BATASAN COMPLEX, Quezon City (DWDD) – Frail, sickly, and with special needs – these were the words that came to Estrella’s mind when she she first laid eyes on her adopted daughter, Angela, 27 years ago.
Estrella wanted to experience motherhood, and the reality that Angela was suffering from cerebral palsy since birth did not stop her from loving her daughter unconditionally.
“The moment na sinabi ko na kukunin ko siya, minahal ko na siya (I knew I loved her when I said to myself that I would adopt her),” said Estrella.
For Estrella, their story was a mixture of sadness and triumphs that stood the test time – a story of love that sees beyond differences.
A special daughter
It was only after she turned five years old that Angela was able to walk because of her special condition.
“Napakahirap niyang palakihin, marami akong dinanas, puspusan ko siyang pina-therapy para makalakad (It was tough taking care of her during her younger years because she had to undergo regular therapy sessions so she could walk),” shared Estrella.
For many months, Estrella made sure to bring Angela to children’s hospitals in Manila. The visits were at least twice a month because Angela had to undergo therapy sessions and assess the effect of her medications.
Estrella also exhausted all of her leave credits and almost got fired because she had too many days of absence from work. Despite the difficulties, she remained committed to providing for Angela’s needs and education.
“Marami akong hirap, pero ‘di ako nag-give up (I had lots of struggles but I never gave up),” said Estrella.
Angela went to a day care center with her ‘yaya’ to develop her socialization skills. It was only then that she was able to walk despite her condition.
The struggle of being solo
For Estrella, being a solo parent of a child with disability did not stop her from being able to provide a caring, secure, and safe environment for Angela.
At first, she had problems concerning Angela’s adoption. She doubted the legal process because she worried that those in authority would think that she was unable to provide a normal family for her daughter. However, through her persistence and with the guidance of social workers in the DSWD Field Office (FO) I, led by Regional Director Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo, she was able to engage in the adoption process before Angela was able to finish her associate degree and have her college education.
“Mabuti na lang at in-explain nila sa akin na pwede ang solo parent kaya nabuhayan ako ng loob (My hope was regained because they told me that solo parents can apply for legal adoption),” she shared.
Estrella added that being a parent to her adopted daughter is the best blessing that she received because she was able to experience the joys of motherhood to a child who is not related to her by blood, but by the heart.
A bright future
Despite the hardships that they encountered, Estrella continued to strive to help her beloved daughter to become self-reliant and to have a bright future.
In 2011, Angela was able to finish her studies in Associate in Computer Science at Lyceum Northern Luzon in Urdaneta City. She hopes to finish her degree in Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at the University of Eastern Pangasinan in the next few years.
Angela also shared that their visit with their relatives in the United Kingdom last 2015 became an inspiration for her to see that there are people who will accept her despite her disabilities and that she can reach her dreams.
She said that she will always be guided by the lessons taught by her mom – to give love and respect to others, even those who cannot understand or accept her.
Spread the love
Meanwhile, DSWD Officer-in-Charge Emmanuel A. Leyco encourages Filipinos of legal age to open their doors and spread unconditional love for abandoned, neglected and surrendered children and those who have disabilities.
“The story of Estrella and her daughter Angela is proof that adoption transcends physical disabilities and civil status. It is fulfilling. It is life-changing. Adoption is unconditional love,” he started.
“We hope that more Filipinos can also experience the joy of being an adoptive parent and we want to correct the misconception that adoption is only for couples. The legal process of adoption does not discriminate and it is also available to single parents and members of the LGBTQ+ community who can and are willing to provide unconditional love, care and support for abandoned, neglected and surrendered Filipino children,” he explained.
From 2010 to 2017, there have been 1,847 local adoptive parents developed.
Those who want to inquire about foster care and the legal adoption process may contact the DSWD Protective Services Bureau – Child Protection and Placement Division at 951-7438 or any DSWD Field Office in their localities. DSWD SMS / MCAG