BAGUIO CITY – “Let us show her love so that when the time comes that she finds out that she is adopted, she will not turn her back from us,” Shirley* shared as her child sat in her lap.
This was the agreement that Shirley and her husband had when they finally became Joana’s parents.
Shirley worked in Singapore where she met her husband William. Though of different cultural background, the couple was united in faith. They got married in 2004. After a year, Shirley and William decided to leave Singapore and live in the Philippines to start their own family.
However, after six years of marriage, the couple remained to be childless. This affected the couple’s relationship.
“Minsan bad ang temper niya. Kapag nag-aaway kami, walang pansinan,” Shirley shared.
But God already had a plan for the couple. Soon after, they were blessed with a child.
Being an operator of common carriers, Shirley was asked by their church pastor for assistance to ferry a pregnant woman to the hospital who was about to give birth.
“Nasabi ng babae na problema niya kung papano bubuhayin ang ipapanganak niya na bata. Dalawa na kasi ang anak niya Shirley shared.
With the circumstance, Shirley’s prayer to have a child was answered.
It was on 25 October 2012, when Shirley and William’s child arrived in their home. At that instant, the couple fell in love with their little girl.
They have become the loving parents of Joana. However, it was in 2015 that the couple decided to formalize their role through the process of foster care.
Foster care is the temporary placement of a child in an adoptive home. Foster care aims to provide temporary, planned, and substitute family for a child whose family or relatives cannot take care of him/her. It also enables a child to experience family life and to prepare her/him for re-unification with her/his biological family or other appropriate permanent type of placement through local or foreign adoption.
“She is a blessing. She is a joy. Noong wala pa siya, yes, we are husband and wife. Pero ngayon, we are family”, Shirley shared.
Even their relationship as husband and wife has developed. “Nakakahiya sa bata kapag makita niya kaming nag-aaway. Kaya imbes na mag-away kami, nagbabati na lang kami,” Shirley added.
“Ang laki rin ng pinagbago ng asawa ko. Naging mas responsable pa siya. Ang laki ng pagbabago kapag may bata sa pamilya. Ang saya namin ngayon,” she highlighted.
After a year under foster care, Shirley and William are now undergoing the process of adopting Joana. Unlike foster care, adoption gives all the legal right of a biological child to the adopted child.
Adoption will provide a permanent family for Joana. “Ibinigay siya ng Diyos sa amin”, Shirley said.
This year’s theme for the adoption consciousness week celebration highlights the importance of making unconditional love for homeless children permanent through adoption as the theme goes “Pagmamahal palaganapin, legal na adoption gawin natin!”
Unlike Joana, there are still children in centers and institutions who are longing to experience unconditional love that only parents can give.
“We encourage couples or individuals who have a genuine interest to share their love with these children. Our Department is open to assist them in any way that we can. We hope that more develop the willingness to share their unconditional love to these children who need it the most through foster care and adoption,” DSWD-CAR Regional Director Janet P. Armas said.
Unlike adoption, foster care does not involve a legal process. The process for foster care involves the application of interested individuals and preparation of home study report by the social worker. The report and basic requirements shall then be assessed for the approval or disapproval of the application. Upon approval, a foster family care license is issued. Matching will also be done to judiciously pair a child to a foster parent based on the capacity and commitment of foster parents. A Foster Care Committee will recommend for the issuance of a Foster Placement Authority to the foster parents. This will be followed by the placement of the child to the foster family.
Individuals who are interested in adoption and foster care may visit the Adoption Resource and Referral Section at SN Oriental Building, Leonard Wood Road, Teachers Camp, Baguio City.
This year, the country observed the Adoption Consciousness Week celebration on 11-19 February with the theme “Pagmamahal Palaganapin, Legal na Pag-aampon Ating Gawin! (Spread Unconditional Love through Legal Adoption)”. The celebration aims to promote legal adoption as a means of providing compassion and unconditional love to abandoned, neglected, and surrendered children.
By Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva