Actress Danielle Lyn (Queen Sugar and The Divergent Series: Allegiant) is a Filipina adoptee using her platform to advocate for orphaned children and kids in impoverished communities. Below, she shares about her first trip to the Philippines since she came home to her family in the U.S., and what it meant to her to reunite with her caregivers and see the continued outreach of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, Holt’s partner agency in the Philippines.
We tell story by choice, chance and experience in life. To mark 2018’s New Year, I penned my first piece for Holt seven months ago. Sharing then my hopes to receive what family is, far away beginnings for children awaiting theirs, and offering the wonder for what would come of it all. In the time that has passed, a lesson has grown nearer to me: the most touching stories are the ones we touch ourselves, they are the ones we ourselves live.
Rest assured, the journey is where we find what was left to be discovered. In sharing, we return honor to that which brought us to the present. My life has embodied choice, as has yours. We are on our chosen paths, marked not by good, bad, right, wrong, planned or unplanned, but by which we live.
My choices, having grown from a seed of wonder long ago planted by a loved one, led to boarding a plane, and setting out on my own. Trusting that I am never alone, supported by love from around the world, guiding me back to the land where I began. Met there with care, safe keeping, and home in the Kaisahang Buhay Foundation.
The outreach and community impact of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation touch my heart in ways I cannot aptly put into words. I have experienced firsthand (now twice in my lifetime) their care, and commitment to protecting. I’ve observed the good of efforts rooted by labors of love offered by the fearless all-female team in management and leadership with expertise in social work, education, counseling, adoption, child sponsorship and every pivotal role in between. They are each champions, advocating the rights, safeties and welfare of vulnerable infants, children and women day in and out.
Sharing in their outreach is a privilege. It is life changing to hold babies that you pray will be given chance, chosen sooner than later, and take peace knowing that today in their most vulnerable stage of life, are kept safe, fed, clothed and sheltered by the care of partner orphanages, children’s homes, workers and volunteers; to know more loving international families will arrive to unite with their long-awaited children; to be moved to tears by the courage of young expecting mothers taken from crisis situations, given care, shelter and counsel to choose the best path for their future and their children’s futures; to encourage young teen women and men who have aged out of being adopted, and through higher education offered to them to endeavor as scholars to make a better life for themselves; to sing along with day care children who revel in learning during school hours, eager to consume the well-balanced supplemental feeding, and school lessons being provided. Without KBF and Holt’s outreach, there would be limited access to these essential opportunities provisioned to underserved, disadvantaged and impoverished communities of the Philippines.
These are the countless recipients of choice and love. Choice to do unto others. The act of kindness left behind. Do not forget how actions, reaction and intentions change lives for greater good, often beyond what is seen or touched until it returns to us. It is grassroots efforts and life’s work of the kindhearted, generous people at Kaisahang Buhay Foundation and Holt International. It is my greatest honor to know them.
When I began my journey I sought home, bahay. Home is fostered, it is kept in us, gathered in our lifetime, remaining in the form of love that does not leave, even when we do. My journey came full circle as I boarded the plane, aware that last I departed my homeland my lifetime ago I was as an infant in arms, beginning this same journey. Carried by my beloved parents to the new life they were offering me a world away. Chosen, with unconditional love. The same love that carried me to return on my own. I will offer my lifetime giving back with gratitude for the life I have been afforded, honoring the many who helped offer me chance. Chance I choose to not take for granted.
The power of choice and touch derive action. It is this touch, however and whomever it is found in, that touches our lives, our stories. Mindful to what is behind, drawn forward to what is ahead, it is home. It is not where we begin in life, it is where we go. Those who grow, shape, guide and nurture, those who choose, who touch us most: this is family, and they are chosen.
I thank my family at Kaisahang Buhay Foundation and Holt for facilitating me being chosen. Together we choose to stand for vulnerable children and women: advocating rights, welfare, education and empowerment around the world. Our efforts and giving make it possible for children, who, like me, may begin life far away with little means, met with love, will live to discover their own unlimited dreams.
Danielle Lyn | Holt Adoptee