As read on the Bible, under the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 7, “Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.” Last Friday, through testimonies and storytelling, I was able to witness this kind of love at the Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street. It was the launch of the “I Love You Anak” eBook, the first ever Filipino written and illustrated eBook on adoption launched by the DSWD and ICAB as part of “Love Sees Beyond Differences” adoption advocacy campaign.
The eBook consists of 7 heart-warming stories, colorfully illustrated to capture the attention of every kids. It is a great tool for adoptive parents in telling their adopted kids that they were, adopted. There’s a lot of stigma in relation to adoption, especially in the Philippines. We have heard stories one way or another, of an adopted child going rebellious upon learning the truth of his or her place in the family. And sometimes, they get taunted just because they were adopted. This causes a lot of stress to both to parents and the child.
“Love Sees Beyond Differences” is an advocacy campaign led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Inter-country Adoption Board (ICAB) and McCann Philippines. It is aimed to lessen the stigma on adoption. The goal is to educate families, communities, the media and the society and encourage more Filipino families to consider adoption. This is also to inspire families with adopted child or children to be open in declaring their love. “I Love You Anak” eBook is another step into that direction.
At the event, in a lovely bedroom setting for kids, we listened to Juju, Looloo & Baby Wuwu as told by Ms Nanette Santos. Celebrity Ms Miriam Quiambao read Mummy & Hunny Bunny to everyone, while Ms Janet Villa shared Baby Circle. We also heard the Room Full of Gifts as told by Teacher Mariel. Ms Georgina Angsato took on Destiny’s Delivery while the Case of the Missing Smile was read by Mr Mike Tripp. Lastly, we learned about Juana Bee courtesy of the storytelling by Ms Bituin Callanta. Each story is unique, but as a whole, it tells the story of being different, acceptance, joy and love, among others. I’m sure kids will enjoy hearing these stories over and over again.
We learned about the experiences of two adoptive parents. Kaisahang Buhay Foundation Board Member Ms Lisa Moran shared how she started telling one of her daughter that she was adopted. She encourages adoptive parents to let go off the fear in telling the child the truth. She realized it’s time to start talking about it when her daughter started asking where she came from. As the kid grew older, the questions went deeper and because she was able to establish a relationship of love from the very start, it became easier to deal with. Ms Moran pointed out that telling the truth to the adoptive child is not just a one time event. I totally agree with that statement as parents need to explain things thoroughly, as if holding the adopted child by the hand so that the situation would be easier to grasp. Today, Ms Moran’s adopted daughter is 25 years old and willingly shares her real status with confidence, self-assurance and boldness.
The CEO of Salt & Light Ventures, Mr Ardy Roberto is also an adoptive parent to his now 5 year old son, Joshua, whom they adopted when the boy was only 6 months old. He echoed Ms Moran’s point about love. He shared 4 easy to remember pointers when telling the child that he or she is adopted, all based on the acronym of the world LOVE. L stands for Light: Mr Roberto shared that at the point when his son is able to understand stories, he started talking about adoption and he talked about it in a light manner. The truth about being adopted is a serious thing and kids couldn’t readily understand the situation. O stands for open heart: The adoptive father noted that one should pray really hard that the adopted child be granted an open heart when the time comes that the truth would be revealed. The letter V stands for Voice – simply put, share the story of the child’s adoption with a voice of tenderness and love. He explained that the words during the discussions won’t be remembered, but the feeling of being loved will. Lastly, E stands for eyes – telling everyone in attendance that parents should connect with their eyes when telling the truth. And make sure that the eyes expresses love to the child.
Meanwhile, Mr John Valeria, Don Bosco Pre-School Guidance Counselor, reiterated the importance of telling the adopted child the truth at the early stage of his childhood rather than when the kid is already an adolescent. He shared one experience where the adoptive parents delayed in revealing the truth to an adopted son to the point that it was revealed by somebody else. The parents ended up having to deal with the issue and the boy not finishing high school. Mr Valeria pointed out that kids in their teenage years are encountering identity crisis and being told that they were adopted is definitely devastating. Adoptive parents should be aware that doing so will only add fuel to the fire and will have to face unfavorable consequences.
With the “I Love You Anak” eBook, revealing the truth while expressing love to the adoptive child would definitely be easier to take on. These were written and designed by the creative team of McCann Philippines and published by Flipside. The publisher’s VP and General Manager Ms Honey de Peralta was present during the launch. Ms de Peralta explained that the eBook will soon be available in hard copies, but they decided to publish the eBook first as the material can be easily accessed by many people regardless of where they are in the world. The electronic copies can be downloaded free of charge from I Love You Anak website.
Kudos to the DSWD, ICAB and McCann for the “I Love You Anak” eBook which such a wonderful project. Now every adoptive parent can show how love sees beyond differences, and every adoptive child can face the world with pride in their hearts knowing that they are loved.