Why do we need to adopt our own biological child?
That was actually our question when it was first brought to our attention that fateful day in February 2016 when I first met up with my then annulment lawyer to file for the nullity of my first marriage. He’s a bright, hardworking, albeit 90-year old family lawyer at that time who mentioned it in passing as he was selling us his services because at that time, if I get annulled, and if we want to legitimize Tuz’s succession, we need to undergo the process of our own child’s adoption. So right then and there, adoption has already been on our mind.
Definition of an Illegitimate Child
|Who are illegitimate children?|
Children conceived and born out a valid marriage are illegitimate, unless otherwise provided in the Family Code (Art. 165, F.C.)
|Who are considered illegitimate children?|
The following are illegitimate children :
– Children born to couples who are not legally married or of common-law marriages;
– Children born of incestuous marriages;
– Children born of bigamous marriages;
– Children born of adulterous relations between parents;
– Children born of marriages void for reason of public policy under Art. 38 of the Family Code;
– Children born of couples below 18, whether they are married (which married is void) or not; and,
– Children born of other void marriages under Art. 15 unless otherwise provided. (OCRG Cir. No. 89-13 dated July 17, 1989)
How Do We Make Our Own Child Legitimate?
Fast forward to present time… My previous marriage has already been annulled in Jan. 2019; I then got married to my long-time partner and father of my child last Nov. 2022. We were hoping that that was enough to make our son legitimate. After all, Tuz’s birth certificate had already been annotated last July 2022 to reflect the acknowledgement of paternity and use of the surname of his biological father who is Mahal because when he was born, Mahal’s name wasn’t on his birth certificate. Our son didn’t have a middle name; and his last name was my maiden surname. I did this to avoid any complication because I was still married to my ex at that time. Moreover, personnel from the Civil Registry Office and PSA told us that our son is still illegitimate. And based on my 2016 conversation with my annulment lawyer, I remember him telling us that we still need to go through adoption and that it will be more expensive than annulment so we were bracing ourselves for the amount we would need to get this thing going.
After we finally got married last year via civil wedding, and as soon as all the Christmas and New Year festivities were over, Mahal and I visited our local DSWD office here. To our surprise, we received two pieces of news:
- Because at that time of our child’s birth, there was an impediment for us to marry (meaning, I was still married to my ex) my marriage to the biological father will not automatically make our son legitimate even if the first marriage has already been declared null and void ab initio by the regional trial court (meaning, the marriage was void right from the beginning and never even existed in the first place), and even if the child is already acknowledged by the biological father and allowed to use his surname. We still need to go through the process of adoption to legitimize our son.
- Adoption cases, by virtue of R.A. 116421 “The Domestic Administrative Adoption and Alternative Child Care Act” will no longer go through court proceedings. It’s not a judicial process anymore (meaning, no need to spend lots of money, hurray!) It took effect on January 28, 2022 with the goal of making domestic adoption proceedings simpler and less costly. The law also seeks to streamline alternative child care services. Yey! Yey! Yey! In fact, those adoption cases that are still in court are now being pulled out. Good thing we didn’t do this before the IRR (implementing rules and regulations) of the said R.A. have been promulgated or else, we would have paid lots of money for something that can already be done administratively and less costly. Everything really happens in God’s own time.
So last month, we visited the MSWDO Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office in Oslob, Cebu. We talked to a social worker, Ms. Maricam Y. Esparcia. She’s been very kind and accommodating to us. From what I gather, she handles various types of adoption cases, mostly the regular ones like couples adopting a child who is a total stranger or a relative. Our particular situation however, where we need to adopt our own biological child, is a first for her. I candidly shared it one morning during my walk on my Facebook reel:
Anyway, if you’re on the same boat as us, whether you’re adopting your own child or a relative or a total stranger, there are many requirements for us to submit to get the adoption process going. The requirements will probably be be a bit different depending on your particular situation. You would have to talk to a social worker licensed about these things to know your particular requirements. For us, we are now at the stage of completing all the requirements. To wit:
A. Health and Medical Profile and Evaluation of the Child and Parents
- We did this last January when we went to Cebu City. It was time for us to get our regular blood tests anyway as well as my monthly chiropractic session (I plan to share my experiences with you about it in the near future) so we asked the medical doctor we’ve been seeing since September 2022 to evaluate our health and fill out the form given to us by our social worker which our doctor did so accommodatingly. Then we looked for a pediatrician to evaluate Tuz. Since we left Alabang in 2017 and due to the pandemic, we never had Tuz’s health checked for fear of going to crowded hospitals and clinics. We are unvaccinated (Covid-19) after all… our personal choice. He is also never sick anyway except for the occasional cough and colds. Good thing we found one pediatrician who was really so kind and warm to Tuz and who declared him in good health.
- Below are our images when we stayed in Cebu City last week of January (please note that the time on my computer is on US Time Zone):
B. Undertaking regarding attendance to trainings. This is about attending the 4 programs of Regional Alternative Child Care Office VII (RACCO VII)’s Alternative Parental Care Forum and Trainings for Prospective Adoptive Applicants.
- We attended the first of 4 earlier today. This is us below during the seminar:
The rest of the requirements below, we still need to accomplish, hopefully soon:
C. Application and Undertaking Form for Adoptive Parents
D. Child Care Plan
E. Copy of Guide in the Conduct of Mandatory Appearance of Prospective Adoptive Parent Applicants
F. Documents Checklist for New Petitions for Domestic Administrative Adoption
G. Petition for Domestic Administrative Adoption template as of 08.03.2022
An then we were given a copy of the list of
REQUIREMENTS FOR NEW APPLICANTS:
- Undertaking and Application form of the applicant/s
- Birth Certificate in SECPA copy
- Marriage Contract or CENOMAR in SECPA copy
- Written Consent based on Section 23 of the law
- Medical Certificate, within 6 months
- Psychological evaluation, as assessed by social worker
- NBI or Police Clearances
- Latest ITR or any document showing financial capacity
- 3 letter of character references
- 3×5 inch sized photo of the applicant, their immediate family and home
- Adoption Decree, if with previous adopted child
Additional Requirements for Foreign Nationals
- Certificate of residency in the Philippines for at least 5 years issued by the BI or DFA
- Police Clearance from authorities where applicant lived for more than 12 months in the past 15 years
How will this affect Tuz?
Honestly, we’re not worried. We’ve been honest and candid to our child for as long as we can remember. He knows our love story. Heck, he even knows my ex! On pictures at least. He knows how I met his biological father, how we were best friends turned lovers turned life partners turned husband and wife. He knows we’re adopting him to make him legitimate. He knows he will get whatever riches we have when we pass away. He knows he’s very much loved and how very, very lucky we are to have him as our son. He knows.
I believe that when you are truthful and honest to your child right from the get-go, then there’s nothing to worry about. As cliche as it is, honesty is still the best policy. But I understand as well those people or couples who think and feel otherwise. We are all different. This is just me. I’ve always been candid about my life since the day I knew how to talk and I don’t think I can change that anymore. It’s my core personality. It’s what makes me ME. The silver lining is, how I am to my child, how we are as parents to Tuz, has molded him to become way more mature for his age. It helps him because at a young age of 7, he already has a good idea how the world works, how marriages work, how relationships work. So with that, we’re grateful.
We still have a long way to go. With the many things happening in our life, it is our hope that we get to adopt Tuz within this year at the very least.
We still have the beach wedding preparations to take care of for our summer intimate beach wedding which we are excited about and of course our goal of going abroad for our honeymoon and/or further studies and/or living in another country. Then we have our business and work to take care of. Suffice it to say that we’ve become more busy than before, but at the same time more relaxed about everything as well. We trust the process and we trust in God’s perfect timing. We’re always anchoring ourselves to the fact that Mahal and I are now legally one, way, way stronger than before, and soon, with God’s grace, all of us will become one legal family unit.
Til my next post!
Regarding the law, I wish they will create a new law for situations like ours. Coz common sense would dictate that when a marriage is declared null and void ab initio, it means that the marriage has been void right from the get-go and never legally happened in the first place. So in retrospect, that would mean I have been single and never married all along even before Tuz was born. So following that logic, there was no legal impediment. Hence, when Mahal and I got married, that should’ve automatically legitimated Tuz. I think there should be an amendment with this adoption law in our opinion because it has negated the essence of a previous marriage being “declared null & void” if when it comes to adoption, the legal impediment is still considered existing when the concerened child was born. Do I make sense?