By Evangeline Cafe
Northwest Asian Weekly
After Alma Corpuz married her husband over a decade ago, she knew that she had more love to give. She always wanted to be a mother and was looking forward to having children of her own.
“When we got married, having kids was always in the plan,” Corpuz said. “We thought, ‘Let’s wait for two years, and after that, we’ll start a family.’ ”
But the road to motherhood isn’t always easy and, after finding out that she was pregnant, Corpuz and her husband dealt with a heartbreaking loss.
“We became pregnant, and about eight weeks later, we had a miscarriage,” she said. “We tried again to conceive, but almost five years passed without success.”
Corpuz and her husband underwent medical evaluation for infertility, but the results provided no clear answers. Refusing to give up on their dream of becoming parents, the couple opened their hearts to adoption.
“My husband’s cousin in California went through the adoption process and had a really good experience adopting from China,” Corpuz said. “Our pastor at church also had a good experience, and he went through an agency called WACAP, so we decided to check that out.”
World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP) is an international nonprofit adoption agency based in Renton. It operates within the United States and internationally, with staff working in Bulgaria, China, Ethiopia, India, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.
After attending a WACAP introductory meeting and meeting the staff, Corpuz and her husband, who are both Filipino American, enrolled in the agency’s China adoption program.
“The Philippines didn’t have a program with our organization, so I felt China was a good direction to go in. We felt happy with the choice we made,” Corpuz said.
The couple completed the required paperwork and requested a baby who was less than 2 years old. In July 2005, she received a phone call that she will never forget.
“We got the phone call from our social worker, and she said, ‘Your referral packet finally came in!’ ” recalled Corpuz.
A referral packet typically contains a letter stating that a child has been matched to the prospective adoptive parents, as well as a medical profile and other information about the child. It also includes a document asking whether the prospective family accepts the referral.
“It was July 27,” Corpuz said. “Like other moms who note the times when they found out they were pregnant, had their first ultrasound, or delivered their baby, I made note of the exact time on my digital watch when I got the call,” she continued. The eager mother-to-be rushed to the social worker’s office to pick up the packet.
“I opened it and said, ‘It’s a girl, it’s a girl! We’re parents!’ I remember sitting in the parking lot, calling up my sister and saying, ‘It’s a girl!’ ” she said.
The referral packet included a photo of a 5-month-old girl who had suddenly become the most important thing in Corpuz’s life. She and her husband accepted the referral and several months later traveled to China with a group of nine other adopting parents to complete paperwork.
“I was really nervous, because it just really dawned upon me, ‘Wow, this little person is going to be in our care, and I’ve never had a child before,’ ” she said.
A little girl dressed in a green outfit came into view, and Corpuz, who had for so long dreamed of being a mother, came face to face with her daughter, Olivia, for the first time.
“At that point, she was 11-and-a-half months old, and me not ever having a child or holding one, right off the bat, she was 19 pounds. So my first impression was, “Oh!” she said, laughing. “It was an incredible experience.”
Two days later, the couple paid a visit to Olivia’s orphanage in Dianjiang to thank the nannies that had cared for Olivia before returning to the United States and finalizing the adoption paperwork.
Corpuz was overjoyed to become Olivia’s mom. But when everything seemed to be going well, her road to motherhood took an unexpected turn. Six months after she and her husband brought Olivia home, Corpuz found out that she was pregnant again. This time, roughly five months into her pregnancy, the baby was stillborn.
“I still longed to have another child, and I know my husband really wanted to have a son. We gave ourselves another year to just grieve,” Corpuz said.
The couple didn’t let tragedy get in their way of growing their family. After finalizing Olivia’s adoption in 2006, they began the process for adopting their second child in 2007.
“By November 2011, we were fortunate to review the referral of a little boy. He had a surgical scar on his tummy, but was otherwise developmentally well. We accepted the referral and traveled to China during Easter 2012 to receive him,” she said.
The couple met Ethan when he was 21 months old and brought him home to Washington state.
“When we first met him, he kept saying, ‘Mama, mama, mama!’ Three or four weeks later, he began saying, ‘Mommy, mommy,’ and that’s when I just knew that there was that mother-son relationship, and I thought, ‘I’ll be there forever for you,’ ” Corpuz said.
This year, Corpuz will celebrate Mother’s Day with her husband, extended family, and of course, her now 8-year-old girl and nearly 3-year-old boy. But while they will be celebrating her, Corpuz will be celebrating them.
“Having their love is amazing. Receiving a handmade card with big crooked writing, a drawing with me wearing a tiara, or a trivet with painted flowers given with excitement as I unwrap that gift, and already hearing squeals of laughter before I even see it, summarizes my Mother’s Day.
I don’t remember what I eat or wear that day, but the look of anticipation from their faces as I unwrap their gifts is what lives on,” said Corpuz.
Corpuz also encourages anyone who has been unable to conceive a child, or simply longs to change the life of a child in need, to consider adoption.
“Adoption is a reasonable option in expanding your family. There are many children both domestic and internationally that need a good home,” she said. “Through adoption, we were blessed to have two children. Our life is full of joy because of them, and I know that they were meant to be in our lives. I feel as if they were hand-picked for us because, as their personalities come out, they are little extensions of us.” (end)
For more information about adoption, visit www.wacap.org.
Evangeline Cafe can be reached at email@example.com.