A social worker and child take a photo with animal masks on

Children Who’ve Touched Our Hearts

Brooke observes two girls doing an activity.

Our Special Needs Project team is currently in the Philippines, meeting children to help them find adoptive families. In between long days of travel and assessing dozens of children, our social workers sent the following report to share about the children who have especially touched their hearts.

By the end of our trip, we will have spent 12 days in the Philippines, traveling by car, ferry, van and plane to meet 42 children — in hopes of finding them loving, adoptive families once we return to the U.S.

Each of these 42 children has sat down with myself, Luisa or Brooke (all of us Holt social workers from our Special Needs Project [SNP] adoption team) while we conduct interviews and assessments, and gather photos and videos to try and get a true sense of their personality, strengths and needs.

We all have children who have especially touched our hearts — children we have cried after talking with because of how special they are, how much they desire an adoptive family to love and support them…

Some of the Children We’ve Met

I think of Bernila*, a 14-year-old girl who is very talented in music and art. She was initially shy, but started to open up after talking for a few minutes. She was very inquisitive and wanted to know all of our favorite things. She admitted that she is teased by the other children because of her acne and it makes her sad when that happens. She wants a family who enjoys traveling because she wants to travel the world.

Luisa with one of the girls she especially connected with.

Another child who Luisa fell in love with has been waiting for a family for such a long time. She has a significant medical condition that has made it more difficult to find a family for her in the past. But part of this is because families that have seen her on the special home finding list don’t have access to a full description of her condition or an updated picture of her. After spending time assessing and playing with this child, it’s clear that she is a true gift, has many talents, and does not allow her medical condition to get in the way of her love for life or faith in being adopted by the right family.

There was a sibling group of two boys where the younger boy has a medical condition and the older boy clearly loves and is protective of his little brother. The older brother describes trying to protect his brother from being teased by others and watched out for him while we visited them. You could see their loving bond just from how they looked at each other.

Another older girl we met was so friendly and engaged — such a sweet and giggly teenager who loves to talk with her friends and has a crush on a boy in her class. She has traumatic and sad memories of her life with her biological family, and desires a family where she can receive love and undivided attention.

The Children Waiting for Families

Each of the children we’ve met is such a joy! Because most of them speak English, we were able to talk with them with only minimal assistance from an interpreter. Some children are extremely outgoing and ready to engage with us, and others are very shy and reserved. They’re all very familiar with adoption and most have seen friends get adopted. Adoption is an everyday conversation these children have with their caregivers.

The children range in age from 4 to 15, with the majority being in the 10-12 age range. We have seen sibling groups and single children, children who wish to be an only child, some who want older siblings and others who want (and would thrive with) younger siblings. We met with two children who have very significant medical conditions, but who are so happy and wish to be with a family. Other sibling groups we’ve met all love each other and want to be placed together. There’s even a sibling group of six! The older children in the sibling groups know that it will take a unique family to move forward with their adoption, but they still have hope…

And that is exactly why our trip, and this adoption program, is so important: hope. As we return to the U.S. with in-depth information and photos of each child, it gives them greater hope of joining a family.

Brooke (green skirt) and Celeste (center) with orphanage staff in the Philippines.

Adopting a Child From the Philippines SNP

Families who would be a good fit for adopting a child from this program should be understanding of developmentally appropriate pre-teen and teenage behaviors, be supportive of a child’s faith and how they choose to worship, and have a true commitment to lifelong parenthood. They need to be flexible, understanding, accepting, loving, good advocates, and have large toolbox of resources — as well as a great sense of humor! Ideal families will meet a child where they are at, can sustain delayed gratification when it comes to attachment, are invested in the Filipino culture, and will utilize TBRI in their parenting.

If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about any of the children we’ve met on our trip, we ask that you come to a Lunch and Learn to hear more about them. And please don’t hesitate to reach out to Luisa or Brooke if you see a child on the SNP photolisting that you feel a connection to — they’d love to tell you more about them!

*Name changed

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