Jade sits at the dining table with girls in her family eating and laughing - Credit Agape Visuals 2024
Credit: Filmed & edited by Jordan & Cassie Timpy of Agape Visuals, www.agapevisuals.com.

Early Life

“My name is Jade. I was born in Sampaloc, Manila.

When people ask me about my life story, I often end up narrating more than the usual recount. I consider my life as an extraordinary one. Even as a young child, I was already under the care of my foster parents who happened to be the parents of my birth mom’s former boyfriend. I can say that I was lucky enough to be brought up under the caring arms of whom I now call, my family.

My real mom’s name is Amor, and my real father’s name is Jeffrey. They had two children, my elder brother and me. My brother and I both had asthma from birth. It was difficult for my mother to care for the both of us. Thus, her boyfriend (whom I now consider my older brother) decided to take me to his parents (now my foster parents). I was sent back and forth to my mom, but my asthma worsened. Eventually, my mom left me under their care, I was just eight months old.”

a hut with a grass roof in the Philippines

Early life

“My mother never returned for me; I only heard that she has now a new family of her own. Nevertheless, I was a lucky child for I was treated well by my foster parents. I grew up with them, treating them as though they were my parents. My foster parents even opened a sari-sari store when I was ten years old, and I was free to take everything I pleased.

Despite the pleasantness of life, there were also times when it was hard for us. My foster father became seriously ill and spent two weeks in the hospital. The doctors at first were unable to properly diagnose him, and our expenses kept mounting. We had a huge breakdown and it felt like we hit rock bottom.  It made me extremely sad. For two years, things were that way. When we had no money, we had to close the shop and I helped in my own little way by selling all my toys and some of my out-of-size clothing.

We eventually learned that my father had lung cancer in 2023. When they told me, my heart fell apart. My father was entirely paralyzed and unable to speak when I took care of him. His condition worsened when he developed “bedsores,” necessitating another hospital stay of two months rather than only two weeks. All I could do was hope that the situation would not worsen.”

grade seven girls in their first day in class in Biga, Philippines

Life at school

“My teacher, who attended the Sisters of Mary School, urged me to enroll. After taking the entrance test, I had to wait two months to hear back. I asked myself, “What would happen to my parents if I got accepted? Who would help them?” while I sobbed for several nights.

On June 5, 2023, during my mother’s birthday, we celebrated and ate the food that she prepared. Just then, my mother noticed that my father had stopped breathing. She ran and tried to revive him, but it was too late. I could not believe that he would die on her birthday.

I did not eat nor sleep. At that moment, I felt depressed and hopeless. As he lay there, I said to him, “Why didn’t you wait for my graduation? I was hoping that he would wake up.

After one month, my teacher called to let me know that I passed the test. I was going to leave my mom after two days. I was sad but happy at the same time. I knew that I would make my family proud despite the long and winding road. Now I am happy studying here in the Sisters of Mary Girlstown, Cavite, Philippines.

Jade's story

“The view of the world changed when I got in here because I thought outside that I would be hopeless, and now I have a plan for my future.”

Jade Biga Girlstown, the Philippines