For domestic adoption of Filipino children, Republic Act (RA) No. 8552, enacted in 1998, applies.
Under this law, the petitioners must show that they are physically fit to be adoptive parents, have no derogatory records, and are psychologically and emotionally fit to be parents of the adoptee. They must be at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, except when the adopter is the biological parent of the adoptee, or is the spouse of the adoptee's parent.
In certain cases, the requirements on three (3)-year residency and certification of the alien's qualification to adopt in his/her country may be waived for the following:
(i) a former Filipino citizen who seeks to adopt a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity; or
(ii) one who seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of his/her Filipino spouse; or
(iii) one who is married to a Filipino citizen and seeks to adopt jointly with his/her spouse a relative within the fourth (4th) degree of consanguinity or affinity of the Filipino spouse.
Either or both petitioners must show that they are gainfully employed and more than financially capable, as may also be shown by ownership of properties, enjoyment of pensions and/or having a business.
As a rule, husband and wife shall jointly adopt, except in the following cases:
(i) if one spouse seeks to adopt the legitimate son/daughter of the other; or
(ii) if one spouse seeks to adopt his/her own illegitimate son/daughter: Provided, However, that the other spouse has signified his/her consent thereto; or
(iii) if the spouses are legally separated from each other.
The following may be adopted:
(a) Any person below eighteen (18) years of age who has been administratively or judicially declared available for adoption;
(b) The legitimate son/daughter of one spouse by the other spouse;
(c) An illegitimate son/daughter by a qualified adopter to improve his/her status to that of legitimacy;
(d) A person of legal age if, prior to the adoption, said person has been consistently considered and treated by the adopter(s) as his/her own child since minority;
(e) A child whose adoption has been previously rescinded; or
(f) A child whose biological or adoptive parent(s) has died, subject to a six (6)-month prohibition from the time of death of said parent(s).
The written consent of the following to the adoption is also required:
(a) The adoptee, if ten (10) years of age or over;
(b) The biological parent(s) of the child, if known, or the legal guardian, or the proper government instrumentality which has legal custody of the child;
(c) The legitimate and adopted sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter(s) and adoptee, if any;
(d) The illegitimate sons/daughters, ten (10) years of age or over, of the adopter if living with said adopter and the latter's spouse, if any; and
(e) The spouse, if any, of the person adopting or to be adopted.
If applicable, the law of the country where either petitioner used to be a resident must allow the adoption of foreign children and will be given reciprocal rights to enter and reside in said country.
Finally, it is important that a court-designated social worker conduct and present the Child and Home Study Reports on petitioners and the adoptee, and recommend the approval of the petition for adoption by the trial court.