Reverse Hosting

Reverse Hosting

We invite you to embark on a journey with us… One that will surely change the direction of not just your life, but that of a child’s as well….

I’m sure you would agree with us in the importance of advocating for vulnerable children who need qualified, loving, and permanent families.  I am sure you would also agree that learning about the child’s culture and country of origin is also crucial for advocacy.  In our 2020 Reverse Hosting Program, we will do both – advocate and learn.  But, our hope and prayer is that we will do even more.  Our hope and prayer is that these precious waiting children will find their forever families as a result of the hosting session.  We are thrilled to have placed 100% of the children from our 2019 Summer Hosting Program, and will do all we can to keep that trend going!  But we need YOU!!

Unsure about hosting?  One of our previous host families said it best: “It [hosting] has been an excellent experience.  Admittedly, we had apprehensions about the program early on, but it has been a great way to know the kids, their interests and their personalities. Additionally, we have enjoyed the connection with other families.”

In the Reverse Hosting Program, you will have the opportunity to get to know a waiting child in their own culture.  You will be able to explore the beautiful Bogota, Colombia while simultaneously changing a life!!

They say that adopting a child (or helping a child get adopted) won’t change the world, but for that one child, THEIR WORLD WILL CHANGE!   

Come and join us from February 20, 2020 thru February 29, 2020 for a life-changing experience in Bogota.

In the best interests of the child, full, Hague compliant home studies are required regardless of whether the host family intends to adopt.  Reverse Hosting is open to families from all 50 states.  Please visit our website, or email Adriana@madisonadoption.org for more information.

100%

100%

I write today with a full heart.  Last we shared about the host kiddos, we were saying goodbye.  It was so hard, for both the kids and the families, to say goodbye.  These 19 children embedded themselves into so many hearts during their stay here.  But we dried our tears, and we started to get to work on advocating for the children who did not yet have committed families. 

In the several days following the goodbye, Letters of Intent started coming in from the host families who are planning to adopt their host children.  We rejoiced with receipt of each letter, and our advocacy list got smaller and smaller.  Until we had one boy left.  I reached out to his host family asking for pictures, stories, just anything they could share about their host child, so I could write about him for advocacy purposes.  A day passed, and I didn’t hear back.  Then one of the best emails I’ve ever received came in: “Hello! I’m sorry to tell you that we will not be helping anymore with advocating for our host child.  Because we are submitting our letter of intent to adopt him!!!”

And just like that, all 19 host children have committed families.  And now begins the race as we run alongside our families to get them reunited as fast as humanly possible.

We are excited for our next hosting session, which will take place in February 2020 in Bogota, Colombia! Interested in learning more about our hosting programs? Visit our website!

Concentration

Concentration

I won’t bore you with too many words. I will let these videos speak for themselves. But let me just say….Della’s concentration stringing those beads couldn’t be cuter!!

And while we’re at it showing off her incredible cuteness and determination, here’s another. You are welcome.

This sweet girl turns 5 NEXT WEEK. What do you say we all work together to make sure this is her LAST birthday without a family?!?!? Please share far and wide! Let’s get this amazing girl HOME!

To learn more about adopting from China, please visit our website. To learn more about Della specifically, please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form, and we will be in touch.

What’s The Big Deal?

What’s The Big Deal?

Post-Adoption Reports. We send you many reminders. We can sometimes be a bit persistent. Some may even think we are annoying! 

So what’s the big deal with them you ask? We’ll tell you! 

Did you know that entire country adoption programs have closed because of non-compliance with post-adoption reports? Did you know that thousands of children will never have the opportunity of a family due to the non-compliance of some adoptive families who came before them? It may sound dramatic….but that is because it is. It is a BIG.DEAL! 

Perhaps you are not happy with the level of care your child received at his or her orphanage, and don’t feel the need to update them. Or, perhaps you are currently struggling with your new child, making a report the last thing on your mind. We get it. We truly do. But whatever your reasons, the fact of the matter is that children are still there. Waiting. And your inaction could cause them to have to wait forever. To wait forever for their forever family to never come.

For those of you who are struggling, please know we are always here to help, as well as your direct post-adoption workers. And, while the post-adoption report may feel like a burden when you are in crisis, it could very well be what you need! It provides you the opportunity to sit with a professional who can offer support, refer you to services, and come up with a plan so that your family can succeed. But, we don’t read minds! We can’t help you unless you tell us you need help. Reaching out for help is never a sign of failure….but quite the opposite….it’s a sign of strength. We have certified TBRI practitioners on staff, as well as a Post-Adoption Wellness Coordinator, all dedicated to your family’s success.

And if you are doing great, and your child is thriving, and a worker coming in and taking up two hours is the last thing you need when you should be at soccer practice and making dinner and doing laundry, use that opportunity to boast and brag about your child! Show us and these countries how well our kids are doing and how they are thriving! This will only solidify that adoption is indeed a good thing, and that adoptions should remain open. And as many children as possible should know what the love of a family feels like. Again, it is a BIG.DEAL! 

And if you STILL don’t want to comply, at the end of the day, please remember that you gave us your word. You promised. We trusted your word. And for those of us who have dedicated our lives to children affected by trauma, we know how important trust is. Please stand by your word. And be our partners and stand by the children who still wait.

Saying Goodbye

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~Winnie the Pooh

This will be short and sweet, as our eyes are still puffy and our tears are still flowing.  We said goodbye today.  Goodbye to 19 brave, precious souls who changed our lives in only 16 short days.  These kids left all they have ever known, and traveled across continents to the unknown.  Our host families showered them with love and attention, and while our families thought it was the kids lives who would be changed, they quickly learned it was their lives as well.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, we will share with you the joyous news that several of these children have families racing to get back to them.  And we will also share with you about the children who we are still searching for families for.  But now, thanks to hosting, we don’t have to rely on a couple pictures and words on paper to advocate.  Now, we can tell you about WHO these children truly are. 

So stay tuned.  For now, we need to dry our tears, and try to recover from the grief of goodbye.  But we don’t want to recover too much, as that grief of goodbye is what will fuel the advocacy efforts for these kids so that the next time them come, will be forever.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To learn more about the host children we are advocating for, or about our hosting program, please email misty@madisonadoption.org, or visit our website.

Dear Brittany

Dear Brittany

Dear Brittany,

While I never had the privilege of meeting you, I feel like I know you.  I speak of you so often to our families every time I mention Brittany’s Hope.  I think of you whenever one of our families is blessed with a Brittany’s Hope grant.  A grant that eases some of their financial burden so that they can focus on what is important – their new child.  You are very often on my mind, as well as on the minds of the hundreds of Madison Adoption Associates’ families who have been blessed by Brittany’s Hope. 

Now, 20 years after your passing, your legacy not only spreads across Pennsylvania, but across our entire country.  And even across the entire world.  Brittany, I wish you were here on this earth with us so we could rejoice together while we watch your dream coming true.  Your dream ‘of a world where all children know the peace and love only a family can provide.’  We may not have reached ALL children yet, but the lives your legacy has impacted is remarkable.  And is worth celebrating.  So I just wanted to take a moment, this side of heaven, to share with you the mark you’ve made on the lives of so many.

“This amazing little boy is so dearly loved!! Tate Isaiah came home from China last July, thanks to a grant from Brittany’s Hope. We are so grateful for all they have done!!”
“Noah has been the light of our lives for the last five years. He is funny, full of energy, smart, kind and sweet. We have been blessed beyond measure being his parents.”
“This little girl is an absolute treasure! She’s super smart, sweet, beautiful and feisty! A huge thank you to Brittany’s Hope for their help in bringing her into our family.”
“End of the school year awards. Nothing slows Katie down!”
“My daughter Ashley was a Brittany’s Hope child adopted in 2002. She was a waiting child in S. Korea, and came home at 16 months! She is now 18. This is Ashley now. She loves first responders and has a Facebook page about them. “
“Macie went from no language as a Deaf three-year-old to having language (ASL) and a school she absolutely loves!❤️”
“Maeleigh is a sister who is adored by nine siblings and she’s our happy little snuggle bear! We can’t imagine life without her!”
“Reid has a full life because of organizations like Brittany’s Hope! We are so thankful and blessed!”
“I’m pretty sure that this sweet boy wouldn’t be here on Earth if we hadn’t brought him home. Max is so brave and happy. Max has a forever family and thanks to Brittany’s Hope we were able to give him all he needed and wanted when we brought him home from China a little over a year ago.”
“Brittany’s Hope… they made it possible for us to bring our beautiful Dana home. If we hadn’t been able to bring her home at the time we did, she would have declined quickly in China and had not had the medical care to save her life. How do you thank someone for helping you and in return they ask for nothing? We were abundantly blessed by our grant.”

And these ten only scratch the surface of the thousands of children’s lives you have impacted!  I know you are already familiar with these ten precious souls Brittany, as I know you are looking down on them.  Just as you are looking down on all of us, and on all the children that your legacy has touched.  But I still wanted to take a moment to reflect on the lives that have been changed for the better by you and your memory, especially as we are quickly approaching the Brittany’s Hope Walk of Love.  Your impact has spread to almost every corner of our world, changing the lives of children in need.  On September 14, thousands of us who would have loved to have called you ‘friend,’ will come together in your honor, so that your legacy can continue to be spread farther and wider than it has already.  If you could put in a good word for no rain, we’d appreciate it 😊.  If not, we’ll still be there.  Running and walking for you, for your dream, and ultimately, for the children.

With Love,

Sarah, and your friends at Madison Adoption Associates   

Madison Adoption Associates is proud to partner with Brittany’s Hope.  Brittany’s Hope has been providing adoption grants to MAA families for years, and with your help, that can continue for years to come!  Please consider sponsoring us at the Walk of Love, as we walk for Brittany’s dream for the children.  

All donations go directly towards adoption grants for MAA families!

The best update I’ve ever seen…

It all started with a celery emoji.  You see, we got the Chinese written update in.  I don’t read Chinese.  Occasionally I will try to run some of the characters through a translation app, to get a sense of what it says while awaiting the translation.  You could imagine my surprise when I opened the document, and in among the characters, was a bright green little celery emoji.  Ok, now I HAVE to know what this report says!!  I run it through translation, and see phrases like, “good boy,” “teacher,” “smart.”  Of course, the translation was so rough, that I couldn’t really get a sense of the whole document.

Fast forward to the next day.  We get his updated pictures in.  I didn’t think it could get any better than the celery emoji from the day before.  Boy was I wrong.  I open the first picture and the face of a gorgeous, handsome boy is smirking back at me.  Then comes picture number two.  A whole lotta pink (including a pink helium tank of sorts??), but there he is winking at me.  Be still my heart!  This boy exudes charisma!

Ok, there has to be more to the story here.  I have to read the translated update to figure out why this gorgeous, charismatic boy still waits.  My email dings, and there it is.  Open it, and immediately see words like ‘clean and tidy,’ ‘very smart,’ ‘clever, take study seriously,’ ‘takes care of others, never bully younger children,’ ‘good helper with mopping, playing with younger children, washing dishes,’ ‘good eater, eats meat and vegetables (there’s our celery emoji),’ ‘excellent capabilities of speaking, understanding,’ ‘loves study and reading with good performance at school.’

And then I get to the end.  Just when I thought this boy couldn’t be any more perfect: “Seth’s dream is to be a teacher.  We trust you the best!  You can make it come true!”  A conclusion filled with love and hope by the caretaker who wrote it.  We trust you the best too, Seth!  And we agree with your caregiver….you can make it come true!  You keep up the good work in school, and in being the best you can be; and we’ll keep working on finding your forever family!      

Seth is almost 10 years old, with his only medical special need being a possible inguinal hernia. If you are interested in learning more about Seth, and about the China adoption process, please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form, or email LindseyG@madisonadoption.org.

Extended Adoption Travel – A Family’s Perspective

Extended Adoption Travel – A Family’s Perspective

by Lindsey Gilbert, Family Engagement Coordinator for Madison Adoption Associates

MAA’s newest adoption program opened in the Dominican Republic recently, and we expect it to be a small program. This is partly because it is a small country, but also because it requires a longer period of travel than other programs: anywhere from two to four months in the Dominican Republic. Such long travel just isn’t feasible for many families, but in today’s world, with endless ways to connect, you might be surprised at your family’s ability to live somewhere else for an extended period of time- and what better reason to do so than giving a child a family?

While it wasn’t two months, and it wasn’t the Dominican Republic, my husband and I had a somewhat long trip for our daughter’s adoption from India.  We were there for six weeks. The logistics are easier than you might think; many jobs these days can be done remotely, as my husband did on our trip, and we had an apartment to stay in for most of the time. There were aspects of our long stay that were amazing, and aspects of it that were very challenging.

The biggest positive was that we got to know our daughter in an environment that was comfortable for her. We could spend days visiting her in her foster home, seeing what she was like there, and letting her get used to us before we took custody. Even after we took custody, we were in a place with all her familiar foods, smells, and sounds, so she could adjust to being with us for a while without having to adjust to many other changes at the same time. She needed some low-key days after we took custody, so had we only been in India a short time we probably wouldn’t have been able to sightsee. We were able to wait until she was more comfortable with us, and then go see some of the famous sites in her city, which are precious memories for all of us! All the time also meant we could afford to spend days just walking around our neighborhood and seeing what India was like on an ordinary level. We got to build relationships with people in India, like our neighbors who invited us over for dinner and helped us when we were fruitlessly trying to order our own takeout the first few days. Ultimately, it was a really sweet time just being a family of three- we celebrated Christmas, New Years, and her birthday as a family in India!

That said, while there were so many blessings, it wasn’t a period of time we would call easy. While we were in a familiar environment for our daughter, my husband and I were away from everything familiar to us: friends, home, bed, dogs, foods, etc. Many of the things we usually turned to for comfort or to de-stress weren’t options in India for one reason or another, so we had to learn to cope in other ways. Everyday things were more challenging and required planning: going to the grocery store, doing laundry, making dinner, etc. The time difference was also hard for us when communicating back home, but fortunately the Dominican Republic usually has the same time as the East coast of the US!

Overall, our six weeks in India were a blessing for our entire family.  The memories will last a lifetime, and we dream of going back someday to explore our daughter’s homeland again with her.  I hope this gives you some food for thought as you consider whether your family might be up for an extended adoption trip! Though it was stressful at times, ultimately we would do six weeks again, and more, because it meant we got the privilege of being our daughter’s family.

Interested in learning more about adopting from Dominican Republic? Please visit our website! Or email LindseyG@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Parenting a child with Microtia/Atresia

Parenting a child with Microtia/Atresia

As we wrap up National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, we are pleased to share another guest post! Thank you Mama D for sharing some insight on parenting a child with microtia/atresia!

Microtia/atresia seems pretty easy to manage and it does not stop our son from playing hard and doing his thing. A BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid) has given him much better access to sound. He currently wears it on a soft headband.  As it turns out, he really likes music, especially music with lots of drumming! The most difficult thing about the BAHA was getting it approved by insurance (that’s a whole other advocacy post!).

Our son gets speech therapy through school and through a private provider, and we work on speech activities, songs, reading, etc., to increase his exposure to language.  He seems to be picking up speech fairly rapidly. The decision about whether to have reconstructive surgery is some time off so we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

By far, our son’s biggest need was a family and the safety and love that provides. It has been amazing to watch him go from a very timid, fearful and reserved boy to a happy, loving boy full of smiles and hugs (and the usual punches for his brothers).

Thank you for sharing about your journey!!

In honor of National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, we are happy to be able to offer an additional grant of $1,000 for a family who commits to adopting a child with a craniofacial diagnosis from any of our programs.  Please email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete a Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

Interested in Adopting from Colombia?

Interested in Adopting from Colombia?

Why you should choose Madison Adoption Associates!!

Colombia sees the great gift international adoption can bring- more families for more children! As the central authority, ICBF, grows international adoption and approves new agencies, it can become overwhelming for families considering adoption to figure out what agency to work with. Does it matter which agency you choose? The short answer is yes, absolutely! The long answer is there are several reasons families should carefully choose their agency, and five reasons why Madison Adoption Associates should be top of your list for agencies to consider!

  1. Relationships– Colombia is a relational country, and MAA has invested the time to build those relationships! We have worked with the central authority, ICBF, and have built relationships with various Iapas. These institutions know us and we know them, and we have built trust through our time working with them. We do not take the responsibility of matching children with families lightly, and because we nourish these relationships, one of the most important outcomes is how these relationships impact our matching process.  Because of our close ties, we are able to work very closely with your family in terms of determining which matching process best suits you, be it a waiting child, a certain Iapa, or submitting a Dossier for an adoption committee to match your family with a child.
  2. Our Colombian Representative– Soraya Diaz is MAA’s representative in Colombia. She has strong relationships with ICBF, defenders (attorneys who act as social workers), and Iapas.  Soraya is very active in the international adoption field in Colombia, and routinely visits with other child welfare professionals, as well as with available children.  For families who are seeking to adopt a young child or siblings with mild to moderate needs, Soraya’s constant communication with ICBF and Iapas regarding available children helps keep wait times short!
  3. Grants – While we work hard to match our waiting families, we know that many of the children in need of adoption in Colombia are already waiting; they are children who are older or who have special needs families may consider significant. For families open to adopting these children, we provide grants to open the door to adoption for more potential families. Every family who commits to adopt a child on our waiting list will automatically get a $500 grant, as well as more potential grants depending on the child’s circumstances. We also have grants available based on family circumstance, regardless of the child being adopted, and partner with Brittany’s Hope to award grants twice a year.
  4. Support In-Country– Soraya also provides support to our travelling families; she meets with families who arrive in Bogota, and will be present with families adopting in Bogota or nearby areas for the entire process, including meeting your children, going to court, and applying for the passport. For families adopting from other regions, Soraya will have a representative accompany you.  She also arranges transportation to and from the airport and appointments, and coordinates a translator whenever needed. Regardless of the area you adopt from, Soraya and MAA are always available by phone and can help with any issues that arise.
  5. Support Once Home– MAA knows that meeting your child is really just the beginning! Misty Lucas, the Colombia Program Director, will be in frequent touch with you while you are in country and once home. MAA also created a position for a Post-Adoption Wellness Coordinator because we see the need for someone who is dedicated just to families who are home with their children. Lindsey Teefey is an adoptive mom herself, and helps families navigate the behavioral and emotional challenges of adjusting to life with their new child.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying to decide on an agency to use, so please give us a call! We are here to answer all of your questions as you make these big decisions about how to bring a child into your family, and hope you’ll consider MAA for your journey to Colombia.

You can find more information about our Colombia Program by visiting our website, or by completing our free Prospective Adoptive Parent form. With immediate questions about any of our programs, please email Lindsey Gilbert at lindseyg@madisonadoption.org.

MAA Adoption Programs

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.
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