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URGENT! Help for China!

URGENT!  Help for China!

Friends – We come to you with a plea.  A plea for help.  Help for our friends in China.  And help for some of the most vulnerable – the children.  Due to the Coronavirus, China is facing a shortage of much needed supplies to continue to fight the virus, such as medical masks and gloves.  These items are currently non-existent in China, and that shortage has spread to neighboring countries.  Our friends and colleagues in China have reached out to us for help.  So we are reaching out to you.  PLEASE, if you have access to any of these supplies (new and in original packaging), mail them as soon as you can to our home office.  We will be gathering a shipment to send to China as soon as we can.  The sooner the better. 

Please note we can’t accept further donations of hand sanitizer due to shipping constraints.

Please send to:

Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

For those of you who do not have easy access to these supplies, we humbly ask you to consider a monetary donation so we can purchase more supplies, and to assist in covering the shipping costs.  With the goal of getting supplies to China as soon as we can, the shipping costs will be significant.

On behalf of our colleagues in China, and the children, thank you.

Please email contact@madisonadoption.org with any questions!

Finding Family

Finding Family

We are in the midst of Lunar New Year celebrations, a holiday that emphasizes spending time with family, when people all over China typically travel across the country to reunite with loved ones. In that spirit, here is one family’s story about finding an extension of their family, and what it has meant to them…

Our first two children had been home for about 7 and 9 years, and we had often gone back and forth about whether to adopt a third child or not, though we knew we wanted to adopt an older boy (between 3-6 years old) if we did adopt again. Our middle daughter’s best friend has Beta Thalassemia Major, so we had direct knowledge about it through her family, and that was a special need we were open to.  Our middle daughter also had significant attachment issues when she was adopted at almost two years old, being diagnosed before she turned three with RAD, which is why it took us so long to get to adoption number three- our daughter needed our full attention to be able to heal, and not only did she heal, but she is thriving.

The three siblings

However, because of that experience with helping our daughter heal from her RAD diagnosis, we learned a lot about the importance of brain development in children.  We saw a file of a seven-year-old little boy who had beta thalassemia major, and who had only entered the orphanage at the age of five.  Because he was five when he entered the orphanage, there was an “older child questionnaire” where they asked him his name, his age, and his parents’ names. He could answer that he was five (but Chinese age five, not chronological age five), his name was Wu Zi Long, and his dad’s name was Wu Cai Hui.  China decided he was “nearly six” and assigned him a birthday. We guessed he was closer to four when he entered the orphanage. Our assumption was that his family must have tried to take care of him as long as they could, but ran out of funds and had no other choice.  We decided pretty quickly to move forward with the adoption and he joined our family in September 2018 at the age of seven. 

While we had already planned to search for birth family after adoption since we had his dad’s name, it surprised us when, on the day we met him, the orphanage director told us “you have his dad’s name, you can find him…”  While so many people in China say, “forget what is here, look forward to your future,” she recognized what we already knew: your future and your past are not mutually exclusive. Your past is a vital part of who you are and should not be discarded or forgotten.

Kelli’s son as a toddler with his “China Baba”

In January 2019 we celebrated his 8th birthday.  In February 2019, we posted a “poster” on WeChat searching for his Chinese parents.  Within two days, I received a message from a Shenzhen new station, and over the next 4 days, they interviewed me three times on TV.  The producer told the reporter that they should keep on the story until we found his family.Six months after we adopted him and eight days after hitting “post” on WeChat, I was on a 3-way call with the reporter and our son’s dad in China. We were both nervous, but had a brief conversation.  The reporter connected us by WeChat and within three days, I had over 200 photos of our son’s first four years, including some with his mom before she left (she was extremely young), his birth certificate, and our son’s father’s official ID.  We now knew he was really only six years old.  In August, we celebrated his 7th birthday (eight months after celebrating his 8th birthday!)

Celebrating his birthday with both his dads

We are now counting down the days to our son’s Make-A-Wish trip to see his China Baba. The man we now know, and talk with nearly every single week, is kind, loving, devoted, and deeply passionate about being in his son’s life.  The first videos he sent me were heartbreaking; crying sad and happy tears, thanking us for finding him, for adopting his son, for giving him a life and a future.  He used his life savings and ultimately still had to make the horrible sacrifice to get his son the care he needs.  Our son is a loving and happy child because of his time with his dad.  Our assumptions from the beginning may well have been incorrect, but fortunately for us, they were not.  His dad is now a part of our family, and we look forward to meeting him soon.  We didn’t just adopt a son, I now have a “brother” in China (he calls me Jiejie), our son has a connection to a father in China who loves him deeply, and our family has become much more international.  Finding one birth family (so easily) has not come without challenges for our other children who have wanted to know for much longer, but we all move forward day by day, and find the path that presents itself.

Story by Kelli G, three time adoptive mom

Taking the Leap

Taking the Leap

Adoption is always a leap of faith. There is the leap of not truly knowing what your child will be like, how their personality will mesh with other family members. There is the leap of committing to a child with limited information on their health and development. And since the Department of State shared new interpretation of regulations in 2018, for families who hope to adopt a waiting child it means the leap of completing a home study; investing time, energy, and money, not to mention their hearts, before they can be matched to that child, not knowing if that child will still be waiting when their home study is done.  

Since this change, international adoption numbers have dropped, particularly for waiting children. Families are still interested in adoption, and inquire about waiting children, but fear holds them back from beginning the adoption process because they worry “What if that child isn’t available when my home study is done?”

We understand this fear -it’s no small endeavor to complete a home study, and becoming attached to a child only to be unable to bring them home is heartbreaking. However, we see the other side too: the children who still wait. The numbers aren’t going down. 3387 children currently wait on China’s shared list. Over 300 children on the current waiting list for the Philippines. Hundreds more wait in Colombia, Bulgaria, and the Dominican Republic. We worry- who will take the leap for them?

That’s why we’re so happy to share that in 2019, all eligible families who applied hoping to adopt a specific waiting child were matched with that child once their homestudy was done.

Why do we share this? Because we want to remind families that it’s entirely possible that the child who is tugging on your heart will still be waiting three or four months from now, when you could have a home study complete.

“ We hadn’t even started our home study and were actually told that there was a 95% chance that she’d be matched with someone else before we were able to complete our HS.  Instead of discouraging us from getting started because someone else would probably lock her file first, that statement actually ignited the fire in me.”

No, there are no guarantees you will be matched with that child, but when has adoption ever been a guarantee? More importantly, if you don’t take that leap and start the home study for that child- will anyone? Or will that child continue to wait indefinitely, aging out of eligibility for adoption as too many do?

“When the thought of someone else being matched with her before we could be literally brought me to tears, I knew we needed to go for her.  I told myself that if she was matched with someone else then she wasn’t meant to be our daughter.  But I also couldn’t take the chance of waiting until we planned on starting and losing precious months with her if she were still waiting when our “time was right”.”

So if you’ve been watching a waiting child, and haven’t started your home study because you’re afraid- take the leap. Don’t let fear hold you back from giving a child a chance for a family, and your family the chance for the joy of a new child. Make 2020 the year we get to share that MORE waiting kids were matched than in 2019.

Lastly, from a mom who didn’t get to adopt the first child she set out to adopt, let me just say this: if the “worst” happens, and you don’t adopt that child you hope to, once you’re home with the child you do adopt, you won’t be able to imagine any other child in your family. However it ends up, it will all be worth it- so take the leap.

Thousands of children around the world continue to wait for the love and permanency of a family. Email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org today to learn more about the children who are waiting for you.

Dear Auden…

Dear Auden…

Dear Auden,

Where do I begin?  How do I start a letter to someone who has been on my mind and in my heart every single day for over four years?  I guess I’ll start at the beginning….

I will never forget the day I met you.  I was in China on an advocacy trip and was given the opportunity to come into your orphanage.  We met many children, took pictures and video, and gathered all the information we could so when we got home we could advocate like crazy.  We went from crib to crib, asking questions and sneaking in as many hugs and kisses as we could.  Then they brought you, in their arms, out to meet me.  I had seen babies like you on TV, in the news, and depicted in movies.  But never had I been face to face with a baby who very much appeared to be dying.  You had nannies and caregivers who were doing all they knew to help you, but your digestive needs were great, and you were very clearly slipping away.  I honestly have no idea how you were even still alive.  We asked questions about you, your needs, and how we could help.  I left that orphanage forever changed, because of you Auden.  So many waiting children weigh heavily on my heart.  But you, Auden, you became so deeply imbedded in there from that day, I knew I had to do something.

Our team contacted several organizations, and we were able to coordinate with Love Without Boundaries to get you not only the medical care that you so desperately needed, but also the love and nurturing from a wonderful foster family.  We were relieved you were off death’s doorstep, and we were hopeful that an adoption file would be prepared for you.  But only time would tell!

Several colleagues were making another trip to China in November 2016, with hopes of spending time in your province.  I begged them to check in on you, and to let me know how you were doing.  Oh how glad I was that they got to see you!  When I opened that picture of a chubby, gorgeous, bright-eyed meatball, I sobbed with joy….initially not even convinced it could possibly be you!  Oh Auden!  You did it!  You hung on, and you persevered.  And, thanks to Love Without Boundaries, you not only survived, but you were flourishing!!!  Our team gathered information and took many glorious pictures of your chubby face!  And we continued to hope and pray that an adoption file would be prepared for you to have a chance at a forever.

July 31, 2017 – the day finally came!!!  You had an adoption file and were now available for international adoption!  We immediately jumped into action and began advocating for you.  Many people were touched by all that you had overcome but still, your family did not step forward.  And we tried Auden.  I promise you, we tried.  We’ve never stopped trying.

Fast forward to now.  Sadly, you had to leave your loving foster home and return to the orphanage.  While the orphanage staff do their best with the limited resources they have, you, understandably, did not handle the transition well.  A Madison family was traveling to China just weeks ago to adopt their second child from your orphanage.  You have been on their heart too.  The Adoptive Mom packed some things for you specifically!  When she saw you, she cried.  But, they were not good tears.  When she sent me your picture, I didn’t recognize you.  Back in November 2016, I cried happy tears as I didn’t recognize you because you looked so wonderful. This time, though, I didn’t recognize you because you no longer smiled, and had scars on your head, likely from banging your head on the crib you sit in day after day and hour after hour.  This time, Auden, my tears were because I was devastated for you.  There you sat in a crib on a floor I’ve learned is no place for any child to be, and the look on your face was not of peace and contentment, but of sorrow and worry.  Oh Auden, after fighting for your life and coming out on the other side, here you were slowly slipping away again.  We just cannot let this happen again! 

So, with the help of many angels on earth, we have reached back out to Love Without Boundaries to see if they are able to provide any help.  And miraculously, it appears they are.  But, as with everything, it will not be free or cheap.  But Auden, you are loved, you are worthy, you are perfectly and wonderfully made, and you deserve care, compassion, and love.  Our prayer for you is, as it has been for years, that you get this care, compassion, and love from an adoptive family.  Until then, we are blessed that Love Without Boundaries is able to provide it for you.  But, they need help.  And I can assure you that I, many others who love you, and Madison, are all prepared to step in and provide that financial help so that you can thrive once again!

Auden, if I had a dime for every time I thought of you, for every time I prayed for you, we wouldn’t be in this position of needing funds for your care.  Many waiting children have touched my heart, but only a few have impacted me the way you have.  You have changed my life.  I will continue to advocate for you, to stand by you, to pray for you, and to ‘rally the troops’ and get whatever funding is needed so you can thrive again.  And dear Auden, I will NOT give up on you until you are flourishing again AND until we find your forever family.  Don’t lose hope sweet boy.  I made a promise to you the day I met you, and I stand by that promise now, and forever.

With Love,

Brooke

Love Without Boundaries is working diligently to provide care for Auden, but they need support.  Please consider donating to Madison Adoption Associates, as we vow to match every single dollar donated to us (up to $10,000) – Every penny will go to Love Without Boundaries specifically to get Auden the help, care, and services that he needs.

In addition, Madison Adoption Associates is offering a $5,000 grant to the qualified family who commits to adopting Auden.  Please complete a free Prospective Adoptive Parent form to find out more about Auden, and the adoption process.

A Holiday Wish…

A Holiday Wish…

It has always been hard for me to write advocacy posts around the holidays.  ‘But why?  People are always more giving around the holidays….their hearts are usually more open.  Wouldn’t that be the perfect time?’  Well, yes, you are right.  I didn’t say it is not a good time to advocate (for the record, it is ALWAYS a good time to advocate.  And we will continue to do so until no more children wait).  I said it is hard for me to write advocacy posts around the holidays.  You see, ‘the holidays’ isn’t just one day.  For me at least, it pretty much spans from pre-Thanksgiving through early January.  During these weeks, plans are being made, families and friends are coming together, traditions are being celebrated, bread is broken together, laughter is shared, and excitement is in the air.  In my house, the wooden Rudolph countdown decoration is attended to first thing every morning by my youngest – ‘Only 19 days Mom!’ And tuck-in is filled with ‘Where will Simi the Elf be tomorrow?!’

It’s during the holidays that the gravity of waiting children, and their reality, lays heaviest on my heart.  During this time, that for many of us, is filled with family, fellowship, and fullness – fullness of the heart, of the mind, and let’s be honest…of the belly.  For children too – a time that is filled with wonder and magic.  And as I sit here, next to the fire in my overly holiday decorated living room, waiting for the kids to run off the bus so we can go cut down our tree, my heart breaks even more for Madelaine.  This girl, with her shy demeanor, and her sweet, infectious giggle, deserves to be embraced by a family.  She deserves to be part of family traditions not just at the holidays, but year-round.  She deserves love, she deserves to share in the wonder and the magic, she deserves a childhood.  So please, take a moment during this busy, joyful time to pause and share about Madelaine’s need for a family.  I believe in the magic of the holiday season, and I so want to believe that this will be Madelaine’s last one without a family.

Madelaine is 8-years-old, is visually impaired, and is waiting in China.  She is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  Madison Adoption Associates is happy to provide a $5,000 Bright Futures Grant to the family who steps forward to adopt Madelaine.  Interested in learning more about Madelaine, and about the adoption process?  Please complete and submit our free Prospective Adoptive Parent form, and an adoption specialist will be in touch.

Why Host?

Why Host?

You’ve heard some of their stories.  You’ve read our pleas asking you to step out of your comfort zone and fill in the gap for these kids.  These kids who have waited for years and years for their chance at a forever.  These kids who are so much more than words in a file.  But the excuses are so easy to hang on to.  ‘We are too busy.’  ‘We’d have to rearrange our bedrooms.’ ‘The kids might get too attached.’  The list goes on and on with the ‘why we can’t’s.’  And we get it.  We really do!  But as that list continues to grow, we ask you to just pause for a moment, and ask yourselves, Why Not?  Even take it a step further, and don’t just ask, but really consider, ‘What if we did host?’  ‘How would we be impacted?’ ‘What would it mean for us and the hosted child?’  ‘What would those 20-25 days look like?’  None of us know the answers to those questions.  But some possibilities are that you could offer a life changing three weeks to a deserving child; you could learn about a new culture, and share your own; you could become the answer to a waiting child’s prayer; you could be forever changed, and change the life of a child; or maybe, just maybe, you could fall in love.  Now, wouldn’t all that be worth it?  Think about it.

We are excited to welcome five precious boys age 8-10 from Philippines in Summer 2020 for hosting. But, we cannot welcome them unless five special families in NJ, PA, or IL step forward and say Yes. Could that be you?


To learn more about our Philippines hosting program, please email lindsey@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Finding an Adoption Competent Therapist

Finding an Adoption Competent Therapist

Therapy.  In our society, there is often still a stigma attached to the word.  As if it is a bad thing.  Or, that it must mean ‘things must be really bad for him/her/them if they are in therapy.’  This could not be farther from the truth.  Much like you go to the Doctor for regular check-ups for your physical well-being, going to a counselor for your mental health is just as important!  So kudos to you for taking this step for the sake of your child’s mental health!

We recommend therapy for all adoptive families, regardless of whether or not they are or their child is in crisis.  During the pre-adoptive training at Madison Adoption Associates, our families are required to identify an adoption competent therapist in their area.  How do you identify such a therapist you ask?  We recommend that you start by asking your agency!  We have an abundance of resources and contacts, that we are happy to share with you!  But what happens if we do not know of a current therapist in your area?  Don’t worry!  First, develop a list of therapists that you want to reach out to.  To develop that list, ask others in the adoption community, your family doctor/pediatrician, check your insurance list of providers, and sometimes an internet search can point you in the right direction.

Once you have your list, here are some general points to consider when interviewing a therapist to see if it is a good fit for your child and family:

  1. Start with simple – Ask them if they have experience with adoptees and adoptive families!  Specifically, as it pertains to your situation (international, older child, infant, special needs, etc.)
  2. Ask how long they have been in practice.  If it has not been long, ask about his or her mentor/supervisor, and include him or her in these interview questions.
  3. Ask if they are trauma informed.  You should be generally familiar with what that phrase means at this point, thanks to your pre-adoptive training 😊.  So, a few sentences from the therapist in response to the question ‘are you trauma informed’ should provide you with enough insight to know if they truly are.
  4. Ask them if they are familiar with TBRI/Karyn Purvis, as a therapist’s knowledge of the existence of TBRI will shed some light as to whether he or she is adoption competent.  They do not necessarily have to practice TBRI, but their knowledge of its prevalence in adoption work is telling.
  5. Along those same lines, ask them what modalities they utilize.  And if you are unfamiliar with those that they use, ask them for more information about them! Better yet, do your own research prior to contacting therapists regarding different modalities.
  6. Ask about his or her approach to child therapy – are the parents included in sessions?  The whole family?  Or is it just the child?  You know your child best, so you know what will most benefit them, be it solo therapy, or with you included.
  7. And then of course the logistics – How often?  Where?  How much (insurance will factor in here as well)?

Therapy is only as good as the therapist-child-family relationship – it is crucial that it be a good fit!  If at any time during your search it just does not ‘feel right,’ it probably isn’t the best fit!  Keep searching.  And do not ever hesitate to reach out to your agency if you are having struggles finding the right therapist!

Waiting

Waiting

Waiting.  One simple word can have so many not-so-simple meanings.  Yes, of course you can be ‘waiting’ in line at the check-out, or, you can be ‘waiting’ for the commercial to end during your favorite show.  Such trivial times of waiting.  But waiting nonetheless. 

Then there are the bigger meanings of waiting.  Waiting for a child to arrive, by birth or adoption.  Waiting for a special holiday or vacation.  Waiting for a cure.  Waiting to see a loved one on earth, or in heaven.  Waiting can be an inconsequential word, or a monumental one.

But what does the word mean to the children who wait?  We often call them ‘Waiting Children,’ as they are waiting for a family.  WE know what that means, just like we know what all the other examples above mean.  WE know what the importance of family is for a child.  WE know that their waiting is of the monumental definition.  But so many of them have no idea what they are waiting for.  Sure, they might have some fundamental understanding of what a Mom and Dad is, but they don’t truly know what family means until it happens for them.  And even then, it’ll take time as part of a loving family before they fully understand what family means. 

Vaughn, 1 1/2, waiting

But just because they might not fully grasp what they are waiting for, does not negate the magnitude of their wait.  It might even make it more monumental than some of our waits.  Our waits can be challenging for us because we understand the magnitude of what we are waiting for.  They do not know that for which they wait.  But they wait just the same.  Some wait forever, and never get to the other side of that wait.  And for those children, my hearts aches.  But for the ones waiting now.  For the ones waiting today, and tomorrow, and the next day, I have hope.  Hope for them, and hope with them, that their days/months/years of waiting will come to a joyous end.  An end that will only be the beginning for them, and their forever family. 

Shannon, 5, waiting

So trust in the wait sweet ones.  Trust that what you are waiting for will be worth it.

At this moment, Madison Adoption Associates is advocating for hundreds of Waiting Children, with access to thousands more.  These children wait, day in and day out, for their forever family.  Every day you wait to make the call, is one more day they are forced to wait without a family.  Make the call and start the process, so that their waiting can end.  Call us at 302-475-8977, or email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org.

JJ, 8, waiting

Finnick, 4, waiting
Easton, 8, waiting

Adopting a child with Down syndrome – a family’s perspective

Adopting a child with Down syndrome – a family’s perspective

Thank you to Jenna S. for sharing their family’s story!

Down Syndrome adoption.  It sounded terrifying. There was NO WAY we were equipped to parent a child with Down Syndrome. We both work full time and were just a typical family.  Other than being teachers, we did not have a lot of experience with special needs. We also already had 3 very active boys (ages 12, 7, and 3) who were hard enough to keep up with some days. Adding a child with possible lifelong needs, multiple therapies, and learning disabilities was what everyone seems to hope their children DON’T have to endure.  We couldn’t possibly consider this. 

But the need was there. The need IS there. And it is HUGE.  These children are so very worthy of love and a family. They have so much love to give in return. To know someone with Down Syndrome is to know unconditional love.  After seeing all of the sweet faces being advocated for, I could no longer say no.  Without families stepping forward, their futures are bleak.  The possible lifelong needs, the therapies, and the academic struggles no longer seemed like such a burden. Saying “no” suddenly became way more scary than saying “yes”. 

We adopted our 2 year old daughter with Down Syndrome, Meilyn Joy, from China this past August. She is an incredible blessing to our family. Our hearts melted the moment we met her, and we knew without a doubt that she was meant to be ours.  She is sweet, hilarious, easy going, and smart.  Seeing her meet milestones and experience new things fills us with more pride and happiness than we ever knew was possible. She loves her 3 older brothers, and they absolutely adore her too. I actually worried about how adding a child with Down Syndrome would affect our other children. But I truly believe that she has already and will continue to make them better human beings. They are more patient, empathetic, and selfless because of her. They see others with different abilities and now realize, that like their sister, they are really more alike than different too. 

Our world has suddenly become so much brighter because of Meilyn, and we are excited to see how many more lives she touches. Her future is so bright and we can’t wait to see all of the things she is going to accomplish in life. We are so thankful that we said yes. WE are the lucky ones to get to be her family and we can’t imagine life without her. 

In celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to be able to offer an ADDITIONAL grant (many of our Waiting Children already have grants) of $1,000 to any family who applies, contracts, and commits to adopting a child with Down syndrome during the month of October.  Please email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org for more information.

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.

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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