- Adoption is a continuing process
- Does not end when Adoption Decree is granted or Citizenship is given
- Adoptee will: (1) reconnect with the home country; (2) start search for their roots; and (3) explore possibility of establishing contact with birthfamilies.
Pursuant to Section 4 Article II, subparagraph (e) of the Philippine Inter-Country Adoption Act of 1995 which indicates that the Board shall “promote the development of adoption services including post legal adoption.”
Increasing numbers of inquiries for assistance in the search and reunion process and referrals for counseling about issues/problems arising from being adopted. Generally, separated by adoption are now open to search for each other and to explore possibilities to exchange information or to have contact with each other.
Post Adoption Services shall refer to psycho-social and support services provided by a professionally trained social worker and/or other discipline e.g., psychiatrist/psychologist, etc., to the adoption triad – adoptee, adoptive parents and the biological parents after the adoption is legally completed.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES
- The child’s best welfare and interest shall be the paramount consideration in all questions relating to his/her adoption.
- The adoptive parent/s shall be protected from attempts to disturb his/her adopted child.
- The adoptee has the basic rights and needs to search for his/her origin and identity.
- The adoptee desiring to search for roots must be emotionally mature and of legal age. The appropriate age for search for roots and reunion meeting is the age of majority applicable under the laws of the Receiving Country (18 or 21 years old).
- The request for search and reunion from adoptive families without the written consent of the adoptee shall not be considered
- Extensive preparation i.e. search and reunion counselling therapy to both adoptee and biological parent/family is crucial to any search process.
- The search process shall only be initiated for purposes of establishing the “missing link” in the life of the adoptee and for no other reason/s which may cause disrciption or jeopardize the present status of those involved in the adoption.
- The observance of the confidentiality of matters related to the adoption shall be ensured.
A. Request and retrieval of non-identifying information
- background on the birthfamily
- any medical information about the birthfamily
- circumstances of adoption
- access to original Birth Certificate
- provision of adoption records
- provision of medical evaluation records of adoptee
- assistance to interpret and clarify information in the records.
B. Reconnect with peers or friends from the same Child Caring Agency
C. Birthcountry Travel/Motherland Tour/Heritage Tour
D. Search for birthparent/family
E. Search and Reunion
MOTHERLAND TOUR OR HERITAGE TOUR
- Most significant in the identity building process of internationally adopted children.
- Going back to one’s country of birth can help find answers, create a sense of connectedness to people that share a common heritage and help build identity.
- Helps recapture as many of the original pieces of life history giving adoptee a strong foundation towards finding a comfortable, meaningful and grounded self.
Procedures for Motherland Tour
A. Foreign Adoption Agency (FAA) makes a written request along with the following
- List of adoptees with their basic information (original name, date of birth, name of child caring agency/orphanage, name of adoptive parents and date of placement)
- List of accompanying adults (FAA representative/s and adoptive family), relationship to adoptee and address
- Tentative itinerary of travel including name and address of accomodation venue
- Proposed schedule of activities
B. ICAB coordinates with the DSWD/CCA for the retrieval of files and schedule of visits (N.B. DSWD or CCA receiving direct request of Motherland Tour or visit of CCA must notify ICAB.)
C. ICAB arrange scheduled planned and supervised activity for minor or adult adoptees
- Family Tour – visit to the orphanage or center
- Motherland Tour – explore and experience the birthcountry, culture and learn more about their adoption history.
D. Individual family travel to scenic parts of the Philippines – ICAB recommends tourist areas to visit in accordance to the interest of the family and condition of the place to be visited.
SEARCH PROCESS AND PROCEDURES
ICAB’s current policy on search and reunion meetings provide that emotional maturity and age of an adoptee is a major consideration in approving reunion requests. The appropriate age for search for roots and reunion meeting is the age of majority applicable under the laws of the Receiving Country (18 or 21 years old).
- The request for search and reunion must be made in writing to the Executive Director of the ICAB by
- ICAB accredited FAA
- Adoptive parents of minor adoptee
- Adoptee of legal age
- The intent to search may be allowed only
- Upon the personal request made by either the adult adoptee, adopter or the biological parent/s.
- Minors who are interested to search for their biological parent/s shall be represented by their adoptive parents.
- Considering emotional maturity of the adoptee and appropriate age, requests for search and reunion should come from adoptee himself and not only from the adoptive parents.
- An FAA or requesting party are required to submit:
- Letter to undertake search and reunion indicating among others purpose or motivation for the request
- Original name of adoptee
- Copy of original birth or fondling certificate
- Child Study report (if available)
- Adoption Decree
- ICAB assesses an determines the motivations and preparedness of the individual to pursue the search
- Identifying information e.g. names, address, personal background etc. may be shared only between and among the adult adoptee, adoptive parents and birthparent/s and only if they have given their written consent.
- Non-identifying information e.g. medical records, or circumstances which led to adoption of the child bt not necesssarily divulging the identity of concerned individal etc. may be made available to both adoptive parents and birthparents and the adoptee nder 18 years old.
- ICAB coordinates with the concerned DSWD or CCA for the search of birthparent/s.
- The tracing of the birthparent/s is based on the last known address on case files/records or latest address, if available.
- Locating the birthparent/s in intercountry adoption is dependent on a number of factors:
- Important to understand from the start that ICAB may not be successful in the search.
- Important that if the birthparent/family is located, that individual may not be ready for a reunion.
- If a reunion materializes, bear in mind that the person an adoptee sees may be very different from the one imagined for so long.
- Important and meaningful part of the adoption journey which requires maturity, preparation and guidance.
- Approval/consent from the birthparent/family, adoptive parents and the adoptee MUST be secured before contact and/or reunion with each other can be arranged.
- Actual reunion is done in close coordination with the ICAB, DSWD Field Office and/or the CCA.
- When a reunion is decided, preparations of all concerned must be carefully planned to avoid any possible negative experience.
- The decision and readiness of the adoptee and the birthfamily on whether to involve the significant person/s in their present lives must be considered.
- The timing and the approach to family members is very critical and incredibly important.
- The adoptee and birthparent/family must be given time and space to arrive at a decision of how their lives will move on after the reunion.
- Adoptee , adoptive parents and the concerned CCA are required to give feedback and impression pertaining to the reunion and clarifications on issues that emerged during the reunion.
RECORD KEEPING/DATA BANKING/DOCMENTATION
Inter-Country Adoption Board
DSWD Archive (Central Office and Field Offices)
NGO Child Caring Agency
Section 53. Records (IRR).- The application, together with all the records, documents, and communications relating thereto and its processes, shall be confidential. No copy thereof as well as any information relating thereto shall be released without written authority from the Board or the written request of any of the following:
a) the child/adopted person, with appropriate guidance and counseling, or his/her duly authorized representative, spouse, parent or parent or parents, direct descendants, or guardian or legal institution legally in charge of the adopted person, if minor;
b) the court or proper public official whenever necessary in an administrative, judicial or other official proceeding to determine the identity of the parent or parents or of the circumstances surrounding the birth of the child/adopted person; or
c) the nearest kin, in case of death of the child/adopted person.
“TODAY I CLOSE THE DOOR TO THE PAST,
OPEN THE DOOR TO THE FUTURE,
TAKE A DEEP BREATH,
STEP ON THROUGH
START A NEW CHAPTER IN MY LIFE!!”