Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fostering to Adopt: House Visit & Possible Twins

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (

Today was the day that our social worker visited our home for the first time to evaluate our living conditions. I was a bit nervous as we live in a very small one bedroom more like a small studio. I wasn't sure what the "normal" was for a good evaluation. But he seemed to be pleased with the condo... Praise God!


Signing the Fostering License Application with social worker

We also began our Part II interview along with signing of the Fostering License Application.  The sense of reality started to settle while signing the papers to foster...on top of that my "nesting mode" started to kick in. 

Decision Of When We Will Foster: 
We shared with him that we are leaning on fostering a baby after January when I return from an Arise Women's Conference in Hawaii. But then, the social worker shared that just yesterday a young lady gave birth to a set of twins a boy and a girl... He looked at me and said "will you be interested?" My heart jumped as I always wanted twins. Then he proceeded in sharing that there were 5 more babies born within the past weeks. My husbands eye's went big signaling to the social worker that we'll start with just one for now. LOL. 

If it was up to me I wouldn't mind taking all of them. My desire is to parent 3 to 5 children. 

Possible Fostering In November:
The social worker shared that once we get all the paper work completed, we will be able to foster a baby as soon as the first week of November.  My heart swayed more to November versus end of January, especially when the social worker shared how many babies needed a home. My heart wanted to start right away.

I may have to prayerfully seek if I should go on the Arise Missions Trip in January. And try to convince my hubby that we can handle twins! ~wink~wink! 

Overall, I am feeling such joy and excitement that in a month we could be possible parents to a foster child for the duration of 3 to 6 months at a time. My "nesting mode" is definitely kicking in. I'm already staring at the walls picturing and imagining how each baby furnitures will fit and where the clothes, bottles, diapers etc... will go. 


Our first baby gift from the Galido's!

On Saturday, I'll probably go to SM Mall and price out possible items in case we start in November. I'm a minimalist so hopefully I won't make a long list. Thanks to my good friend Jay Galido for our very first baby gift! 

Prayer Request:  For protection, guidance, wisdom, and financial provisions. 


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fostering to Adopt: Update - Next Steps!

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (


Meeting With Social Worker
It's been about couple of weeks now since our initial meeting with the social worker. We were able to get a better idea of the requirements for this initial fostering process. I feel great peace about this agency as it is one of the two that caters to "fostering to adopt" and the agency has a great track record of successful placement of the children with the government & embassay.

During our initial meeting the social worker shared with us that they currently have only 0-2months old babies for placements and there is a high rate for girls. Originally our heart was set on having a boy but now knowing that there is such a high rate for girls we are leaning more towards having a girl.

The social worker also shared that there are two divisions financially in fostering: first is subsidized which is where the agency pays you about $35 a month for the child's needs and monthly we will need to take the child in for checkups and evaluations plus home visits regularly for accountability. And the second division is the unsubsidized which is where the foster parents gives full financial care for the child and does not need regular home visits. We are not sure which route to take as we are living off of support.

"Practicing" Picture of Baby Zoe Galido 
(Our friend Jay & Nolan's 2 month old daughter)

Also, we learned that in order to be eligible to adopt we would need to live in the Philippines for a total of 3 years which was saddening... But the social worker assured us that we are still able to foster until we meet the requirements of 3 years. (So, it'll be 1 year and 6 months more to go for the adoption!).

Another limitation is that a child is allowed to live with the foster parents for only 3 months at a time. Therefore, after 3 months we will be getting a different baby or child each time. (Hmmm, am I ready for this emotionally of letting go of the child every 3 months?) We are praying that the agency will allow us to have the same child placed at our home until the 1year and 6 months is up for adoption.

Our Next Steps
Our next steps is to send the organization recommendation letters from 3 references whom we asked our close friends here in the Philippines along with our parents. We are also required to get a medical clearance certification for their evaluation process. In the meantime, the social worker will be contacting us to do a "house visit". So, we are going to just continue to move forward in faith until God gives us the red light.


Emotional, Mental, & Spiritual Preparations
As shared in my first entry that DJ & I will be committing to do intentional devotions regarding this next journey of our life as possible parents. The devotional times has helped a lot with my anxieties, concerns, and worries as it is a lot to process and prepare for.  However, I was blown away how God showed up in all this...

I normally follow a bible reading plan on "YouVersion" for my daily readings & devotional reflections. So, for my Day 1 of intentional devotions I opened up the reading plans and started to read the first two readings. The readings were a bit dry and I was feeling discouraged as I was eager for God to show us or speak to us through this time of reflection. Before I moved onto the third readings which was on Luke 1, I asked God to show up as I'm not receiving anything from the first two readings. 

I started reading on Luke 1 and I couldn't stop crying. I was first overwhelmed with how God totally answered my prayer about showing up through this reading. And second I could feel him showering me with the promises, hope, encouragement, and love he has for us.

Luke Chapter 1, was on the story of Zachariah and Elizabeth and how God blessed them with baby John (later known as John the baptist) from Elizabeth's once barren womb. 

Of all chapters, and of all scripture readings God orchestrated my readings to be on Luke 1. I was super blessed by the quality time He spent with me that morning. What a way to kick of Day 1! As each day went by I just felt God's grace, love, & peace that he has it all under control and that all I need to do is take one step and one day at a time trusting in him each way.

Prayer Requests
Here are some of my prayer request regarding the fostering to adopt:

  1. Whether to start fostering within the next month or to wait until after January when I return from a women's conference in Hawaii... Is it the right timing? Or should we wait to pursue on our 3 year mark?
  2. For financial provisions - Although as missionaries we live off the donations of our generous supporters, we are currently still about $200-$300 short of our monthly expenses. But some how for the past year God has always provided for us each month! I still don't know how we are surviving from month to month. It has really stretched our faith not knowing if we have enough for each upcoming month. With a child added on... my prayer would be: "Are we currently making a wise decision for this season in providing for this child?" Ultimately it is God who is the provider and I just need to trust in Him that he will continue to provide even if the "numbers" show differently. 
  3. For emotional, mental, & spiritual protection, wisdom, and discernment through all of this. 

I just want to thank all our loved ones who have been praying and encouraging us through this all. Stay tuned for the next entry on "Fostering to Adopt" journey.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shooting video for organizations that help women out of prostitution & sex trade


Saving women/children from the global sex trade...this is what my friends' organization is all about. A few weeks ago I contacted my good friend Chris Kanemura in Hawaii who just recently started up a non-profit organization called Made in Hope with a friend here in the Philippines, Michelle Tolentino. It serves to empower women who have been rescued from the global sex trade/human trafficking and prostitution, by providing education, skills training, and faith strengthening so that they can be transformed and have a sustainable livelihood. The organization that does all of this in the Philippines is called Samaritana, whom they partner with. Samaritana is an established organization in the Philippines, which is has been helping woman out of prostitution for over 20 years now. 

What's in your hand?...My pastor, Nolan Galido, had been saying this recently to encourage us that we already have what we need to be used by God to serve others. I called Chris really wanting to help out somehow, but I wasn't sure what I could do for them. It turns out Made in Hope and Samaritana needed a video to help bring awareness to their transforming ministries. Of course, I am far from being a professional videographer, I am a hobbyist like the thousands of others out there, but in my hand was a decent camera and some editing software. I felt that this was a way I could bless them and at the same time hone my skills. Lynnette, whose hobby is make-up, also had a chance to bless the women by doing the make-up for all those being interviewed for the video. That was in her hands.

Powerful stories of changed lives...were shared by different women as we filmed yesterday. Lynnette and I went out to Samaritana from 8:30am - 400pm, we interviewed amazing women who have stepped out of prostitution, loving staff workers and the dedicated directors, Jonathan and Thelma Nambu, who run the organization. We were so blessed to be able to record their stories, and of course to simply spend the day with them. The women were so excited to have Lynnette do mini makeovers on them, and asked her to come back in November to do a make-up workshop for all of them.

Award winning documentary?...probably not. But, I'll be creating a few videos (a short teaser, a med 3-5 minute promo and a longer 10-15 minute video) from all this footage. For now I'm mainly focusing on a 3-5 minute promo for Samaritana's anniversary in November, and a video for Made in Hope to promote their cause. I'll admit, that this process is scary, since I haven't done anything this involved before, but I hope that they can use it as tool to bring awareness and inspire others to support their organization as they literally transform lives from the inside out. I'll post the video as soon as it has been completed.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Hoping to Be Foster Parents...& Eventually Adopt

This was originally posted in Lynnette's personal blog (


Since I (Lynnette) was 12, I’ve always wanted to adopt and one day have my own orphanage. The passion started due to my up bringing as I grew up somewhat like an orphan living from different family to family. 

Now living in the Philippines, day in and day out we see so many street kids. The thought of fostering & adopting would linger in my heart quite often- When I see the street kids I just want to give them all a bath, feed them, & most importantly love on them… I want to love the kids and help raise them to be disciples of Jesus.

For some time now as a married couple DJ & I have been thinking of fostering to adopt but never really pursued it. We were really encouraged & inspired by reading our friends Charlotte & Alex's story of their fostering experience on Facebook. Soon after, we decided to pursue it as well.

As a side note: DJ & I have about 12% chance of conceiving. We were heavily contemplating whether to get checked here in the Philippines to pursue possible procedures, but the costs were too high. Our missionary insurance doesn’t cover the check ups or any possible procedures. The check ups alone are $300. However, we are not going to completely close that door…perhaps in the future we will pursue the check ups & possible procedures… if it’s God’s will. In the meantime fostering to adopt really speaks to our hearts.

Last week after researching on some fostering organizations, DJ & I emailed an organization to inquire about being possible foster parents to adopt.  We were not sure if we are even eligible being that we are US citizens, but in faith we sent them an email anyway and let God handle the rest. 

Recently, we got an email reply from the organization and notified us that a Social Worker will be contacting us to set up an orientation/interview/next step meeting. Receiving the email was exciting but super scary at the same time. We are not sure if this is the direction God wants us to take or even if it's the right time or season. But trusting in God to show us the way in all of this, as we are open to whichever direction He wants us to go. 

Happy to share that our orientation/interview has been set for today Sept. 21 at 10am. The day before my hubby's birthday. The organization didn't say whether we are approved or not so we are praying that God will close the door if it's not the direction at this initial meeting.

Please keep us in prayer for God's hand to be all over this and to close the door if this is not the route. Praying for more confirmations and that this decision is not out of emotions as it is a HUGE life changing commitment to make. DJ & I will be committing to do intentional devotional & prayer time for this specific direction for the duration of 1 month.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Teaching Kids the Books of the New Testament

I (DJ) often forget how unusually gifted Lynnette is with teaching kids. This afternoon before church while preparing her lesson for Kids Venture (our church's children's ministry), she began making up some hand gestures that matched a rhythm to naming the 27 books of the New Testament. She was literally making it up on the spot and rehearsing it with me. She was confident that she could get the 5-10 year old children of Kids Venture to memorize all the books, in order, in the time span of a church service. If you're like me, then you're thinking "that's crazy!" probably because also like me, you can't do it fact I'm sure most adult Christians can't. So who could blame me for being a little skeptical.

Fast forward to the end of our church service, when suddenly 15 kids march into the church lounge area, falling into formation and to the shock of everyone recited all 27 books of the New Testament in order. They weren't imitating or following along with the teacher, they just did it on their own. Of course when they were done everyone exploded in disbelief and cheers, and then probably like me, reflected for a moment on our own ignorance. 

Here's a glimpse of the kids in Kids Venture showing off their ability after Lynnette had somehow found the formula to get kids to remember books of the bible many people can't even pronounce. Oh, and did I mention that some of these kids don't even speak English! 


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kids Venture Movie outing to see "Brave"!

Lynnette hosted a Kids Venture movie event. She took kids from our church to see the movie "Brave". Its been on her heart to bless these kids, especially since some of them have never been in a movie theater before! 

A special thank you to Michelle Chinen, Derwin, & Quennie for sponsoring all the children & chaperones!! They all had fun!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Our Experience at the Flood Relief Centers


Yesterday, the monsoon rains relented and we were able to experience some sunshine, much needed by this devastated city. Most of the water had receded and many of the roads are now drivable. As we watched the news, it was heart wrenching to hear that in Metro Manila alone there are over 44,000 people forced out of their homes by the waters, now living in 359 crowded evacuation centers. The amount of food and supplies needed to care for these people is overwhelming to think about.

Anxious to do something, Lynnette went online to look for ways that we could help. She found a government center that needed volunteers in packing relief bags for the evacuation centers. A few friends from church joined us and we headed out finding ourselves in a room too small to handle the amount of volunteers that were squeezed in with all the food and clothing.

It was encouraging to see all these people committed to volunteer, but the amount of people packed in that room seemed to actually slow down the relief packaging process. So, with difficulty, we packed some relief packages and then decided to jump in a jeepney and move to another relief center at the University of Philippines (UP), hoping we would be more of a help and less of a hindrance. 

Arriving at UP we entered a huge gymnasium, buzzing with action and young people. Each of us quickly jumped into helping in different areas, which included creating rice bags, sorting clothes, filling relief bags or simply falling into a chain line to move bags and boxes from one place to another. It was awesome to see the amount of donations that had come in and the amount of relief bags that were created by the hundreds of volunteers eager to help the flood victims. 

It was a tiring day, but we were blessed to help in the small way that we did. There's still so much that needs to be done for those impacted, and to rebuild/clean up the city. We continue to keep all those effected in our prayers. 

Check out the video that Lynnette made of our experience: