Mother’s Day. It means so much, to so many. We rejoice in this day with you, no matter how you ‘fit’ into it. Happy Mother’s Day, from your friends at Madison Adoption Associates.
Dear Mom of toddlers,
Hang in there. You can’t pee alone, eat alone, heck, do anything alone. But you do it. Day in and day out. You put yourself aside, and do it. You push swings endlessly, know the names of all the Thomas engines, make sure they each have their favorite cup (even if it means constantly washing it, though you probably have 43728 other cups). You give hugs, time outs, kisses to boo boos, ultimatums, but mostly, love. Keep on keeping on. The days are long but the years are short. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Waiting Mom,
You’ve done all the paperwork. You’ve done all the research. You’ve done all the training, and invasive interviews. You have everything in place for when your little finally comes home. Now you must wait. You must hurry up and get everything done, and wait. Though your child isn’t home yet, you are a Mom. You are an advocate for your child. You are a Mama Bear. You fight for your child with each form, each document, each requirement. Keep on keeping on. She’ll be home soon. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Adoptive Mom,
You are a heart healer.
You hold the burden of your child’s pain in hopes that they don’t have
to. You love them unconditionally, even
when they don’t even like you. You are
their rock. You are their constant. You are their forever. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Birth Mom,
You kept them safe.
You kept them warm. You nourished
them. You chose life. You made the hardest decision a Mother has to
make, and you set them free. Know your
pain is not forgotten. Keep on keeping
on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Foster Mom,
You love them fiercely, day in and day out, knowing you won’t have them forever. You take it one day at a time, and give them the world each and every day. When others say, ‘I couldn’t do that, knowing I’d have to say goodbye,’ that’s exactly why you do it, because you know how important love is for them, even though you know it will shred your heart. You are their Mama, for one day, or for 500, because it is best for them. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear New Mom,
You’ve been dreaming and praying for this for years. And now it’s here. You are a Mom. And it is H.A.R.D. Harder than you ever though possible. But you do it. You wake up each morning (or maybe you haven’t
even slept yet), and commit yourself to this child. Because with each hard moment, there are a
million sweet moments that melt your heart.
Embrace the good, and get through the not so good. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Single Mom,
You do it alone. You are both parents. While some of us ‘share’ the parenting responsibilities, you do it all. The weight of that can often feel overwhelming. But you keep at it. Every day. You are their everything. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Dear Mom of teenagers,
You embarrass them. Maybe they embarrass you. They want nothing to do with you. According to them, they have the whole world figured out, and you know nothing. Even still, you pack their lunch, you go to every game, you make sure their laundry ‘miraculously’ gets in their drawers. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
Without you, we wouldn’t be Moms! Without you, we wouldn’t know what to do. You kissed us, so we know how to kiss them. You taught us, so we know how to teach them. You guided us, so we know how to guide them. Thank you. Keep on keeping on. Enjoy the joys of grandmotherhood. Happy Mother’s Day.
To all the Moms today, no matter how you ‘fit’ into this day, we celebrate you. Enjoy the day, and bask in the celebration of YOU. Keep on keeping on. Happy Mother’s Day.
We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. ~J. K. ROWLING
This quote couldn’t be more perfect to describe Lizzie. And just who is Lizzie? Lizzie is a girl. An orphan.
Surrounded by mostly darkness, both literally and figuratively. But who chooses the light whenever she can. It guides her, and she is often found seeking
it out. Lizzie, who could so easily
choose the darkness and let it consume her, she does not. She chooses the light. She can sense the goodness in the light, and
it draws her in. Just as we can sense
the goodness in her. She is captivated
by the light, and somehow in that act alone, those around her are captivated by
But Lizzie needs a miracle. Lizzie ‘ages out’ in 57 days. F.I.F.T.Y. S.E.V.E.N. Let that number sink in. It seems totally impossible. But we witness miracles every day, so we pray that now it is Lizzie’s turn for her miracle. So while Lizzie continues to seek out the light, we will continue to seek out her forever family.
Lizzie is available for adoption from China through Madison Adoption Associates. There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available to the family who commits to her.
I was packing for my trip to Bulgaria, and my six-year-old
was sitting on the bed watching me.
Son: “Mom, why are you going to Bulgaria?”
Me: “To help more kids find Mommies and Daddies.”
Son: “Why don’t all kids have Mommies and Daddies?”
Me: “Well, every kid has a Mommy and Daddy, but those first Mommies
and Daddies can’t always raise their kids.”
Son: “Why not? Don’t
they love their kids?”
Me: “They do love their kids. Usually, very much. But, it takes more than love to take care of
a kid. It takes resources, and support,
and community, and a home, and access to doctors, and food, and so much more.”
Son: “But it takes love too, right?”
Me: “Yes, of course it takes love too. And, a lot of times, it is that love that
drives these Mommies and Daddies to hope that a new Mommy and Daddy can be
found for their kid. They love them so
much, they want them to have a Mommy and Daddy who can give them the things
that they can’t.”
Son: “And that’s why you’re going to Bulgaria? Because the old Mommies and Daddies need you
to find new Mommies and Daddies?”
Me: “Kind of, I guess.”
Son: “That’s good Mom.
I hope you find Mommies and Daddies for kids who need Mommies and
Me: “Me too buddy. Me
Of course we all know summarizing the orphan crisis isn’t this easy. And the solution isn’t this simple. But then again, maybe it is. Maybe my six-year-old is onto something. Maybe it is just that the ‘old Mommies and Daddies’ need ‘new Mommies and Daddies’ to be found. And please know I don’t say that to imply that ‘old’ means disposable, or that first families shouldn’t always be the first choice, or that it means anything derogatory at all towards first families. But that this is simply the word of a six-year-old. A six-year-old trying to justify in his innocent mind how a child like him could end up without a Mommy and Daddy. And as much as I too have tried to justify it to my 38-year-old self over the past 16 years working in the field, his simple explanation makes more sense than anything I’ve ever come up with.
I often feel like we’re getting buried by new regulations, laws, and rules. And I feel like it’s harder and harder to find families for waiting children. But over the past several weeks I keep coming back to what my son said – “Because old Mommies and Daddies need you to find new Mommies and Daddies?” And I can’t help but think Yes. Yes, that is why I do what I do. That is why I travel across the world. That is why I sometimes answer my phone at dinner. That is why I spend day in and day out searching. Because I am searching for new Mommies and Daddies. New Mommies and Daddies for these children whose first Mommies and Daddies could no longer care for them. So thank you, sweet son. Thank you for reminding me why each trip matters. Why each phone call matters. Why each email matters. Thank you for bringing me back to the simplicity that regardless of new regulations, new accrediting entities, and new guidelines, that no matter what, kids need Mommies and Daddies. And please forgive me, sweet son. Forgive me if I am not present for you every moment that I should be. But my hope for you one day is that when you are a Daddy, you will fully understand why I do what I do. I truly do it for you, and because of you. I do it because the love that I feel for you is so all-consuming. It is a love that permeates my soul, and I want all kids to feel that same passionate, raw, fierce, pure love of a parent. So, I will keep searching sweet boy. I will keep searching for Mommies and Daddies for kids who don’t have them, and I hope you’ll be sitting on my bed asking me why every step of the way.
Our passion for children drives our work. But our work is useless without families. We can only search for Mommies and Daddies if there are Mommies and Daddies to be found. That’s where you come in. Interested in adoption? Please contact us today. We have programs in Bulgaria, China, Colombia, and Philippines.
Please complete a Prospective Adoptive Parent form, and an adoption consultant will be in touch with you regarding programs that you qualify for. Waiting children need families now. Please do not wait.
first became a serious topic of discussion in our home in January of 2018. I (Brooke) had begun reading The Best Yes, by
Lysa Terkerst, and while doing so adopting a child came to the forefront of my
mind. My original intent in reading
Lysa’s book was unrelated to adoption so when instead adoption became a
recurring thought, I felt compelled to begin seriously considering it.
Over the next month, God helped to lay the foundation for me
to see the correlation between my spiritual adoption in Christ and the physical
adoption of orphans here on earth. The Lord allowed us to see that if we
believe that God knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139), if He knows
how many individual hairs are on our heads, if everything about us was on
purpose, then it is no accident that we live in the most affluent country in
the world, in a home that keeps us warm, with plenty of food in our
refrigerator, and water that flows at the twist of a knob. During our time of discernment, the Lord
simplified adoption for us into three questions. “Do you have room in your home
for another child? Do you have room in
your finances to care for another child?
Do you have room in your heart to love another child?” When all those
questions were answered ‘yes’, God assured us that He would take care of the
Over the next year we began the process of adopting from
China with Madison Adoption Associates, and we
officially met our son, Benjamin An Xia Yang on March 24th of 2019. Benjamin is an active, expressive, all-boy, 2
1/2 year old. While he has a heart
condition, aside from the scars you would never know. We were blessed to be able to adopt him from
an orphanage with wonderful nannies who loved him very much (we’re still
keeping in touch over WeChat) and his needs were provided for beyond what we
expected. Because of their hard work and
gentle love, a little boy who, while still overcoming a language barrier and
grief, is adapting exceptionally well to our family.
Our days have been full of
sign language, smiling, laughing, tickling, teaching, loving, caring,
hand-holding, trying new foods, learning to recognize emotion, sharing,
rocking, and more. It’s been a whirlwind
of a month and with so many things still yet unknown we’ve seen the biggest
success come from the closest possible one-on-one attention and utilizing all
the things we learned during the educational portion of our adoption process
It was in response to God’s prompting, His love for us, and
His love for the parentless, that we decided to adopt. We have been adopted
into God’s family, being allowed to partake of His riches. And now we are
excited to do likewise for Benjamin, a child who needed the same thing. We are so thankful to Madison for helping us
make our adoption a reality. We’re looking forward to the days ahead and are
excited that God chose us to be Benjamin’s forever family.
With the deepest gratitude, Brooke Varner (and Brad, Abilene, Andrew, and Benjamin)
To learn more about adopting from China, please visit our website, or email us at email@example.com.
мартеница, or, in English, Martenitsa. We saw them all over Bulgaria when we were there. So, of course we had to find out the significance of this red and white tassel! We learned that this small red and white ‘tassel’ is often found in the form of a male and female doll. It signifies the start of spring, and is worn by Bulgarians from March 1 (also known as ‘Baba Marta’ aka ‘Grandma March’), until they see a stork or blossoming tree. Wearing this red and white ornament, or adorning trees with it, is said to bring spring!
Happy Spring! Interested in adopting from Bulgaria? We need families open to accepting children from this beautiful country rich with culture! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Our staff just returned home from a week in Bulgaria. It was a busy, productive week of meetings with partner organizations, touring an orphanage and group home, and meeting with the Ministry of Justice (Bulgaria’s Central Authority). We were thrilled to have been immersed in the culture, enjoy the food, and to gain a deeper appreciation for the Bulgarian people and their customs. It was more than apparent, of everyone we met with, their passion and dedication to the children who wait. And we are humbled to be able to stand alongside the Bulgarian people and do all that we can to find families for their beautiful, waiting children.
There are two different tracts for adopting from Bulgaria – submit a Dossier and receive a match directly from MOJ, or identify a waiting child and apply to adopt that specific child. The first tract will allow a family to be matched with a child with less severe needs and/or healthy sibling groups or healthy older children. The second tract typically consists of waiting children with more significant special needs. Either way, there are children waiting who need families!
The requirements to adopt from Bulgaria are straightforward:
Married couples and single parents are eligible
Parents must be at least 15 years older than the
child(ren) they wish to adopt
There is no specific requirement regarding
length of marriage or prior divorces, however the strength of the current
marriage and relationship history is taken into account
Parents should have good general physical and
Parents should not have an extensive criminal
Parents should have an annual income over the
We return from our trip not exhausted from travel, but instead with a new found passion ignited to do our part to find families for the waiting children of Bulgaria. Could your child be waiting for you there?
Please visit our website if you are interested in learning more about this wonderful program, and the beautiful children who wait for you! Or, email email@example.com for more information!
Misty Lucas, MAA’s Illinois Executive Director and Colombia Program Director, graciously shares with us her journey from adoption professional, to host family, to adoptive Mom.
What lead you to decide to host a child from Colombia? My husband and I have always had a passion for children, and in helping them to mature and be the best they can be whether through coaching, teaching, mentoring, and now Hosting. As you hear about children who do not have families you want to help, and we felt that the best way for us to help was to advocate. However, we quickly discovered that we needed to do more to share Angie’s story. Hosting allowed us to be proactive and directly involved in advocating for her and finding her forever family. We were a family of five, and only had one child still at home. So we decided as a family that the we wanted to do more for Angie, and that meant hosting her. We also knew it would be fun to share our culture with her and learn more about her culture!
What was your motivation to host? Our motivation initially was to become active and diligent in finding Angie a forever family. However, as we fell more in love with her and her personality, our motivation shifted to the possibility of adopting her. While we knew our desires to adopt her, we also realized that we wanted to be sure she understood everything that adoption meant for her – did she understand and enjoy US culture? Did she thoroughly understand that she would be leaving her birth country? Did she want to be adopted? We wanted to adopt her, as did our three children! But we wanted to be sure that is what she wanted too.
What were you and your family most excited about when it came to hosting? Most nervous about? As a family, we were excited about being given the opportunity to expose Angie to new experiences. Experiences such as sitting around the table and telling stories to each other, playing the Wii until late at night, staying in a hotel, learning to bowl, participating in vacation bible school, allowing her to pick out her own shoes and clothes, getting hugs, late night dances in the kitchen, making cookies, learning to eat peanut butter and sliced apples, having a birthday party just for her, being a part of a family that had no expectations of her. The greatest fear for me personally was cooking food she would like. I am not a cook, and am always self-conscious about what I cook. She is a picky eater. Our food is nothing like Colombian food and the recipes don’t translate well. (I still don’t cook food she likes, but we are learning and adjusting.)
Tell us about those 3 weeks… The first week was wonderful! She was excited to see us at the airport! She was compliant, and we were all on our best behavior. Our adult children came home, and Angie was entertained every second of the day. It was great! Then the second week came along, and life got busy with work for Jack and me. Our teenage daughter was working as well, and it wasn’t always fun. She was a trooper through it all. We had told her the very first day that she was with us that she was allowed to tell us what she was feeling and would not get in trouble. She would tell us when she didn’t like something and would tell us when she was bored. We would adjust as needed. She learned to trust us some during that second week as she quickly learned that things didn’t always go as planned, but that we kept our word from whatever we told her. The third week was different, as Angie wanted to stay home. She didn’t want to go and do things, but just wanted to be at home. She expressed that she loved her room. She also would ask to play games with the whole family. About two days before it was time for Angie to leave, we noticed that she started distancing herself. She was not as happy and would pull away if we hugged her. She even became mean in how she picked on our teenage daughter. The night before she left to go back to Colombia, she came and asked me to brush her hair and then asked my daughter to paint her fingernails. (Not things that this very independent child had done before.) The morning that she left, she got caught up in talking to her friends and barely gave us hugs when she left. This hurt as we wanted her to want to be with us. The reality is that she did want to be with us but was afraid of being hurt so she distanced herself. When she got back to Colombia, she talked about us and showed people her photo album of her family.
What lead you to
consider adopting your host child? Was
there a big ‘ah-ha’ moment? It really is a God story. Being passionate about advocating for Angie
and feeling drawn to her. I was already
in LOVE like only a mother can be. My
husband said, “let’s host her and take the opportunity to get her in front of
her forever family. We will pray daily
and allow God to lead us to her forever family.” We agreed to do this and
within two days, my husband came into the bedroom that morning and said, “we
are going to adopt her, if she wants to be adopted.” He said that as he was getting ready and
praying, he looked in the bathroom mirror and God basically said, ‘why are
asking me for a father for her when I have already given her you.’
On a side note, 12 years ago I asked my husband if we could adopt. He said no. I said I want a baby or a dog. Thinking there was no way he would let me have a dog! (This was in the fall, probably about the same time that Angie was born.) On Mother’s Day, I got a dog. My dog is 12 years old and Angie loves her. Angie is 12 years old. My heart was led to adoption 12 years ago in preparation for Angie. Jacks heart was changed to move towards adoption when we decided to host.
What was the most
challenging part of the adoption process? For us the most challenging part of the
adoption process was the waiting! I was
ready to bring her home as soon as hosting was over, however, we had to wait
for Colombia to process our dossier and make our match. And then Angie was going back and forth on
whether or not she wanted to be adopted.
She had even refused to skype with us for a period of time. We waited for about 6 weeks while she
participated in counseling and the orphanage staff worked with her to see when
we would be able to come for her. Jack
and I did a lot of praying. We finally
found peace within ourselves by acknowledging that her past and her experiences
are not rooted in trust, especially trust of adults. We realized that we just need to be there for
her. To be present if/when she needed
us. We even told Colombia that we would
do what they felt was best for Angie. If
that meant that we did not get to adopt her then we would adjust and figure out
how to show our love and support for her from afar. She was our daughter in our hearts, and we
always wanted to be there for her, even if it meant not living in the same
home. About a week later, Angie began
telling her staff and peers that her family was coming to get her on a specific
day and that she had the best family. She had chosen us! And we were reunited with her this past
January. This time, forever.
When my husband told her recently that we knew during
hosting that we wanted to adopt her but couldn’t tell her, she smiled and said,
“I know”. When I told her that I have
loved her from the very first time I met her, she smiled and said, “I know”.
As a therapist and professional in social services, I know that she had to figure out what was best for her and what she wanted for this to all work out like it has, but man was that HARD on a momma!
As an adoption professional turned adoptive Mom, what were the most eye-opening parts for you? The paperwork is crazy! Why does one have to be fingerprinted three times for a Colombian adoption?! Adoption literally is a step of faith as you expose every aspect of your life to strangers in your state, country, and Colombia in hopes that they will say you are good enough to adopt a child.
How has going through the process yourself affected your work with prospective adoptive parents? Going through this process has made me more aware of the knowledge adoptive parents need to have about trauma and about raising a child who has not lived in your home since birth. Adoption is hard! The process is hard! Having patience for other people to make decisions on your behalf is hard! Disappointments are hard! Raising a child who has not lived in your home since birth is hard! Life will never be as it was before, but rather we have the opportunity to take this adventure as a family, not a family of five, but now as a family of six. Professionally, I had the knowledge of how trauma affects children and how adoption impacts the family dynamics, but living it is a completely different reality. Reality is that we are six individuals who chose to be a family and we deserve to be given dignity and love. We cannot expect one another to be the same. If we live with the reality of who we are then this journey as a family will be easier. We are Lucas Family of six!!! We will support each other through every step of life.
Anything else you would like to share? Just some of my thoughts as I reflect on the current place we are at. Some children want to leave what they have always known. Others want to hold on to it and reject what is new. We as parents have to figure out how to balance that. In our home we have told Angie that we want her to learn English and use it at school when she can. At home she can continue to speak in Spanish until she is ready to use it all the time. This is something she can control. We also have befriended other adoptive families from Colombia, some who have adopted her friends and some who adopted other children. We allow her to skype and communicate with friends from Colombia. We don’t ever want her to feel like we are taking her away from the culture and people she has always known. There again it is not about doing what is comfortable, but about adjusting to our new normal.
Thank you Misty, for sharing your amazing story with us! To learn more about hosting, or about adoption, please visit our website.
His room is emptier now. The baseball glove and Phillies ball cap are gone. Toy racecars that once “vrrroommmed” through the house are now silent. A single belt hangs in the closet, the only item of clothing left behind. And dust covers black and white Aztec-style chess figurines, frozen in battle, unmoved since he left.
looked out the kitchen window. “Has it really only been less than a day,” I
thought as a squirrel tightroped across the wooden picket fence in our backyard
and jumped. “Alejandro” (that’s not his real name) used to sit there for hours
watching them, fascinated by chipmunks, butterflies, and birds.
An orange Post-It, just one of several dozen spattered throughout the house, still sticks to the glass with the Spanish “ventana” written in scratches of black ink alongside its English counterpart, “window,” just one of the many words he taught himself.
After almost two years of researching, considering, and exploring adoption through the State of Pennsylvania, we were invited to host a 12-year-old orphan from Colombia in our home for three weeks.
Since we both speak Spanish fluently, we were excited about using our language skills to help a less fortunate child living in an institution over 2000 miles from our home to have a good experience visiting the United States. While we weren’t seriously considering the lengthy, costly international adoption process, we had no idea how the next month would change our lives. From the moment that he greeted us at the airport with his arms wide open and embraced us, it was obvious that he was someone special. That feeling only grew as his visit drew to a close.
last day, as we drove back to the Philadelphia International Airport, he sat in
the backseat and said again and again, “No quiero ir. No quiero ir.” [I don’t
want to go. I don’t want to go.]
had to go.
Immigration regulations and adoption policies for both countries insisted on that. Still, we couldn’t sit idly by while he resumed life without a family and a permanent home. Only a moment after he disappeared through the security line, we turned to the social worker and said, “How do we adopt him?”….
To Be Continued…
Thank you, Alan and Clarissa, for sharing your story! To read more of Alan and Clarissa’s story, follow their blog. And to learn more about hosting opportunities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois, click here, or email Misty@madisonadoption.org.
Community. What does the word mean to you? To me it means relationships, support, comradery. It means there are people ‘in my corner’ who I can turn to not only when I need help, but for general connection as well. And here at Madison Adoption Associates, we realize the importance of communities and connection, and we do all we can to be a part of, contribute to, and nurture the communities we are a part of.
Because we believe in the connection of community so
strongly, it is the reason that we structure our hosting program the way we do –
rooted in community, rooted in supports, rooted in connections. We only work with host families in the states
that we are licensed in – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Illinois (please note
that while we are licensed in Delaware, unfortunately Delaware does not approve
of orphan hosting programs). We
understand the magnitude of what not only our host families are undertaking, but
what the children will go through as well.
And, because of this, we believe it is crucial to nourish our families
and host children with support, connection, and presence. We keep our families ‘close’ for their sake,
and for the sake of the children.
Throughout the hosting session, MAA host families are
provided the opportunity to connect with each other, for the children to see
their friends, and to have the support of trained professionals who are all
just a quick drive away. Our staff
routinely visit the children and families during the hosting session, providing
guidance, counsel, and whatever supports that family needs to thrive during the
host session, and beyond.
Live in PA, NJ, or IL? We would love to welcome you to our community with open arms. Contact us today (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more about changing a life – yours and theirs – by hosting. Or visit our website.
It’s an exciting time of year here at Madison Adoption Associates. You see, we are very busy gearing up for our Summer hosting session, and part of that process is ‘meeting’ the children who are eligible to participate. Enter Ciara! When I opened her picture, a smile immediately came across my face because of the big smile on hers. Something about her just struck me. I saw innocence, sweetness, hope, and joy, all wrapped up in the face of an angel!
8-year-old Ciara is available to be hosted by a qualified family in Illinois, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The tentative dates are July 22 – August 7, 2019.
What is orphan hosting? A hosting program is a strategy used to identify possible permanent families for waiting children who have been cleared for inter-country adoption and are patiently waiting for their adoptive placement. These children will be able to experience family life and be exposed to a more stimulating environment than in the institutions where they currently live. However, it is not just the children who will benefit, but you and your entire family. The hosting experience will affect you in many ways – dispel any fears about adopting an older child, teach your children a valuable lesson in compassion, expose your friends and family to the orphan crisis, and give you the opportunity to have an integral role in orphan advocacy.
Not in a position to host this summer? You are still in a position to advocate for these precious children! Please share this post with your family and friends…you never know who will be moved to step forward.
Madison Adoption Associates currently offers international adoption programs in the countries of China, the Philippines, and Bulgaria. Our programs mostly focus on placing children who have special medical needs.