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Angel’s Story…

February 19, 2016

My husband, John, our four children, and I made a commitment to come to the Philippines for a mission.  Shortly into our stay, our hearts were opened to a little five year old Filipino girl, named Angel.  She was nearly a year older than our youngest child.  She lived in the village we were ministering to, and attended the school that was set up at the church for the local village children.  I was assigned to teach Bible lessons as well as art projects.  My four year old daughter and Angel were classmates.  I still remember the day they met.  Angel and Neely cupped each other’s faces out of sheer love and adoration for one another, though neither could speak the other’s language.  Angel’s grandmother, with whom she stayed, asked us if we could care for her.  Angel’s mother had died when she was only two.  Her father was considered crazy by all who knew him.  He was always drunk and hardly ever around.  So the grandmother cared for her, along with several of her other grandchildren.  This old woman was also the unregistered midwife and abortionist of the village.  After further understanding, we learned that Angel had lost at least three siblings, one from drowning, another of malnourishment and diarrhea, another from murder.  It was said that her teenaged sister was mentally challenged and raped by some men.  The father was drunk and hit her in the head with a metal pan.  The next day, she was found dead.  The father ran away and was gone for some time.  When he returned Angel’s older brother confronted the father about what he had done.  The father, drunk again, beat him so much that he had to be rescued by the villagers and a close American friend of ours.  We feared for Angel, not just because of her father, but because she seemed to have an abnormally swollen stomach.

John and I were never looking to adopt.  We had four children of our own already, two boys, and two girls.  It seemed perfect, but that was before Angel entered our lives.  It was strange how both John and I felt so much love for her and like she belonged with us.  We knew we could give her the love and care she needed, so we spoke with our children and asked them what they thought.  They all agreed that our family was a good family, and that it would be even better with Angel.  So we agreed to care for her.  We went to the Barangay captain, who typed a written statement signed by both the grandmother and her father.  We also went to get her a birth certificate, bringing two village witnesses with us.  However, I don’t know that it was done properly.  No one seemed to know exactly how to spell her last name, or exactly what day she was born.  Some said it was October 27th, some said the 24th… But they were in agreement on the year, month, and generally the same week.  Her birthday was documented as October 24.  We went to see a lawyer who told us that we would need to stay here with her for at least two years.   It was longer than we had initially planned, but we were willing.  A few months later, we found out that he was wrong, and that we would need to stay for at least three years.  At that point we figured God just wanted us here longer and we were not willing to just throw her back.  I took her to the doctor and discovered that she had escaris worms.  She was given medicine to drink.  Three days later those worms began to come out.  It was quite a traumatic week for both she and I.  I had to help her by pulling live worms out of her bottom.  They were at least 8 inches long, and the diameter of a pencil.  This happened for a solid weak, and I removed at least 100 worms from her tender little body.  I removed all the lice from her hair, and continue to do so, as we live in an environment where they are abundant.  She has learned fluent English, thrived in school, earning many awards.  She can speak three languages.  She went from being a lot shorter than Neely, to much taller, and is now the tallest in her third grade class.  We taught her how to swim, how to ride a bike…  We even took her for a car ride for the first time, out of her village, where she had always stayed.  She is now nine, calls us Momma and Daddy, and knows no other home but ours.

Through these years, we have worked in the Philippines as missionaries, and have begun a church in another area, that is SEC registered by the Philippine government and we are in the process of building a church building, and praying for a Filipino Pastor to eventually take over.

I have visited with many social workers and collected the requirements I was told to provide.  We have paid for Barangay clearances, police clearances, authenticated birth certificates and marriage certificate from the Philippine Consulate in America.  We’ve gotten letters of recommendation, etc…  And all was going well.  We were just waiting for a home study from the busy social workers.  Yesterday, I traveled three hours to speak with a head social worker who told me that everything I had done or been told was wrong… that we could not adopt under tourist visa status, or even missionary visa status.  We had to have some sort of residency visa, in order to adopt in the local courts.  She said but even then, your country would not recognize it and that I need to contact the Inter Country Adoption Board.  I explained to her that I had spoken to an American who worked for the Hague Adoptions, and that she said that what we were doing is a domestic adoption so we would not have to use Hague.  We could not afford it for one, and Angel would have had to come from certain orphanages that they work with.  I had also gone to the U.S. embassy a few years ago and the woman there, had told me that as long as we adopt through the Philippine government, that we would need to fill out papers when that was complete, and as soon as she stepped on American soil, she would be a citizen.  However, the social worker said that was not in her knowledge and that we just need to contact ICAB.

I feel like I am running around in circles.  Does anyone know what they are doing?  I certainly do not!  I am just trying to give my daughter the security of knowing she belongs to a family that loves her.  I want to be able to take her to America with us, not to change anything about her, but to allow her to experience both worlds with us, to allow her to meet her extended family and friends who already love her, to give her a good education for her to better her life and maybe even one day she can do great things to better the village where she came from.

How can this be?  How can a country prevent a child from having a loving home to grow up in because of mere rules?  Change them!  Evaluate the situation!  Care more, or even just a little!  I can’t stay here forever, and I don’t want her to have to either.  How can I tell her your country has failed you.  My country has failed you.  I have failed you…   That is precisely what I feel like in this moment, a complete failure.  Where do I go from here?  I have written to two emails I got from the ICAB site, but so far, no replies…  Does anyone know anyone that might be able to help?  And if you don’t, just please pray fervently.  Thank you…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 19, 2016 6:07 pm

    MANDY YOUR LETTER SURE STRIKES AT THE HEART. IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO GET ANGEL TO THE US SO YOU COULD MAYBE WORK FROM HERE ONTHE ADOPTION. WE LOVE YOU ALL BUNCHES

  2. February 21, 2016 2:09 am

    God’s timing and answers are impeccably sovereign.
    He’s already made provisions for Angel… He sent y’all across His earth to become her family.
    Praying for direction and provision in a swift legal adoption of Angel. We love you all.

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