This site is dedicated to the most humane work of Ms Louise Lynip who founded the children's home and until the 4th July 2006 at the age of 94 continued to participate in it's management. The home cares for orphaned and abandoned children and offers love, security and
an opportunity to be brought up in a christian environment.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


This last week has been wonderful in my book for the reason I was able to meet the Gurske family from North Carolina in the USA.
The story actually started around the middle of last year when my wife Marilou was contacted on her Talbuks Café blog (http://www.talbukscafe.blogspot.com/) website by Betsy Gurske making enquires about visiting Bethany around the end of the year with her family. Betsy is married to John and has a daughter Kendall and a son Kenneth.
The reason for their interest in Bethany was their son Kenneth was adopted from there at the age of nine months and they wanted to return to enable Kenneth to be able to answer some questions that every young person from a similar background may wish to ask.
My wife asked me if I would reply to Betsy and answer her questions about their forth coming visit to the Philippines. I answered what I could and asked Rose Loncob to fill in the gaps particularly relating to accommodation in Manila and obtaining internal flight tickets etc.
I must add at this juncture that the main reason for the Gurske family’s visit was to enable Kenneth to meet if possible his maternal mother and any other possible immediate relatives. I have to say only Rose could have been able to research and arrange a request like this in such a short space of time.
Right up to the wire what was requested from the Gurske family did not look likely due to the amount of work that has to go into researching an adopted child’s past history, etc. However I’m pleased to say Rose came up trumps and was able to fulfil Kenneth’s wish. One can only imagine the thoughts going through the minds of each family member as to what to expect on arrival in the Philippines after having been away for sixteen years. Kenneth admitted to me his apprehension to the visit but not in a traumatic way but more in an excited way. He further added that as his flight was coming into land in Manila and he could see the buildings below he felt elated about his arrival. When he was in the terminal building with the usual throng of indigenes, he felt as one not apart. Kenneth is an American but culture and national identity cannot be brushed under the carpet and so he had arrived back in the land of his birth.
I asked Kenneth how he felt after he had passed through immigration and customs and he said he felt as if he was on vacation now that he had arrived in the Philippines.
After spending a few days in Manila taking in the sights and sounds, the family then headed for the island of Mindanao and the city of Cagayan de Oro. On arrival at Lumbia Airport they were met by Greg Longcob and taken to the town of Talakag which is about 30 minutes drive away on a very scenic route to where Bethany is situated.
The whole family joined in during the first few days interacting with the children and giving Kenneth an opportunity to find out more about where he spent the first nine months of his life. The most emotional time was yet to come for Kenneth when he would have the opportunity to meet with his maternal mother and other family members. When I asked Kenneth how he felt just prior to the meeting he said he was apprehensive at first but after the initial meeting and introductions had been made he felt, well why should I be apprehensive after all that’s why I’m here in the Philippines. Kenneth found out he had an older brother as well as two half brothers and two half sisters. His maternal mother was accompanied by three of her sisters Kenneth’s aunts and a cousin who acted as a translator during the reunion. Kenneth may wish one day to write an article himself on my blog to let the readers know how he feels about his reunion after having time to let the whole experience sink in.
I must admit I was humbled by the support given to Kenneth by his adoptive parents as well as his big sister Kendall throughout this whole experience.
The trip to the Philippines was made possible by Carolyn Felton, Director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Charlotte, North Carolina where John and Betsy work as Music Teachers who secretly somehow raised the funding together with her friends (who wish to remain anonymous) to make the whole trip possible for Kenneth and family. I think Mrs Felton achieved with her act of compassion not just a big surprise for John and Betsy but a lot more than she can ever have realised and my wife Marilou and I would like to say a big thank you to her for giving us the opportunity to meet the Gurske family as a consequence of such a wonderful selfless act. Kenneth’s sister Kendall who graduates this summer, intimated to Marilou and myself that she would like to return to the Philippines and get involved in voluntary work after she graduates. Her wish is to work with children in some kind of health aid programme so we promised to look around and see what’s possible. If there is anyone else out there reading this post and would like to assist Kendall in fulfilling her wish please contact me. Kendall has already spent three months on a voluntary aid scheme in Senegal, West Africa.
The Cunningham’s would like to wish Kenneth every success in whatever he wishes to do for the future and to let him know how impressed we were of his adoptive family and that should the future bring him back to the Philippines we will only be too pleased to welcome him as his Tito Jim and Tita Marilou.

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