Diamonds in the Rough

Through my blog I want to be a voice to those individuals and organizations that are not ordinarily heard in mainstream media, but who are committed to being a voice to those who are the most marginalized in our society, those who have no power to change their circumstances. Ron and Joanna Domingo (who we have had the incredible privilege to befriend) is one such couple involved in an incredible work in a region called Tondo in the Philippines. Ron and Joanna went to the Philippines with the intention of living there for a few months before they headed back home to Scotland. However life took a different turn! Today they along with their 2 babies and a team of volunteers serve a community in Tondo, well known for being one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Tondo is notorious for being the poorest and most underdeveloped district in the country. Many of the city's slums are found in this area. However Ron and Joanna choose not to echo these words over the area, rather to speak hope and to see a future for the people in this area. They established the Kalayaan Community Ministries, which works among the people in the dumpsite to restore their dignity and to give them a future.

They serve in conditions where it is a regular sight to spot children salvage half eaten food from overflowing garbage bins. The stench from rotting, unsegregated and fermenting rubbish is what surrounds the air. The dumpsite is infested with toxic waste and contaminated water. For them it is not about making it to the list of the biggest charities or to attract media attention to their work, rather it is about being faithful to serve the people and community that their heart goes out to. They consider it an honor to have a chance to alleviate suffering and to touch and change lives for the better. It is their life’s mission to see justice established where injustice cripples through poverty. Their Dumpsite project works faithfully to improving living standards and providing access to basic needs such as food, shelter and basic health care.

KCM dumpsite kids

KCM has designed and implemented different programs with the objective of ameliorating social problems such as poverty, homelessness and hunger. They have developed a sustainable feeding program called  ‘Food For School/Packed Lunch Program’. This is a feeding program designed specifically for children and young people struggling to stay in school because their families cannot afford to buy them lunch. It involves providing 100 packed lunches on a daily basis.

KCM has also designed an effective program that works towards improving health, hygiene and well being of the people. This venture is called ‘Daily Wound care program’. Every day around the dumpsite area there are children who get wounds on their feet from walking on glass and other sharp objects hidden in the garbage. Their hands are at times wounded from working on glass or playing in it. They get wounds on their heads from cuts or insect bites that get infected from the dirt and intense heat. This program cares for the wounded and brings healing to their body and soul.

Today a significant number of individuals in Tondo area has benefited from all of the above-mentioned programs and many other programs they run. KCM has given the little hearts in this region an opportunity to grow up healthy, educated and prepared to succeed and contribute to society. They are constantly bombarded with a flock of hurting, hungry, homeless children. The harsh reality is that they cannot always meet the needs due to financial constraints.

Every child deserves a chance to survive and thrive. I believe each of us have in us the ability to create a positive influence that can change a person’s life. You can make a difference by spreading the word, volunteer participation, donating or by simply saying a word of prayer. Choose to make a difference in a child's life. As you change their world, you change your's in the process.


KCM is a non-profit organization that functions solely through donations. The CEO does not take a salary and they work with minimal administrative cost. KCM is committed to being good stewards of the funds entrusted to them and they have set up an online transparency page where everyone who donates is added and can view incoming funds and what the purpose of these funds are for. If you are interested in learning more about what Klayaan community ministries are doing or you feel lead to donate, you could contact them at You could catch their updates through their Facebook page

Adoption is life-giving, it is generous-giving and it is satisfying.

I would encourage all my readers to watch this 15-minute video created by our friends, as it sheds light into the beautiful world of adoption. In a self-gratifying world, this production is counter-cultural. I promise you this creative effort will tug your heart and take ahold of you. Please remember to come back to this page to read the rest of the article. I am thrilled to write a feature story about adoption for my blog. My take on adoption, as I’ve heard folks say is that ‘it is birthed in the heart of God’. I hold a positive perspective about adoption and I have been affected by adoption from the time I remember. Yes, I have a seed of adoption in my heart.  My husband and I have considered adopting and we still talk about it.

I am excited as I get to write the story of our friends Daryl and Cathy Heald.  They display such joy in adopting that their story is more than inspiring.  A story of sacrifice and what may seem like an inconvenience, but in reality a story that births blessing and joy. Daryl currently serves as Director of Generosity with The Maclellan Foundation as well as serving on the boards of Crown Financial Ministries, Excellence in Giving, ProVision Foundation and the Haggai Institute. His wife Cathy is by all means what I would call the chief of supermoms. Daryl and Cathy, live in Georgia, with their seven children. They have 5 biological children (Frances, Hallie, Hamilton, Anders and Louisa) and 2 adopted children (Lee Lee and Lucy Wu from China). They are in the process of adopting another little treasure Bella from China, which makes it 8 blessings. Their adoption story is anything but typical.

Life well lived

Daryl and Cathy began the process of adopting their daughter Lee Lee from an orphanage in China in 2007. Not only did they possess an incredible heart to adopt, but also they set to adopt babies who were special and physically challenged. Lee Lee was born with cleft lips, cleft palette and clubfeet. She was one year when they first visited her in China. She was able to crawl and sit up but not for long periods of time. She had her lips repaired in China.  Physical therapy for her club feet administered in China had not been very successful. She was brought to their home in Georgia in August 2007.Lee Lee's treatment

Lucy Wu is the second daughter adopted by Daryl and Cathy. She hails also from China and was born with a rare physical condition. She had a large mass grown since development in utero, in her back, which compressed her spine. She was born with nerve loss below the knee. Lucy Lu was brought to the loving home of Cathy and Daryl in August 2012.

Lucy Wu's treatment

Both the daughters have progressed in their health as the new parents and siblings cared for them, provided medical help and instilled in them, unconditional love. They have been through innumerable surgeries and medical intervention and are in a better place in their health as I write. These little girls have experienced the full gamut of emotions: pain, suffering, love, joy, peace, excitement and much more and through it all they have seen the reflection of the loving hands of God as Daryl and Cathy nurture them. As parents their days may be chaotic, their homes full, their bills may be outrageous and their lives involve constant sacrifice, yet they count it all joy to be in a position to raise, build and respond to a call of generous giving.

Lee leeLucy Wu

Though the little girls do not have blond hair or blue eyes, they own the hearts of Daryl and Cathy. They have been gifted with a chance to live and thrive. Daryl and Cathy believe growing their family through adoption is one of the biggest blessings in their life. They consider it privilege to be parents to 7 and soon to be 8 children. Daryl and Cathy believe in a journey of generosity and are committed to spreading the message of generosity. They embrace the truth ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’. Their story of adoption is a true story of giving their life, their resources, their money, their time, and their family to a greater cause.

ling a new life

Here is a family who stepped out of their comfort zone to adopt and parent precious little helpless babes who they raise as their own. These parents truly pursue to reflect selfless love in a selfish world. .  I believe pregnancy and childbirth are a miracle. After learning the story of Cathy and Daryl, I am convinced that the journey of adoption is as miraculous.


God’s best for a child is a loving family. If you have considered adoption, you are making a difference; you are making an eternal investment.  Daryl and his friend Michael Dennehy, who have adopted, have created  the video on adoption that I have shared at the beginning of this post. I share it with the hope that it may help others who are considering or beginning the adoption journey.  If you would love to be  part of a child's life and hope to make a difference in their lives through sponsorships, i have attached a link to a trusted international organization that is committed to building a better world for helpless children. . You can do very little, and still do a lot. Truly it is more blessed to give than to receive.