I’m an adoptive father. My wife and I were trying to conceive, but things didn’t pan out the way we wanted them to. So, after years of trying to conceive our own child, we eventually decided to visit the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and try our luck in adopting.
But first you must know the whole thing's not a magical and quick moment certain films and TV shows depict it to be. Depending on specific situations and circumstances, the process may take several months or years. There’s no smiling social worker stamping approval letters and off you go with your new child. There is no awe-inspiring song-and-dance routine to be performed, and absolutely no tap dancing from me to impress the orphanage. Spank step, Flap step, Spank step, Flap step, arms up in the air, hold that pose, and smile! Nope, it doesn’t work that way.
What's there, though, is a hard knock life for you and your future child.
'Depending on specific situations and circumstances, the process may take several months or several years...There is no awe-inspiring song-and-dance, and absolutely no tap dancing from me to impress the orphanage'
I’m not trying to terrify you. I’m just simply stating the fact that if you and your spouse are interested in adopting a child, it will take a bit of elbow grease. There are papers to be filled up, lawyers and social workers to be met, and court hearings to attend. Yes, it takes some work. We were a bit afraid at first. But the people and staff at DSWD explained the process to us and really helped us out with whatever we needed.
Until that fateful day came where I had to go to DSWD because they found a candidate. My wife was out of town when DSWD called, so I had to go to their main office in Manila on my own. With so many thoughts flooding my head, my wife’s love in my heart, and a ton of encouragement from family and friends, I went to DSWD to take a look at the child’s file. As soon as I saw a photo of his little face peeking out from the pages of the file, I knew this was it. This would be a major tipping point in our lives.
Of course, I did the only thing a manly man would do in situations like this, I cried my eyes sore. The staff of DSWD grinned and beamed me a very warm smile. They probably see this type of thing every day, of every week, of every year that they’ve been working there.
Now, it’s been almost two years since that day. Little Z’s face has changed, he’s grown up a bit. But those beautiful eyes and that heart-melting smile of his still get me and my wife right there in the ticker. Obviously, taking care of my son now is a whole different story, so I won’t take up your time with that. What I want to do is share some details that may inspire you, in case you and your partner are thinking of adopting a child.
Hey, if you don’t want to have kids, that’s fine. God knows I’ve seen enough yellow and brown loaded diapers to realize that having children is a complete paradigm shift. It’s a lot of goddamn work. And I salute our parents for literally and figuratively putting up with our shit. But if there’s a chance that you may want to adopt, here are some good vibes and some details that you may want to know. Of course, these are just some observations that we’ve picked up along the way. For complete details on adoption, always rely on and refer to DSWD or a partner orphanage or foster home.
First of all the DSWD are good guys. Despite certain news you may find or what not, this agency is truly trying to do their jobs. DSWD will assign social workers to help your case. At a certain point during the adoption process, they will do a house visit. The social worker will study and analyze you and your partner or spouse, where you live, what your jobs are, who your relatives are, how you plan to raise your child, your opinions about adoption, and other matters.
For some people, it can seem a bit invasive, but you have to understand, this is to make sure that the family who’s going to be adopting the child they’re currently responsible for is a good family. They can’t just give the child to anyone. In this crazy world, you’ve seen the news and know that there are some incredibly evil people who would do harm to a child. This process will happen several times, so that DSWD can be sure about the child’s safety and well-being.
When our social worker visited us, we were nervous as hell. But I did observe her sincerity. She wanted to help us, or at least pursue a connection with a proper family. Remember, these social workers don’t get paid a lot. She commuted from other house visits and had to get load for her cellphone every now and then. She took a bus and a jeep and walked. We offered to pay for her cab ride, but she refused. She talked with us a bit and shared that there are so many children in need of adoption. She feels happy every time she gets to finally help a child find a good family. And in our case, she was very happy.
'There are a lot more things that you’ll find out along the way if ever you are ready to adopt your own child. It’s not easy, but then again, nothing ever is'
Secondly, your patience will pay off. The biggest cause of delay that we heard would be the paper work. Not coming from DSWD, but mostly from the applying parents. Either some papers would be incomplete, or just simply the laziness of some applicants causes the processing to sometimes never even start.
If you’re going to apply, please get organized. One of the other causes of a long and arduous adoption process would be the location of where you live. Usually, where you live is where you’ll end up having your court cases. And depending on that court and location, you have to consider the fact that some of them will have hundreds of cases before you. So that can and will affect your own case.
There’s also the choice of gender. Sometimes there is an abundance of male candidates, sometimes girls. When we applied, we initially inquired about adopting a girl. But we found out at the time waiting for a girl would be tougher*. So from there, we decided to go for a boy. And we’re super happy with Z.
There are a lot more things that you’ll find out along the way if ever you are ready to adopt your own child. It’s not easy, but then again, nothing ever is. But I guarantee, your patience will pay off.
I have one energetic son, and it takes an enormous amount of effort to take care of him. I have to chase him; he’s extremely quick for a three-year old. I have to change his diapers and pray to God he doesn’t shoot anything into my mouth, I have to make sure he eats well, gets enough sleep, and that he doesn’t drop kick my testicles like a crazed luchador. We’re just like any other family—adopted or natural. In fact, my wife and I oftentimes forget that Z is adopted.
It is as it should be. I love him like a father because that's what I'll always be to him.
*In another instance, a couple of months back, I found out that an old friend of mine had also applied for adoption. She and her husband inquired about getting a little girl, and at that time, it was the boys who were not so numerous. So they were able to happily adopt a healthy baby girl. Always, consult your lawyer and DSWD on these types of matters.