From pushing a cart along the streets of Manila, Fernando Kuehnel is now enjoying a comfortable life in America with his loving family, a ravishing house and luxurious cars. His journey wasn’t easy but he proved that dreams can become a reality.
Fernando’s journey from an orphanage to driving a Porsche Carrera in Florida, USA didn’t happen in a single snap as he experienced the worst things in his life. In fact, he had three parents before he was able to live the kind of life that he just dreamed of.
At the age of 6, he was left together with his two brothers by their parents on the streets of Quezon City for reasons until now was unknown to Fernando.
“They found us on the street, all three of us. They brought us to the orphanage. I remember carrying a couple of bags, we were crying you know,” he recalled.
From the first orphanage, they transferred to another orphanage named “Nayong Kabataan”. Fernando narrated that their lives there were uncomfortable because he and his siblings were bullied by other orphans.
And because he was no longer happy, at the age of 10, he escaped from the orphanage and left his siblings. He began pushing a cart on the streets and had to eat food from the trash just to endure each day.
When he turned 13, Fernando returned to the orphanage upon learning that his siblings were up for adoption and were leaving for America.
“So, they were gonna be adopted, just the two of them, and then one kid ran away from the orphanage looked for me, he said: Your brothers [are] gonna go and get adopted, so better go back, so I went back… I’m not stupid, right? I came back,” Fernando narrated.
Fernando and his siblings were adopted and brought to Wisconsin, USA. But unfortunately, things didn’t work out well so they were brought back to an orphanage.
One day, the Kuehnels came and adopted them. They became their third parents who treated them as their own and sent them to school. Fernando was also able to attend an English class which was an hour bus ride to Greenbay, Wisconsin.
And after years of hard work and perseverance in school, he graduated with flying colors when he finished a bachelor’s degree in business administration in health care as summa cum laude.
Fernando currently works as a clinical scientist for Novartis, a well-known pharmaceutical company.
“You have to determine what success is to you. It doesn’t have to be millions of dollars. I tell my kids, there’s no problems that can’t be solved. You just won’t like the solution, but the problem can be solved. The takeaway is, you do have to work hard,” he said with conviction.
Recently, Fernando launched a book which he wrote called, “My Third Parents”. His main goal of publishing the book was to help orphanages in the Philippines because he claimed that there are 1.8 million street children in the Philippines but, sadly, only 300 among them got adopted each year. He then hopes that more orphans would be adopted in the coming years so many may be given the chance to live a happy life just like what he enjoyed.
As a way of helping the orphanages, all proceeds from his book will go to House of Kabataan Charity, Inc. which he established in 2005 and incorporated in Florida, USA.