The Philippines is OPEN to intercountry adoptions (with certain restrictions).
CCAI GENERAL OVERVIEW ON PHILIPPINE ADOPTION
The Philippines has long history of implementing measures to protect vulnerable children within their country. In 1974, it enacted the Child and Youth Welfare Code; in 1992, it passed the Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act; and recently, the country provided a comprehensive approach to safeguard the rights of children with the Philippine National Strategic Framework for Children for 2000-2025. The Philippines became a party to the Hague Convention in 1996, and is also a party the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Despite all these measures, Filipino children are still at great risk due to poverty and a series of recent natural disasters. Many thousands of children are on the street, victims of trafficking, and several millions are victims of forced labor.
Intercountry adoptions are governed by the Philippines’ Central Authority, the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB), in conjunction with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The Philippines international adoption program has been considered a model program for other nations, and the country has a social service system similar to that of the United States. Children reside in foster care or in orphanages until they are placed with a family.
On March 12, 2009, the government signed into law the “Declaration of a Child Legally Available for Adoption,” which aimed to decrease the risk of abandoned children from living in the streets or becoming victims of sexual trafficking by allowing the DSWD to take over the process from the family courts of declaring a child to be legally available for adoption – limiting the timeframe from a previous length of three years to less than two months.
On May 1, 2009, due to a large number of unmatched approved adoption applications for children between 0-2 years, the Inter-Country Adoption Board announced a moratorium which suspended new applications for this age group – with or without special needs. Therefore, at present, the country is only accepting requests for the adoption of children 3 years or older, until the ICAB has processed at least 50% of the current cases for younger children.
In addition to the U.S. requirements for prospective adoptive parents, the Philippines also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
Residency Requirements: U.S. citizens interested in completing a full and final adoption of a Filipino child while they are living in the Philippines must be residents of the Philippines for at least three years prior to the filing of the adoption petition, and maintain such residence until the adoption is finalized. U.S. citizens living in the Philippines do not need to possess a certificate of legal capacity to adopt. However, prospective adoptive parents must obtain a letter from the U.S. Embassy’s American Citizens Services section stating that they do not issue certificates of legal capacity. Prospective adoptive parents who meet these residency requirements should file a petition for adoption with the Philippine Court to begin the adoption process and submit the letter from the American Citizen Services in lieu of certificates of legal capacity.
The Philippine Government may waive these requirements if the prospective adoptive parent (or parents) is a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity as defined by Philippine law, or the prospective adoptive parent is a person who seeks to adopt the legitimate child of his/her Filipino spouse.
Age Requirements: Based on the Inter-Country Adoption Law of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 8043), the adoptive parent must be at least 27 years of age and at least 16 years older than the child to be adopted at the time of application, unless the adopter/adoptive parent is the biological parent of the child to be adopted or the spouse of such parent. The maximum age gap between the adoptive parent and the child to be adopted must not exceed 45 years.
Marriage Requirements: If prospective adoptive parents are married, they must file jointly for adoption.
Income Requirements: There are no minimum income requirements set by the Philippines. Prospective Adoptive Parents must however prove financial stability.
Other Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents must not have ever been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Parents must be in a position to provide proper care and support and to give necessary moral values to all his/her children, including the child to be adopted. Prospective adoptive parents must agree to uphold the basic rights of the child as embodied under the Philippine laws and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Note: Since May 1, 2009, the Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) in the Philippines has set a moratorium on accepting new applicants wanting to adopt children within the age range of 0-2 years old with or without medical/developmental concerns. For more information, please visit the website of ICAB: http://www.icab.gov.ph/.