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Love at first smile (A story on adoption)

We often see in movies stories of adoption that revolve around infertility or incapability of a couple to reproduce. This has become a mainstream storyline in the reel world. But there is more to adoption than just not being able to reproduce –there’s connection, passion, and emotions that cannot be expressed in language.

Such is the case of a 48-year old woman, Monette.

Monette can never forget the day that she first visited the Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) in Talon-Talon, Zamboanga City which is managed by the DSWD. She was asked by a co-teacher to accompany her to visit the latter’s niece. Never did Monette imagine that this day will change her life forever and how she sees it.

She was looking around and observing the kids in the study center. Some were reading books, others laughed in their play. But one caught her attention the most, a 5-month old baby staring at her so innocently. So innocent that for a while, Monette thought she was staring at an angel.

Then the angel smiled at Monette that instantaneously made her feel that the angel needed her. That’s when she was sure that she wanted to adopt the baby.

She learned that the baby’s name is Christian, a very fitting name for an angel that he is.

But before she even started processing the requirements for adoption, she was told by the house parent in the RSCC that she cannot choose whom to adopt. A parent-child matching must be done by the social workers prior to the processing of papers for adoption.

This, nonetheless, did not disheartened Monette in any way. Because of the intense connection that she felt for baby Tian-Tian, as he is fondly called, she was positive that she was destined to be his mother.

It took a long 365 days or so to process the legality of her adoption. But never was there a moment that she forgot to visit baby Tian-Tian. She constantly visited the baby even before the schedule of his homecoming.

Monette has 3 biological children. They accompany their mother when she visits baby Tian while waiting for the papers. Her children –aged 19, 18 and 16 –saw how much she cares for baby Tian. It’s as if the baby is actually her own. They saw how happy Monette was when she carries and plays with the baby just like how she did to them when they were little.

They, too, have become very excited for the new addition to the family and cannot wait to finally bring him home.

The RSCC is a family and a home itself. But if one can reach out and make a child complete, Monette is more than willing to do it.

Before baby Tian came to their lives, Monette admits that she suffered a lot of emotional pain from being divorced to her husband. She felt alone. Her kids were growing up fast and they have their own interests as young adults.

Did she need someone to be with her after her failed marriage? She sure has thought of the idea.

But when she met baby Tian, a realization awakened her like she was doused with cold water. She realized that sometimes the love that we are yearning for doesn’t necessarily have to come from a romantic relationship. “Filipino tayo. Mas mahalaga sa atin yung pamilya. So yun siguro ang natutunan ko sa buhay noong dumating si Baby Tian,” Monette expressed with a happy face.

Baby Tian is now a bubbly 6-year old 1st grader at one of the primary schools in the city. His mom, Monette, describes him as very sweet, intelligent and expressive child. “Hyper sya. Ang buhay ko ngayon umiikot na kay Tian,” Monette added.

The RSCC social workers still visit Tian-Tian once in a while to see how he is doing in school and with his loving family.

Monette on the other hand has become an advocate encouraging the people she gets to share conversations with to visit orphanages or institutions like the RSCC.
“You will see how much these kids need care, assistance and love,” Monette talking based on her personal experience.

The RSCC has helped her feel her great contribution to the society by promoting and upholding the children’s rights for a decent life with a loving family. Monette believes that a good leader starts with the values that he learns from his own family. And so it is essential that we foster and nurture a strong foundation in every child as they are the ones who will lead our nation in the future, just like her son Christian.

When asked about her plans for baby Tian, she simply said “I want him to grow up a disciplined man.”

But before he grows up, Monette will just enjoy this moment when she is still able to carry him, tickle him and hear his laughter.

She cannot help but rekindle when she first saw his sweet, innocent baby smile that she fell in love with.###

This post was written by:

- who has written 105 posts on DSWD Field Office IX Official Website.

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