10 facts you should know about adoption

MANILA, Philippines -- One of the things topping the list of things Filipinos love and cherish most is family. Our definition of family extends well beyond the usual boundaries of marriage and having children. We have established familial ties with friends, neighbors, even co-workers. Knowing this, we can form a family through many ways, one of which is through adoption.

Adoption is defined as a socio-legal process of providing a permanent family to a child whose parents have voluntarily or involuntarily relinquished parental authority over the child. Abandoned and neglected children benefit the most from adoption.

"It is the duty of each Filipino to ensure that each Filipino child is cared for properly," said Dr. Stella Guerrero-Manalo, M.D., Child Protection Network Associate Director and Conference and Scientific Chair of Ako Para sa Bata (I Am For The Child) Manila Conference. "Instead of debating about the RH Bill, Filipinos should commit to caring for the existing abandoned and neglected children rather than "potential" children i.e. children not even conceived. Resources should be channeled to promoting adoption and foster care."

Nowadays, adoption is quickly becoming a more popular and accepted option in forming a family, thanks in part to the help of Hollywood celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Madonna. While interest in adoption is on the rise, there are still many myths surrounding it. Here are ten facts you should know about adoption:

1. Many birthparents who relinquished their child for adoption did not abandon their children but rather made a sacrifice to give their children a better life.

2. The adoption process is composed of 3 important groups of individuals: the individuals who are adopted, adoptive parents, and the birth parents.

3. Local adoption can be coursed through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF) or Norfil Foundation, Inc.

4. International adoption goes through Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB).

5. Individuals who are adopted need to know about their adoptive status as early as possible.

6. There is no significant difference in the psychological functioning between individuals who were adopted and those who were not adopted.

7. Adoption and foster care are much better alternatives for abandoned and neglected children. Young children are best nurtured in a family environment with a consistent caregiver rather than in an institution because it ensures better future cognitive and socio-emotional functioning.

8. The Adopted Child Syndrome (formerly used to explain the behavior problems of adopted children such as lying, stealing, attachment problems, defiance in authority and the likes) has been debunked by more recent studies such as Smit, 2001. It is not the adoption status that leads to behavioral and attitudinal problems but rather the child's feeling of being accepted or rejected by his or her family

9. Kinship adoption, wherein a child is adopted by a relative of either the birth parents, is a common practice in the country.

10. Simulated birth, a term used when adoptive parents register someone else's child as their own, is not a legal process of adoption and is not encouraged.

The process of adoption, challenges in current practices and experiences will be among the many issues discussed during the upcoming Ako Para Sa Bata (I Am For The Child) Manila Conference to be held at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Manila from December 5 - 7, 2011. Organized by the Child Protection Network Foundation (CPN), the three-day conference with the theme "Creating Safe and Caring Environments for Children" will tackle a wide range of topics including: media, sex and violence; proper media guidelines for children; family values in children; preventing child neglect and child endangerment; safety of children on the road, in public place and in organizations; caring homes; parent education; non-violence in the school; and safety in the field, in court or at home.

Interested delegates and sponsors may contact the Conference Secretariat, Child Protection Network Foundation c/o Ms. Tere Clemente at Tel. No. (632) 404-3954; Fax No: (632) 404-3955; or email manilacanconference@yahoo.com. You may also contact the Event Manager, Global-Link MP Events International Inc. c/o Ms. Melissa David at Tel. Nos.: (632) 750-8588 to 92 / 887-1304; Fax Nos.: (632) 750-8585/ 844-2882 or email manilaconference@globallinkmp.com for more information.

"At the end of the day, it should not matter if a child one brings into your family is your biological or adopted child as all children are from God and are just entrusted to our care for such a short time on this earth. What should matter is for the child to grow up in a safe and loving environment so they can develop into the best they can be. It is his/her well-being that should always be the number one concern," concluded Dr. Manalo.

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