By Tyrone A. Velez
DAVAO CITY — A councilor noted on Adoption Consciousness Week this February 15 to 23 that the high number of adoption cases of children raises deeper issues on children abandonment.
Adoption Consciousness Week is observed annually based on Presidential Proclamation No. 72 dated February 3, 1999.
City councilor Leah Librado, head of the council’s committee on women and children reacted on government reports that some 100 cases of child adoption were filed in courts in Davao City last year, in which only 39 had been handed decisions.
“We have to look deeper into these cases of abandonment, its causes and possible state intervention. We have to root out the causes of abandonment because it is not normal to have rising number of children being abandoned,” Librado said.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 11 Assistant Director Mila Segovia said they are taking care of 52 abandoned children in their study center and shelter houses with ages ranging from 7 to 18.
Segovia said most of the abandoned children they took custody were babies reported by hospitals that have been abandoned by their mothers, or children that were turned over by relatives.
DSWD secretary Corazon Soliman said legal adoption ensures protection of children.
“Legal adoption offers security and ensures the best interest of the child. This is why DSWD discourages direct placement and is against simulation of birth certificates,” Soliman emphasized.
Librado supports the adoption of abandoned and abused children as long as adoptive parents could give a chance for children to grow.
“On the other hand, I believe that through adoption, we assume that children (abandoned and abused children) will be given the chance to grow in a better environment. It means a better chance for them to pursue their dreams and to grow healthy both physically and psychologically,” Librado said.
Of particular interest is the inter-country adoption where the DSWD facilitates the adoption of children by foreigners.
DSWD 11 said they facilitated 16 adoptions by foreigners, mostly coming from Spain, and others from the United States and Italy.
Segovia said there are stringent measures to ensure that applicants from foreigners are capable for adoption.
“We are not looking at the financial aspect; we look at the capacity of the adoptive parents, if they are physically and psychologically capable.”
Adoption by a foreign person will cost around P50,000 outside of filing fees in courts amounting to P15,000. Local couples meanwhile would pay a filing fee of P 8,000.
Talikala Executive Director Jeanette Ampog also wants to see government agencies be more careful in screening foreign applicants, especially of pedophiles.
One of the adoptive parent, David Earnshaw, a New Zealander, attest that he went through a “complicated” process last November to adopt the son of his Filipina wife.
“It’s very complicated, you have to be dedicated to follow the orders, and be attentive to the lawyers who will guide you through everything,” Earnshaw said.
But Earnshaw said he wanted to see government take more part in helping the families.
“I want to see government take more action. Government should support families more,” he said.
Ampog said another option for adoption is for DSWD to continue its program to provide for foster families who are willing to adopt children.
But Librado said government must look at the roots of poverty and abuse to address the abandonment of children.
“We have to correlate this issue to poverty and all forms of abuse to women. Adoption is not resolving the root-cause of abandonment,” she said. (Tyrone A. Velez/davaotoday.com)children's rights, davao city, Philippines\, UNCRC, Youth & Children