Tuesday, September 25, 2007

This year's 'Global' Inter-national Adoption Conference was held at Tagaytay, the beautiful provincial town overlooking Taal volcano.

It is a very important conference for the meeting of local child-caring agencies with inter-national adoption agencies. We work together all the time, but usually from opposite sides of the ocean; so it's good to get together and discuss our objectives and how things are going.

Sara and Deborah tag-teamed, and had an excellent time of learning and spending time together.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yesterday was a busy day. In the morning, Deborah had a meeting in Cubao on adoption with Spain, and the boys and I entertained visitors from the US Embassy Club at the baby home and birthing home.

In the afternoon we met up with Deborah downtown and went to visit Ian (aka "Dave's") adoptive family down in Makati before they flew out today.

That took us through one of our favorite intersections. There's a traffic enforcer there who literally can't stop dancing. I've literally never seen him standing still. He's famous; while we were there (may the encouragements never cease) someone drove by and handed him an envelope; he opened and it and read it, still dancing, in the middle of the road.

Auden was sleeping but Aubrey and I enjoyed the show. He said, 'Dad, if I'm a policeman when I grow up, I'm going to be a dancing policeman. Or if I'm a tracker (an unusual but popular future career choice recently), I'm going to be a dancing tracker.'

'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as unto the Lord' (Colossians 3:23).

Saturday, September 15, 2007

No one said parenting was easy, but starting out on a day when your first child, already 14 months old, has just been diagnosed with bronchitis--that might be a little brave, even by the standards demanding standards known as 'mom' and 'dad.'

In this case, though, the parents were not only heroic, but also supported by extended family. Verna is from Albay, here in the Philippines, so her mother and older sister were here to help.
No one balks at experience, and when it comes in such a helpful package, you want to honor it as a gift from God.

Doug is a cheerful New Yorker, who is going to punctuate most everything Ian (aka Dave) is ever going to do with throaty laughter.

We had a great time with the new family. Just a few hours out our way, and then a 'last supper' of sorts last night down near the hotel where they stayed before flying out today.
We never seem to accept as mundane this miracle of a family coming together for the first time. This picture, for the unititiated, is Jhett (right), or social worker, and Jacquie, from Chosen Children, completing the paper work for the adoption with a smiling dad.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

One of the very first situations I became involved with when I came here almost sixteen years ago now, was trying to get a surgery for a little girl who was born with a heart condition. The surgery came through just a few days before Deborah and I were married, almost two years after I arrived. Her name is Anna Pauline Ludovice (right), and she's now a senior in high school. Her mother, Agnes (second from the left) came to work at the little children's home some time after that. We met Agnes' mother today. She came for the wedding of her grand-daughter, Arlene. The two little girls are Aira, Arlene's daughter, and Eila, Agnes' youngest.

We went first to the Municipio, and then to a friend's house for the reception. Small-town Filipino culture was in full swing: narrow streets, decorated for fiesta. Look at the snarl of electrical wires curtaining the power pole over the reception cite.
You would have to utterly cynical not to enjoy the startling beauty created out of the simplest materials.
The kitchen.
The staff.
The rings.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Rosemarie and Merlinda ("Len-Len"), care-workers from the little children's home, attended a one-week intensive on first-response first aid from the Red Cross this week.

Our good friend, Tricia, was able to arrange funding through the American Women's Club of the Philippines. This helps us to do something that we have needed for a long time.

Len-Len is the heroic, solo mother of Angie (8) and Daniel (almost 2). Angie is severely handi-capped, but Len-Len has faced her challenges with such courage and wit. She is one of our star caregivers at the little children's home, known for her cheerfulness and constant engagement with the children.

With all of her accomplishments, it came as a surprise to me that she was not able to pass the examination at the end of the Red Cross training. On the other hand, she was not able to study beyond the sixth grade because of family circumstances, and has always struggled with reading and writing very slowly.

Her competence with the children at the little children's home is truly honorable, however, and we would like to give her another chance to complete the Red Cross training. Her pluck and her emotional intelligence are more than match--with a little study help--for any challenge that will come her way.

Because of the struggles she had with this seminar, she has enrolled herself in a Saturday program to finish her high school.

The picture above is from her birthday, which we just got home from. She lives across the street from our home in a special home for solo mothers and their children called Shepherd's Home. Two of her sisters live there as well, and we also celebrated her niece, Micah's, first birthday tonight (thick glasses in the upper right-hand corner).

Lordes, Micah's mother, came to Manila seven months ago to get cataract surgery for Micah. But when they arrived, they quickly learned that Micah's problems are a lot more critical than they had thought. Due to a heart condition, she weighs a scant 8lbs on her first birthday. She is now on a waiting list and, if the money comes in, will be able to have heart surgery in January.

I was talking with my mother on Skype! the other day and she reprimanded me for something that fits nicely here. A while ago, I told you about a young nursing student who we tried to raise money for to help with her tuition. Someone who read the blog, sent in money for Cindy as a birthday present to her father. Another family sent a second gift, and together we were able to get her though the first year. Now she has a scholarship from the mayor's office for the second year and is working at a department store for her extra-tuition costs.

It's encouraging to think that this blog can help to change people's lives. If you will, please remember little Micah in your prayers.