Loving beyond differences and not being able to return the favor because of incapacities led to stronger bond between Estrella and her adopted child Angela.

Their story stood the tests of time and love despite the many reasons to give up, which Estrella mentioned when she narrated stories of sadness and triumphs between her and Angela.

Frail, sickly, and with special needs – these were the immediate attributes Estrella observed from Angela when she first laid eyes on her. These did not hinder her though to love unconditionally, which was tested through the years.

Angela has been suffering from cerebral palsy since birth. Through medicine, love, and patience, she was able to walk after turning five years old.

Napakahirap niyang palakihin, marami akong dinanas, puspusan ko siyang pinatherapy para makalakad. (It was tough taking care of her during her younger years especially when she has to undergo regular therapy sessions to be able to walk).”

Estrella never gave up. It did not matter to her even if almost all of her leave credits were exhausted to attend to the needs of Angela. They visited all children’s hospitals in Manila for Angela’s medication at least twice a month.  Even if she almost got fired because of her absences, she fought for her work, for Angela.

Marami akong hirap pero ‘di ako nag-give up (I had lots of struggles but I never gave up),” said Estrella.

Then at the age of five, Angela’s ‘yaya’ carried her to the Day Care Center for her early socialization skills to be developed. It was then that she began to walk.

Despite the very long time of waiting for her daughter to grow and develop, Estrella did not stop. “Pinagsikapan ko, hindi ko siya tinantanan (I worked hard for her, I did not stop),” Estrella recalled.

Exercise, therapy sessions, provision of special care. Their lives revolved on these.

Until now at the age of 27, Estrella is still hurting seeing her daughter hard up in walking.

Holding on, hoping for love to win

For others who have seen the struggle of Estrella, so much attention, compassion and resources have been given to Angela, surpassing their expectations. Because of this, many were jealous especially some relatives of Estrella, but they stuck together and Estrella even proved more of her love for Angela.

Angela described their relationship as mother and daughter by saying “Minsan matamlay, minsan makulay (Sometimes sad, at times happy).”

In 2013, Angela insisted her mother to null her adoption just so she could continue her relationship with a lesbian. Because of the misunderstanding between her and Estrella, she chose to stay away from the refuge of her mother for 2 years.

Estrella waited for her daughter to come back. As experienced by Estrella, “motherhood is the greatest thing and the hardest thing”. Even if Angela rebelled, she still hoped for the best for them.

During these hard times, she asked help from DSWD Social Workers and even sought the assistance of Director Marcelo Nicomedes Castillo and Social Welfare Officer IV Clarivel Banzuela to intervene and mend their relationship. In February 2015, she promised to end her relationship with her lover and to live again under Estrella’s custody. Unending thanks were expressed to Dir. Castillo and Ms. Banzuela for being present during the depressing  moment of their lives.

Estrella always wished the best for Angela; for her to become self-reliant and to live independently. “I am sad to see her depressed, I continue to send her to school to level her up for a better tomorrow,” Estrella said.

Angela finished her Associate in Computer Science in 2011 at Lyceum Northern Luzon in Urdaneta City. In 2016, she enrolled under Bachelor of Science in Information Technology Program of the University of Eastern Pangasinan. She hopes to finish this course despite all the challenges she has braved since she started schooling.

On 22 December 2015, they visited Estrella’s relatives in London. This was a turning point for Angela to see the brighter side of life, that there are people who accept her incapacities and see a brighter future for her.

Amazed with facilities and environment in the United Kingdom, she dreams of working in an office there in the next 5 to 10 years.

Her heart was overwhelmed with joy upon seeing this beautiful country with visible help to persons with disabilities like her.

Being with her adoptive parent, she also wants Estrella to be happy by achieving her ambition for her to finish the course and eventually obtain a successful work abroad.

According to Angela, she will always be guided by the lessons taught by her mom – to give respect to people, to love people even those who do not accept you, and to not curse.

Despite the odds, Estrella shared that being a mother to her adopted child is a blessing because she experienced motherhood – accepting her child as she is and always thinking of her bright future despite inadequacies. (By: Iryn D. Cubangbang, IO II)