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For This Couple, Adoption Is No Less Beautiful Than Biologically Bearing a Child
PHOTO BY courtesy of the author
  • There are many reasons Filipino couples adopt. A few have infertility struggles while others have the desire to give a child in need of a loving home. In the case of a young couple Jon and Chrina Henson, they are in the process of adopting a baby girl whom they named Chloe. Chrina is also 21 weeks pregnant. This is their story.

    In 2016, I was five months pregnant when we lost our child who was about 26 weeks in the womb at that time. We were heartbroken, and we found it challenging to reconcile what was happening. I carried my daughter, Celine, in my womb for so many months and talked to her a lot and expected her to come. I felt like I already knew her. But my arms were empty.

    It was a strange feeling, but one day I felt like God was telling me, "Do you realize, Chrina, that there are babies without mothers to hold them?" It kind of jolted us out of our grief and made us look at the world around us.

    We began to explore orphanages even though we weren’t considering adoption at that time. We just wanted to help, serve and respond to what we felt God was doing to our hearts.

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    Looking back, we realized that there were many points in our life where God had been speaking to us about adoption already. We found ourselves in a place where we were to decide whether this child was going to be rescued within a matter of a couple of days.


    Months later, Jon and I founded and registered Rohei Foundation (Chrina serves as the managing director and adoption advocate) because we recognized our orphanages are overflowing with kids who would typically get stuck there for three to four years at the very least without being adopted. If you talk to people who work in these orphanages, they would say there’s just nobody who’s in line to get these kids — there were too many kids, but there are not enough families in line to adopt these kids.

    One day we received a text message from a close friend of ours who shared the story of a mother who couldn’t keep her child due to poverty. The mother was desperate, and it broke our hearts. The child was in the process of being sold! Had we not responded, had we not said yes I don’t know where Chloe would be today.

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    "[Losing our child] kind of jolted us out of our grief and made us look at the world around us. We began to explore orphanages although we weren’t considering adoption at that time. But God was preparing our hearts for it."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of the author
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    We met Chloe when she was a day old. I remembered walking towards her, not knowing what I was going to feel, what it was going to be like to see her for the first time. But when I held her in my arms, I looked at Chloe, and I almost saw my face. I told her, "From this day on, I’m going to love you with all of my heart."

    One unforgettable moment was when she first called Jon "Papa." She wasn't babbling words but actually recognized the meaning of that word. That was life-changing for Jon. Fatherhood was teaching him more and more about what it means to love and what it means to sacrifice.

    Chloe knows that she is loved. She has grandparents that absolutely adore her. Sometimes we think that our parents love Chloe more than they love us! She has all of those moments with grandparents and uncles and aunts, titos, titas, cousins, people who love and adore her, and it’s beautiful.

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    "There are many great orphanages in our country, but not much attention has been given to getting children adopted into families."
    PHOTO BY courtesy of the author

    I think the process of adopting has changed me in the sense that my whole perspective has changed, and I’ve seen the power of what a family can do in a child’s life. I look at Chloe and how Chloe is just one child — there are many more that are left without a family.

    We often look around our house, and we think we could fit three more, four more, five more. And somehow it seems like there is room in our home for more, and I think that’s what adopting does. If you could do it for one, you just wish you could do it for many more, and the mother’s heart longs to do that as much as she possibly can. Adoption is such a powerful experience.

    There are an estimated 1.8 million children who have been recorded as abandoned or neglected. And out of that 1.8 million, 1,818 were adopted — that is 0.1% hardly a slice of the pie.

    Without adoption, children end up in institutions, which try to give their best to these kids, but it’s nothing compared to having a family. We take having a family for granted.

    The realities are a lot of women do end up selling their children due to poverty, not knowing that sometimes these children go into hard labor, prostitution. The online sexual exploitation is very rampant in our country, and the primary target is these children who are being given away.

    Online sexual exploitation of children is a multi-billion dollar industry that is rampant in our nation. It is widespread in Metro Manila — the unthinkable is being done to kids. This is what happens when children go without parents when children are left on the streets without anybody to care for them. Family is the answer.

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