Veronica Lucas was born in the Philippines and was adopted by an Australian family living in Manila. Here’s her story.
Tell us about your adoption and any challenges you faced?
A lot of people ask me about my adoption, and the most obvious difference with my family is my ‘Asian’ appearance compared to that of my ‘Anglo-Saxon’ family; it takes a moment for people to register. We could tell you a number of funny stories … even Ben got confused when we first met.
I’ve never searched for my natural parents and haven’t had much of an interest. The Philippines is still very much a part of me, even though I don’t know much about it besides it being beautiful and having very friendly people. My Godmother is Filipino, and I am very close to her and her family. So, I am lucky that I have not lost touch with my native culture.
My adoption has never been an ‘issue’, but I recall my family’s concerns when Ben and I decided to go to the Philippines for our honeymoon. But there was no need for concern. We hope to take the children there soon, so they too can see the other part of their heritage.
How did the hospitality industry bring you and Ben together?
Ben grew up in Sydney and spent two years in London, when his father was transferred there for work. He got the opportunity to explore much of Europe while living abroad. The family returned shortly before completing his final year in high school.
After school, Ben went to William Blue Hospitality College and worked in the hospitality industry for a number of years and then finally found himself excelling in the finance industry – currently he is working at Westpac Armidale as the new Local Business Banker.
I, too, grew up in Sydney and am the youngest of 5; I have 14 nieces and nephews. The age gap between the eldest and me is 15 years. After completing high school, I went into the hospitality industry and met Ben while completing my Advance Diploma in Hospitality Management in the Blue Mountains.
Shortly before Ben and I married in December 2000, I decided it was time to leave the hospitality industry and ventured in the not-for-profit sector. I eventually went back into hospitality, but in an administrative / event management capacity and have been there ever since.
What prompted you to move to Armidale?
We moved to Armidale in late April this year. Ben and I decided we wanted to give our young family a lifestyle that we believed Sydney could no longer provide.
When we first started looking, one of my brothers moved to a farm just outside of Warialda with his family, so we thought we would at least start looking up this way.
Armidale really appealed to us, because it is still quite cosmopolitan and a wide scope of education is available. On one of our previous visits to the area, we found a gorgeous block just out of town and decided that it was the perfect location to build a house and raise our young family.
What do you like most about living here?
We still have much exploring to do and have found everything about Armidale wonderful … even the cold weather! Who could imagine the natural attractions of the New England region, only a stone’s throw away?
Everyone has been very helpful, friendly and welcoming, which has made the transition so easy for us – especially the children. Ben enjoys the fact that it only takes about 10 minutes to get to work. Most of all, the peace and serenity are just marvellous!
What does fatherhood mean for Ben?
Ben strongly believes that fatherhood is enjoying the little things each day and always making time for our children! Ben loves that Armidale will give our children the space and opportunities to play and grow in a safe environment. We treasure each stage of our children’s growth and spending time as a family.
Tell us about your online business?
I started Belluca in October 2007, shortly after the birth of my darling daughter and noticed a number of fabulous products from Australia made by work at home mums who were trying to compete with international brands. So I decided to dedicate an online store with these luxurious, stylish and innovative products.
Plans for the future?
Armidale is a long term move for us and has provided opportunities that we had not thought possible. For me, the near future holds starting up an event management business, MV Events and the UNE Robb College 50th Anniversary.
For my family, we are simply enjoying making our house a home and creating our garden. Now that we are in the country, we might plant some roses!
Thank you Veronica.