopt

Those who wish to adopt under the new law must be Filipino citizens, at least eighteen (18) years old, with full civil capacity and legal rights, and of good moral character. They should have not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude. It goes without saying that they must be emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children and capable of supporting the child.

For a Filipino married to a foreigner wishing to jointly adopt a child, the foreigner must have been residing in the Philippines for a minimum of three (3) years prior to filing the petition for adoption.

Adoption proceedings

The process is now relatively simpler. Those seeking adoption will now have to file the petition with the Social Welfare and Development Officer (SWDO) where the child resides.

The SWDO shall have seven days to make his/her recommendation. If the SWDO finds the petition sufficient, the SWDO shall forward it to the Regional Director within three (3) days. The Regional Director shall review the petition, establish the identity of the child, and prepare his recommendation within thirty (30) days from receipt.  He shall then transmit the petition and his recommendation to the Secretary of Social Work and Development, who shall act and decide on the petition within thirty (30) days.

The process promises not only to be quicker, but also more cost efficient. The filing fees are based on the financial capacity of the petitioner. They may be waived for indigent petitioners.

Once an order granting the adoption is issued, the adopted child would be considered a legitimate son or daughter and will be entitled to all rights and obligations provided by law.

Amnesty and rectification of simulated birth

Aside from simplifying the adoption process, the new law also grants amnesty to those who had committed simulation. Simulation is the act of tampering records to make it appear that a child was born to a person who is not the biological mother, and causing the loss of the true identity and status of such child.

To be qualified for amnesty, those who had committed simulation must file a petition for adoption under the terms of the new law. It must also be shown that the simulation was made for the best interest of the child and that the child has been consistently treated as the simulators’ own son or daughter.

Taking into consideration the best interest of the child, the new law spares the child from the consequences of simulation by giving such child all the benefits of adoption and ensuring that he or she would be entitled to all rights provided to legally-adopted children.

Some consider parenting as the greatest calling.  With the new law simplifying adoption procedure, don’t let intimidation of the process stand in the way if you have the heart for adoption.

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