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Abandoned baby growing up multi-lingual in Abu Dhabi hospital

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“Sebastian,” the baby boy who was abandoned by his Filipina mother at the Universal Hospital Abu Dhabi shortly after delivery nine months ago, is growing up an “international child,” with a big multi-cultural family of nurses, doctors and other medical practitioners who have taken him as their own.

This was gathered even as Ambassador Constancio R. Vingno, Jr. expressed dismay over a recent media report (not The Filipino Times’) showing Sebastian on a hospital bed, in apparent disregard for the child’s privacy.

“Baka maka-apekto ‘yan. Buti sana kung nakatalikod,” Vingno said, referring to ongoing actions being undertaken by authorities to determine whether to turn “Sebastian” – or “Omar,” as he is also fondly called – to the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) which, ideally, has jurisdiction over the him.

“Our goal is to bring him home. Inaayos pa ang papeles. Di pa namin alam kung papayag ang gobyerno. Paano kung anak sya ng Emirati?” said Vingno.

Should Sebastian be repatriated, DSWD can put him up for adoption. A recent report by The Filipino Times about the increasing number of abandoned infants by overseas Filipina workers (OFWs) in the UAE elicited several inquiries from netizens asking if they can adopt them.

‘He is family’

Baby Sebastian has his own air-conditioned room, two-shift nurses on duty to look after him, and basically the whole hospital as his playground.

According to Dr. Shabeer Nellikode, the hospital’s founder and managing director, his staff have been providing baby Sebastian with his daily necessities like diapers, clothes, food, and most importantly, the love any family can give. “They are looking after him like their own child,” the doctor said.

Nellikode said he is always asked, “Why are you keeping him? Paying the nurses eight hours to look after him, providing an air-conditioned room with all the necessities he need.”

“You need someone dedicated to look after him because he has started moving, he can fall at any point in time, he can have injury at any point in time,” he said.

“My concern is not the cost and looking out for somebody. My concern is you and me, we grew up. Growing up is inevitable. Growing up right. This is a baby who can not leave the hospital for a few more months. He has to see the sun, he has to see the beach, and he is no less than fortunate than any other kids,” Nellikode added.

Nellikode said they are waiting for Baby Sebastian’s documentations to be ready.
“I think we have one more legal document to me cleared,” he said; he didn’t specify. He said his public relations team is working on it.

Nellikode said they have been in contact with the Philippine Embassy since after the mother fled the hospital two to three days upon giving birth to Sebastian.

Vingno had earlier said the mom asked hospital authorities to be excused so she could get the required documents. She did not come back. “Kukuha daw ng marriage certificate ‘yung ina kasi siyempre hinahanapan ng proof of marriage; hindi na bumalik (sa ospital),” he said.

Adoption

Meantime, Nellikode said there are eight people from his staff ready to adopt Sebastian.
“We have Filipinos, Indians, and Arabs willing to adopt him,” he said.

According to a nurse who was on duty when this reporter made a visit to baby Sebastian, the nine-month-old boy, who is now well underway in his formative years, gets confused when people talk to him.

They speak to him in Tagalog, Malayalam and Arabic. The nurse amusingly shared, saying Sebastian is becoming an “international” kid.

“We normally say that when you grow up in a good family, you will always be attractive to people. He grew up in the Universal family and we are fortunate to be spending good time with him,” Nellikode said.

Baby Sebastian’s mother, an OFW, reportedly was married in the Philippines and got pregnant to an Abu Dhabi man out of wedlock, which is illegal in the UAE. (With Jojo Dass)

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