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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Philippines
Bureau of Consular Affairs


                 INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS - THE PHILIPPINES
     
                                                                     
     
     DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR IS PROVIDED FOR
     GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION
     OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO FOREIGN COUNSEL.
                                                                     
     
     GENERAL:  The revision of the Philippine Family Code, which
     took effect August 4, 1988 dramatically changed the manner in
     which children from the Philippines can be adopted.  The law
     makes it illegal for aliens to adopt Filipino children in
     Philippine courts unless they are blood relatives.  The only
     exceptions are children declared by the courts of the
     Philippines to be orphans and subsequently placed by the
     Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
     with an accredited foreign adoption agency for adoption abroad.
     
     AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION
     
     Changes in Philippine adoption laws have resulted in a gradual
     decline in the number of children available for adoption.
     
                   IR-3 Immigrant Visas          IR-4 Immigrant Visas
     Fiscal        Issued to Philippine          Issued to Philippine 
     Year          Orphans Adopted Abroad        Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1994             64                           277  
     FY-1993             49                           311
     FY-1992             54                           303
     FY-1991             64                           329
     FY-1990             95                           326
     
     PHILIPPINE ADOPTION AUTHORITY:
     
     The Philippine authority responsible for inter-country adoptions is
     the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). 
     DSWD is the only authority legally allowed to place children.  The
     DSWD has accredited 25 U.S. adoption agencies to place Philippine
     children for adoption abroad (See pp. 5-6).  Information may be
     obtained from these agencies or by writing directly to the 
     Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development, 389 San 
     Rafael Street, Legarda, Metro Manila, Philippines or by calling the 
     DSWD at (011) (63) (2) 732-6022 or (63) (2) 732-5989.  
     

     ADOPTION OF PHILIPPINE CHILDREN IN PHILIPPINES COURTS BY FOREIGNERS
     RESIDING IN THE PHILIPPINES:
     
     Effective August 4, 1988, it is no longer possible for American
     citizens living in the Philippines to identify a child and adopt the
     child through the Philippine courts except:
     
              (1) A Former Filipino who seeks to adopt a blood relative;
     
              (2) One who seeks to adopt the legitimate child by his or
              her Filipino spouse; or
     
              (3) One who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to
              jointly adopt a blood relative of his or her spouse.
     
     The "Final Decree of Adoption" issued by the court is the legal
     document establishing a bonafide adoption.  The original name of the
     child is always used on the documentation until the adoption is
     finalized.  The original birth certificate is kept in the local civil
     registry.  Qualified persons seeking to obtain legal custody of and
     adopt a Filipino child while they are residing in the Philippines may
     apply through one of the DSWD regional offices or from the national
     office at the above address.

     
     RELEASE OF PHILIPPINE CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION ABROAD:
     
     Persons seeking to adopt a Philippine child in the United States
     through the inter-country adoption process should apply through a
     DSWD accredited, licensed adoption agency in the United States (see
     list on pages 5-6), and should obtain and file with the U.S.
     Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) office in the United
     States having jurisdiction over their place of residence.    Working
     with the DSWD accredited, U.S. licensed adoption agency a request for
     a Filipino orphan child should be submitted to the national office of
     the DSWD.  In general, to process an inter-country adoption, a U.S.
     citizen must be physically present outside the Philippines.  Under
     the authorization agreement between the agency and the DSWD, the DSWD
     accredited agency shall be responsible for the health, care and
     social well-being of the prospective adoptee for a period of at least
     six months with the essential and appropriate social services from
     the date of placement and before the release of the child for travel
     abroad for the purposes of adoption.  
     
     HOW THE OVERSEAS ADOPTION PROCESS WORKS:
     
     The DSWD assigns social workers to the provincial level of local
     government throughout the country.  These social workers start the
     adoption process by conducting a child study for abandoned 
     foundlings as well as for children put up for "voluntary 
     commitment" by one of the natural parents.  Local courts throughout 
     the Philippines process petitions to declare children abandoned.  
     They do so after receiving a "deed of voluntary commitment" signed 
     by either the natural mother 
     

     or father.  When the court issues a "decree of abandonment", the DSWD
     takes custody of the child.  The original parents may not reclaim an
     abandoned child without petitioning the courts.  The DSWD social
     worker submits the child study to a local court while a DSWD attorney
     petitions the court for custody of the child.  It should be noted
     that the local office of the DSWD must first attempt to place the
     child locally.  This is rarely successful because there is negligible
     local demand for unrelated children.  The court will then award
     custody of the child to the DSWD and all documents, including the
     original birth certificate are forwarded to Manila.  For overseas
     adoptions the DSWD handles the petitioning process in the Philippine
     courts on behalf of the child and the stateside agency.  Philippine
     attorneys are only involved in domestic adoptions of Filipino
     children by relatives.
     
     ADOPTION OF A PHILIPPINE CHILD IN A THIRD COUNTRY:
     
     Persons residing in a third country (not the United States or the
     Philippines) who wish to adopt a Filipino child must process their
     request through a DSWD accredited adoption agency licensed in the
     third country.  That agency must file the request with the national
     office of the DSWD in Manila.  
     
     AGE AND CIVIL STATUS REQUIREMENTS:
     
     Any person of age and in full possession of his or her civil rights
     may adopt.  There is no requirement in the Civil Code that the
     adoptor be married, but the DSWD generally does not approve adoptions
     for single petitioners.  Any person may be adopted, as long as the
     adoptor is at least 16 years older than the child.  The person to be
     adopted must give consent if 10 years of age of older.  Note:  At the
     present time the DSWD has in effect a moratorium on the release for
     adoption abroad, through the inter-country adoption process, of
     orphan children 0-5 years of age.  Exceptions may be made on a
     case-by-case basis, only for couples where at least one prospective
     adopting parent is of Filipino descent or in cases where a Filipino
     child is already present in the home.
     
     TIME REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION PROCESSING:
     
     Philippine authorities advise that generally, it takes one year for
     boys and two to three years for girls to be adopted by foreign
     petitioners.  Domestic adoption by relatives only takes a few
     months.  There is no time limit for adoptions to be processed by
     DSWD, however the home studies are only valid for one year and must
     be updated prior to final processing.
     
     TRAVEL OF A PHILIPPINE CHILD FOR ADOPTION ABROAD:
     
     No child may be removed from the Philippines by any person other than
     the natural parent without DSWD approval.  Moreover, even if the
     natural parent escorts the child, if the purpose of the travel abroad
     is adoption, DSWD approval is required.  DSWD  in Manila issues
     certifications to allow minor children to travel overseas.  A social 
     worker is stationed at the airport to examine these documents for all
     departing minors.  DSWD has advised the American Embassy in Manila
     that it will oppose removal of a child unless the following
     conditions and arrangements are met:
     
     - DSWD pre-screening of the placement;
     
     - Existence of a bilateral agreement governing intercountry adoptions
     between the foreign country government and the Philippines; (FYI: 
     Although there is no bilateral agreement on adoption between the
     United States and the Philippines, the DSWD will approve adoptions
     arranged through licensed adoption agencies accredited by the DSWD.)
     and 
     
     - Operational presence of an adoption agency licensed by the foreign
     country and accredited by the DSWD to conduct the requisite home
     study and conduct post placement follow up.
     
     FEES:
     
     The DSWD fee for a non-relative orphan adoption is US $500.00.  The
     DSWD fee for domestic adoptions by a blood relative is US $200.00. 
     The DSWD does not allow individuals to make donations to the natural
     family in an adoption case.  They do allow accredited stateside
     adoption agencies to make general donations to social welfare centers
     in the Philippines, but these donations cannot be linked to specific
     cases.
     
     U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS
     
     In order to meet the requirements for a U.S. visa, children adopted
     through the inter-country adoption process must meet the definition
     of orphan under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as
     amended.  That definition states that an orphan is "a child under the
     age of sixteen at the time a petition is filed on his behalf ... who
     is an orphan because of the death or disappearance of, abandonment or
     desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents, or for whom
     the sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing the proper
     care and has in writing irrevocably released the child for emigration
     and adoption."  It should be noted that a child's mother cannot be
     considered a "sole parent" when the child has a surviving natural
     father who has or had a bona fide parent-child relationship with the
     child.
     
     It is possible that children related to a Filipino spouse by blood
     might not meet the definition of an orphan.  Such children must be
     petitioned as immediate relatives and therefore must have lived with
     and be in the legal custody of, the adopting parents for two years
     before a petition can be approved and a U.S. visa issued to the
     child.  The adopting parents must also demonstrate that they have
     exercised parental control during that period.
     
     To obtain an immigrant visa for your child, you must file an
     "Application for Advanced Processing of Orphan Petition" Form I-600A,
     or a "Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative" Form
     I-600 and comply with requirements for a home study, fingerprint
     check of prospective adoptive parents and any state pre-adoption
     requirements.  Contact the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
     Service nearest you early in the process, before the child has been
     identified and before you consider actually travelling abroad. 
     Request a copy of the INS publication M-249Y (Revised, 1990) "The
     Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children".
     
     DSWD ACCREDITED ADOPTION AGENCIES IN THE UNITED STATES
     
     To date, the DSWD has authorized twenty five U.S. based adoption
     agencies to place Philippine children with adoptive parents in the
     United States.  There follows a list of such agencies.  
     
     DISCLAIMER:  The Department of State, the American Embassy in Manila
     and the Consulate in Cebu assume no responsibility for the
     professional ability and integrity of the agencies whose names appear
     on the list.  The names listed are arranged alphabetically by state,
     and the order in which they appear has no other significance.
     
                           AGENCIES SERVING ALL STATES
     
     Holt International Children's Services
     P.O. Box 2880
     Eugene, Oregon  97402
     (Mrs. Minnie Dacanay, MSW)
     tel:  (503) 687-2202
     
     International Social Services
     American Branch, Inc.
     95 Madison Ave
     New York, NY  10016
     (Mrs. Lemina C. Cashell, MSW, CSW
     Director of Intercountry Services)
     tel:  (212) 532-5858
     
                         AGENCIES SERVING SPECIFIC STATES
     
     ARIZONA
     
         Hand in Hand International Adoptions
         1962 N. Atwood Ave.
         Tucson, Arizona  85745
         tel:  (602) 743-3322
     
     CALIFORNIA
     
         Catholic Charities
         2045 Lawton Street
         San Francisco, California  94122 
         (Ms. Marcia Popler, LCSW) 
     
         Children's Home Society of California
         1010 Ruff Drive
         San Jose, California  95110
         (Ms. Louise Guinn, ACSW, LCSW) 
     
         Vista Del Mar Family & Child Service
         3200 Motor Avenue
         Los Angeles, California  90034
         (Ms. Marcia Jindal, LCSW)
     
         Bay Brea Adoption Services
         465 Fairchild Drive, Suite 215
         Mountain View, California  94043
         (Ms. Penny Wanzer/Ms. Elisia Vitales)
         tel:  415-964-3800
         fax:  415-964-6467
     
         Holt International Children's Services
         Northern California Office
         (Serving the Bay and Sacramento)
         14895 E. 14th, Suite 350
         San Leandro, California  94578
         (Ms. Heidi Henderson)
         tel:  415-351-4996
     
     COLORADO
     
         Hand-in-Hand
         4965 Barnes Road
         Colorado Springs, Colorado  80917
         (Mrs. Marylee Fahrenbrink)
     
     CONNECTICUT
     
         International Alliance for Children
         23 South Main Street
         New Milford, Connecticut  06776
         (Mrs. Jan Mabasa)
     
     DELAWARE
     
         Welcome House
         P.O. Box 1079
         Hockessin, Delaware  19707
         tel:  301-239-2102
     
     GUAM
     
         Department of Public Health & Social Services
         P.O. Box  2816, Agana, Guam  96910
         (Mrs. Rosanna V. Aguon)
     
     HAWAII
     
         Child and Family Service
         200 North Vineyard Blvd.
         Honolulu, Hawaii  96817
          (Mrs. Patti Lyons) 
     
     ILLINOIS
     
         Bensenville Home Society
         331 South York Road
         Bensenville, Illinois  60106-2673
         (Ms. Pat Radley, MSW) 
     
     IOWA
     
         Holt International Children's Services
         Iowa Office
         2175 NW 86th Street, Suite 6
         Des Moines, Iowa  50322
         (Ms. Kathy Solko)
     
     KENTUCKY
     
         Holt International Children's Service
         Kentucky Office
         4229 Bardstown Road, Suite 234
         Chrysler Building
         Louisville, Kentucky  40218-0266
         (Mr. David Lim)
         tel:  502- 499-1562
     
     MAINE
     
         Christian Adoption Services
         624 Matthews, Minthill Road, Suite 134
         Matthews, N. Carolina  28105
         (Mr. James M. Woodward)
         tel:  704-847-0038
     
     MARYLAND
     
         Executive Director
         Associated Catholic Charities
         320 Cathedral St
         Baltimore, Maryland  21201
         (Mr. Harold Smith)
     
     MASSACHUSETTS
     
         Wide Horizons for Children, Inc.
         282 Moody Street
         Waltham, Massachusetts  02154
         (Mrs. Marylou Eshelman, LCSW)
     
     MICHIGAN
     
         Bethany Christian Services
         901 Eastern Avenue, N.E.
         Grand Rapids, Michigan  49503
         (Mr. Roger Bouwma, MSW) 
     
     MINNESOTA
     
         Crossroads
         4640 West 77th Street, Suite 179,
         Minneapolis, Minnesota  55435
         (Ms. Myrna Otte)
     
         Hope International Family Services, Inc.
         421 South Main
         Stillwater, Minnesota  55082
         (Ms. Anne McManus)
     
     NEBRASKA
     
         Nebraska Children's Home Society
         3549 Fontenelle Blvd.
         Omaha, Nebraska  68104
         (Ms. Joan Clements)
     
         Holt International Children's Services
         Nebraska Office
         P.O. Box 12153
         8702 N. 30th St., Suite 6
         Omaha, Nebraska  68112
         (Ms. Kathryn Kroeze)
         tel:  402-457-6323
     
     NEW JERSEY
     
         Holt International Children's Service
         P.O. Box 7608
         West Trenton, NJ  08628
         (Ms. Patricia Keltie, ACSW)
         609-882-4972
     
     NEW YORK
     
         International Social Service
         American Branch, Inc.
         95 Madison Avenue
         New York, New York  10016
         (Mrs. Lemina C. Cashel, MSW)
     
     NORTH CAROLINA
     
         Christian Adoption Services
         624 Matthews, Minthill Road
         Suite 134
         Matthews, North Carolina  28105

     OREGON
     
         Holt International Children's Services
         P.O. Box 2880
         Eugene, Oregon  97402
         (Mrs. Minnie Dacayay, MSW)
     
     PENNSYLVANIA
     
         Welcome House Adoption Agency
         P.O. Box 836
         Doylestown, Pennsylvania  18901
         (Mr. Raymond Naylor)
     
     TENNESSEE
     
         Holston United Methodist Home
         P.O. Box 188
         Greenville, Tennessee  37744-0188 
         (Mr. Carl Anderson, Jr., ACSW)
     
         Holt International Children's Services
         Tennessee Office
         5347 Flowering Peach
         Memphis, TN  38115
         (Serving Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas)
     
     VIRGINIA
     
         Welcome House Adoption
         P.O. Box 596
         Christianburg, VA  24073
         tel:  703-382-5975
     
     WASHINGTON
     
         Philippine Program Coordinator, 
         Adoption Services of WACAP
         P.O. Box 88948, 
         Seattle, Washington  98138
         (Ms. Betty Hines) 
     
     WISCONSIN
     
         Lutheran Social Services
         of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, East Central Area
         P.O. Box 08520
         3200 West Highland Blvd.
         Milwaukee, Wisconsin  53208
         (Mr. Michael Short, MSW)
     
     U.S. EMBASSY ASSISTANCE:
     
     Upon arrival in the Philippines for an adoption, U.S. citizens should
     register with the American Embassy, Consular Section.  The Embassy
     will be able to provide information about any outstanding 
     travel advisories and to provide other information about the
     Philippines including lists of physicians and attorneys.  The
     American Embassy is located at  1201 Roxas Blvd, Manila, Philippines
     or APO AP 96440, tel:  (011) (63) (2) 521-7116.
     
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in the Philippines
     may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues,
     U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S., 2201 C Street, N.W.,
     Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone (202) 647-2688 with specific
     adoption questions.  Recorded information concerning significant
     changes in adoption procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202)
     736-7000, or by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested in is
     not listed, procedures have not significantly changed.  Information
     on immigrant visas is available from the State Department's Visa
     Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour automated system includes
     options to speak with consular officers during business hours for
     questions not answered in the recorded material.  Application forms
     and petitions for immigrant visas are available from the
     U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, the nearest office of
     which is listed in the federal pages of your telephone book, under 
     U.S. Department of Justice.
     
     In addition, the State Department publishes Consular Information
     Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information Sheets are
     available for every country in the world, providing information such
     as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health conditions, political
     situations, and crime reports.  When situations are sufficiently
     serious that the State Department recommends U.S. citizens avoid
     traveling to a country, a Travel Warning is issued.  Both Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by
     calling the State Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is updated
     as new information becomes available.  In addition, this information
     is accessible through the automated fax machine, as above, and is
     also available at any of the 13 regional passport agencies, field
     offices of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and
     Consulates abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting
     information, sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas
     Citizens Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department
     of State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a computer and
     a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). 
     This service is free of charge, and may be reached at: (202)
     647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and Travel Warnings may also
     be accessed by subscribers to many on-line services.  For complete
     information on accessing consular information via computer, please
     request document 1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from
     the automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
     paragraph.

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