On Monday I witnessed one of the best things, an adoption! The Barnes family traveled from Missouri to take home Arturo, Ericko, and Melvin! The whole morning we were anxiously awaiting their arrival. I was getting so excited for them as I watched them pack their belongings and listen to music while waiting for their family to get to Bethany. Their mom, dad, and brother Gerard came for the trip. Gerard is 13 years old and was adopted from the Philippines as well! He was such a cutie, and had a smile on his face the whole time. I learned that the Barnes family has 9 children in total now! They already had 4 adopted children from the Philippines.
The boys were quiet at first, as I cannot imagine what was going through their heads. It was a very overwhelming day for everyone! Their mom and dad were so loving, and they knew all of the right things to say. The twins understand some English, and Melvin just kept smiling. After their visit at Bethany, I accompanied them to visit the boys’ schools to say goodbye to their classmates. Then, they were on their way with their new family. They were going out to eat then going swimming for the rest of the day! They will be in the Philippines visiting for the remainder of the week before they return back to the US. I overheard the mom saying she brought 3 music players for them so they can listen to music on the plane! The boys loved listening to music on the CD player, singing, and playing the guitar. After I first met Mrs. Barnes, our conversation went like this, “Are you adopted from Korea!? Yes! South Korea!? Yes! Through Holt International Agency!? Yes! So you’re a Holt International adoptee?! Yes!” She excitedly explained that one of her sons was adopted through Holt International. When we were saying goodbye in the school parking lot, she gave me a great big hug and said, “I will hug you for your mom because I am sure she misses you a lot.”
Here is a family photo in the Bethany Chapel. From left to right: Mom, Gerard, Arturo, Melvin, Ericko, Dad
After we all departed, Sr. Analyn, Aurielle (a Bethany social worker), and I rode on a tricycle to Walter Mart. Sr. Analyn surprised us and treated us to Jollibee! It was a nice treat, she even got us ice cream for desert!
This past weekend, I visited the Dominican Sisters of St. Joseph’s Formation House in the countryside about an hour and a half drive from the Bethany House. Sr. Ellen and Sr. Analyn were going to visit a terminally ill Sister, Sr. Tes. Sr. Ellen really wanted me to go so I could see the Formation House, so I went. Despite the fact that I fell asleep on the ride both there and back, the scenery was beautiful! I also got to know 3 out of 7 of Sr. Analyn’s family sisters and her niece. They came for the ride as well because Sr. Tes grew up in the same village as Sr. Analyn’s family.
This is a picture of the scenery surrounding the Formation House. You can’t see the mountains in the distance, but they’re there.
This past weekend I also had my first successful laundry load without anybody laughing at me! At first, I would get laughed at because I didn’t know how to hand wash clothes according to their procedure. Let’s just say I don’t think I will complain about laundry ever again back home. I also recently tried some new foods! I had egg adobo which was basically a hard boiled egg cooked in adobo sauce. Adobo sauce is just soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic can be added for extra flavor. I had mung (pronounced mongo) beans which kind of reminded me of lentils. Except, here they are sometimes eaten as a snack and you add evaporated powdered milk and sugar. Odd combination, but I liked it. For breakfast, Filipinos eat champorado which is the Milo chocolate drink, milk, and rice. I also forgot to mention the popular condiment, patis. It is basically fish juice and salt and it is left to sit for 5-10 years until eaten. I’ve seen it be put on fish, tomatoes, and I also tried it on mangoes…not a fan. Monday afternoon, Tatay Fernando showed me a container of meat and said “dog”. Interesting enough, some people eat dog meat! He wanted me to try it, but I opted out.
Recently, I have been riding with the children to school each morning. I love waving and saying ‘have a great day, see you later’ to each one, and I think they really enjoy having someone to wave goodbye to. Here is Michael, Jenny Babes, and Rose Vihhl in the back of the van one day.
Speaking of school, on Monday night Sr. Analyn jokingly said ‘congrats!’ and shook my hand. I asked why and she said that Paolo told her he got a perfect score on is science quiz today that I helped him study for! I am so proud of him, he is so smart.
With the twins and Melvin’s adoption approaching this past weekend, I reflected on how special each and every child at Bethany is and how I wish every child were to be adopted. They are are all so loving, respectful, happy, and beautiful children. I ask some of them to express their dreams to me. I’ve gotten responses of teacher, nurse, cook, etc. and Gina said she wants to be ‘nice’ when she grows up! Anyways, each child deserves a family to love them, I wish I could adopt all of them! It’s going to be so very difficult leaving them. Leslie tells me everyday she doesn’t want me to leave because once I do she will have nobody to tell her feelings to.