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Love Knows No Limits

* To maintain the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, their names were changed.

It is easy to love people when things are going well, and the outlook seems rosy all the time. When things and circumstances turn for the worse however, so is the attitude and the lack of love that is apparent. This makes Jhun and Marie’s story impressive.

The couple has been living for four years together but were not blessed with a child. Despite this, they made efforts to try to build their own house hoping that it will be ready in time for a child that could complete their lives. They purchased a land and though their house was eventually made with light materials, the couple aspired to one day build a house worthy of the family that they aspire to have.

But Christmas came early one day six years ago, when Jhun was given a newborn child from a mother who, fearing she wouldn’t be able to provide for the needs of her baby, decided to give the child to a couple that would be able to.

“Masaya ako nung una ko siyang makita. Naramdaman ko agad na siya na yung hinihintay namin para mabuo pamilya namin,” Marie recalled.

The child who became the embodiment of all the couple hopes and dreams for, eventually filled the gaps missing from the couple’s marriage. They became the child’s foster parent with the assistance of DSWD.

“Anak na ang turing ko sa kanya noong una ko pa lamang siyang makita. Minahal na namin siyang agad,” Jhun added.

But the positivity and the radiance that the child brought somehow turned to challenges later, however. The child experienced illnesses such as Acute Respiratory Infection at just 7 months old, Atopic Dermatitis at 3 years of age, Impetigo at 4 and again at age 6 and Pneumonia at 5 years in addition to all the normal sicknesses that a child experience. The couple nonetheless took these as opportunities to develop as parents and not a blockade in line with DSWD’s mission of protecting the vulnerable and the disadvantaged.

As if these experiences weren’t already enough, the child was diagnosed with Gross Developmental Delay at just 11 months. For ordinary individuals, the news would’ve been devastating specially in a culture that prefers perfection in almost everything, even the children that we care for. But not for Jhun and Marie. They considered the diagnosis as a temporary setback in their road to happiness and contentment.

The couple started bringing the child to twice a week physical therapy at the Cagayan Valley Medical Center (CVMC). Years of therapy bear fruit as the parent’s determination led to incremental development in the child’s motor function. At 16 months, the child could already hold her bottle with her hands unassisted. At 32 months, she developed even further by being able to raise her hands, achieve head control and sit with some support.

“Hindi natin mapipili ang mga nangyayari sa atin. Yung sitwasyon namin kay Angel, tinatanggap namin ng buo dahil ito ang binigay ng Diyos sa amin. Biyaya siya sa amin. Mamahalin namin siya at aalagaan sa abot ng aming makakaya,” Jhun said.

At 4 years of age, she was brought to a Stimulation and Therapeutic Activity Center (STAC) after referral by a social worker to continue her therapy. At five years of age, the child was able to minimize the use of her wheelchair and shifted to using a stationary chair instead. Now at six years old, the child still relies on her parents when being fed. She also still cannot indicate her bladder and bowel needs and still unable to dress and undress herself.

Despite all these challenges, the parents are hopeful because their love for their foster child is greater than the problems they face. They make sure to work together to give all the needs of their child. Making them stronger is the fact that the child can now utter words such as mama, papa and dede. She also shows cognitive development by being able to identify colors, shapes, numbers and animals by pointing.

They are also preparing for the future of the child as they started a small broiler buy-and-sell business in 2016. The couple jointly manages their business and hopes to one day expand their business to include home-for-rent opportunities.

“Gusto ko po na gamitin yung lupa na nabili namin para magpatayo ng bahay na pwede naming ipaupa sa iba. Sa ganoong paraan, mas makakaipon kami para sa kinabukasan ng aming anak,” Marie said.

The Road Ahead

With the help of the Adoption Resource and Referral Section (ARRS) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 02 (DSWD FO2), the couple are now finalizing all the documentary requirements to process the legal adoption of the child. Ms. Rosario Corpuz, Social Welfare Officer II and Head of the ARRS, said that the diligence of the couple in meeting the requirements needed would lead to the swift processing of the adoption.

“Nakikita natin yung pagpupursige nila para maibigay ang mga kailangan para sa adoption. Kapag nakumpleto lahat ito, maaari na nating maipasa para maproseso na ang kanilang adoption,” Ms. Corpuz said.

Aside from the legal requirements for adoption, the couple capacitates themselves to improve their rearing skills, with Marie recently attending the National Training on Capability Building for Foster Parents in Davao City last July 24-27, 2018.

“Natutunan ko sa training kung papaano alagaan ang mga batang kagaya ni Angel. Mas naiintindihan ko na ngayon yung mga kailangan niya kaya ako ay masaya na napasali ako sa training. Magagamit ko ito para sa preparasyon ko para sa adoption kay Angel,” Marie said.

With the couples’ continued development as parents, their plans for adopting the child moves one step closer to becoming a reality as the days pass. Indeed, love knows no limits.

This post was written by:

- who has written 102 posts on DSWD Field Office 2 Official Website.

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