Domestic Adoption

1. What is Adoption?

     Adoption is a juridical act which creates between two persons a relationship similar to that which results from legitimate paternity and filiation. (4 Valverde 473)

2. What is Domestic Adoption?

     Domestic Adoption is an adoption proceeding which is not inter-country. An inter-country adoption is an adoption proceeding which involves the adoption of a Filipino child by foreign nationals and Filipino citizens who are permanently residing abroad.

3. I am a mother of five children and expecting another one on the way. My sister cannot bear children. Due to financial difficulties, I offered my sister the idea of adopting my sixth child. My sister agreed. After I gave birth to a child, we executed a notarized Adoption Agreement. Was the adoption valid?

     No, adoption proceedings in the Philippines are always judicial. A mere agreement between the adopter and the biological parents of the child without a judicial decree is not valid. (Rule 99, Rules of Court) To establish the relation, the statutory requirements must be strictly carried out, otherwise, the adoption is an absolute nullity. (Lazatin v. Campos, 92 SCRA 250)

4. Who may adopt?

1) Any Filipino citizen who is of legal age, possessing 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 years older than the person to be adopted, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family;
2) Any alien who possesses the same qualifications above stated for Filipino nationals, provided:
a) The alien's country has diplomatic relations with the Republic of the Philippines;
b) The alien has been living in the Philippines for at least three (3) continuous years prior to the filing of the application for adopted and maintains such residence until the adoption decree is entered;
c) The alien has been certified by the diplomatic or consular office or any appropriate government agency that he/she has legal capacity to adopt in his/her country;
d) That the alien's government allows the adoptee to enter the alien's country as his/her son or daughter. (Section 7, RA 8552)

5. Who may be adopted?

(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared 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). (Section 8, RA 8552)

6. Who is a child declared available for adoption?

A child who has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or to a duly licensed and accredited child-placing or child-caring agency, freed of the parental authority of his/her biological parents or guardian or adopters in case of rescission of adoption.

7. My husband, A, and I are best friends with our neighbors, B and C. They have a child, E. Whenever B and C are out of town on business trips, they leave E with us. A is an OFW working in Dubai. During B and C's trip to the US, their plane met an accident and both of them died. Since A is out of the country, I filed a petition to adopt E. I attached to the petition A's Affidavit of Consent. Will the petition prosper?

No, the petition will not prosper. The rule is that the husband and wife must jointly adopt save for certain exceptions. (Section 7(4), New Rule on Adoption) This is mandatory because they both shall exercise joint parental authority over the adopted. Since an adopted child will be elevated to the level of a legitimate child, it is natural to require that the spouses adopt jointly. The Affidavit of Consent alone of the other spouse will not suffice to prove the latter's consent to the adoption. (In re: Petition for Adoption of Michelle and Michael Lim, GR Nos. 168992-93, 21 May 2009)

8. What are the instances when the husband or the wife may adopt on his or her own?

Husband and wife must jointly adopt, except in the following cases:
(1) When one spouse seeks to adopt his own illegitimate child; or
(2) When one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate child of the other; or
(3) When the spouses are legally separated.

9. Whose consent is necessary to the adoption?

The written consent of the following is required:
(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. (Section 9, RA 8552)

10. What is the procedure for domestic adoption?

     A petition shall be filed at the Family Court of the province or city where the prospective adoptive parents reside. (Section 6, New Rule on Adoption) Thereafter, an Order shall be issued by the Court that includes a directive for the publication of the Petition on a newspaper of general circulation and a directive for the court social worker to conduct a home study report.

     The Court-appointed social worker shall thereafter conduct the home study and submit the report. During the hearing, the petitioner and the adoptee must personally appear and the former must testify before the presiding judge of the court. (Section 12-14, New Rule on Adoption)

11. What must the Petition contain?

     The Petition must be verified and must allege the jurisdictional facts and that the petitioner possesses all the qualifications laid out in Section 7(1) of RA 8552. A certification of non-forum shopping shall be included therein.

     If the adopter is the legal guardian of the adoptee, the Petition must allege that the guardianship has been terminated and the guardian had cleared his financial accountabilities.

     If the adopter is married, the spouse must be a co-petitioner for joint adoption except for circumstances enumerated in Number 10. (Section 7, New Rule on Adoption)

12. Will the contents of the Petition be the same if the petitioner is a foreigner?

     In addition to the requirements discussed in Number 13, the Petition must also allege that the alien possesses all the requirements laid out in Section 7(b) of RA 8552 (refer to Number 4(2)).

13. Are there any documents that I should produce to support my Petition for adoption?

Yes, the following documents shall be annexed to the Petition:

(1) The birth or baptismal certificate and school records showing the name, age and residence of the adoptee;
(2) Affidavit of Consent of the following persons:

a) The adoptee, if he/she is 10 years old or older;
b) The biological parents of the adoptee or the legal guardian or the child-placement agency, child-caring agency or the government instrumentality which has legal custody of the child;
c) The legitimate and adopted children of the adopter and the adoptee who are 10 years old or older;
d) The illegitimate children of the adopter who are living with him and who are 10 years old or older;
e) The spouse of the adopter or adoptee

(3) The child study report on the adoptee and his biological parents;
(4) If the petitioner is an alien, the certification from his diplomatic or consular office certifying the requirement in Section 7(c) and (d) of RA 8552
(5) Home study Report on the adopters;
(6) The decree of annulment, nullity or legal separation of the adopter, if any (Section 11, New Rule on Adoption)


14. What if I would also like to change my prospective child's last name so that he could carry my last name?

     If a change of name shall be included in your Petition's prayer, such cause must also be specifically stated at the heading. The heading of the initiatory pleading must state whether the petition contains an application for change of name, rectification of simulated birth, voluntary or involuntary commitment of children, or declaration of child as abandoned, dependent or neglected.

15. When will a Decree of Adoption be issued?

     A Decree of Adoption shall be issued when the Court is satisfied that the adoption shall redound to the best interest of the adoptee after considering the evidence adduced by the petitioner and the results of the supervised trial custody. The decree shall take effect as of the date the original petition was filed.

16. What are the effects of adoption?

   All legal ties between the biological parents and the adoptee shall cease and be vested upon the adopter/s. The adoptee shall be considered the legitimate child of the adopters and shall be entitled to all the rights and obligations of a legitimate child. In addition, the adopted child/children shall inherit the same or equal to that of the legitimate children's share in the adopter's estate should the latter die intestate. (Section 16-18, RA 8552)

17. My husband and I adopted A since his parents died and he has no known living relatives anymore. We did not know A that much but his parents are very close to us. He seemed like a sweet and charming boy. However, after only 2 months with us, A became rebellious and spoiled. He disrespects us and tells us that we are not his true parents anyway. May we rescind the adoption and place him in an orphanage instead?

     No, you may not rescind the adoption. Adoption is for the best interest of the child therefore it cannot be subject to rescission by the adopter. An adopter's recourse would be to disinherit the adoptee based on any ground provided in Article 919 of the Civil Code. However, your circumstance does not fall in any of the grounds provided therein.

     On the other hand, the adoptee, who is at least 18 years old or assisted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or his guardian or counsel if he is a minor or incapacitated, may rescind the adoption by filing a verified petition for such purpose. The adoptee may rescind the adoption based on the following grounds when committed by the adopter:

1) repeated physical and verbal maltreatment by the adopter despite having undergone counseling;
2) attempt on the life of the adoptee;
3) sexual assault or violence; or
4) abandonment or failure to comply with parental obligations. (Section 19, New Rule on Adoption)