Adoption? Why Not? Love Sees Beyond Differences

Just came from a worthy lunch spent with people who willingly shared their stories on adoption; what made them decide to adopt, the paperwork, the struggles and the love and joy of having an adopted child, and being an adoptive parent.

When I was not yet married (marrying age), I considered adopting a child (because I did not see myself getting married then.) But  it was only part of the daydreams and all ideals. Reality is, there's still stigma when it comes to adoption despite a lot of telenovela/soap we see on television/movies featuring an adoption issue where a child is adopted and the predicament would be the child finding the truth, how to tell him, and all the myriads of it. This is why The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) with the help of McCann Erickson Philippines have come up with an adoption advocacy, Love Sees Beyond Differences which aims to soften the stigma on adoption so that more and more people would adopt a child. With this campaign, adoptive parents are encouraged to come out, be brave to show and tell the world of their stories, that is okay to adopt, it is not that expensive, though it may take time waiting to get a profile match with a child, but the rewards and benefits of having a child and sharing the love are countless.

Nanette Santos and daughter Felice
Adoptive parent, Nanette Santos shared her story as follows:

F = Family. "With Felice now with us, we are now called a family."
E = Emotional bonding. "My husband and I were raised from different families so we have our own way of doing things. But we need to adjust to the situation where our daughter is. A simple feeding task, for instance is a challenge. Trying different strategies to get our daughter to eat and succeeding resulted to so much emotional bonding."
L= Love. "We were shocked when we found out we don't get to choose the child we would adopt. There is a process called profile matching. Some concerns were, "What if there is no connection when we see each other? By leap of faith and entrusting everything to God, we fell in love with Felice the first time we saw her."
I= Identity. "From husband and wife, we are now Daddy and Mommy."
C= Communication. "We always tell Felice that she is adopted even if she doesn't understand it yet. We tell her, "Felice, are you happy with us?" Of course for her age her answer is always a NO. (laughed)  We are in constant communication with Kaisahang Buhay Foundation which through them we were able to find Felice from the White Cross Orphanage."
E = Enormous joys and rewards. "Felice brings so much happiness to us."

Marvin Narvaez, adoptive parent to less than a year old child.
"My wife and I are happily married for eight years. We've also undergone some fertility tests but to no avail. One time we saw a banner of Adoption Awareness Week in an MRT station and we thought to ourselves to consider adopting.We decided to adopt because there is so much love in us.I would not advise adopting if the reason is you just want to complete an emptiness in your relationship because a child can never fill that emptiness. You have to be complete as a person yourself. I was overwhelmed  when I saw my daughter at the airport. She was happy seeing me and carrying her."- Marvin Narvaez

Mike Tripp, adoptive parent to 2 children.
"All adopted children are special-need children. We have three children, two adopted and one biological. Our first adoption was a long process because at that time there was still no diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and Kazakhstan. When you adopt, you have no full control so you just need a lot of faith and trust in God. Our second adoption is still in process. It was more of a rescuing and fostering an abandoned child at first during Ondoy typhoon. But then my wife and I decided to adopt her." - Mike Tripp

Another superb couple is Craig and Jennifer Logan. They are adoptive parents to two children. Even if they have so much struggles in taking care of a special child, who is under a lot of therapies, they still welcomed another child, Ashlyn (a very cheerful child) to their family. When asked if they look forward to adopting more, the answer was yes, and they want five or six children. Craig, after a short story of how Justin has survived despite the illnesses mentioned a Bible verse, "Whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me."- Mark 9:37

Senator Pia Cayetano and son Lucas
Senator Pia Cayetano also shared her story on adoption. She has two daughters and lost a son (9 months old.) When she took office in public service she was already separated with her husband. Before she decided to adopt a child she consulted it first with her daughters. Her eldest was okay with it but it took time (she respected that much) for her youngest to finally say yes. She also noted that even if she is an advocate to RH Bill doesn't mean she is not busy advocating other cause, like adoption. "Everyone in the house/family welcomed and love Lucas." she happily stated.

Rafael Tinio, a board member of ICAB proudly shared his story on adoption. It was an invitation to become a foster parent in 1986. He has seven children, three adopted and four biological. He joked, he seemed to like adopting every three years. His two adopted daughters have finished college and the other one is graduating this year. He ended, "With seven children comes seven different problems but the joy and happiness is multiplied by seven."

The Adoption Process

For local adoption, it would take about two weeks (as the adoptive parents shared) to fill out some forms, complete and submit the required documents and you will just have to wait for a profile match with a child. For inter-country adoption, it could be a little longer as there are several steps involved, to ensure child protection. For more detailed information you can check out DSWD and ICAB's websites.

The Role of ICAB

ICAB was created by Republic Act 8043 and designated as the Central Authority on issues relating to inter-country adoption of Filipino children. A majority number of Filipino adoptive children are now living is the US and Europe and about a thousand foreign families are in the waiting list of ICAB. The adoption of orphans is not pre-identified, the child to be adopted can not be chosen by the adoptive parents. There is a judicious pairing of the child with the adoptive parent.

The Adoption Song

I love You, Anak, the adoption advocacy song composed by McCann Erickson Philippines, was sung by famous song writer and singer Ogie Alcasid, who also volunteered to help with this campaign. He has a US-based sister married to an American and the couple is now in the process of adoption. Music is so powerful and with the song, the advocacy hopes to get the message across, to open our minds on how we perceive things, like adoption, and that despite the differences, let us see, share and give love.

Sharing the Love

I almost memorized the song, I love You, Anak by playing it a few times. I even sing this to put my 2 year old to sleep. I was given a complimentary audio CD that I'd like to share with you and I'm shipping it free anywhere in the Philippines. Just comment below with your name and email address and share with me your thoughts on adoption. I will raffle off via random on December 25, 2012.

Spreading the Love

I was holding back my tears hearing the stories of the courageous parents. I salute them not only for the decision to adopt a child, who is not related to them by blood, but most of all for coming out bravely and telling the whole world the happiness and joy, the ups and downs, it brings to have an adopted child. Husband and I might consider adopting in the future because we want many children. For now, what I can do to help with the advocacy is to open my mind and share this with others. I hope that this campaign would be a success so that many orphans would have a Merry Christmas, less and less of them in the Child Caring Centers or who knows there would be no more of them but happy families?
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