Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Can a lesbian adopt?

One of the more interesting cases I handled was that of a lesbian sought to adopt her four year old female ward.
She has been taking care of the little girl for three years already since the biological mother, a G.R.O. abandoned the child, while the father unemployed, refused to recognize the child as his.
I told the lesbian in jest, "You know what, if we file this petition, the judge might think you intend to make the little girl as your future girlfriend."
The client replied, "No. Attorney, I just want to legalize this relationship of mother and child."
So can lesbian adopt?
The answer is yes.
In adoption there is one basic guiding principle: it must always be for the best interest of the child.
So, as long as the petitioner possesses the qualifications in the law, and the court is convinced that granting the adoption is for the best interest of the child under the circumsntances, whether lesbian or not, the adoption will be granted.
First, let's be a little academic. The domestic adoption law (Republic Act No. 8552) enumerates the qualifications of those allowed to adopt:
"Any Filipino citizen of legal age, in possession of full civil capacity and legal rights, of good moral character, has not been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude, emotionally and psychologically capable of caring for children, at least sixteen (16) years older than the adoptee, and who is in a position to support and care for his/her children in keeping with the means of the family"
Yet even if the petitioner has all these qualifications, still, the court will have to be convinced that granting the adoption will redound to the best interests ofthe child.
The problem with the situation was that the lesbian was trying to adopt a female child.
So the court was understandably suspicious.
As a matter of fact, after I presented the social worker to testify, the judge threw the first question (before the cross examination by the fiscal).
In abooming and commanding voice, the judge asked the social worker: "Did you ever consider the fact that the petitioner here is a lesbian?"
The social worker meekly answered "Yes, your honor"
The judge retorted, "And then?"
Sensibly, the social worker said "Under the circumstances your honor, to recommend adoption was for the best interst of the child."
So there is no legal impediment for a person with a unique gender-preference to adopt.
It is just that such kind of peitioner would have more obstacles to hurdle, and would have more convincing to do.
I liked this case. Its one of the more fulfilling cases.
It was challenging because it required extra effort, some hard work, and drama.
It was fun.

1 comment:

Jasper said...

Nice blog and great article! I was planning to adopt someday and this helps!

Keep on writing and I'll keep on reading. ^_^