Holt International CEO and President Phil Littleton is currently touring Holt’s programs in Southeast Asia and Korea, visiting the children and families we serve. Today, Holt’s creative services director, Brian Campbell, describes their visit to a childcare center in the Philippines where Holt helps to support orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children through child sponsorship. Holt also works to find loving adoptive families for eligible children in care.
by Brian Campbell, Creative Services Director
Manila, Philippines— Today, Holt International President and CEO Phil Littleton and I are heading out of Metro Manila to visit an outlying childcare center where Holt helps to support many of the children in care through child sponsorship.
Joining us on today’s visit is Eva Cubacub, a social worker from Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), Holt’s longtime partner in the region. Eva knows the children well at this orphanage, as she has made several trips to visit children in Holt’s sponsorship program. Some of the children are also in process to join families through adoption.
A warm, steady rain falls as we leave the city, and we watch as people on the streets dart from one covered porch to another. “Oh, it looks like an early spring for the Philippines,” says Eva as she looks up at the flannel gray skies.
Away from the traffic of Metro Manila, we come to a quiet building that looks like an old mission school, with Spanish arches, tile roofs and stucco and brick construction. A birthday party is taking place – not for one of the children in care, but for a little boy from the community who has decided to celebrate with the children in this orphanage. It’s lunchtime and the children eat quickly as they spy the big cake being cut into generous pieces.
Eva stands near a pretty little girl sitting apart from the other children. “Are you the one who picked up my friend?” asks the girl in a small, sweet voice. Surprised, Eva gets down to 6-year-old Christina’s* eye level and asks, “What do you mean?”
“Did you take my friend home?” says Christina.
“No honey, but I did help her go home with her new mommy and daddy,” Eva explains as she lovingly pats Christina’s back. “I miss my friend, but I want a mommy and daddy too.”
“Would you like me to help find you a mommy and daddy too?” Eva asks. Smiling, Christina nods.
“What kind of mommy and daddy should I try to find?” asks Eva.
“Like him,” says Christina, pointing at Phil. “One like him.”
Children want a home. They want someone to love them and support them as part of their forever family. Christina’s expression of hope and longing for a family is one we see over and over again as we travel through the Philippines. From the children who cuddle with their foster mothers, to the single mothers struggling to make the best decisions for their newborn children, to the teenagers who are no longer eligible for international adoption because they have aged out of the system. These children need people like the dedicated staff, volunteers and foster families who work with KBF and Holt to do what is best for each and every child.
These people have come alongside orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children in the Philippines to give of themselves the love and compassion that is the real world expression of James 1:27. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…”
* name changed