Showing posts with label adoption. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adoption. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Preemie Diaries: Becoming A Princess At SM Princess Academy

Last Sunday, December 4, 2016, through SM Kids and SM Accessories, the Princess Academy came to the Kingdom of SM City Bacolod. We got an invitation to attend as guest and this will be the first time that Preemie girl will be attending, so you can imagine our excitement!   But with the school intramural just finished, the  on-going practices for her First Holy Communion, and as a full-time working mom nursing a bad cough, I simply had very little time and energy left to prepare. In fact by the end of the working week, I was trying to convince Preemie girl not to attend anymore.  However, unlike in the past where my little girl was not that interested, this time she really wanted to go.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Heartlines Are My New Bloodlines

Kinship and bloodlines used to be so significant for me.  Ever since my college days, I was always interested in genealogy and how my family was related to who or whom. I used to spend hours looking over family trees and tracing my ascendants, even to the point of  reaching out to people who had the same last names as mine or any of my ascendants. I have created family trees on websites and shared this with relatives, near and far, old and new.  Then I found myself becoming a mother to two children, a boy who just turned 25 and a girl, now 7.  They may not be of my blood but they have all of my heart.  Suddenly, bloodlines became irrelevant when it concerned my relationship with my children. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All Mothers Are Real

Mother's Day has come and gone, but the day before that a little girl asked me a question that needed an answer.  She asked me, "are you Preemie Girl's real mother?" Now, I don't know why little girls would even think to ask such questions, but I would make a smart guess that they learn about these words and ideas from the adults around them.  I don't think an innocent child would know that there is such a thing as a "real" mom (or dad, for that matter), if they are not made aware of the difference or this was not pointed out to them by...yes, adults. But that is another story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I hate pink.  I would never consciously wear pink except if I really have to.  The very first time I did was during my high school prom and only because I was a junior and pink was our assigned color (blue was for the seniors).  The second and third times were the occasions when I was a wedding sponsor.  I avoided this color like the plague, mainly because I thought that being fair skinned, I did not look pretty in pink. Besides that, I associated the color with sweet and girly things, both of which did not appeal to me.  And so, you can just imagine who, what and why my world suddenly turned all shades of pink!

photo retrieved from http://www.squidoo.com/celebrationofpink


Friday, April 19, 2013

Milestones: My Children's Graduation

My children Big Brother and Preemie Girl had their graduations this year.  Big Brother finished his Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies last October 2012 yet, but he is included in the 2012-2013 annual yearbook since there are no semestral graduations at the University of St. La Salle.  He no longer joined the graduation ceremonies last March because he has started working last January and could not get time off. I am very proud of him and so grateful that God has blessed him with a well paying first job :) And my daughter Preemie Girl?  Well, she also had her culmination ceremony, with a recognition award.......from Kindergarten! Hahaha!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Kung Fu Panda 2 - A Very Good Adoption Story

I rarely watch TV but the other day while waiting for dinner, I sat down with my son and daughter who was watching Kung Fu Panda 2 on HBO. Although I saw the original movie, this sequel for me is a much better one. The adoption part of the story appealed to me being an adoptive mother of 2 kids, my now 21 year old son and my 4 year old daughter.  Needless to say, I sat through till the end of the movie. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Preemie Girl Goes To School

If only I could hold it off a little bit longer but Preemie girl is turning 4 in July and yes, I know...she needs to start school now. So it's off to summer classes for our little girl, in preparation for the regular school year this June. I enrolled her in our local parochial pre-school which has been putting out graduates who easily get accepted into the first grade of the big schools.


I am hoping that if she does well, she can get accelerated to Prep school by the time she is 5 years old since the government's primary and secondary levels will now be 12 years all in all (K12), as compared to the old curriculum which took only 10 years. That means Preemie girl will graduate from high school at 17 years of age (I was only 15 when I graduated from high school) and if she takes up medicine, that will be another 10 years!.


It's been 2 days now and so far, so good. She seems to be enjoying herself in the 2 hours that she is in class and made friends with another out-going little girl. She is surprisingly very well behaved and even eats her snacks without prompting! Awwww...my Preemie girl is growing up...sniff.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Bound For Greatness

Last week, I wrote about Preemie girl and now it's Big brother's turn. My son whom I raised since he was 5 months old is now 21 and hopefully will be graduating from college this year. Unlike my daughter, I had no behavior issues with him when he was growing up. He was such an obedient child that it was easy to bring him along with me to public places because he was very behaved. It was when he started school that problems started. Although he was a sensitive and intelligent boy, he did not like studying. Unfortunately, I did not have the skill nor the inclination to instill in him good study habits because I too did not like to "study". Therefore, I could not teach him what I did not have, which is weird because I was and still am an avid reader and a life-long learner. It is not the learning part that I hated about school but the process of teaching of what must be learned that was being used by traditional schools. I was the type that needed teachers who knew how to challenge and motivate me. However, unlike my son, I forced myself to study when I needed to even if I found the lessons incomprehensible or was bored to death with the subject matter, while he simply did not care whether he passed or not. This attitude led me to do research on learning styles and learning disabilities as he was growing up. Finding information on multiple intelligence was an eye-opener for me but it seems that in 1995, not many teachers or schools were aware of this or if they were, they did not apply this in their teaching methods and remained very traditional in their evaluation and grading system. And so, my son went through his high school years struggling in all his math subjects but breezing through MAPE, Social Studies and the like. Like any concerned mom, I got him weekend tutors in math and Filipino to check his understanding and skills at the same time to give him some advanced lessons. He passed but clearly, he never quite developed a love for study.


BUT, there were other things that he was very very good at.  For the longest time, it became a habit for me to sing to him nightly while putting him to sleep.  I think I have memorized all the nursery rhymes and cartoon theme songs in the world. I even had a Spanish one.  His birth-mother was tone-deaf and for this reason, I'd like to believe that his musical ability is all because of me.  He first sang during his pre-school culminating activity where he had the role of the prince in Cinderella, and all through his primary grades up to high school, he was the class favorite to compete in the school's annual singing contest.

 

When he began his intermediate grades I would teach him some simple chords using the Yamaha guitar left to me by my dad.  Before long he was mastering it and was teaching himself to play the harder chords.  I bought him his first guitar soon after, which was upgraded to a more expensive one by the end of his high school.  Today, he is good enough to get invited to play in college acoustic bands.


But it's not all about music for my son. He dabbles in photography, getting more adept at it as time goes by.  He is also an accomplished swimmer, competing in high school intramurals and used to play little league basketball. But his other great passion is Taekwondo.  Although expensive, I enrolled him in lessons when he was 9 years old believing that it would develop discipline and character in him.  I did not know that it was going to be a long-term love affair for him.  He had enough motivation to make it up to Black Belt- First Dan and joined competitions every summer.  He was good enough to make it into the college varsity team and won a silver medal (it should have been gold, but that is another story...) in the senior division of the 2009 NOPSSEA.  He plans to make 2nd Dan this summer.


He is very good with children and when he was 11, he asked to become a god-father to one of his nephews. He is a loyal friend, a loving, caring and protective son, grandson, brother and cousin. He does not abuse his privileges and never asks for his wants, only for his needs.  Except for wishing that he has better grades, there is not much more I can ask for in a son. I continue to pray that he will be a good man, a man that God meant him to be. Although he is far from perfect and continues to be a work in progress, I have no doubt in my mind that my only son is bound for greatness. 

Greatness Starts @Home Blogging Contest


Monday, February 27, 2012

Bringing up Preemie Girl

I used to think that bringing up kids wasn't all that hard. My parents raised us their 3 children (1 girl and 2 boys), fairly and without biases. We all had the same privileges and got the same kind of punishment when we did wrong. I never felt any more special than my 2 brothers. But when I became a mother to a 3 month old baby boy in 1991, I realized that it was not easy at all and that parenting is the hardest job in the world where there is no retirement ever. And so when I took home a 5 month old baby girl (who was born severely premature) for Christmas in 2008, it was an act of faith and trust that this too is God's will for me and my family. You see, raising my son was a relatively fun task for me, maybe because as the eldest in my family and the oldest grandchild, I grew up looking out for my brothers and playing with my cousins, majority of whom were male. I have always been partial to boys, even as a child. I remember each time my mom became pregnant, I would always wish for a brother. Being used to boys, I understood them better than girls. I was worried not so much about the fact that she might have special needs, but that I wasn't too sure that I knew how to handle girls! If I just based my capability on the limited interaction I had with female cousins and my family's not too great experience with adopted or fostered daughters, I probably would have gotten cold feet. On the other hand, I love children regardless of gender and this angelic, fragile and helpless child stole my heart forever. Indeed, time flies because Preemie girl will be 4 years old in July. She is so different from her older brother when he was her age...in fact, she is the exact opposite. While my son was an obedient and quiet child, my daughter asserts herself all the time and could hit the right decibel to cause temporary deafness when she does not get her way. She is hyperactive and needs to be entertained, quite unlike her older brother who used to play with his toys for hours all by himself. She is inquisitive and a quick study, but is such a handful that I could not help but compare her to Big Brother who is now 21 and the only one who can make her obey at first try. He adores her, of course and enjoys being called "dada" instead of the usual term of manong (respectful title for older brothers). And thank God, except for a really fast metabolism and hyperactivity, she is as normal as any child her age. She is smart and adorable. And she can be so sweet when she wants to. She is all girl...loves using pink lip gloss and polish. 
 
 

As I write this post, I am inclined to believe that the difference in behavior (aside from genetics, of course) between my 2 kids at that particular age (2-3 years old) is probably because I nurtured each of them a little differently. I had my son when I was a lot younger and with less responsibilities at work, so that I had more energy and time for him. I used to come home for lunch and spend part of the afternoon with him before going back to work. I would put him to sleep and even tutored him. When my daughter came to us, I was at work the whole day, coming home early evening just as she is getting ready for bed. Although she sleeps with me, the time I spent with her is considerably less than the time I used to spend with my son. She spends most of her waking hours with her nanny and since I would bring part of my work home, it was also her nanny who would put her to sleep. Now that I am out of work, I do have more time with her but I have to admit that at my age, an active child is really challenging. We will be putting her in nursery school this summer in preparation for the regular school year this June. I hope by then she learns to sit still, stay quiet and pay attention...otherwise, we are in big trouble.

And Big brother? Well, let me just say that he outgrew the docile behavior by the time he was in grade school...but, that's another story and for another post (big wink).





Friday, November 04, 2011

Another Adoption Story: Lessons From The Animated Movie, Tangled


I bought my little girl the DVD of the animated musical fantasy Tangled a few weeks ago and since then, it was the daily movie staple every afternoon......up until yesterday.  Why the sudden change?  When I bought it, I knew it was a Rapunzel story but I did not know that it was a musical.  Now, my little girl is three and very bright.  As I was trying to explain the relationship of Rapunzel to the witch by saying that the witch was not Rapunzel's real mother, my 3 year old disagreed and kept insisting..."No, she is her mama".  I then realized that in the song "mother knows best", Rapunzel was an adult and my daughter could not relate this young woman to the baby that was kidnapped by the witch. That song showed a loving, concerned mother who wanted to protect her child.  And so to a young mind, theirs was a mother-daughter relationship.  Where is my problem in all these?  You see, my daughter is adopted and when I said that the witch was not the real mama...she asked, "where is her real mama"?  I suddenly saw myself in the witch role!  I know, I know...it is not the same thing but this is a young mind I am talking to.  What if she starts seeing foster/ adoptive moms as witches?  I learned too late that Tangled is rated PG: for brief mild violence (as if a stabbing and death scene can be considered mild violence).  I actually enjoyed the movie...I thought it was funny with great animation but then I'm a grown-up, not a 3 year old.  Aside from thinking adoptive moms might be witches, now my little girl also thinks horses are like dogs.  There is a lot I have to undo here, tsk, tsk.  Lessons learned?  One, always check the movie rating. Two, for little kids who take things literally, stick to the safe, simple cartoons like Dumbo, The Fox and The Hound, Winnie The Pooh.  Third and most important...Keep the ones with complex mother-daughter relationships for later.....much, much later....



Thursday, October 13, 2011

Another Adoption Story - How I Told My Son

There are many suggested methods on how to tell a child about his adoption.  Based on others and our own family experiences, it is a proven fact that not telling a child about his adoption brought about dire consequences for everyone involved especially if the truth is found out from people other than parents. In the case of my aunt, she found out when she was already 10 years old  from well-intentioned relatives who wanted to help her parents resolve her habitual lying when she got caught doing something she shouldn't, like playing hookey from school, for example. Needless to say that was the start of her years of rebellion.  I heard other "horror" stories so when the time comes, although I never really thought about it, I knew that I will tell my child the truth.  My turn came around the time when my son was around 4 years old when out of the blue while playing in my bed, he reached out to my stomach and said..."I came from here".  My initial reaction was to say, "no sweetie, you came from mommy's heart"...but my son, gave me a look and vehemently said...NO! I came from your tummy! That's when I realized, it would not be as simple as I thought.  So I sat up, faced him and said, "No my love, you did not come from mommy's tummy...you know what, let me tell you a story..."

"One day, Jesus was walking in heaven's garden and he saw that mommy was sad and alone. And so Jesus was worried and thought, what can he do to make mommy happy?  As Jesus was walking around Heaven, he suddenly had an idea..."I will send mommy a baby to love and make her own...oh, but how can I do this because mommy is not young anymore to have babies in her tummy (well, I was in my early 30's)? I know!, Jesus said, "mama will be the baby carriage, she will carry the baby for mommy!"  Now who among the little baby angels in heaven wants to be mommy's baby?  As Jesus was thinking aloud about this, he saw a little hand waving and waving...it was Angel Ramie! he wants to be mommy's baby!  So Jesus asked mama to carry Ramie in her tummy and when it was time to be born, mommy was there to receive her baby and was very happy and grateful to Jesus for giving her Ramie and making her his mommy."   


My little boy's facial expression was beaming...his smile was from ear to ear and that was I think one of the most blessed days in my life.  I could actually feel God's presence in the room while I was telling the story.  After that, all other things were easy to explain.  I think the fact that he knows he came from God made everything else immaterial and unimportant.  My son took things in a matter-of-fact way...he calls my brother "papa", my cousin, "daddy", our mechanic, "tatay" (which is the Pilipino term for dad) and when people asked why he has so many fathers, he would roll his eyes and say..."just because".  He was quite proud of the fact that compared to others he had more than one father.  The down side is that when people asked him why he has 2 mothers...he says " because that one is too old to carry me in her tummy".  Hahahahah!  My son will be 21 in less than a month's time and motherhood has been a rollercoaster ride all the way...fun but terrifying at times too.  Thank you Jesus for the gift of motherhood.

Retrieved from www.zazzle.com


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seeing Adoption in a Different Light

I have 2 children...a 20 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. People not in the know would almost always ask...Why such a huge gap between the two?  I understand their curiosity because if I were in their place, I would wonder too.  And so, I would always take the time to explain that my children are adopted.  But it wasn't always that easy when my son was growing up... not because I wanted to keep it a secret.  On the contrary, by the time he was 4, my son knew that I was not his only mother and that he had another one who gave birth to him.  The act of adoption, fostering and guardianship were nothing new or strange to my family.  There was always an adopted aunt, cousin, nephew and niece in the past and present generation, so it wasn't like being adopted was such a big deal to us.  But you see, I used to think that saying he is adopted would make people treat him differently and I did not want that.  I get so tired of people telling me (and him) how lucky he is; they forget that through this boy I was given the gift of motherhood and therefore "lucky" works both ways.  So to avoid this and other insensitive comments, I would ask my mom to just introduce him as my son.  Of course, my mom after doing so and once my son was out of hearing distance, would always make clarifications since she did not want people to think I had a child out of wedlock. In fact, one funny story was when my son enrolled as a college freshman and the person interviewing him used to be a co-professor of my mother when she was still teaching in that university.  He looked at his papers and asked him if his mother was me and of course, my son said yes. My son laughingly told me about it when he got home and described the incredulous look on the professor's face. Surely, the very next day this professor called my mom to ask about it, saying "just last month I saw your very single daughter and yesterday, this boy tells me she is his mother!...How in heavens name can she have a son as huge as this boy in such a short time?"  Hahahahaha!  My mom had a good laugh and explained to him, that I have an adopted son.  Today I say the word "adopted" freely because I soon realized that by not saying it gives it an even more negative connotation, as if being adopted was something to be ashamed of.  My experience taught me that avoiding the word even though we never kept his being adopted a secret only made me more defensive and protective of my son, which did not help him as he was growing up.  In fact, bullies in school picked on him just because he had better clothes, better things and was much more well taken cared of as compared to them who had "real" parents.  It was as if he had no right to be better than any of them because after all he was just the son of a servant girl. I am glad that my son has surpassed all these challenges with grace and dignity. He knows he is loved unconditionally by us and not surprisingly, because he is so caring, friends from elementary and high school continue to seek him out.  He will be 21 in 2 months time and has grown to be a reliable, protective and loving man.  And he proudly says that he is adopted.  And my little girl?  After having my son, I never thought I would be raising another child.  When he was in Grade 5, he begged me to have a brother or a sister but I refused, mainly for financial reasons.  But God works in mysterious ways.  After 18 years, I was given a daughter or maybe more age-appropriate, a granddaughter ;) ?  She came for a visit when she was 5 months old and decided to stay :) Yes, she is a handful at 3 years of age but gives us a lot of love and happiness.  We are all under her spell.  As to her future...her "Dada" (the name she calls my son) who loves her to bits and who together with my mom convinced me to keep her, has promised to pay it forward.  God in his infinite wisdom chose to let this baby survive in spite of the odds and made a way for her to come to us.  It is a small miracle that she is so normal, very bright and healthy.  Who am I to question the will of God?

Retrieved from the worldwide web

Sunday, January 09, 2011

The Last 10 Years....

I thought I would blog about the last 10 years (2000-2010) when Y2K started and then, I realized my impending age-related short term memory loss has already began.  Somehow, I have to rack my brain to remember what the last 10 years of my life has been all about...

Okay, before I do that let's me just state that Y2K brought about a lot of changes in my life...some good, some not so good, and yes, some great ones too...but what exactly in particular???  I guess, it's this over all good feeling I get when I think about the last 10 years that makes me say so.

Does everyone remember the "panic" the year 2000 brought about?  It was mainly about computer glitches but people brought it to an apocalyptic level.  I remember thinking it's just another day folks!  Well, I think I did prepare some candles, just in case ;-)  Anyway, of course nothing major happened and the world survived for the next 10 years.  On a personal level, I had more or less gotten over my first mid-life work crisis and have decided on some paradigm shifts at work. There were new changes at work and thankfully, I was able to weather whatever storms these changes brought. Family life was doing great and I was regaining back balance in my life. 

The last 10 years brought a lot of firsts for me both at work and personal life. Among these are a case filed against me in the Ombudsman, my first teaching job at a local College of Medicine and eventually heading the Bioethics Section, finally finishing a 3- year modular Health Leadership and Management Fellowship, attending the Silver Jubilee of my med school,and reconnecting with old friends, finally achieving the dream of building a new hospital, getting involved as trainor, facilitator or resource person with  programs on a national level to develop health leaders, accidentally discovering Facebook in September 2007 and surprisingly finding family I never knew existed, the recognition and affirmation that the hospital staff is doing a good job, the healing of relationships which I have daily prayed for and lo and behold! before the year ended, God has made a way for this to gradually happen. Then there are the little things that we take for granted each day, the love of family and friends, the work we have that makes us productive and gainfully employed, the people around us who support us and make life a bit easier...All these and more, have made the last 10 years truly memorable.
  
And last but not the least, our little angel, Ella...the baby whom God lovingly gave the gift of life...who inspite all odds, survived. That Christmas of 2008 was nothing out of the ordinary.  It just came into my head that maybe if my mother allows it, I would bring this little baby home for a Share-a-Home Christmas...well, to make a long story short...my family fell in love with her and she stayed. The joy of Ella completes this truly blessed decade for me. What else is there to say but....Thank you, Lord!


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

My Son Is Turning 20 Today...Sniff

Twenty years ago, my son came into my life as a 3 month old baby a few days after my dad passed away. My Dad had a massive first heart attack and the family was so unprepared for the loss. He attached himself to me before he could even say mama and as soon as he can walk he would follow me around...wherever I was in the house, he would be right there beside me. This little baby boy stole my heart like no man has ever done. He has given me the gift of motherhood and I finally understood what unconditional love looked like. When he was little I would always pray that he would turn out to be a good man...and well...I also hoped he would be tall since his birth mother is a very short person. So, I made him drink liters of milk, gave him growth vitamins and made him sleep early. When he turned 16, he was almost 5 feet 9 and I said to myself...I don't want to be greedy...5'9" is okay Lord. Well, he grew another inch taller...as well as bigger! And so, I begged the Lord...enough, please. The little boy (who has since become a Big Brother) has grown to be a man full of potentials. He still has a lot of growing up to do but hey, he is getting there...and I smile when I see a glimpse of the man I pray and hope that he will be.

Happy 20th Birthday, my son ♥ ♥ ♥ You are now in the threshold of adulthood...May God continue to bless you today and always.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Defining Family

I looked up the legal definition of a family and this is what I got...and this...and then this. It only goes to show that today's family is difficult to define because of its diversity primarily due to the many changes it has undergone through the years. In school I was taught that a family consists of a father, a mother and a child.  That teaching continues to this day even when families and family dynamics are no longer as simple as that.  When my son was in Grade 2 in a local Catholic school, his social studies teacher asked them to say something about their families and some of the children gave unusual answers.  She obviously was unprepared (or simply clueless) for what they gave because, not getting the "right" answers, she further explained that a father is the one that made your mother pregnant and a mother is the one who carried you in her tummy! Of course, when he was picked up from school, the first thing my son asked was, "where is my father" and proceeded to relate to his grandmother what the teacher said.  My son by the way was adopted when he was 3 months old and he knew this, but the teacher confused him because the man he considered as Papa was my younger brother. My mom was so livid that she called me at work and demanded that I confront the teacher for her stupidity! I had to pacify her and of course, went to see the teacher. She was apologetic and admitted that she did not know how to respond to the children's sharing and subsequent questioning. To make a long story shorter, I had to sit down with my son about his birth father (he knew who his birth mother was) and being a little boy, he lost interest and even forgot about the whole thing after a few days. My son was only one of the 10 or more kids out of the 30 students whose family dynamics no longer follow the norm.  In fact, he told me that one of his classmates even shared that he had a feeling that his older sister is his real mother...and the poor teacher had no answer to that.

The Family Law definition that defines family as a group of individuals who share ties of blood, marriage, or adoption; a group residing together and consisting of parents, children, and other relatives by blood or marriage; a group of individuals residing together who have consented to an arrangement similar to ties of blood or marriage is an acceptable definition although I think the words "residing together" really refer to the family as a unit and not to the family as a larger group. Also, I believe parents whether biological or not, should be a dad and a mom...I do not want to belabor this issue but I strongly feel from my experience as a single adoptive mother that growing children do not need this added confusion about sexual orientation and the like. My brother became surrogate dad to my son and it made all the difference.  And then there are the blended families and extended families. So for my purposes, I refer to family as the following:
  1. a group of people related by ancestry or marriage; relatives
  2. all those claiming descent from a common ancestor; tribe or clan; lineage
  3. basic social unit consisting of persons united by ties of marriage (affinity), “blood” (consanguinity), or adoption
In my previous post, I wrote that I was discovering a lot of secrets aka little known family facts while making my family tree.  At the same time, it has made me look at families and relations with a little more understanding and empathy than before. It also started me doing some research on family structure and dynamics and how these affects family relationships through the years.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Preemie Girl





    Who is Preemie Girl?


    Last year, in mid-July, a woman was brought DOA to the emergency room of the provincial hospital. Her severely premature baby miraculously survived but was brought to the hospital 6 or 7 hours after birth. Her mother was previously admitted to the hospital's ICU due to hypertension and was closely monitored for several weeks.  She was relatively in a stable condition and the doctors were waiting for the baby to become more viable before doing a caesarian section, but the family decided to go home.  She eventually delivered at home and died due to severe postpartum bleeding.  The baby developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was not expected to make it.  Because this was a public hospital with limited resources, she was not getting the kind of care severely premature babies like her should have. Some mothers nursing their own premature babies would give her their milk and help take care of her. Initially I really did not take much interest in her...the first time I saw her, she was only a bit longer than my hand and I thought, this baby is not going to make it. But lo and behold, she survived!...so that eventually she became well enough to be transferred to the pediatric ward. The nurses in the pediatric station would take turns in taking care of her and soon she was everybody's baby. Of course, being critically ill, she was given emergency baptism earlier and as usual, the staff took liberty with my name (as they are wont to do so every time they needed a name for someone in the hospital, LOL) and that of the hospital's Patron Saint, Therese of the Child Jesus. So Preemie Girl was named...Maria Estrella Therese, nicknamed Ella.  As she continued to thrive, donations from doctors and nurses came pouring in and babysitting for her was divided among the different hospital areas, including myself. I would take the 10 AM-3 PM shift before passing her to the Laboratory Department in the afernoon!  The Provincial Social Services tried to locate her father but was unable to do so and she was declared abandoned.  Then one day, he suddenly appeared in the hospital with a well-dressed lady in tow.  Preemie Girl was a little over 3 months old by this time and about a week before, she was featured in the daily afternoon TV newscast with the USLS medical students who had a televised activity in the hospital.  The hospital social worker and myself talked to the father, asking him why he never came back...and he said he had no money. We all felt that this was just one reason but the truth was, he never really expected the baby to survive. I asked him, what if the baby died? Who would bury her? Where will she be buried? He had no answer. I asked about the woman with him.  He said, this lady was a former employer who called him and offered to help him with the hospital cost.  From our conversation, I knew he was lying and that he had already made a deal with the woman to get the baby in exchange for paying the hospital and himself too.  I told him that the baby is now under the care of social services and we could not just hand her over to him since he and his family literally left her for dead and never once visited to check on her condition.  I then told him to get the woman who offered to help because I wanted to talk to her. But, the woman never did; in fact they both left without taking leave!  The hospital staff upon learning of their presence went into a panic and crying mode but I assured them that we will not hand over Preemie Girl to anyone since she was still too small and weak to be brought home. That was in early October.  According to the ward nurses, he came back about a week after but was only allowed to view the baby.  That was the last we have seen of  him.  The last we heard, he left his minor children to the care of his in laws and has remarried and moved to another town.

    Last December 2008, I decided to bring Preemie Girl home for a "share-a home" visit during the holiday season for. Well, the share-a-home became more of a stay-at-home thing.  My family and I have decided to foster her with adoption in mind.  Bringing her back to the hospital was no longer an option for me and my family. It is a fact that the hospital environment is not a good one for a relatively healthy premature baby to be in.  She will be high-risk for infection being exposed to all kinds of illnesses.  Also, I learned that after office hours when she is returned to the ward, the staff on duty is so busy that they cannot feed or change her on time.  This is probably the reason why after 5 months she is still only a little more than 3 kilograms.  Now, after only 2 weeks with us, she had a 1.5 kilogram weight gain!  Taking care of Preemie Girl has created a huge dent on our budget and routine, but the miracle that she is makes it all worthwhile....what is important is that this beautiful baby has been blessed by God and all of us who have taken care of her have been blessed as well.  She has turned our home routine topsy-turvy, but my mother and Big Brother  are only too happy to have her with us adding joy to our daily life.  We welcome her to the family where she is not only wanted but also very much loved.

    I have to end now...Preemie Girl is asking to be fed :)

    Saturday, November 01, 2008

    MY SON IS 18

    I became a mom in February 1991, the month my father died. I did not plan on motherhood, not for lack of a maternal instinct but mainly because I was already in my 30's with no relationship that was serious enough for marriage...yes, I believe that children should be born out of love and marriage. At a time when my family was experiencing a strong sense of loss, this 3 month old baby boy came into our lives. He brought laughter when we found very little reason to do so. His presence at home made us forget our sadness and we all began focusing our attention on him. Before long, I was spending more time with him than any other aspect in my life...even my work and friends. In fact, this was the year I started being late for work almost everyday because I was putting him first before anything else. In other words, I fell in love. He was God's gift to me and he made me a mother before it was too late. Two days from now, on November 3, 2008, this baby turns 18. Looking back, he is the best thing that happened in my life. He is my joy, my friend, my son.

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    PROUD MOMENT

    Last Saturday, May 31, 2008 was a momentous day in my son Ramie's life. After 7 years of training in Taekwondo, he has finally earned his Black Belt, 1st Dan. He had trained hard the whole summer and with some help from me completed his thesis requirement on time(earning for me about 5% of his black belt). The anticipation was high during the past week but he never showed that he was nervous even during the promotion date (although, afterwards he said he was actually very nervous). We left the house at about 1:30 PM and I dropped him off at the La Salle covered court where the promotion tests will be held. The whole process for the black belt involves demonstrations of all forms learned from yellow to high brown belt, a sparring session with 2 black belts and the braking of boards and blocks. There was also a welcoming ceremony which I had no idea about. I was the nervous one and was not really keen to watch the sparring because Ramie warned me that it could be scary. But even if I got back about an hour later, they were just finishing the red belts and haven't even started on the browns yet because the master who would be conducting the black belt promotion was a little late. After about 30 minutes, the master arrived and the promotion tests for the brown belts began. Soon, it was the group of Ramie. There were 7 of them, 3 for junior black and 4 for senior black. Ramie did the first part with flying colors! I was so impressed that he could do all the forms flawlessly...I know that it was tiring because this first part alone took almost an hour. Then came the sparring session...first it was one on one with 2 different opponents then, 2 black belts against the one (meaning Ramie) being tested. During the one on one sparring, Ramie took them on quite well, their kicks not really hitting him, in fact because he was big they would be the one falling when they try to kick him :) but when it was 2 against him, he took a hit in his face and while he was trying to shield himself with one of them, the other gave him a kick behind his head which stunned him! I could see him trying to get his balance back but he was really hurt and he fell flat on the floor! I stood up to see if he was okay but he didn't stand up, so that I walked towards where he was surrounded by all the players to check on him but just as I reached him, he stood up to get back to the mat and everyone cheered...but the master made a sign to discontinue the sparring. I think even he got worried that Ramie could be seriously hurt because hitting backside is dangerous...even if it was not intentional. I was so proud of Ramie...how brave he was and how he was able to have enough endurance to finish everything! Well, I thought this was his end-point but he told me, he's going to try for 2nd Dan which will be after 4 years...oh well, by that time hopefully, he will be graduated from college and I don't have to be his audience anymore. Oh, and all these taekwondo training have some other benefits...this semester of his sophomore year, he was awarded a 50% athletic college scholarship as part of his being a varsity player :) That gave me even more to smile about (^^)

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