Naging emosyunal si Senator Grace Poe nang ibahagi ang personal niyang karanasan bilang adopted child, isang araw bago ang kanyang ika-47 kaarawan.
“For those of you unfamiliar with my life story, I wasn't just adopted—I was a foundling, abandoned shortly after birth, and left in a church,” pahayag ng senadora.
Bahagi ito ng kanyang inspirational speech sa ginanap na 13thPhilippine Global Consultation on Child Welfare Services ngayong Miyerkules, September 2.
Ayon kay Senator Grace, posibleng naiba ang istorya ng kanyang buhay kung hindi siya natagpuan ng isang “Good Samaritan” na si Sayong Militar sa Jaro Cathedral, Iloilo City, noong September 3, 1968.
Si Sayong ang nagbigay-daan upang kalaunan ay ampunin ang noo’y bagong silang na si Grace ng mag-asawang Fernando Poe Jr. at Susan Roces.
FOUNDLING CERTIFICATE VS. LIVE BIRTH CERTIFICATE. Ngunit sa kabila ng pagiging kilala nina FPJ at Susan sa mundo ng showbiz, hindi naging madali para sa dalawa ang proseso upang pormal na ampunin si Grace.
Kuwento ng senadora, “In 1968, it wasn't very clear what the process should be.
“And my father, at that time, was quite traditional, would say, ‘Why do we even need to have to go through this process of adoption? She is our child and we love her.’
“And my mother insisted that, eventually, it will be important to have a document to prove that because while they know that they love me and I know that, the state does not easily recognize that.
“Whenever I go to school, they would ask for a birth certificate.
“And a certificate that I always had to show was a foundling certificate. Not a birth certificate.
“And not everybody understood that.
“So it was a process that they undertook—from the time that they took me in that commenced many years later—at least 3 more years later—and so that adoption certificate became my birth certificate.”
Bilang isang ampon, iginiit ni Senator Grace ang kahalagahan ng pagkakaroon ng mas iwas-“red tape” at mas madaling adoption process, sa pamamagitan ng ipinanukala niyang Senate Bill 2892.
Layunin nitong mas palakasin ang sistema ng birth registration ng tinaguriang Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSP) o mga menor de edad, at pati na rin mga may edad na 18 years old pataas ngunit mayroong physical o mental disability.
Kabilang din dito ang mga biktima ng pang-aabuso, eksploytasyon, sakuna, at mga inabandona ng kanilang magulang.
Paliwanag pa ni Senator Grace, “It stipulates that any child who is found and classified as a CNSP should receive, within 48 hours, whatever support is needed, be it documentation, medical attention, temporary custody, or other.”
A HOMAGE TO SUSAN AND THE LATE FPJ. Sa isang punto ng kanyang speech, hindi napigilan ni Senator Grace ang maging emosyunal, lalo na nang ilarawan niya kung paanong buong-pusong ipinadama sa kanya nina FPJ at Susan ang pagmamahal na katumbas ng tunay na mga magulang.
“When I was adopted by my parents, there was no question that they were acting out of any other motive rather than that of pure love.
“My advocacy of adoption therefore a homage to them—a love letter of returning a love that cannot even begin to equal the love they have hand forth on this foundling, from the start.
“Which left no doubt in my mind that I was unquestionably, unconditionally, and truly their daughter,” naluluhang pahayag ng senadora.
Kasabay ng panukala niyang Senate Bill 2892, umaasa si Senator Grace na mas lumago ang employment opportunities sa bansa, upang maiwasan ang gawing option ang adoption para sa mga pamilyang hirap sa buhay.
Aniya, “Ultimately, my hope is that no Filipino should give up a child out of economic hardship.
"Who knows? That might have been my story, too."