Family and Friends Holidays

A Mother’s Mission of Love

Holly Romero, BSN, RN pictures with her family.

From the time she was a little girl Holly Romero, BSN, RN, felt God calling her to adopt. It was a feeling that followed her throughout her life. “I always knew I wanted to adopt, ever since I was a little girl,” Holly says, “I kept feeling God nudging me like ‘this is what I want you to do.’”

She and her husband, Ariel, are blessed with four biological children, but she still felt adoption was God’s plan for her life. So in 2014, Holly decided to talk to Ariel about the possibility of adoption. He enthusiastically agreed, and they decided to start the adoption process. Because Ariel is Filipino, they knew they wanted to adopt from the Philippines, and they knew they wanted a child within the age range of 2 to 8-years-old. But when Holly was sent the file of a 15-year-old boy, she decided to read it.

“I was reading his profile and I literally felt like God was saying ‘this is your son’, and I just started crying,” Holly recalls, “I’ve never had a feeling that powerful before. And so yeah, we ended up adopting him.”

The boy’s name was Matthew, and Holly and her family got to meet him on his 16th birthday. They traveled to the Philippines in 2016 and spent a week getting to know each other before bringing him home. The new family spent time getting acquainted and learning about each other. “Love and adoption to me is truly like a verb, you have to actively show love” Holly says. And by Holly intentionally showing Matthew love, it’s made the love between them blossom and grow.

Now, Matthew and his siblings have become very close, and he is thriving. But Holly always keeps in mind that adoption is mingled with sadness. “He’s one of the best things that’s ever happened to us,” Holly shares, “but I always try to remember it all started with a loss. It’s so hard to come over and completely lose everything you’ve ever known. He lost his country, his culture, everything.”

But Holly sees God’s hand at work through their journey of adoption. She adds, “If you look for ways where you can be God’s hands and feet here down on earth, you can bridge that gap between brokenness and healing.”

Since bringing Matthew home, Holly and her family felt the call to adopt again. And again, they found a match with a boy in the Philippines. In the summer of 2023, Holly and Ariel traveled to the Philippines to bring home their new son, a 12-year-old boy named Francis, who goes by the name “Kiko.”

She describes the moment when Kiko met his siblings for the first time as beautiful. Kiko was smiling ear-to-ear and very excited to meet the other kids. Soon, the family was making music together, and Kiko was playing the drum alongside his new siblings. “It feels like he’s always been here,” Holly shares. “I don’t even know how to describe it, it feels like he’s always been ours.”

Along with the joy from this latest adoption, Holly is also excited about the possibility of taking advantage of additional financial support from AdventHealth’s new policy updates. AdventHealth is now offering Paid Parental Leave and Adoption Assistance to qualifying team members who have decided to pursue domestic or international adoption. This means team members may now qualify for reimbursement of up to $10,000 in adoption related expenses.

Currently, Kiko has been home with Holly and her family for almost a year, and they were able to celebrate his finalized adoption this past April. Holly and her family plan to adopt one more time from the Philippines, making it their 3rd adoption journey. And knowing that AdventHealth offers both financial support and paid parental leave is a huge relief for Holly and her growing family.

“It’s phenomenal because adoption is expensive, it just makes you feel more secure knowing the money could be coming back,” she shares. “And those 12 weeks of bonding and attachment are so important in adoption, especially of an older child. It’s nice to know that it’s there.”

The journey of motherhood will look different for every woman. For Holly and her family, God’s timing and direction to make their family whole is the perfect path for them. And this Mother’s Day, she has a message of hope and encouragement for mothers everywhere. “I think that as mothers we should stop trying to find perfection and stop comparing our journey to others journey’s,” she shares. “Just go out there and love your kids. Love your kids the best way you know how. And appreciate your journey that God has given you.”

Holly has written about her adoption journey in the book An Unexpected Gift: An International Adoption Story. All proceeds from the book go to support Helping Hands Healing Hearts Ministries in the Philippines, the orphanage where Matthew was living when they adopted him. She and her family are very involved with Helping Hands Healing Hearts Ministries and continue to visit and volunteer with them. To learn more about the work they do, go to

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