After actress-TV host LJ Moreno married star cager Jimmy Alapag on August 19, 2010, she had a hard time conceiving. She felt frustrated and disheartened, but never hopeless. Fast forward to 2017, and she and her husband are now parents to a 4-year-old boy, Ian Maximus, a 2-year-old girl, Keona Skye, and another baby boy on the way.
“Ano lang talaga, timing ni God,” LJ told SmartParenting.com.ph during the baby shower thrown by baby stroller brand Aprica last July 15 in honor of her good friend, Maricar de Mesa, who said the same thing about her pregnancy. “I always say na we were praying for one, kahit one lang—’yon ’yong prayer namin no’n. But kaya pala matagal ’yong waiting namin kasi sunod-sunod pala, tatlo!”
LJ recalled getting caught off guard with her current pregnancy. “Kasi it took me a while to get pregnant [with Keona], di ba? Kaya akala ko, wala, 'di muna ulit,” she related with a grin. “Di kami nagbi-birth control. Akala ko, I needed help—’yong workup—before ma-pregnant, so walang anything.”
“So, di talaga expected,” she added, the grin on her lovely face getting bigger. “’Tapos, nahilo-hilo ako. Akala ko because of my glasses. ’Tapos no’ng di pa ako nagkakaroon, nagpa-pregnancy test ako. Nalaman ko lang.”
So far, there’s no name yet for her forthcoming baby boy. “Wala pa kasi si Jimmy kasi in-charge do’n sa name,” she said. “Dahil ako na daw nag-name sa nauna, so turn naman daw n’ya. May mga gusto akong name pero ayaw naman daw n’ya. Sige, s’ya na lang. So, I don’t know. Tingnan na lang natin kung ano ang ipapangalan n’ya.”
LJ, who’s also a TV host and a baker, has encouraging words for women who have had difficulty getting pregnant. “Just don’t lose faith. Just keep praying, and ibe-bless din naman sila ni God at the right time, eh, whether it’s their biological child or an adopted child. Basta, it will come.”
Speaking of adoption, LJ and Jimmy found and fell in love with their son Ian Maximus while visiting a shelter for babies. They see no distinction between having a biological child and an adopted child. “Same lang,” LJ pointed out. “There’s no difference, and I can personally say it wasn’t like before na when you give birth, you’ll see the difference. When I gave birth [to Keona Skye], there was no difference [from when I had Ian Maximus]. The love I feel for our son is the same love I feel for our daughter. So, wala, no difference talaga.”
According to LJ, Ian knows he's adopted because she and Jimmy assumed legal parentage when he was already 2 years old. “We frequently go to the shelter. We go there, he sees his friends… Like we connected with ’yong batchmate n’ya, ’yong cribmate n’ya na na-adopt ng Canadian couple. They came home to visit. So, they [the boys] had their play date.
“Alam n’ya, pero hindi naman n’ya…We don’t really say it, pero he just knows na, ‘Oh, Baby [Keona] came from Mama. I came from this place [shelter]. Remember, Mama, with my friend?’ Ganyan. ’Ta’s we want him to feel, when he grow up—kasi di namin s’ya mapo-protektahan if ever matukso or whatever—na he’s confident na, ‘Okay, I’m adopted. So? My parents love me.’ ’Yong gano’n. I don’t want him to feel that it’s something to be embarrassed about kasi he’s just as special as his other siblings.”
Thankfully, the boy is already confident about himself. His proud mom believes it's because the truth about his background was never hidden from him. “Kasi kung ’tinago mo, mas mahirap, eh,” LJ reasoned. “We were advised before na the earlier they know—’yong wala pang malice—the better kasi parang when you hide it and they find out, adolescent na, parang they feel betrayed. So, regularly, we bring toys to the babies [in the shelter] with him. Ganyan.”
For those thinking of adoption a child, LJ has these words: “If you’re gonna do it, then do it wholeheartedly. Don’t do it because feeling n’yo, hindi na kayo magkakaanak. Because pa’no kung nagkaanak kayo? When we did it, we weren’t thinking na hindi na kami magkakaanak. We felt the connection with our son, and we just wanted to take him home… And dapat ’yon nga, prepared ka na dapat you give your all. So, whatever you give your biological child, same with your adopted child kasi they have the same rights."