Angel Thought of the Day

Manila Bulletin, February 7, 2004 | Go to article overview

Angel Thought of the Day


"Jesus Christ gives us only one condition for His children Love one another as I have loved you. And we know very well how much He has loved us ! He died for us!"

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Today is "Adoption Consciousness Day" so lets take a closer look at abandoned, rejected, and orphaned children who are in need of an alternative wholesome family environment.

The thrust of DSWD, according to Usec Lourdes G. Balalan is to encourage domestic adoption so that the adoptive child keeps his identity and culture. This is not to discourage adoption by foreigners, but as much as possible, the DSWD aims to satisfy the "local demand" first. However, statistics show that in reality, there are more babies and children who can be legally adopted than there are parents or individuals really wanting to adopt them.

Balanon, who led a panel of speakers in our Bulong Pulungan forum sa Westin Plaza last Tuesday (we took a welcome break from politics) informed us that there were 1,000 children ready for adoption.

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Exactly what is adoption? Well, it is socio-legal process which enables a child who cannot be raised by his biological parents to acquire legal status which will enable him to benefit from a new and permanent relationship with a permanent family.

The spirit behind adoption is for individuals or families to "open their hearts and homes" to those who because of circumstances, have been orphaned or abandoned and need new homes.

The process is long (and expensive because of legal fees of private lawyers who are necessary) but this is to protect the rights of the child, Balanan explained, seconded by Atty. Elizabeth Pangalangan of UP College of Law, Maricor Enciso of the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation and Dr. Lourna Teresita Laraya, executive director of the Intercountry Adoption Board.

But the truth of the matter is, there are other forms of adoption in the country and they are quicker, if riskier. There is the popular way of the extra-legal, whereby, for one reason or another, a mother who does not want or cannot raise her child will give up the new born straight from the hospital or clinic nursery. The baby is then registered under the adoptive parents names by "friendly" civil registrars in small towns or municipalities. It is done and will continue to be done.

Then there is the "adoption" which is but a verbal commitment to care for a child. The child has no legal status in this instance but this is common especially among those who take in children of poorer relations.

******

Former vice-mayor Charito Planas who is now the executive director of the Quezon Memorial Circle Park had a heart-warming story to share. She and her staff found an abandoned baby in their premises four years ago and Charito decided to care for the founding. The "find" was given wide media exposure and this brought the DSWD to her home to get the baby. By law, the abandoned baby had to be brought to an institution!

Charito was able to convince the social workers that the baby would get better care in her home than the institution where there would be other babies competing for attention. Then she filed for a petition to declare the baby a founding. She got this and thus won the right to care for the baby while applying for adoption.

The baby, named "Biyaya" or "Blessing" is not four years old, an intelligent, cute, alert, and healthy child. She comes with Charito often to the Bulong forum and charms everyone. Incidentally her "mother" Charito who is single, will spend at least R50,000 to finish the adoption process for her.

How many adoptive parents can afford the legal fees? Not many, that is why the alternative way of "adopting" is resorted to. The DSWD would like to discourage this alternative adoption and therefore appeals to lawyers to lower their legal fees.

******

In the panel was a pretty thirty-year old mother of two children who could be the "poster girl" for adoption. …

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