Judy Ann Santos will not deny her adopted daughter Yohan the chance to get to know her biological parents.
The Kapamilya actress revealed 15-year-old Yohan has already asked if she would be allowed to meet her biological parents when the right time comes.
During her guest appearance in ABS-CBN late-night talk show Tonight with Boy Abunda (TWBA) on Monday, December 16, the 41-year-old actress stated Yohan is an answered prayer.
However, she admitted it was not easy for her and husband Ryan Agoncillo to tell Yohan she was not their own.
“Nung una parang… hindi siya in denial, e, pero parang baka feeling niya siguro baka binobola ko siya or something.
“And we made her realize na Ryan and me started a family because of you [Yohan].
“Basically, ikaw yung mitsa ng kandila ng pamilya natin.
“Her name is Johanna Louise, Lucho’s name is Juan Luis, Luna’s name is Juana Luisa—all named after you.
“You came first, so always remember, hindi ka basta saling-kitkit dito. You started this family.”
Lucho, 9, is the second child of Judy Ann and Ryan, while Luna, 3, is their youngest.
Since Yohan already knows she is adopted, she is starting to ask Judy Ann about her biological parents.
The actress related one conversation with Yohan about this subject.
“Yeah, may tanong siya. ‘Do you know my mom?’
“’Are you friends with my dad?’
“’But, sweetheart, if at some point you want to meet them, you want to talk to them, if you feel that there are questions already in your heart that’s piling up, and feeling mo sila lang ang makakasagot, we can look for them because that’s your right.’”
The actress added Yohan would ask about her biological parents out of the blue.
“Parang nahihiya rin siya magsabi na ‘my real mom,’ natatakot siya baka ma-offend ako or something.
“Sabi ko, ‘Your biological mom, no, sweetheart, I don’t know.’
“’Sabi ko, ‘Why?’ Sabi niya, ‘Would it be okay if, at some point, I’ll ask if I could meet them?’ Sabi ko, ‘Of course, of course, anak.’
“Tapos huminga lang ako nang malalim.
“Yun pala yon," Judy Ann said.
Having raised Yohan since she was born, Judy Ann still found it difficult to answer her daughter's questions about her adoption.
“Hindi mo naman siya pinagdadamot, pero from that time she asked me that question, I was preparing myself every day, ‘Lord, dumating man yung time na maging seryoso na ‘tong batang ‘to, prepare mo kami kasi hindi ko siya ipagkakait sa ganoon.”
The star of the ABS-CBN teleserye Starla also explained she used to dislike the word "adopted."
In previous years, Judy Ann would tell reporters in interviews not to use the word "adopted" when writing about Yohan.
She wanted to protect Yohan, she said.
“At some point, hate na hate ko yung word na adopted,” the Kapamilya actress admitted.
“Dumating ako sa point, Tito Boy, na pag may mga nag-i-interview sa akin, I’d always tell them, ‘Can you please not put the word ‘adopted’ because she’s our daughter and she’ll see this and I don’t want her to feel bad?’
“Then eventually, I realized everybody out there who’s adopted, should realize that it’s such a beautiful word.
“Ako, ang realization ko, napakaganda ng salitang adopted o adoption because somebody wanted you in their lives. They chose you,” explained Judy Ann.
In an article that came out in PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in April 2019, Judy Ann narrated how she told Yohan she was adopted.
In her guest appearance on TWBA, the actress recounted how, when she was at the peak of her career at around 21 years old, she prayed to have a child at the age of 26.
“Wala akong pakialam kung ano ang sabihin ng mga tao na naanakan ako o nagpabuntis ako.
“I just wanted a baby,” said Judy Ann.
In 2004 at the age of 26, the actress received a call from her mom, Mommy Carol, while she was taping for her then prime-time teleserye Krystala.
“I fully remember. My mom called, ‘Anak, may manganganak, ino-offer sa ‘yo, gusto mo?’ Nung nag-okay ako, na-realize ko na hindi ako nag-isip, hindi ako kinabahan, pero excited ako.
“Pag-uwi ko, nanay na ako.”
This is a story she would always tell Yohan.
She said she often reminds her daughter, "Hindi mo alam kung paano nakikinig ang Diyos.'
“Pag alam Niyang ready ka na, ibibigay Niya.”
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