It’s different strokes for different folks, but there are lessons on love that adoptive parents know best.
For one couple, it’s worth asking first: Are you going to adopt a child just to fill a void?
“Don’t do it if you just want to fill some emptiness in your life. A child will not do that. My wife and I did not feel incomplete. We decided to adopt one because we love each other…(and) would like to have someone to pour the love into or it just might go to waste,” said Marvin Narvaez, a math teacher and now a proud father of a baby girl from an orphanage in Cebu province.
Be willing to “love unconditionally” even if you don’t get to choose the child up for adoption, according to another couple.
“We took a leap of faith—and then fell in love with the child,” said Nenita Santos, who got her 2-year-old daughter from an orphanage after a “matching process” done by a third party.
These insights were shared during a forum held recently in Taguig City by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Inter-Country Adoption Board (Icab) and McCann Erickson Philippines.
February being the month of hearts, Icab executive director Bernadette Abejo urged couples and even individuals “to share their life and love with an adoptive child.”
Another parent supporting Icab’s advocacy, Sen. Pia Cayetano, shared her story about losing her 9-month-old son to a rare congenital disorder, adopting another, and then raising this new kid along with her two biological daughters.
Cayetano, who has been separated from her husband for eight years, said she was thankful that her brood of three got along quite well. “He is my son in every way. My girls love him. They’re like, ‘Are you crazy? Of course, he’s our brother,’” she said during the forum.
Married eight years ago, Narvaez and his wife had remained childless until this 10-month-old girl from Cebu came along.
“She immediately embraced me. She really wanted me to be her father,” an emotional Narvaez said, recalling his first encounter with the child. “We are so happy to be with her and we look forward to the experiences we are going to have together.”
Santos, who came to the forum with her 2-year-old Felice, recalled the tedious process she and her husband had gone through before the child ended up on her lap.
The whole affair took them about a year and thousands of pesos in fees to complete. “There were so much details required. Everything was scrutinized. But then we realized that it was all for the child’s protection, so we just submitted to it,” she said.
Santos said they were “shocked” when told by Kaisahang Buhay Foundation that they would not be choosing the child themselves. Instead, they will be “matched up” by a third party.
“What if there is no spark?” she said. “But we just took a leap of faith—and then fell in love with the child.”
“It’s the true test if you are willing to love unconditionally and willing to say yes, whoever that child is,” she said.
Mike Tripp, a Christian missionary worker, explained: “The matching process is a blind path. There must be a commitment to love the child that God gives.”
Tripp and his wife have a child of their own and two—one from the Philippines and the other from Kazakhstan—who were adopted. The Filipino child was a survivor of the 2009 killer storm “Ondoy” from Marikina City while the Kazakh was described as a child with special needs.
In a statement, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman said more parents like them should come out to help remove the “stigma” still being attached to adoption.
Santos agreed. “We’re not ashamed to say Felice is adopted. We’re proud.”
Tripp said adoption is a concept discussed in the children’s books that he and his wife use in their ministry.
He offered a simple yet poignant way of putting it: “Some children are born from the tummy, some from the heart.”