The ‘fulfilling’ process of legal adoption

Published February 14, 2021, 9:37 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

How unconditional love binds a couple and their adopted child

They say that no one can love you better than your mother. But, adoptive parent Monica Jimenez-Bigbig says otherwise— that even though it is not the same blood that runs in her veins and that of her adopted two-year old daughter, there is  this unconditional love that makes them one. 

PROUD ADOPTIVE PARENTS. Jeremy and Monica Bigbig are both 41 years old, and live in Mandaluyong City.

After bringing home their daughter last year, “How-does-it-feel now-that-you-are-an-adoptive-parent?” is the same, recurring question asked by people around her. 

“I always said I didn’t feel any different in terms of my identity or who I was, because I guess it’s really not about me anymore. I just have all this love for our daughter and a desire to give her the best life I can,” said Jimenez Bigbig, a lawyer.

“Sometimes I forget that she is adopted. She’s just our baby, period. And i guess this is a testament to how well the CWSG (Child Welfare Services Group) matches adoptive parents and children, because our daughter is so like me and my husband in personality and temperament. She really fits into our family,” she continued. 

The 41-year old adoptive mother from Mandaluyong City said she and her husband, Jeremy decided to adopt because they had not yet been blessed with a biological child.  

“After attending the DSWD seminar on adoption and seeing how many children are in need of parents, we knew we were making the right choice,” she said. 

The couple started the adoption process in May 2019 by attending the adoption seminar conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and were finally matched with their daughter in June 2020. 

According to Jimenez-Bigbig, for adoptive parents like her, the adoption process becomes a “sentimental” journey, given the frustrations and challenges encountered along the way. 

For hopeful adoptive parents, she shared the step-by-step processes that they have to undergo before bringing home their little angel. 
May 2019 —They attended the DSWD adoption seminar. 

June to August 2019-  They completed the requirements such as medical clearances, bank certificates, recommendation letters, among others. “This is also when we  determined the age and sex of the baby we would apply to adopt.” Sept. 2019 – The social worker went to their house to check where and how they live.

“We showed her where the baby would stay. There was also a thorough interview about each of us, our childhood, our families, our relationship, our finances, everything.”

May 2020 – The DSWD endorsed the couple’s application to the Child Welfare Services Group  for matching, but at the first conference where their profile was presented, they were not matched.

June 2020 – Their social worker informed them that they had been matched. The couple went to the DSWD as they were advised to read the child’s profile, which contained information  about the child’s history, personality profile, developmental assessment, some pictures, and a video.

“We decided right then and there that we would accept the match and signed the paperwork.”

July 2020 – They had to comply with some requirements before they could bring their baby home. “We took coronavirus disease (COVID-19) swab tests and submitted the updated medical certificates. We had to fill up more paperwork. Our baby also had to be tested for COVID and had to be cleared by a pediatrician before she was entrusted to us.”

During that time, Jimenez-Bigbig said they would have video calls with their daughter and her social worker so the baby could see them and hear their voices. 

“Finally, two  weeks after we were matched, we were allowed to pick up our baby. When we got to the child caring agency where she had been staying, we were met by the heads of the agency, her social worker, her doctor and house-mothers. They told us about our baby’s routine, what food she liked, how much milk to give her, what vitamins she was taking, etc. We signed a pledge to love our child for life.”

July to Sept 2020 – The Bigbigs had online video calls with their social worker so the latter could check on them and how well  their new family was adjusting.

December 2020 – The DSWD issued their Certificate of Consent to Adopt.
January 2021 – The couple  filed a petition for adoption in court, which is still pending, as of this writing.

“Ang pinakamahirap talaga for adoptive parents ay ‘yung waiting, ‘yung delay. Syempre may proseso na itinatakda ang batas at alam naman natin ang proseso,  susundan natin lahat yun, (What is really most difficult for adoptive parents is waiting, the delay. There’s process set by the law and we know the process, we have to follow them.),”  she said.  

“At a certain point, talagang wala na sa kamay ng  adoptive parents  ang proseso so kailangan na talagang maghintay, especially ngayong pandemic lalong namagnify ‘yung difficulties in that process (At a certain point, the process is not in the hands of adoptive parents so we really need to wait, especially this time of pandemic which magnified the difficulties in the process) ,” she added.

But, despite the  “agonizing” waiting  and arduous processes, their baby is worth the wait. 

“The first time I hugged our daughter, the first emotion I felt was relief. I was nervous about meeting her because I was worried that she might not like  me right away. I was so happy that she seemed to feel comfortable  enough to let me hold her,” Jimenez-Bigbig said.