MANILA, Philippines—Most orphaned or abandoned Filipino children who are put up for adoption remain in social welfare institutions.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said the stigma associated with adopted children was apparently holding back interested families from adopting.
“There are so many children in orphanages and other child-caring agencies waiting to be adopted. But families hold back on adoption because of its stigma,” Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said at the launch of a campaign dubbed, “Love Sees Beyond Differences.”
This year alone, nearly 500 children were declared legally available for adoption. But only 62 were adopted by Filipino families, according to the DSWD.
The DSWD and the Inter-Country Adoption Board (Icab) have recently partnered with PR giant McCann Philippines for an advocacy campaign to try to erase the stigma on adoption and inspire families to open their homes to orphaned or abandoned children.
She said the campaign hopes to change the mind-set of Filipinos about adoption and encourage families to open their homes to adoptive children.
“We have long sought to undertake a communications campaign to give a new, more relevant perspective to legal adoption. Now the Department together with Icab and McCann Erickson has finally made this possible,” she added.
From January to Nov. 15 this year, the DSWD issued certificates for 457 children declaring them legally available for adoption.
Twenty-four children were matched to local families.
The DSWD said 38 other children who were legally declared up for adoption in past years were also matched this year to local families.
Central to the advocacy campaign is the song “I love you Anak” sang by Ogie Alcasid, an adoption advocate whose US-based sister and American brother-in-law are currently going through the process of adopting a Filipino child.
Raul Castro, chief executive officer of McCann Worldgroup, said their latest advocacy campaign shows their commitment to promote positive values that will help transform lives.
John Boren, president of Adoptive Families Foundation Inc., said keeping adoption secret from the adopted child as well as family and friends lead adoptive families to live a lie.
Their group helps adoptive families during and after the process of adoption deal with issues while encouraging them to share their stories and inspire other families to adopt.