Supporting their youth: Annual Adoption Consciousness Week in the Philippines

Known as the deadliest typhoon on record in Philippine history, Haiyan (November 2013) is believed to have taken the lives of more than 6,000 people, and bodies are still being located months later. 

Numerous children were separated from their families as a result of the devastating typhoon, many of whom are "known" orphans as a result of the documented deaths of their parents/caregivers. 

A signatory to The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the Philippines allows international adoption of abandoned, neglected, and/or special needs children. Approximately 200 children each year are adopted from the Philippines by American families; the numbers are similar for British and Australian families.

However, despite the devastation, the Philippines is demonstrating the resiliency of its people. The government is turning to its own citizens, encouraging them to consider fostering and/or adopting these orphans in order for them to remain in their home country if possible.

Through awareness and marketing campaigns that coincide with annual Adoption Consciousness Week (February 15-23), it is hoped that several of the children known to be orphaned will find homes. Free legal aid will be offered to prospective adoptive families to assist in completing their adoptions.

In addition, the government has established a Rapid Family Tracing and Reunification Program to help those children who do have living relatives locate their family members and reunite with them.