ABANDONED children are expected to finally find “new homes” after scores trooped to adoption desks set up last week in several SM malls and inquired about the adoption process.
DSWD records show there are still more than 1,500 children still waiting to be adopted.
Since RA 9523 or the “Declaration of a Child Legally Available for Adoption,” was signed in 2009, the DSWD has issued 4,107 certifications declaring a child is legally available for adoption. Of the said number, 623 children were placed for local adoption while 1,959 were cleared for inter-country adoption.
Under the new law, declaration of abandonment of a child requires a certification signed by the DSWD secretary in lieu of a judicial order. The time before a child is considered abandoned has been reduced to three months from six months, while the period for the child to be declared legally available for adoption has been limited to less than two months from up to three years in court proceedings.
The adoption help desks were manned by representatives from the DSWD, DOH, DepEd, and DILG.
This year’s team is dubbed “Legal na Ampon Ako: Anak na Totoo” (A Child finds worth in legal adoption) which highlights the benefits of legally available children being adopted rather than staying in orphanages or children’s center.
Royce Cabunag, Program Director of the SM Cares Committee on Children, said SM Cares’ goal of wanting to help children find new homes is the reason behind the project.
“Having a home is the best gift that a child could receive and we want to help these children find their homes. This is part of our commitment to serve the community, this part of our commitment to help safeguard the rights of the children,” he said.
He said there are still many misconceptions about adoption which make people wary of going through it. Hence, in providing a venue through the SM Cares program, this allowed a more informed public in finding the right match for both parents and the child.
Contrary to popular perception, she said the adoption process had been shortened and simplified through
The participating SM malls were Rosales, Tarlac, Clark, Pampanga, Baliwag, Cauayan, Baguio, Marilao, Olongapo, Megamall, Fairview, Marikina, North Edsa, Mall of Asia, Manila, Cebu, Consolacion, Bacolod, Iloilo and Davao.
He noted the stigma on adoption among childless couple is still prevalent due to lack of knowledge on the process and concerns about the history of the child. In order to erase and clarify these and other misconceptions, retail giant SM Supermalls, though its corporate social responsibility division SM Cares, teamed up with Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to hold the Adoption Consciousness Week in selected SM malls all over the country. Macon Ramos-Araneta