When One Hero is Not Enough

Marcus is big fan of Batman and I’m a big fan of movies for kids with strong messages for adults.  This weekend, The Lego Batman Movie (2017) satisfied both choices. DC and Lego made sure this film sets itself apart from the previous Batman films. These guys behind the production did their best that the movie entertains both kids and parents alike. For one, playing Cutting Crew’s I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight while Batman ogles Barbara Gordon made my day. Our caped crusader watching Jerry Maguire in the Batcave’s personal cinema surely tickled wifey.

I have to admit though I was in dreamland just almost the same time when Batman got zapped into the Phantom Zone. For a sec I felt like being scanned by the brick and my bad credit records being projected on the screen. No thanks to the Saturday night shift I rendered to cover for the vacation I would have this week. But trust me this movie is worth watching again.

Mall is already deserted when the movie ended. By the way, we’ll wear a cape next time

The first part of the movie shows Batman foil an attempt by Joker and company to send Gotham City into oblivion. It was like all in a day’s work, like it’s no big deal. True to his nature, despite everything, Batman dismisses Joker as his worthy opponent. Crime takes a hiatus while Joker tries another way to claim his spot as Batman’s archnemesis. During this time, without admitting it, Batman loses steam and his life as a crime fighter drags on.

In most fictional stories, a hero needs a villain, a villain who would strike unspeakable fear to the masses. Without fear, the role of a hero is downplayed. There must be conflict of some sort. This is why our children, however innocent their minds are, understand such simple logic: their hero needs someone to fight with. So it’s no wonder they beg that their Batman figure needs a Joker, a Bane, a Penguin, or an unsuspecting Iron Man to smash before the victory of their games becomes worthy of the celebration.

Yes, no fear, no hero. Simple as that. Shamelessly, this is very same concept used by some of our leaders nowadays. They want to be seen as heroes no matter what it takes and for that to happen they sell fear at the expense of innocent lives. Their irrational means would justify their fantasized end.

It is a fact that evil exists. Most of us recognize it. We don’t like illegal drugs. We despise all forms of terrorism. We hate the bad guys. This, however, is not an excuse to disregard the rights of others in the fight to eradicate it. We cannot start killing people just because they happen to live in the same slums suspected to be a haven of drug pushers. We cannot hate a race just because a deranged group exists in their midst. We must all remember that we are dealing with someone made of flesh and blood. That when we discriminate and hate, the victims are children of parents, parents of children. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. They are not Lego blocks we could assemble back to original form once we realized we made a snafu.

As one line of Lego Batman Movie goes “Always be yourself unless you can be Batman.” Lost in their dreams and fantasies, children become their own Batman and they would snap out of it without any damage done maybe except for a short tantrum because they were awakened when they’re about to drive away with the Batmobile. But our leaders aren’t children anymore. And definitely not Batman. They could be real heroes only when they stop acting like self-centered children who want nothing done but their own ways.

***

The Lego Batman Movie to our surprise deals with adoption. A character named Dick (of all names) successfully gets adopted by the then distracted Bruce Wayne. He is designated by Batman as his sidekick in the guise of being exploited to retrieve Superman’s gun that sends bad guys to the Phantom zone. This is also when I faded into sleep zone. According to wifey, Dick soon discovered that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person he has been looking up to has his fathers. I now wonder if Marcus went to bed last night dreaming to be Dick.

A very advanced birthday gift. Hope he sticks to our deal.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (The wheelchair travels again this week.)

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That One Awkward Moment at the Hospitals

We finally made our first trip to see a physical therapist for Marcus but it wasn’t successful. The doctor who was supposed to check him already left as there were only few patients yesterday and so only the staff at the front desk of St. Cabrini rehab accommodated us. Upon showing the other doctor’s referral to the person in charge I realized the guy seems familiar with DMD when he started asking if Marcus has other brothers or nephews who could possibly be affected with the same condition. Not wanting to be heard by Marcus I typed something on my MS Word app and showed it to him. He smiled and acknowledged. This is one of those awkward moments when we are asked at hospitals during screening or interview. While Marcus already knows, that particular anxiety still remains in us when such question comes around. Thanks to my recently downloaded app I now have an instant flash card for moments like this.

My MS Word app as a convenient flash card.

But he does really know. That same afternoon, we dropped by the supermarket before going home and we left his mom at the grocery while we window shop at the furniture store. Passing few beds later he asked, “Why was I alone inside the tummy? Why are others two? How many can fit in there?” These are same questions he would regularly ask and as expected the one followed: “Can we adopt another?” He’s been asking for one since then. Maybe we’ll foster soon but at this time, however we’d like to, it is not a priority.

Marcus with a simple treat at a cafe just across the hospital called Purple Beetle.

***

This weekend is the celebration of Adoption Consciousness Week. More power to all adoptive parents who believe that family goes beyond blood.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Skipped running to let my left leg recover but covered almost the same distance taking a morning stroll with Marcus. Not bad.)

Running for Adoption Consciousness

Today is quite a significant day for me and my family. I have been thinking about this day since last year when I started doing my strategic management paper. The months I spent knowing about domestic adoption made me realize the importance of this week’s event. Eventually, the critical call did come—a sign that I have been waiting for. The call from our social worker asking if I can give a testimonial was unexpected and quick. Before I can think of last minute alibis, something in me made me say a crisp ‘yes.’ After the phone conversation, I already knew that today is going to be one of those killing-two-birds-with-one-stone moments.

So around 4 o’clock this morning, I woke up minutes ahead of my alarm clock. I was that excited. After quick preparations of breakfast-to-go –coffee, bananas, pan de sal – and placing Marcus’ bike in the trunk, we were on our way to SM Mall of Asia. The early morning traffic was smooth so we arrived at the venue just less than an hour later.

The annual DSWD event started with a fun run just along SMB’s strip facing the Manila Bay. Several groups of people led by DSWD employees gathered to join the 3K run. I was in the middle of the pack at the starting line and the different t-shirt prints—DSWD, ICAB, CWC, etc.—of most runners around made me recall how immersed I was for months in the field of social welfare, specifically adoption, wherein I got acquainted to these organizations and some of its key employees.

The fun run started past 6:30 AM. Although I started cold, I began to pick up the pace by the first quarter of the course. I finished the 3K route in just around 20 minutes, not bad considering that it’s my first running event. A month of regular treadmill runs at home paid off.

After every runner has finished, the adoption consciousness week program proper followed. This year’s theme is ”Bata ay Huwag Abandonahin! Legal na Pagpapa-ampon ang Gawin.” Different personalities coming from DSWD and its partner agencies joined the program with some children from different child-caring agencies are also present and are part of the intermission numbers. Among the highlights of the kick-off program are the testimonials from two adoptive families—we’re one of them.

Despite having a prepared speech–I spent several hours to prepare just the night before, I decided to do an impromptu speech. It was brief but I think that I was able to bring my message across. One key message I mentioned is that hopefully domestic adoption will soon be embraced by more Filipinos because the latest statistics isn’t enough: there are only about 5,000 children adopted locally and around 3,000 internationally since 2006. Something has to be done to improve the current figures since the number of children waiting adoption is just overwhelming.

The adoption consciousness week will be until February 11, 2011. DSWD and child-placement agencies (KBF and NORFIL) have setup help desks in some SM malls to cater to anyone who is interested in the legal domestic adoption process. According to DSWD, they will have booths in SM North, Fairview and MOA. Please come and visit them.

***

I was able to talk to the founder of the Adoptive Families Foundation and I learned that he had difficulty convincing other adoptive parents to give a testimonial. This is not surprising. One of the surveys I did in this group received only a 12% response. It just shows that most adoptive parents are  still not privy when it comes to talking about it in public (or even online) and this is also one of the reasons why there are still hesitation and resistance from most Filipinos towards legal adoption. Optimistically, the efforts of DSWD and related NGOs will keep on saving more innocent lives from being wasted and deprived of a permanent and loving family.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks! (Glad to finally reach the decision.)

We Are Now Parents

baby blogger
Baby blogger

It’s been a week already since we welcomed a third member at home. He’s the reason every routine changed completely. On his very first day at home I realized soon enough that despite the long preparation—mind setting, shopping of baby stuffs, reading of articles about having a baby, and other things we did to prepare for such day—we still seem to be overwhelmed by the mere presence of a little boy.

This little boy whom we’ve anticipated–like normal parents would–since early this year has taken charge of our lives. Now our sleeping and waking hours depended on his. My brewed coffee turned cold. Other meals have been skipped. AXN has been traded with Cartoon Network. Mythbusters was crushed by Dora. We’re now out of our comfort zone but we’re not complaining because we’re now officially parents.

One of the things I missed is having the time to blog. There’s no more time to kill. Like now, kid’s now watching TV and sooner will be begging to have his bath and I’d have to cut this entry short. So to end this post, I will leave a touching poem (by an unknown adoptive parent) which was shown to us on the first seminar we attended when we decided to have an adoption:

Once there were two women who never knew each other One you do not remember, the other you call your mother.

Two different lives shaped to make yours one One become your guiding star the other your sun.

The first gave you life the second taught you to live it

The first gave you need for love the second was there to give it.

One gave you nationality the other gave you a name

One gave you the seed of talent the other gave you an aim.

One gave you up – – it was all she could do

The other prayed for a child and God led her straight to you.

And more you ask me through your tears, The age old question through the years.

Heredity or Environment, which are you the product of? Neither my darling – – neither. Just two different kinds of love.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

 

November So Far

The 11th month which happens to be our birth month seems to be totally ours. Although it has not yet reached even its middle part, everything that has occurred after 11 days is like life itself compressed in two weeks. There was confusion, anxiety, boring times, and of course, funny and exciting moments as well.

As previously posted, November 1 was better than compared to last year’s. The days that followed have been spent waiting for results, results that would dictate how 2009 would be for us. And yes that’s right, this month I’m thinking that this may be the conclusion of our 2008 already.

I’m very excited to share the details but unfortunately there are reasons (one is time) as well that hold me back from doing so. Instead, I’ll just be brief about what has happened so far: Yesterday, I’m resetting my countdown to bumhood; And tomorrow, we’ll have one that will complete our family. Needless to say, both of these are blessings that I can never thank enough.

For now, I’m just feeling lucky even if the news coming from our TV is just as bleak as the weather outside.

***

Mood: 2/10 Honks!

 

A Week of Interviews (Part 2)

The second interview we had last week is far more serious than the first because what is at stake here is someone else’s life being entrusted to us we if pass it. It’s actually the 2nd one for this process as the 1st one was done at home. This time we were in an adoption foundation somewhere in Cubao.

Early this year I approved the long standing wish of wifey to adopt a child. I can still recall the time and place when I finally told her about it. We were having dinner in Aling Tonya’s in SM by the Bay when I saw one family with small kids passing by. I guess something in me snapped when I felt like we need another one to tag along with us just like complete families do. That night, the image of the kid holding his father’s hand while they merrily chat held on to my brain like stubborn road tar. And that was it; I had to admit then that we lack at least one member. We need a child.

Since then, my wife had been busy searching thru the internet regarding adoption, child care, etc. I myself did some searching especially on the inevitable potty training thing.  This I guess is the one thing that I might need some time to getting used to with our future kid. Other things related to raising a child, I’m now prepared to do it. At least I think so.

During the interview, we were asked to answer a couple of questions from the forms and a couple of which got me to reflect for a moment.

  1. Names of people who influenced you? Frankly, I can’t seem to figure out who did.
  2. Three (3) things you fear the most? Undoubtedly, I wrote lightning as one.
  3. I will love my wife more if…? I answered: if she cooks breakfast without being told and if she drives the car Because other than these, I love her as she is.
  4. What are the adjustments you’ll make when you receive the baby? I wrote a phrase or two, but for sure that will be a lot…and I’m excited about it.

After being inside the interview room for at least 3 hours, we finally finished filling in the questionnaires with my mind wondering if the social worker was also taking notes of every gestures and comments we made. Hopefully, we did well as our answers will be used to match the child for us. If my jokes and other comic remarks were noted, I might as well expect a baby with red-round make-up on his cheeks. Seriously, as long as he’s healthy, I’m accepting it.

***

Taco Bell

Coming out of the foundation more than half an hour past lunch time, we headed to the nearby The Gateway mall and treat ourselves in Taco Bell’s. That lunch for me was more than just a treat, as it brought back memories of my US trip back in ‘05. The tacos smelled and tasted just like they did abroad. I just hope that wifey will soon have the opportunity to agree with me.

***

Red right hand

Tooth Fairy
Definitely not from your mom’s fairy tale bedtime stories

Soon after, and as if having an itinerary for every interview day, we were again headed to the cinema. Both of us easily pick Hellboy II: The Golden Army over other films. This would be our first time to watch a movie in this mall. The cinema is fully carpeted with a wide end row and tapering towards the wide-screen. Air-conditioning is just right and its soft cushion seats added a great viewing experience for one great movie such as Hellboy.

What I find fascinating about this sequel is the fact that it got better than the first one. The creature characters were surprisingly well detailed that although the diversity of the aliens reminds me of Star Wars Episode III, the creatures in Hellboy are as unique as the main stars of this film. Even the villains were convincingly portrayed. And as much as they appear mean and scary, I think the tiny evil tooth fairies deserve a movie of their own. Oh, by the way, Hellboy and Liz are having their own kid. Coincidence?

And there goes another busy week for both of us. It may even become busier until the end of this year if our baby arrives by October. I’m not so fully sure yet if I’d be busy at work as well. This I’ll know in a couple of weeks.

 

A Week of Interviews (Part 1)

It is a fact and a cliché that time flies so fast. And so today I was surprised to see that the last time I did a blog was on August 31 and fifteen days after that, I’m still wondering what I’ve been thru since then. Now I’m in the middle of the much awaited months for us Pinoys–the BER months. And being the 15th which is the payday for most employees, I can just imagine the throng of people in the mall, in the clubs, and those in the beer bars—all likely enjoying at least a couple of Christmassy tunes in the process.

In spite of losing track of my activities, the freshest memory that still lingers in my mind are the things that we did last week. In work terms, work week 37. Last week, my wife and I underwent a couple of separate exciting interviews amid my untimely colds that was made worse by the enduring rainy week. But having prepared for these interviews for so long, not to mention that the stakes are high, we proceeded undeterred.

The first one was in the US embassy in Manila. It was actually my wife’s idea to try our luck in getting a US Visa (tourist). Although, I’ve been thru this before for my week-long Wisconsin training trip, I was a bit pessimistic in acquiring a new one as I’ve seen a couple of times the disappointment it gave my parents upon every denial in their quest to visit my sister abroad. Lately though, according to wifey, a lot of her peers got theirs without much ado. And true indeed, after a couple of anxiety-filled hours inside the embassy, our visa application got approved as well. My wife went out of the hallway skipping like a kid promised with a weekend beach picnic. “I feel like I’ve just won the American Idol audition”, she quipped. Well, that probably puts me in William Hung’s shoes when he got the record deal. (What made it greater was that our Visa expires in 2018 but the news today regarding the end of validity of the green passport by 2010 looks trouble to me.)

One thing that my wife and I are totally in synch with is that both of us agree with rewarding ourselves with every success that we had; more often than not, we love food treats. And this time we dropped by MOA (Mall of Asia) looking for something new. Then we saw Cheesecake Etc. Inc. It is a small (approx. seats 10-15 person) restaurant but with cozy feel to it. Obviously, we ordered a couple of cheesecakes and coffee to match it. What we got were lovely shaped treats plus great plate decoration. Price was also fair. I recommend this place as an alternative to Starbucks.

Walle

After satisfying our sweet tooth, we headed to the cinemas just in time to catch the movie Wall-E. It was time to feed our craving for comic relief.

Like any other Disney movie we’ve seen, this movie didn’t fail us. The scenes in the movie despite being subtle and comical packs a serious message of what our (humans) future awaits if we lose the awareness on our environmental obligations. It also sends a strong warning to everyone who tends to entrust our lives to technology with the belief that it is there to give us convenience. Convenience that if not controlled will eventually produce more bad than good effects in the end. Does garbage problem and obesity sound familiar? If there’s an animated counterpart to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth movie, this is it. This is a must see movie for both young and old alike. (I love this one so much that I can’t wait to get its DVD.)

(to be contintued…)