Narrated by Hope Carino
She was all alone in the hospital with her baby boy. The man who made promises left her, and no one in her family back in the province knew about her pregnancy. She was only 18 yrs. old. Having no means to pay the hospital bills and no way to support a child, she was forced to make difficult decisions – to have her newborn child adopted.
Miguel and Victoria “Betty” Carino of Midsayap, Cotobato got married in 1969. The couple earnestly prayed for a son but for many years were childless. Betty even vowed: “Lord, if you would give me a son, he will become a pastor.” On May 30, 1974, their prayers were answered and they adopted Samuel. Four years later, their family grew. God blessed the couple with a baby girl, Marife.
Samuel recalls, “We were treated equally. I was so loved that I never realised I was an adopted child. Not until I turned 12 yrs. old, when my friends started calling me ‘Hapon’ that I began to observe the faces of my family. Slowly, I began to realise that I did not resemble them in any way. Then I gathered enough courage to ask my mother if I am adopted.” When his mother confirmed that he was indeed adopted, Samuel decided to find his real parents.
“I packed my things, my emotions in turmoil. My mother did not stop me from leaving. Instead, she waited for me to come home. Sice I did not know where to go, or where to get the means to survive, I decided to go home. Mom assured me that even if I was not their biological son, they still loved me,” he says, adding, ” I honestly felt no unfair treatment at home. My parents played no favourites. I received the same treatment from my loved ones. And so, we continued to grow in the fear and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Tragedy struck the family in 1992 when his father was diagnosed with cancer of the lungs and was given only six months to live. His mother died earlier due to enlargement of the heart after a liver operation.
“My world crashed. I did not know what to do. We became orphans in a span of two months. How could my sister and I survive? What would happen to our schooling? These were just some of the questions that went through my mind,” he recalls, admitting that he became bitter.
“I grieved, rebelled and questioned God until one day, I got very sick and ended up in the hospital fighting for my life. It was then that I pleaded before God to give me one more chance to live my life. Along with the plea, was the promise to serve Him faithfully all the days of my life.”
After he was healed, Samuel decided to fulfill his mothers vow. He entered Ebenezer Bible College and Seminary in June 1994. At the seminary, he met Hope, his high school crush.
“Since she was seeing somebody at that time, I opted to wait and pray. Every single day, I prayed for her and God heard my prayers. She became my girlfriend in 1996, and three years later, we got married,” he says. For several years, the couple remained childless. Samuel says they were grateful to God for giving them the courage to accept the situation.
“Acceptance. That was more than enough for us at the time. That is why having no children of our own was not a source of tension in our relationship,” he shares.
On their 10th year of marriage, Samuel felt that “God had impressed adoption in my heart and made me realise that my situation was no accident. I believe that God orchestrated the events in my life, and if there is one thing that He would want me to do, that is to adopt a child. I felt that this was the legacy God wanted me to pass on.”
At first, Hope was not as excited about adoption as he was. “So, I did not force the issue, all the while praying for her to have a change of heart. In the meantime, I was quietly processing all the documents needed. When I went on out of town ministries, I would give her reading materials on adoption. This went on for months, until one day she realised that adoption must be God’s way of answering our prayers for a son. Finally, Hope agreed that we adopt a child.”
In March 2011, the couple attended a seminar on adoption, and submitted all the requirements in August of the same year. In September, they were matched, and October 24, 2011, they fetched their son, bubbly seven month old Chosen.
“We named him Chosen because we learned that we cannot choose the baby. There is a committee who does the matching. And so we prayed, ‘God, You choose the baby for us.’ He is chosen by the Lord, at the same time, we are chosen by God to become his parents.”
The family is eagerly awaiting their second adoption, a baby girl they are naming Given Hope. The couple are currently serving as pastors at a church in Quezon City.
To know more about adoption, please contact Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, #56 10th ave., Quezon City. Telephone numbers (+632)9121159 or (+632)9131469. A Pre-Adoption Forum is held every 2nd Friday of the month.