So last year, the wife and I left our jobs, sold everything and moved to the Philippines (planning on a 2-year stay to facilitate the adoption of my wife’s 4 year old nephew). We were given the impression that our employer would allow us to work remotely and still have an income during this period so we wouldn’t have to beg family members for cash once our savings ran out. Well, the employer flopped (after sending us overseas with a work laptop and voip phone) and our savings lasted about 6 weeks.
Here are some pics from our time in Boracay Island.
|Coffee Shop Hustlers|
|Me preparing for a rain shower.|
|Full Moon on Boracay|
Right at the end of this period, I was walking to the beach at night to get food (the vendors all lined the beachfront so that's where you get your food) but I tripped over some busted cement on the makeshift alleyway road and tweaked (or broke) my foot pretty good. I couldn't walk at all for about a week, and proceeded to limp around for the remainder of our journey.
This was where we stayed...
|The view from our kitchen.|
|Our bedroom in Boracay.|
|Our kitchen at the Boracay apartment.|
As you will know from previous blogs, the apartment we’d booked in Boracay was not available once we arrived so we moved into the only other available place to rent on the island, and it was expensive. That ate through our savings quickly, so we packed up and moved 5 hours inland, to a city called Iloilo. That cut our money rent from $750 a month to about $250. There was only one catch -- it was unfurnished. Thinking it was the best deal we could find, we signed a one-year lease and used the rest of our savings (and regrettably, a credit card) to humbly furnish the place.
Living in the city was quite different than living on the island. For one thing, there were more foreigners than local Filipinos on the island, so nobody gave me a second glance there. In the city, however, you couldn’t find a foreigner anywhere, so I stuck out everywhere I went, catching stares and getting hustled. On 3 separate occasions, I found myself in a cab with a bunch of angry Filipino friends, engaged in a shouting match with the driver over the inflated fare. It got pretty intense and on one occasion we simply forced him to pull over, got out and tried to hail another taxi. Another time it was just me and my wife and I felt the driver was actually trying to kidnap us. My sweet wife gave him an earful and forced him to return us to our motel.
Here are some pics from the city...
Here are some pics from the city...
|Notice a difference?|
|Andrew made himself a hat.|
Our adopted son, Andrew, had been with us for over a month when we moved to the city and adjusted to us (and us to him) very quickly. That part of the story couldn’t have gone any better. I couldn’t believe how fast the kid took to us, and how he seemed to have no problem with this very bizarre situation. Talk about rolling with the punches.
How we spent the hot nights...
|Andrew and Mommy watching Ice Age.|
|I warned her ice cream was a bad idea when it was 85 degrees outside.|
|Here I am after visiting my wife's brother at the hospital.|
|Andrew's first day of school.|
Luckily, I had a couple of family members step in at this point and offer financial help. Doing so would allow me to stay with them in the Philippines while my meager book royalties filled the gap.
And then things went wrong. My wife’s brother got sick and had to be admitted into the hospital. His x-ray showed severe Pneumonia as well as Tuberculosis. So 4 weeks go by, with my wife at the hospital all day with her brother while I’m watching Andrew (who doesn’t speak English, so this made for some interesting and hilarious communication attempts). My wife’s youngest brother stayed with us and helped translate when he could.
Fast forward a little bit, and we are able to finally speak to the local welfare office about our case, and how to best proceed with the adoption. Now we’re hit with some news that we could not have predicted -- everything we’d been told and had read about international adoption was wrong. We were told that we could only process a local adoption after 2 years of living in the Philippines, but that wouldn’t automatically grant the child a visa to immigrate back to the US with us. Apparently, filing a local adoption would be the slowest and most expensive way to adopt Andrew, and he wouldn’t even be assured a travel visa once the process was over.
So we had two choices. Stay there and file through the local courts, and continue extracting money from my already strapped family members…. Or we could go home and file an international adoption through the Hague Convention.
We came home.