In 2008, Rev. Mike Weigand heard a representative from Adoption Ambassadors speak about the needs of orphans in the Philippines.
He was so inspired by the presentation that he decided to become involved.
Weigand, who is co-pastor with his wife, Cathy, at First United Methodist Church, visited the Philippines and among the children he encountered were two boys, Erald, who is now 14, and Rommel, who is 11. They became members, along with brothers Ben, age 13, and John, 8, of the Weigand family.
Weigand said 11 children were adopted by Wisconsin families in 2008.
This year, Weigand and Shelley Angsten, were among those to visit the Philippines for the Adoption Ambassadors.
They met with 14 children in orphanages in the Philippines and are now trying to find families for them.
The program is under the auspices of Lutheran social Services. It’s focus is on children ages 7 and older who are ready and willing to move to America to be with a family.
“Lutheran Social Services chose the Philippines because their system is not corrupt,” Weigand said. “Their caregivers are better trained than in most other places around the world.”
Weigand spent two weeks in the Philippines in April, visiting with the children who have been selected for the program.
He recalled meeting a boy who had been selected for adoption in 2008. The boy is now 12.
“Everyone thought he was going to be adopted and then something fell through with the family,” Weigand said. “I asked if there was some way we could help him.”
Lutheran Social Services decided to select the boy for its program again this year. While they were reviewing the boy’s records, they discovered another child with the same last name in another orphanage. He was the boy’s brother.
“When we arrived to the orphanage, the two brothers were seeing each other for the first time,” Weigand said. “The next day, they couldn’t be separated from each other. Even though they had been raised apart for a long time, they were very similar. They shared the same love for basketball. They both are really quiet and polite.”
A family in Stevens Point has agreed to adopt both brothers. A brother and sister are being adopted by a family in Green Bay, while a family in Manawa is adopting one of the boys from the Philippines.
Weigand said the emotional experience of working with the children and helping them find families in Wisconsin is why he remains involved in Adoption Ambassadors.
“Their desire for a family is not something most people can really understand,” Weigand said. “Even if they have great caregivers at the orphanage, they’ll tell you how much they want to be a part of a family for the rest of their life.”
For more information about Adoption Ambassadors, contact Lutheran Social Services at 800-577-4100 or Weigand at firstname.lastname@example.org.