One day last year (2015) in the Philippine school holidays a little boy followed a group of us to the beach. It was scorching hot and he had no shoes and cut bleeding feet. Jerry was so tiny and cute I thought he must have been 4 or 5 years old. My heart melted as the other kids told me his mother was dead, his father semi-paralysed by a stroke and his siblings scattered all over the country. The home and all their belongings, including his pets had been destroyed in the typhoon. Within 7 days I had got him a birth certificate, bought him clothes, shoes and toys and put him back in school. That’s when he asked me if he could live with me. Of course I said no.

Almost two years have passed since that day and Jerry now lives with me full-time and I am investigating how to legally adopt him as his father died on August 29th, 2016.

At times I feel like I am always ‘Finding Jerry’, he loves to play hidies or run away in the market. Jerry is eight years old and we are a family of sorts and this page is where Jerry’s story will unfold.

Keep calling back as I add content.

Mel xx
October 2016

Update: Crowdfunding for Jerry

I spent 2.5 months in Australia (November 2016 to January 2017) working and raising money to adopt Jerry. Even though our crowdfunding campaign has ended I encourage you to visit the site to read more about our story. If you would like to make a donation please use the links here. Thank you for your love and support. Mel and Jerry xxx.

  • Jerry! Diin sa iPhone? (6/18/2015) - When a curious little boy get's your iPhone, without you realising there's suddenly more than 600 photos. Delighted at what I found here.
  • Jerry comes home (11/28/2015) - I promised myself not to leave him; to believe I’d find him again © 2015 Melinda Irvine Click here to learn more about helping me adopt Jerry.
  • Finding Jerry (12/16/2015) - I met Jerry on a hot, dirty roadside. He had cut feet and no shoes. He was crying. It was a long time before he trusted me enough to climb on my back so he didn’t have to walk on the hot hot road. Jerry is seven. Jerry swims like a little fish and climbs to […]
  • The Grade 1 (Squid) Christmas Party (12/17/2015) - My first official parenting duty: attend the Grade 1 (squid) christmas party. Not sure if my favourite part was the brawl or when they managed to pull down the entire candy frame. Definitely loved taking back the video two weeks later and playing it for the classroom on my laptop. © 2015 Melinda Irvine
  • Dinagyang Festival (2/13/2016) - fiesta maidens; rainforest warriors; and two little princes © 2016 Melinda Irvine
  • Decisions (2/15/2016) - Arriving in the Philippines over two years ago to help out after Typhoon Yolanda, I never expected I would still be here. The amazing, crazy and tragic things that have happened over the past two years have left me drained but strangely uplifted and it’s only since Christmas that I made the solid decision to […]
  • Late afternoon ladies (2/18/2016) - Child’s birthday party: cake, games, spaghetti. Later, ladies find red wine. © 2016 Melinda Irvine
  • Tuition and employment (2/19/2016) - Yesterday some of the dreams and visions for my life here in the Philippines manifested into reality: tuition for street kids and employment for families battling poverty. For the last two years I have been helping Shelia Gedalanga and her two kids recover from the loss of their home and livelihood following Typhoon Yolanda. Last […]
  • Bad Me (3/3/2016) - bad me’ i heard his little voice say ‘bad me’ small head turned into the pillow ‘bad me’ i had scolded him for breaking a yellow colouring pencil he stomped it into two pieces discarded for garbage i found it in the dirt covered by grass nga (why)? i had asked him in the tricycle […]
  • Tita Mel! I’m a cowboy (5/3/2016) - Jerry told me on Saturday afternoon he was a cowboy and could he please borrow my cream/daisy coloured lace sunhat as cowboys wear hats. He disappeared outside and about 10 minutes later I found him lassoing the chair with two skipping ropes he had tied together. This video just cracks me and I hope it […]
  • Jerry’s Nutrition Day (7/28/2016) - July is Nutrition Month in the Philippines and Jerry’s school had a special family event to educate kids (and parents) on the long-term health benefits of diet and exercise. I’m blogging it because it is the first thing I have attended really as Jerry’s ‘parent’ and I shortened my trip in Australia so I could go. […]
  • Can I open just one eye? (8/8/2016) - Yesterday afternoon four little friends of Jerry came over to play and watch Disney Movies. The toy library has a very cool little cooking set so they all insisted on ‘cooking’ for me. I had to close my eyes for what seemed like ages before ‘breakfast’ appeared magically. I really did have my eyes closed […]
  • Written in Sand (8/14/2016) - little boy writes my name in the sand (near his) then smiles my face. love you 🙂 © 2016 Melinda Irvine
  • Frame of a Little Boy (9/1/2016) - delighted little boy frames happiness wanting to sleep in those gloves © 2016 Melinda Irvine
  • Out the Window of the Bus (9/24/2016) - is our saturday morning. Our funny little family strengthens. © 2016 mel irvine
  • zebras and giraffes (9/24/2016) - Our Saturday morning sleep in and do not much and Jerry decided to put all his animals in hospital and colour in the stripes on his zebra. Totally cute. Hope this brings you a smile as I document his English progress. © 2016 Melinda Irvine
  • Parenting a child who has experienced abuse or neglect (9/26/2016) - A list of behaviour indicators of child abuse, trauma and neglect highlighted to me the depth of distress and disturbing incidents Jerry has already experienced in his eight short years.
  • Bad Kid: a kid who has had bad things happen (9/27/2016) - Jerry's father died three weeks ago and his behaviour is becoming more and more erratic. Researching how to help him, how to love him, how to support him and grow as a parent.
  • We Can Fly Together (10/1/2016) - Jerry kicks and thrashes in his sleep, poor little thing has terrible nightmares. He always wants to sleep in the bed with me and I usually allow it for a few hours and carry him to his own bed after he’s asleep. Every morning he wakes up disappointed. “Tita Mel! Me kicking?” Last night I promised […]
  • my beautiful dream (10/3/2016) - Eight year old Jerry tells me about a marvellous dream he had the night before, though I think possibly a lot of it was made up during narration. What a joy he is.
  • arrival of the WIFI (10/7/2016) - Having dedicated WIFI in the house for the past 48 hours has been … well … like a million continuous yays. I can only really describe that incredible feeling when the technician handed me finalising paperwork and that first little WIFI symbol lit up and an app started downloading. That feeling was like a huge […]
  • Jerry opens Faunaverse (10/18/2016) - Faunaverse is a marvellous book of poetry appealing to both kids and adults. Fun educational and inspiring, Faunaverse was written by two passionate and talented environmental activists (and also my friends): Alexander Dudley and Jane Sullivan.
  • another clueless #ParentFail (reading Faunaverse) (10/21/2016) - Wednesday night, reading Jerry’s bedtime story I decided to video the experience for my friends Alexander Dudley and Jane Sullivan who had sent me a copy of their newly published book Faunaverse. Faunaverse is a wonderful book of poetry about Australian wildlife, insects and birds. Jerry really loves it. Though I think I’m gonna read […]
  • Family Bonding Day (10/28/2016) - “Can we come here everyday?” said his little voice. and it wasn’t that he wanted to pray or burn white candles under tall Mary each day. His little heart filled with the floating view of the valley his small hands full of tiny black dragonflies shouts “YOU NO WORKING TODAY TITA MEL” even at eight […]
  • the spider-man files (10/30/2016) - A cute little photo study of Jerry in his spider-man costume. I love how he takes the styrofoam wrapping off apples and uses it for spider-man masks.
  • My Proudest Parenting Moment (10/31/2016) - We were walking in the market yesterday, when a lady for no apparent reason, gave Jerry three pieces of native fruit. He received them shyly and then set to work on the eating. After we got home he said to me … “Tita Mel, that lady give me fruit.” I nodded in agreement. “Tita Mel,” […]
  • Crowdfunding for Jerry (12/5/2016) - Filipino boy Jerry is only 8 and the bravest kid I know. His mother died tragically at Christmas time when he was only four years old and his father died in August this year. Help me adopt Jerry and bring him to Australia.
  • From the Black Forest (12/5/2016) - Fundraising to adopt Jerry has really binded my family as we all search for once sacred relics to sell. This little wooden bear was handed over enthusiastically with detailed instructions for pricing (which I will strictly adhere to as this little poem illustrates). “DON’T SELL That bear,” shouts mum. “blah blah blah thE BLACK FOREST BLAH to cheap […]
  • Decisions and Choices (12/6/2016) - My driver’s licence expired back in October, but I only realised yesterday. According to my Australian driver’s licence I am a resident of the state of Queensland, but I’m currently staying in the state of NSW with my parents, but in truth I live in the Philippines. Confused? Having no driver’s licence mean I must […]
  • The Arrival of Magic Fish Dreaming (12/22/2016) - The Christmas mail to my parent’s house brought a wonderful surprise today, the much anticipated book (and some extra surprises) by my dear friend June Perkins, Magic Fish Dreaming. If you have been following my blog you will know that I’m currently home in Australia working and raising money to legally adopt my little boy Jerry, […]
  • Just Sand (12/24/2016) - Here I am ‘home’. And my passport, driver’s licence and cards all agree. And so I wander the lonely beaches here every day looking for new poems and pictures to discover, and hide from everything like Christmas or old friends or the fact that my heart is breaking because you are my home now and […]
  • Epic Journeys and Families Meant to Be (12/26/2016) - My newsfeed delivered a lovely surprise today, my friend June Perkins created this lovely post. Thank you June I was so overwhelmed when I read it. Sometimes our friends know our stories better than we do …
  • missing jerry I Love You and Miss You So Much (1/12/2017) - Less than 24 hours left of the campaign now and everything really helps. I've appreciated the love and support shown by so many people from across the globe. The best news is this time next week Jerry and I will be together again. Yay. Mel xx
  • Someday (1/13/2017) - We will watch the sunset painting names in bright colours (like a family). © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Someday
  • Marathon of Waiting (1/17/2017) - Two months all done. Ready to fly home to you. Brave little boy waits. © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Marathon
  • A Weekend of Rest (1/20/2017) - a weekend of rest, (I’m still blogging though for fun) back in his country reunited us wandering the festive streets remembering us in bright streets transformed the Dinagyang aesthetic a weekend of rest © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Aesthetic and Overworked
  • Exposure (1/21/2017) - Dark, drumming, music. Street, colour, city, light. Boy, noise, fiesta, night. © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Exposure
  • The Successful Delivery of Magic Fish Dreaming to the Philippines (1/23/2017) - Arriving back in Estancia after more than two months in Australia and one of my first visits was to the family of Jerry’s best friend. I had a small bag of gifts from Australia including a Koala plushie and the wonderful Magic Fish Dreaming. June Perkins, my friend and author of Magic Fish Dreaming arranged […]
  • The Greatest Place in the World (1/24/2017) - The greatest place in the world is always wherever I am standing, and right now that place is Barangay Botongon, Estancia (Philippines). I arrived back from Australia to Estancia last Thursday night and even though it can be such a challenge living here, the kids keep me coming back. Jerry is celebrating his birthday next Monday so […]
  • Somebody Clean that Fan (1/27/2017) - inside simple space we find creative moments family type stuff © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Simple
  • Birthdays Pinoy Style (1/29/2017) - Having a birthday? “spaghetti”, “hot dogs” and tang it’s more fun here. © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Automatic #itsmorefuninthephilippines Cooking my first Filipino styled spaghetti tomorrow for Jerry’s birthday treat. Ask a Filipino kid what they want to eat for their birthday and you can almost guarantee the automatic response will be “spaghetti”. And […]
  • A Birthday Begins (1/30/2017) - Jerry’s birthday starts with a big yellow sun: then spaghetti, cake, friends. © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Yellow PS: And even though his favourite colour is red, I loved how he chose his yellow birthday cake (because it had red flowers).  Ahhhh I do recall Bilbo Baggins being extremely fond of flowers: my heart […]
  • Lovingly (2/7/2017) - ‘Ghosts cannot remember their sons,’ said he. ‘But mother’s cannot forget their love’ said me. © 2017 Melinda Irvine Daily Prompt: Lovingly
  • Dogwood Original Photo Challenge (Week 7) (2/26/2017) - WEEK 7: Portrait (Faceless) Tell someone’s story without showing their face.. The Dogwood Photo Challenge The Dogwood Photo Challenge is a series of weekly assignments responding to a theme or technique. Participants are encouraged to share their work as displaying your work is an important part of growing as a photographer. Unlike most photography challenges which […]
  • April Tides (4/30/2017) - February blew long low tide on the concrete constructed April © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine
  • A Year of Growth (5/2/2017) - Jerry has been on school holidays for more than a month and still has five weeks before school resumes. It’s a long time to keep a little boy entertained, especially when I am also working from our one-room shared space. I remember last year’s Disney marathons and demands for his best friend to sleep over […]
  • Ephemeral (5/10/2017) - summer tides fall little friends an island weekend © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Temporary
  • My First Mother’s Day (5/15/2017) - Today I celebrated my first real Mother’s Day. I really felt like a mum. I didn’t mention anything to Jerry about Mother’s Day (actually I had completely forgotten), but this morning while I was typing a poem on the blog, he suddenly ran up to me shouting “Happy Mother’s Day Tita Mel, I love you!”, […]
  • Mickey Mouse and the Baby Chickens (5/16/2017) - I’ve known Jerry for almost two years now and wanted to share a little of his developing empathy, compassion and self-awareness through some stories about his engagement with animals and pets. It’s very encouraging. The Death of the Finches A couple of days after Jerry first came to live with me (almost two years ago), […]
  • Little Wizard (5/20/2017) - you replay crouching behind a tricycle and surprising me with your collected “love potion” swirling leaves and flowers and petals “you will fall in love tita mel!” you shouted showering me in your wish. then once more for you. © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine
  • just before sunset over the newly ploughed rice paddies by Melinda J. Irvine Surviving the Trip (5/26/2017) - Whenever Jerry and I are riding the highway in a tricycle I do have the odd morbid thought about whether we will survive the trip. Tricycles are great for photographs, the scenery is so close you can literally touch it. However when big trucks, overloaded motorbikes or headlight free jeeps come roaring behind you right […]
  • Imaginary Swimming Pool (6/6/2017) - GET MY GOGGLES! PLEASE! PLEASE!, he shouts above below the rain © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Imaginary I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • little kid in a party hat Back to School (6/6/2017) - More than two months of summer vacation ended yesterday as Jerry trotted off to class in his school uniform and shiny new school shoes. He was super excited. Part of the excitement is being allowed to get his own tricycle after class (this little bit of independence and autonomy has delighted him). While it is […]
  • boy looking for scrap metal amidst an oil spill in the Philippines The First Boy in His Family to Finish School (6/13/2017) - A very excited Jerry started grade 3 last week, an opportunity denied to most of his brother’s and sisters. This is particularly poignant today on World Day Against Child Labour. Like the other 2.1 million+ Filipino kids already working, Jerry’s brother’s and sisters are all part of these statistics, and this would have been his […]
  • little kid and a bowl of spaghetti Lunchtime Treat (6/15/2017) - lunchtime stains little white shirt spaghetti © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Uniform I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • Jerry reaching for fruit on the tree Endless Energy (6/22/2017) - Jerry my little loop-de-loop from sun to gone, it sleeps but it never stops © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Loop I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • boy on the shoreline low tide Two Hot Days Later (6/26/2017) - he wanted pets trapped small fish and shrimp in plastic cups © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Cringe I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • kitten and toys Little Family of Strays (7/1/2017) - Yesterday on our afternoon walk, I swore I heard some lost kittens calling each other. To be honest it’s actually hard not to find or hear lost kittens on afternoon walks, there are so many street dogs and cats roaming around in this place. I stopped walking and asked Jerry to stand, be still and […]
  • Filipino boy eating BBQ stick of eels Dogwood Original Photo Challenge (Week 16) (7/2/2017) - WEEK 16: Portrait (Movement) Most portraits are stationary, so this week explore adding some movement. Dancing, twirling, or even hair flips. The Dogwood Photo Challenge The Dogwood Photo Challenge is a series of weekly assignments responding to a theme or technique. Participants are encouraged to share their work as displaying your work is an important […]
  • group of kids eating chips The Kids of Purok 7 (7/3/2017) - Jerry visits an old playground where his house used to be © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Scamper and Snack I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • Cat Has a Name (7/7/2017) - This is Maxine and she is definitely not allowed inside. Well mostly anyway. © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Tether I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • kids on a dilapidated merry go round The Old Steel Gate (7/23/2017) - How many little boys have passed tickets shouting their delight through this old steel gate? © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Prompt: Gate I’m part of Post A Day 2017
  • adopting jerry Adopting Jerry (10/15/2017) - It was May 2015 that I first met Jerry wandering the dirt backroads of Estancia in the Philippines. Two and a half years later I’m actively working to legally adopt Jerry under the Philippine domestic system. It’s known as “expat adoption” and really the only option I have. “Adopting a child is an exhaustingly long […]
  • little boy in illuminated shoes Jerry’s New Shoes (10/27/2017) - flash colours interchange a nine-year-old’s grinning illuminated shoes © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Prompt: Enlighten I’m part of Post A Day 2017 Location: Iloilo City (Philippines)
  • little boy at ballet class Jerry’s Ballet Class (10/30/2017) - One morning I was sitting at my desk working until I heard some familiar classical music emanating from where Jerry was watching Netflix on the tablet. I turned around in surprise and asked him what cartoon he was watching. “Oh that’s Nutcracker Tita Mel! he replied like it was the most normal thing in the […]
  • happy halloween Happy Halloween (11/1/2017) - Jerry could never look ghoulish, he’s just too damned cute. We’ve had such a wonderful few days in the halloween themed Iloilo City; trick or treating and playing ‘Wizards’. Happy Halloween friends.  © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Prompt: Ghoulish I’m part of Post A Day 2017 Location: Iloilo City (Philipppines)
  • The Little Journal (11/3/2017) - Whenever I’m in the National Bookstore (or any bookstore for that matter), I always seem to gravitate to the journals. Notebooks fill up very quickly in my house and I never, ever go anywhere without a journal in my bag. I buy them pretty regularly. I didn’t realise how much of a trademark of mine […]
  • little boy looking at eggs Balut (11/6/2017) - For the un-initiated, the Philippine delicacy Balut (pronounce it bah-lute) is a boiled duck egg. But the developing embryo of the chick is still inside and it has all this cooked smelly liquid that runs out when you crack it. Ewwww! Served hot on every market corner, naturally Jerry loves it. My first (and only taste) […]
  • Little Pieces of Joy (11/18/2017) - Catching Jerry singing to his cat are among the little pieces of droll delight that I find in every day. I have no idea what he is singing (and I’m sure he has no idea either). © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Droll I’m part of Post A Day 2017 Location: Estancia, Iloilo (Philipppines)
  • little boy and his brother in a tricycle A Boy and His Brother (11/28/2017) - When I was a kid I always loved the story of Moses in the bullrushes: the little baby cast into the Nile by his mother in the hope of saving his life; watched from afar by his sister until he was found by a royal princess; the story turning back then to his mother, eventually paid to nurse and take care of her own child.
  • cat with a toy mouse Maxine’s First Christmas (12/30/2017) - we wrapped it in tinsel green, red paper torn her toy mouse tethered to a lower branch the best present a little boy held © 2017 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Cozy I’m part of Post A Day 2017 Location: Estancia, Iloilo (Philipppines)
  • neda, mel and rosemary Christmas Reflections (1/2/2018) - It's raining here in Estancia and my iPhone just started screaming out another emergency weather alert. Apart from minor flooding we don't have too much to worry about here, but my prayers are with the people in Mindanao, Palawan and Leyte who are having a third typhoon (in less than 2 weeks) flood out their homes and crops. Oh life here in the Philippines is hard on the poor.
  • cooked scallops Scallops (1/4/2018) - Every school morning begins like this. Me wake up in our one room place, grab my journal and turn on a little rechargable light (just enough illumination) for me to handwrite 3 pages of notes. Anything that comes into my head spews itself onto the page for about 30 minutes. Still dark, I read from […]
  • jerry in the taxi Riding in Cars With a Boy (1/6/2018) - The first time Jerry rode in a taxi he opened the door while the taxi was speeding along a major road. He was only 7 and curious about all the buttons and handles and nobs. That was just before he started vomiting. And though we still don't travel without a plastic bag, he can usually manage short distances now without causing a major hazard or throwing up everywhere.
  • jerry in his cubby Brilliant (1/10/2018) - Living, working, playing, eating and sleeping in one-room small room is not without its challenges. Sleeping is really, really difficult. So for me Jerry’s latest game is just brilliant. Every night I struggle to get him in bed, and if it’s not pouring rain outside I often take the laptop out and sit on the […]
  • a little boy and his orange A Little Boy and His Orange (1/13/2018) - I hope this little post evokes all the joy that a simple act of kindness from a stranger can bring to your day.
  • ten pin bowling with jerry How To Entertain Your 9 Year Old (1/15/2018) - No matter what country you live in and where you are from, finding new ways to entertain children is always a delight (and a relief). By accident, (on Saturday night) Jerry and I stumbled across this old ten-pin bowling alley at the top of an ageing shopping centre in Iloilo City. I won’t carry on […]
  • jerry's mask My Little Monster (1/18/2018) - How would you pin this agile little monster (with a high fever) onto a bed and made sure he rested? © 2018 Melinda J. Irvine Daily Post: Agile I’m part of Post A Day 2018 Location: Estancia, Iloilo (Philipppines)  
  • little boy with school project Plastic Flowers … Ma’am Said (1/25/2018) - Yesterday as Jerry was putting on his school shoes (ready to return to school after lunch break) he decided to tell me about the class project. He did it by sitting at the bottom of the stairs and calling my name, with the emphasis on dragging the syllable ‘ellll’ out, along and up into house […]
  • jerry reads the magic pudding Reading Jerry ‘The Magic Pudding’ (2/20/2018) - When I was home in Australia last October mum produced a box filled with the books I read and loved as a little kid. They all fit in my luggage too (returning to the Philippines) and Jerry loves most especially The Magic Pudding. What a delight to share this funny story with Jerry reading from the […]