Abandoned But Not Forsaken

Reva Lachica Moore

We’ve heard of babies left on doorsteps. We’ve heard of babies left in dumpsters. Here is a heart-wrenching story of a little boy whose mother had little option but to give him up.

Dorel Padilla tells his story..

Shaking and scared I cried, “Inde ko gusto mag-upod sa ila!” (I don’t want to go with them!) I desperately clutched onto my mother’s arms not wanting to let go. Some strangers came to our home to take me away, which I didn’t understand. Mother tried to explain to me that it was for my own good. My lips continued to quiver as my mother wiped my tear-stained face. She was crying, too, because she didn’t want the people to take me. Yet, she couldn’t do anything about it. I was taken to live with a foster family in Bacolod City. Only 3 years old at that time, I don’t remember any of these, but fifteen years later, this is what I was told happened.

You see, I was born incomplete. I was born without legs. I later learned that when my mother was pregnant with me, she got sick and took some kind of medicine that caused me to be born handicapped. It must have been a very sad time for my family on that day of January 7, 1982 when they first caught a glimpse of me. I could just imagine the heartbreak my mother must have felt.

And because I left home at a very young age, I must have adjusted to my new home and family eventually. I’m sure I cried bitterly and was quite helpless. And furthermore, it probably took me a long time to forget my mother and the rest of my family. But I do not remember.

As a child, I remember wondering why I was so different. Why I don’t have legs while everyone else did. Often I imagined that I could walk and run just like other children. Of course it became natural for me to scuttle and use my arms to move about. I could go from place to place quite fast.

When I was 7 years old, my parents (the ones who cared for me since I was 3) sent me off to live in an orphanage called “Bacolod Boys’ Home for Orphans and Abandoned Boys.” I didn’t understand why I had to go and live there. But they told me I need to go to school and it was the best place for me. The night before I left for the orphanage, I couldn’t sleep. I was terrified and worried. Would the people there like a cripple like me?

At the orphanage, I cried for a long time because I was so homesick and the kids there laughed and made fun of me constantly. Finally, I was able to ignore their hurtful sneers and comments. I seriously tried to be friendly and at last they accepted me. While there I also learned how to pray with the help of a priest. I lived in a cottage with several boys. There were around 300 of us who lived in the orphanage.

The orphanage gave me a skateboard to use so I could go from place to place. It was not long before I learned to balance my weight on it while I pushed with my arms. The skateboard was all right except on rainy days; I couldn’t keep my clothes clean due to the mud. And was I ever glad when I reached 5th grade; the orphanage surprised me with a wheelchair! I had never been so happy. I loved it because my clothes could stay clean and I was more comfortable. I used my arms to propel the chair and in no time, I moved about everywhere freely, except in staircases and the like. It was like – I was on top of the world! I have artificial legs!

I finished my elementary grades at the orphanage in 1996 with honors. I was in the top ten. I continued my high school there also as a working student, making cards with Bible verses and pictures using the computer. The orphanage sold the cards and the money was used to support the needs of the children. For once I had self-worth.

All those years when I lived in the Boys’ Home, I wondered if I had parents, brothers and sisters. I was told that when I was much younger, my brother and mother came to visit me once, but didn’t come again. Nevertheless, as the years passed by, I lost all memory of my family. It must have been my way of coping with my sad situation. So after many years, the orphanage was the only home I knew. But still, I had flashbacks as if I had a home and family somewhere, so I started asking around. I was told my real family lived 4 hours drive in the remote mountains of Kabankalan, Negros. Every night I couldn’t sleep- thinking about them. I visualized meeting them, but I had to wait for the right time.

During my high school graduation in 2000, I was given a medal for being a computer wiz. I was so happy and felt like a ‘somebody’ in spite of my physical defect. After my graduation I could hardly wait to see my family. I sent word to them that I wanted to go home. My older sister came to pick me up and I was very happy to see her.

While riding in a jeepney going to our house, many questions raced in my mind: What does everyone look like? How are they going to react when they see me? Will everyone accept me? However, I felt so blessed. They embraced me with tears of happiness. It was so wonderful to see my parents and siblings. I found out that I was the 7th of 8 children. My mother said there was not a day when she didn’t think about me. She said she agonized about me all those years and prayed for me every night.

Because I enjoyed the computer so much, I wanted to go to college and take computer technology. However, my parents were so poor and didn’t have the money to send me. Since I couldn’t go to college, I stayed at home for 2 years to help my family. I babysat my nephew while my sister went to work and I continued to pray for God to send me help.

While in church one Sabbath morning, our district pastor told me about Central Philippine Adventist College where I could work and go to school. I was so happy and told my parents that I wanted to go there. They worried whether I could manage on my own. They told me they couldn’t support me financially, although I could go.

I went to CPAC and I was so surprised – the college seemed to be just the right school for me. Everyone is so kind. I stayed in a cottage and worked in the Computer Laboratory for one and half years. I earned enough money for my tuition for one semester, so I was able to enroll. I dreamed of having a BS degree in Information Technology someday.

This second semester, I will have to stop my schooling again and work. I am now 25 years old. I’m writing my story per chance someone could read it and help me financially so I could continue my studies. If I have to work fulltime to earn each semester’s tuition, it will take me over 10 years before I could finish my schooling. Please help me. I am praying that may God bless and touch you as you read my story.

Comments from Reva Moore: Dorel may have been abandoned, but not forsaken by the Lord. I called Dorel right after I received his e-mail. I told him that I would find help for him. He was choked with emotion while thanking me. If you wish to help Dorel finish school so he could reach his dream, please e-mail to: revawall@bellsouth.net or call: 225-664-8174. We will give you a tax-deductible receipt for your donation. Dorel will also write to thank you. You will be so glad that you have a part in his future success.

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