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[Family] My father's daughter

MANILA, Philippines - How can I describe my dad? 

My dad worked overseas for a decade, from 1984 to 1995. He retired only when we were all done with college. For the most part, he was a long-distance father and we only communicated with him through snail mail (it would take us a month to receive his reply). But even if our situation were so, he continuously guided us.

The fact that he was far from us inspired us to really try hard and do well with our studies because he said education is the only wealth that he can provide us; the only reason why he was working very far from us. True enough, when all of us finished college, he told us how proud he was of us.

Time passed and my siblings and I started having our own families. My father then retired and returned home to our family. After my mom passed away in 2004, my siblings and I pooled our money to send him for a vacation in London, also to visit my sister and her family. 

THE TOURIST. My dad during his vacation in London. Photo from Gemma Dagaas

THE TOURIST. My dad during his vacation in London.

Photo from Gemma Dagaas

But then my Dad decided to marry again. My siblings and I disagreed, only because — by then — he already had a heart problem. Admittedly, we were also jealous at the prospect of him having another family aside from ours.

My Dad, ever so firm, remarried. After a year, he and our stepmom had a baby girl. We saw how they made him happy and inspired him to work hard again, the way he did for our family.

And then...my dad passed away. Suddenly.

Because of pneumonia, his new wife became a widow and his 3-month-old baby girl lost her chance to get to know her father.

We were all devastated. Why did it happen so fast? I didn't even make it on time to catch him alive in the hospital.

I eventually became close with my stepmom and little sister. She and I both lost our Dad.

One night during my dad's wake, my husband brought up the idea of us adopting my baby sister. We had been married for 10 years then and still did not have a baby. He said that, perhaps, it was God's plan for us. 

So, yes, we adopted my baby sister. Like my dad's passing, it happened so fast. In 3 months, we received the court decision. The certificate of finality is now with us.

PAYING LOVE FORWARD. I am loving Ashley the way my dad loved me. Photo from Gemma Dagaas

PAYING LOVE FORWARD. I am loving Ashley the way my dad loved me.

Photo from Gemma Dagaas

We named my little sister (and now daughter) Ashley Justine. She gives my husband and I so much happiness. 

My husband and I realized that we cannot really fathom the will of God. Our desire to have a baby was fulfilled; not according to our will, but His. I am now given the opportunity to let this baby experience the love and kindness that my dad showed my siblings and I.

The joy I feel from being with Ashley is beyond what any material thing can make me feel. She is the best gift that God has given me; a gift that has made me a better person. 

A PIECE OF DAD lives in Ashley and stays with me. Photo from Gemma Dagaas

A PIECE OF DAD lives in Ashley and stays with me.

Photo from Gemma Dagaas

God used my Dad to be an instrument so that I may have a complete family. 

To my dad, wherever you are, thank you for giving me Ashley. I hope I can give her the love that you gave us. You are the best dad ever. - Rappler.com


(Are there issues or topics on family, parenting and kids that you would like us to feature? We welcome your suggestions! Send us an email with subject heading FAMILY to desk@rappler.com.)

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