Alberto Bontilao, his wife Mylynne, and their three biological children were referred to Lutheran Social Services by Holt International Children’s Services for homestudy and post-placement adoption services. They were specifically requesting assistance adopting their three nieces and one nephew who lived in the Philippines. Historically, that was a relatively “simple” process, but because both the U.S. and the Philippines are party to the Hague Convention, the process has become increasingly complicated. Alberto is serving in the U.S. Army at Ft. Bliss in El Paso; Mylynne is a full-time student. Alberto was deployed overseas during this process, complicating matters even further.
In January 2007, Alberto’s sister died in an auto accident, leaving four orphaned children ranging in age from 2-12 years. The children’s father has not been involved in their lives, and has terminated his parental rights. Coincidentally, both Alberto and Mylynne were fortunate to have had relatives step in to help raise them when their own parents needed assistance, so the decision to provide a home for their nieces and nephew was an easy one for them to make. The Bontilaos first contacted Holt while the family was still stationed in Germany, but Holt was unable to help them until they were transferred back to the U.S. In March 2009, LSS conducted the interviews, background checks, home visit, and wrote the homestudy, which was submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), giving the family permission to adopt the four children from the Philippines.
A year ago, in September 2009, the last of the paperwork required by and from the U.S. and Filipino governments was at long last complete and approved. The new (and “enlarged!”) Bontilao family was united! Alberto’s YouTube videos show a little about the family ―now doubled in size. We have reports that all nine family members are adjusting and doing wonderfully!