Love Sees Beyond Differences

When I was a kid, I've always been curious about adoption. I've heard and read about adoption stories and I know how hard it is to thru adoption and all those legal matters that come with it. Some families hold back on adoption because of this.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Inter-country Adoption Board (ICAB) and McCann Philippines launched their Advocacy Campaign on Adoption entitled, "Love Sees Beyond Differences." This campaign seeks to soften the stigma on adoption.

The advocation panel with the adoptive families; (from left to right) McCann Worldgroup Managing Partner Cecile Gabutina-Velez, Michelle Logan, Craig Logan, Jojo Villa, Janet Villa, Sen. Pia Cayetano, DSWD Undersecretary Parisya Taradji, Ogie Alcasid, ICAB Board Member Rafael Tinio, Jenny Paraiso, AFF President John Boren, and Butch Albert.

According to DSWD, from January to November 15, 2012, a total of 457 cases of children were issued with certificate of a child legally available for adoption (CCLAA). RA 9523 requires a certification of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to declare a "child legally available for adoption" as a prerequisite for adoption proceedings. From 457 cases issued with CCLAA, 24 cases were matched to local families. Another 38 cases matched to local families whose CCLAA were issued in previous years. A total of 62 cases were matched to local families from January to November 15, 2012.

John Boren, President of Adoptive Families Foundation, Inc., explains that while adoption takes time and some amount of money, the fruits and rewards are limitless. "Our organization helps adoptive families during and after the process of adoption. We sponsor forums on the legal, social and psychological issues related to adoption. But above all, we want families to openly share their stories so more families will be inspired to adopt." Keeping adoption hidden from both the adopted child and family and friends, results in adoptive families living a lie. Because of this, there are adoptive parents who carry unnecessary psychological baggage.
Mrs. Cecile Gabutina-Velez, from McCann Worldgroup, explains the importance of the adoption advocacy campaign and how close it is to her heart.

Members of AFF have joined together to sponsor forums which bring together all kinds of families to learn about the legal requirements of adoption, how to rectify simulated adoptions, how to talk to a child about adoption and especially tell them about their own adoption, how to decide on what information needs to be shared with others and how to deal with overly-inquisitive acquaintances; how to build and reinforce a positive self-image, both in our adopted children and in their adoptive parents, and how to deal with adoption issues at school, with teachers and administrators and other students.

Let me share you two the story of the Skopakows

Peter and Darlene Skopakowwas recently united with his adopted child from Leyte. He filed his petition for adoption with ICAB in February 2009. Today, he and his wife, are proud parents to Mary Jane. "This is our second adoption. We have had Mark, our first adopted son since April 2005. Mark has brought so much love to our home, which is why we considered a second adoption." Peter and Darlene say that they have heard from friends that the Philippines has one of the best legal adoption process in Asia. "This is why we have sought an adopted child in Manila. While it might have been a long wait to have Mary Jane nothing comes close to loving two beautiful children," adds Peter Skopakow.

The Inter-Country Adoption Board works directly with 105 international partners, communities and organizations and 99 local child-caring agencies (CCAs). ICAB's mission is to place Filipino children with suitable foreign adoptive families abroad and ensure the protection, security, and the best interest of Filipino children.

According to ICAB, there have 6,265 foreign families who have adopted Filipino children since 1995 to October 2012. "Despite the stringent legal process, there are 1,000 foreign families highly interested to adopt Filipino children," says Bobby Tinio, board member of ICAB.
DSWD Undersecretary Parisya H. Taradji encouraging everyone to open their hearts to the adoption program.

Atty. Bernadette Abejo, Executive Director of ICAB, "I am happy to see this adoption advocacy campaign finally come to reality and I am very positive that this campaign will soften the stigma on adoption." The Inter-Country Adoption Board (ICAB) created by Republic Act 8043 (RA 8043) was designated as the Central Authority in matters relating to inter-country adoption of Filipino children.

Through music, specifically, the song, "I Love You Anak" sung by award-winning singer and songwriter, Ogie Alcasid, the advocacy hopes to change the mindset of many Filipinos about adoption and encourage families to open their homes to adoptive children. Ogie prides himself as being a family man. He is married to Regine Velasquez, with whom he has a son, named, Nathaniel James."I'm glad that they've used music as a start, as a kick off for the campaign because music is very powerful. We always say that music is the language of the soul," Ogie said. His US-based sister is married to an American and they currently going through the adoption process. They have also met with officials from ICAB. "I also have friends who are adoptive parents and there is no difference from the love that they show to their biological and adopted children," added Ogie.
Multi-awarded singer and songwriter Ogie Alcasid shares his talent by singing, "I love you anak" at the media launch of "Love Sees Beyond Differences" Adoption Advocacy Campaign by DSWD, ICAB and McCann WorldGroup.

Raul Castro, Chief Executive Officer of McCann Worldgroup, knows that through this advocacy the agency can be true to its vision of driving positive values that will help transform lives. "This campaign on adoption is enabled by a team who commits to the advocacy on a personal level. Many wanted to get involved in the creative work, which aligns with our desire as a company to positively impact on lives", proudly says Raul.

"Many Filipino families are willing to open their hearts and homes to adoptive kids. There is an opportunity to encourage this mindset and this is what the communications aims to do. The campaign is a solution that magnifies the life-changing, positive impact of adoption, adds Raul.

The following companies have partnered with McCann in support of this advocacy campaign, namely: Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation (FBDC) for allowing the organizers to use the 28th Terra Park in BGC for the upcoming on-ground family picnic event; Just Add Water (JAW) for managing the audio and video production of this campaign; LoudBox Studios for the musical arrangement and recording of  "I love you anak" song sung by OgieAlcasid; Informer Media for the video production and volunteer students from the Communication Arts Department of UST.

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