One of the great joys in this advocacy is getting to celebrate different milestones with families we meet along the way. Hearing from parents-to-be that they have been matched, seeing the excitement of kids as they welcome a new sibling into the family, and witnessing friends and family lavish a child with love through baby showers, birthday celebrations, and every occasion in between—these are made all the more profound knowing the beautiful adoption stories behind the baby books and birthday songs.
Last December 17, we had the privilege of witnessing another milestone that was truly worth celebrating. As Joshua Roberto turned thirteen years old, parents Ardy and Miriam chose to mark the special day with a Rite of Passage and make it more than cake, food, and gifts. Turning thirteen is a very significant time in a young man’s life, and the Roberto family wanted to make sure that Joshua will close his childhood and enter his teenage years in a very meaningful way.
With safety protocols in place, their relatives and closest of friends gathered for an intimate dinner and a rite of passage program. Some of Joshua’s role models and mentors gave symbolic gifts, strolled and chatted with him, and shared their inspiring messages for the new teen. It was a time of imparting wisdom, guidance, and life lessons he will surely treasure as he embarks on the journey of being a young man.
Aside from preparing and leading this rite of passage for Joshua, the loving parents shared their greetings for their son on social media as well. Both amazing authors, Ardy and Miriam wrote heartfelt messages that showed how proud they were of Joshua.
“To JOSH our most wonderful first son, best sweetest kuya ever, self-proclaimed “pastorito”– HAPPY 13th BIRTHDAY!
As you transition from boy to young man, may the LORD bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you…and give you peace!
Thank you, Josh, for being such a kind-hearted, generous, fun-loving, good humored and honest boy. Now you are a young man and I’m excited for you.
Your Mom and I promise to be there for you and with you, standing in the gap, and praying for you.
I love you my son!”
(Read Ardy’s Father’s Day letter for Joshua here)
“I am a proud mother to our dearest Joshua who just celebrated his 13th birthday yesterday.
He is no longer a child but a young man and he has grown to be one who is so passionate for things he believes in. He stands for justice and righteousness and is growing to be a man of God. At 13 years old, he has already shared the love of Jesus to a number of his friends by sharing the gospel and facilitates daily devotionals with the kasambahays. He loves playing mobile legends, Minecraft, watching Haikyuu and playing volleyball which he diligently practices everyday. He is a diligent student and is obedient to his parents. I can wait to see the kind of man he will become!
On your birthday, I pray that God will continue to bless you and allow you to grow in wisdom, in stature and favor with God and with man. May the Lord bless you and keep you, May He make his countenance be upon you and be gracious to you. May He turn His face towards you and give you peace.
Happy Birthday, my love!”
Joshua’s birthday was a simple celebration yet a very profound glimpse of God’s miracle of life and family. We cannot help but recount the story of how this family came to be—a tapestry of second chances and beautiful beginnings in God. When his parents adopted him thirteen years ago, God was not just appointing for Joshua a mom and a dad. He had also lovingly planned for him to be embraced by relatives, be accompanied by friends, be guided by great mentors, and be continuously enriched by each and every person he encounters in his life. God knew all along that at the age of thirteen, Joshua would be the best kuya to his baby brother Elijah and a new sibling on the way. He would be the kind of friend who shares the gospel to his household and neighborhood. God also knew that when He wrote Joshua’s adoption story, that baby would grow up to be an advocate who inspires others to appreciate and understand adoption.
The first thirteen years of Joshua’s life were filled with love, guidance, and joy extended by family and friends, but that is only the start. As his parents shared, up ahead is a future of God’s dreams and promises for him being fulfilled, with the help of the Lord, his family, and a supportive community.
(Read the Roberto family’s story here)
Our prayer is that more children and even teenagers will experience this same love and support through people who will welcome them fully and embrace them for life. To get there, may this family’s milestone be a reminder that when we say yes to adoption, we are not only giving a child a home for the present, but also a lasting hope for the future.
Photos: Larawan by Amihan
Related Articles and Resources
Orphan Sunday: Be The LightOctober 12th, 2020
This year, ROHEI Foundation is joining Orphan Sunday for the very first time! Orphan Sunday is a movement observed by churches and organizations in more than 90 nations every second Sunday of November. Last August, we had the privilege of chatting with the Global Director, Jodie Jackson Tucker, who shared with us the heart […]
Family Is The Answer: The Next StepSeptember 17th, 2019
Last August 10, ROHEI Foundation, Operation Compassion, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), gathered families at the Manila Polo Club for “Family is the Answer: The Next Step.” The event was attended by families, couples and individuals who expressed their interest in adoption or fostering, either through a ROHEI event feedback form […]
Family is The Answer: Saddleback Santa Rosa and Victory FortJune 8th, 2019
Everyday, countless children are orphaned and abandoned. At the same time, an immeasurable amount of humans have an overflowing capacity to love these kids; to adopt them. However, even before we were put in the picture, it was God Himself who first thought of adoption. The God of the universe who created everything, who is […]