Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sunday was Aubrey’s 6th birthday, but you’d be hard pressed to say when the cele-brations began or when they will end.

He started soccer on Saturday, had two versions of candles and cake on Sunday, went to the beach on Monday, and seems to have co-opted Halloween into his personal-centered universe today.

Happy birthday Aubrey!
Since Friday last week, we have had the sweet presence of Sheila Mae in our home. Her parents will arrive to pick her up on the 12th of November, so for a little while it's like having another child.

The boys have taken to calling her their little sister, and she's just been part of our family. She came with us to the beach for Aubrey's birthday and had a grand time playing in the surf and sand.

Not that it has necessarily helped us get more done in a day, but her happy chatter is a welcome boost of spirits. I woke up this morning thinking, 'I have a lot of important things to do today, but the most important thing I'm going to do is take care of Sheila Mae.'

Monday, October 22, 2007

This footage is of literally Christian's first contact with his family. We received a package this morning with a teddy bear, a photo album of his new family, a disposable camera, and this card:

To our darling little boy,

Welcome to our family. You are new to our family but have been growing in our hearts for a long, long time. We love you.

See you soon.


Mummy, Daddy + Criza


Saturday, October 20, 2007

It is wonderful to care for a family when their baby is being born. This morning two of our midwives had the pleasure of helping Alice and Romeo in the birth of their 4th child.
Little 6#4 oz Jade Hansen was born very quickly, which makes mom and midwives very happy. Shiphrah Bahay Paanakan has been blessed to assist in all four of Alice's births.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Christian is our Christmas baby. Just before Christmas last year, he came into the little children’s home. He was three weeks old then, and our prayer now is that he will join his new forever family in Australia before Christmas this year. Just a week ago we received the wonderful news that the family we matched him to has accepted him as their son.

They are good friends with the family who adopted Marijem from us earlier this year (see related story at, so the two will grow up in the extended tlc family. All we await now is the good news of a travel date for mom, dad and older sister.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Erikson's term for it is 'genera-tivity.' When I met with Edith today to discuss her plans for retirement she said, "If it comes time for me to leave the little children's home, you don't need to have a party for me. Instead, let's help those who really need it." And she told me about the dire situation of one of our workers' sister. Edna is Marivic's sister. Her husband died some years ago from an accident doing dynamite fishing off the shore of Cavite. This is hardly an honorific way to die, but Edith's concern was all for Edna and the children she is trying to support without a regular income. "She works very hard and has a good attitude," she said; "If you need to hire another employee, you should hire her."

When Edith was a young woman, she attended Bible School out of obedience to her eldest brother. "For Filipinos, the kuya is like a second father; I didn't want to disobey him." Gradually, she began to learn the Bible and to discern God's call on her life. She spent nine years working in the remote, mountainous regions of Camarines Norte, pioneering house churches where there were only very few established churches, far apart.

Then she describes a transitional experience in her life. She took care of a young girl who had an ovarian cyst and then died of cancer two years later. She is trained as a pastor and was closest to the girl who died, so the pastor in charge asked her to preach at the funeral. But she said, "I felt as if someone was choking me; I could not preach because I love her."

After going through a number of employment and ministry situations, she came to work with us in January of 1994 as a careworker. She will be obligated to retire in January this next year, after 13 years of service, because she is turning 65. I asked her what she feels God is calling her to now and she said, "God is not finished with me yet." She hopes to work again in church support. Many of her former students and associates are working in church leadership.

She described a dream she had while she was pioneering house churches in the Bicol mountains. It was kaingin, when people chop down the tall grass in preparation for planting crops. This has been the image of her life, preparing the soil for the work that God will do in the lives of others. How many children have first-experienced God's love for them in Edith's arms?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

We've known Norma for years. She's a well-known seamstress in the area and has sewn things for us on all sorts of occasions. Sara's dress for Joel and Jena's wedding. But now we have her and her husband (and his brother) making bags for the little children's home.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Timmie and Dawn, two of my students in Philosophy of Religion at Ateneo de Manila University, have just submitted their final contribution to the seminar. They are introducing us here to the ancient Greek, Xenophanes, and his thinking on the relationship between what we know and divine revelation. If theology captures for us an ideal and an impetus for our thinking, Xenophanes insists on grounding our speculation in the world as we experience it.

As expected, I have learned more than I thought I could possibly learn in a semester. And my students have been delightful. Thank you guys.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This blog is long over-due. But little Amber's new family is from right here in the Philippines. Many of you will have heard us talk about Amber. She came into the home two months premature, six months ago. She was extremely vulnerable and spent her first two months with us in isolation. (For two stories on her, see the following link to the HELP blog:

Mike and Winnie live in Cavite, just a bit south of Manila. We had them over for lunch and hope that we will get to see them again as they don't live as far away as most of you do.

An adoptive family is a big family. We feel, when a family comes here to take one of our children to their home, as if they are joining the team at the little children's home. Here are Marisa and Merlinda, Mamarlyn and Antonia, four of the caregivers who have been there for Amber since she was newborn. They are flanking Mike and Winnie who hold Amber now. (On the far right is Tara, the social worker with the Department of Social Welfare and Development who facilitated the match.) Welcome to the tlc family.

Amber's parents, Winnie and Mike, were able to join us at the little children's home for a seminar on infant massage. Cindy volunteered to teach our careworkers about listening to the signals a little ones is giving, and also how to stimulate and soothe them with massage. Of course, much of what she shared was very much a refresher, but our work is always evolving through education.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Here's a picture of Shiela Mae, just taken today. She's so beautiful.

She has been matched to a family in the United States for four months, and we are still waiting for her visa to come through so they can come pick her up.

Our heart goes out to her and to her new family, waiting so long to be united for the first time. Shiela Mae will be the last of her 'batch' to go to her forever home. Angeline and David are already blessed to be in their new homes.

'God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing' (Psalm 68:6).