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Cancelled… Again

Cancelled… Again

Top row: Lily, 17 and Luna, 15; Jordyn, 13; Nolan, 10, Nick, 8, and Noah, 5; Javier, 13.
Middle: Layla, 10; Roman, 15 and Reid, 12; Luisa, 12; Jago, 9.
Bottom: Antonio, 16, and Arlo, 9; Slade, 4; Maddox, 10, Miles, 9 and Mason, 5; Marko, 7

It was nine months ago that we cancelled hosting for summer 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak, heartbroken for the children but knowing the safety of all involved had to be at the forefront. We reassured ourselves “This time next year, this will all be a memory.”

Now here we are, almost a year later, cancelling summer hosting… again. Even after months of cancelling trips, weddings, school, and more, this stings afresh. We look at the faces of children from Colombia who we were preparing to host, and worry “will they still find an adoptive family?” Hosting has always been about finding families for the children who wait the longest for adoption: older children, sibling groups, and children with special needs. As a result of our last hosting session in 2019, every single child found an adoptive family! Hosting gave families a chance to get to know the child and prepare for when they come home forever, making sure they had the resources in place to parent well. Without that reassurance, will they still come forward, taking the leap?

It’s a question we can’t answer; only you can. This requires you to be brave. Adoption is always a step into the unknown whether you host your child or not, any family who has hosted will tell you they learned new things about their child after adoption. So we implore you, to dig deep and find the courage to say yes, even if it’s with a nervous heart and trembling hands. We will come alongside you and walk you all the way to the finish line of adoption and beyond, supporting you after you come home and start the hard work of becoming a family. 

As of this post the Colombia adoption process is open and moving forward. Travel to Colombia for adoptive parents is open at this time; no quarantine period is required, just negative covid testing before and after arrival. Colombian adoption authorities understand the importance of preparing children for adoption, and most families can Skype/Facetime with their child regularly leading up to the adoption. Our Post Adoption Support Specialist Adriana Chaves is from Colombia and fluent in Spanish, and is ready to support you and your child after you come home. View the children waiting for adoption here, and complete a free Prospective Adoptive Parent form to connect with an adoption specialist and start the process to bring your child home!

More Than Numbers

More Than Numbers

38- that’s the number of children who came home to their adoptive families through MAA in 2020. Just half the number of children who came home the previous year. If that reduction were due to fewer children needing to be adopted, that would be good news, but unfortunately that is not the case. The reduction is due almost entirely to the coronavirus pandemic, mainly amongst families in the China program, where travel is still not open, though families adopting from every country were delayed, and many families are choosing not to start the adoption process during the pandemic, for understandable reasons.

So why even share the number when it’s so, well, small? Because it’s not just a number; it’s children.

22 siblings who were adopted together, keeping their connection.

14 children age 10 and older, when chances of adoption are so much lower.

12 children who were hosted, reunited with their host families.

38 children who had no permanency and stability for the future, now beloved sons and daughters.

When you see behind the number, the faces of the children whose lives are forever changed, it’s easy to celebrate 38. We would celebrate even one child gaining a family. So congratulations to the children and families who came together in 2020, and we look forward to celebrating all who come home in 2021.

Considering adoption in 2021? Email Lindsey Gilbert or complete a free Prospective Adoptive Parent form to connect with us today!

Brothers

Brothers

Brothers.  It is one of the most special bonds there is.  And I get a front row seat.  I never thought I’d be ‘just’ a boy-Mom.  I always envisioned a girl in the mix, because, well, I know more about being a girl than I do about being a boy.  But here we are, me and my two princes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

One of the greatest things I love about being a Mom to boys has not so much to do with their ‘boyness,’ but everything to do with their brotherhood.  The bond these two share is stronger than anything I’ve ever seen.  They are best friends.  They are pals.  They are confidants.  They are soul mates.  They are BROTHERS.  Yes, they argue.  But at the end of they day, they each worship the ground the other walks on.  It is a beautiful thing to not just watch them grow, but to witness their bond get stronger and stronger with each passing year.

So while reading about Harris, Kallen, and Jacob, and seeing them in pictures and videos, I can’t help but be struck by their bond.  By their brotherhood.  The adoration they have for each other is so very apparent.  And that is why it is crucial that these boys, these brothers, stay together.  But that is only possible with a very special family.  A family rooted in Bulgarian culture.  A family who understands that the special, strong bond these boys have with one another may make it more challenging for adoptive parents to permeate.  But we know that family is out there.  And Harris , Kallen, and Jacob are hopeful they are too.

~~~~

Madison Adoption Associates is advocating for Harris (10), Kallen (14), and Jacob (11), who are waiting for an adoptive family. They are medically healthy, though do have some delays, likely as a result of their past.  They are very bonded with their foster families, so we are seeking an adoptive family with significant experience in older child adoption and trauma, as a difficult transition could be very possible.  We are also seeking a family with strong ties to Bulgaria and a thorough familiarity with the culture.  Please complete and submit a Prospective Adoptive Parent form if you are interested in learning more about these special brothers.

How You Can Support Post-Adoption Families and Adoptees

How You Can Support Post-Adoption Families and Adoptees

Dear Friend,
What a year it has been! We pray that you and your family have weathered this crazy COVID storm, and that this letter finds you and yours healthy. We surely are living through history, with the pandemic affecting every aspect of life, adoptions included. While many countries are allowing adoptive families to travel, others have not yet reopened, and our hearts break for the families and children waiting to be united. Despite the closures, despite the painful delays, and despite the unknowns, MAA remains dedicated not just to finding families for the children who wait, but supporting those families and children for life, and this is the reason I’m writing to you today.

We know that when an adoptive family finally meets their child, that’s not the end of the journey, it’s just the beginning. Attachment, culture shock, and challenging behaviors of all kinds are the norm for adoptive families, and the uncertainty of the pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges. Prior to the pandemic, we were already busy working behind the scenes to strengthen our post-adoption support for all of our families, and now that work is more needed than ever.

Over the past several years, we have recognized that the face of ‘the adopted child’ is changing. The children in need of adoption are almost all older, medically fragile, and/or sibling groups, all with histories of trauma, and families frequently need support and guidance to successfully emerge as a bonded family. Adriana Chaves initially joined the MAA team as the Hosting Coordinator, but as hosting became impossible this year due to covid, a new purpose emerged. Adriana has her master’s degree in Clinical and Family Psychology, so it was a natural fit for her to step into a new role as MAA’s Post-Adoption Wellness Therapist. She has been running virtual support groups for adoptive parents and adoptees, helping families identify needed resources in their area, and providing one-on-one post-placement support to families going through significant challenges. Additionally, she’s provided cultural education for families in our Colombia program, with 30 families attending her recent webinar on Colombian culture!

The Colombia Kids Group has been a great safe place for our daughter to socialize during these unusual times with kids just like her. She has been able to connect with children that she interacted with at her orphanage and has also been able to talk with other children with similar stories to her. It is a unique, friendly, no pressure group that she looks forward to participating in.

-Michelle, MAA Adoptive Mom

So on this Giving Tuesday, we are reaching out to ask for your help in supporting our mission to bring hope, love, and connection by serving children, individuals, and families in the areas of adoption, foster care, and support services. Thanks to a generous donation this summer, we were able to offer our post-adoption support groups to all families, whether they adopted through MAA or not, but for that work to continue and grow, we need donations to continue too. Visit our new donation page, and when you select “Post-Adoption Services” 100% of your donation will go to our work supporting post-placement families and their children. For those who can, please consider a recurring monthly donation, so we can consistently provide these essential services to any family who needs them!

From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of adoptive families and children, thank you for your consideration. We are all ‘in this together’, in more respects than one.

Please stay safe and God bless!

Sincerely,
Diana Bramble, MBA, LMSW
Executive Director of Operations

National Adoption Awareness Month: Adoptee Voices to Learn From

National Adoption Awareness Month: Adoptee Voices to Learn From

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and who better to share about adoption than adoptees? We’ve gathered a variety of resources from adoptee voices below, and encourage adoptive families to check some of them out, whether you’re in process for your first adoption or have been home with your children for years! Even when an adoptee is not from the same country as your child or of the same race, they will likely share some of the same experiences and feelings. Some of these voices will challenge you, as adoptees share their sadness and grief around their adoption, but we encourage you to sit with their experience and see what you can learn. These adoptees take the time to share their stories to help the next generation of adoptive families and adoptees.

Blogs/Websites

  • Red Thread Broken: Grace Newton was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, and adopted by an American family when she was three years old. Her site has myriad resources, including blog posts, film and book reviews, and more. Be sure to check out her recent post about using the game Jenga as a conversation starter with your child!
  • Lost Daughters– “Lost Daughters is an independent collaborative writing project founded in 2011.  It is edited and authored exclusively by adult women who were adopted as children… Our authors come from a variety of walks of life, world views, religions, political stances, types of adoption, countries of origin, and countries of residence. Our ages span from early 20’s to late 60’s. Although we cannot possibly cover every experience and perspective of adoptees on our blog, we try our best to provide insight on what it is like to live adoption from the adoptee perspective.”
  • Dear Adoption– Founded by Reshma McClintock, a transracial, intercountry adoptee from India, Dear Adoption accepts submissions from adoptees of all views and backgrounds to share their experience.
  • Only Black Girl– Rebekah was adopted domestically; she’s Black, her adoptive family is white. She writes about her experiences being the only Black person in her town, and shares the stories and experiences of transracial adoptees.
  • Therapy Redeemed– Cam Lee Small was trans-racially adopted from Korea. He holds a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed clinical counselor, focusing specifically on adoptees and adoptive families. He offers many resources online in addition to his counseling services, including workshops, and shares essays on a variety of topics.

Films

  • Closure– Angela Tucker is a Black woman, adopted by a white couple at one year old and raised in a large, multiracial family. Her adoption was closed, and this documentary follows Angela for two years as she searches for her birth family.
  • Side-by-Side– 100 short films, each interviewing one Korean man or woman who was either adopted internationally, or who aged out of orphanage care.
  • Somewhere Between– Filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowles adopted her daughter from China, and made this documentary to learn more about the experience of older adoptees. It follows four teenagers adopted from China to the US as children, as they journey back to China and attempt to understand their own identities and stories.
  • Lion– Based on the book (listed below) by Saroo Brierley, detailing his experience getting accidentally separated from his family in India at five years old, before being trans-racially adopted to Australia. Twenty-five years later he begins to search for his birth family.
  • Calcutta is My Mother– This documentary by Reshma McClintock tells her story of being transracially adopted by a family in the US, and many years later returning to the city of her birth, to try to connect to her roots and culture that she feels so distant from.

Books

Podcast/Youtube

  • Yes I’m Adopted, Don’t Make it Weird– Brett and Daveaux were both adopted from Korea, and have a ton of videos covering a wide range of topics, which they discuss with honesty and plenty of humor!
  • The Adoptee Next Door– Angela Tucker (of the film Closure, listed above) interviews adoptees of all different backgrounds on a variety of topics.
  • Adoptees On– hosted by Haley Radke, she talks with adoptees from different backgrounds as well as adoptees who are therapists to gain their expertise.

Social Media

We hope you enjoy and learn from these varied voices from the adoptee side of the adoption triad! If you have questions or want to discuss what you read reach out to your case worker or email us.

Max’s Story

Max’s Story

In honor of October being National Visual Impairment Awareness Month, we are privileged to be able to share Max’s story! Thank you to Max and the S family!

The morning of March 19th, 2018 we had the amazing blessing of becoming the forever family of Max Xiaonan, who had fought, at his short age of 4 years old, a battle with cancer (bilateral retinoblastoma), he had won the battle but had lost one eye, his left eye.  He received numerous treatments, including systemic chemotherapy and doctors in China were able to save his right eye, though it was left with poor vision.

Our precious Max came home with us March 30, 2018 and we started the journey of becoming his new family, his new life. He is always smiling and happy! Asking all kinds of questions and wanting to touch and smell everything! Haha!

After getting adjusted a little bit we took Max to his first eye doctor appointment, which went well, the doctor said he could see there was something but couldn’t tell if it was scaring or something else, that Max needed to see a specialist and be checked under anesthesia.

The day was finally here…his first EUA (Examination Under Anesthesia)…as a side note when he was asked what kind of smell he wanted for his mask (they have different smells for the kids: bubble gum, strawberry, cotton candy, etc.) he said chicken!! I want chicken smell)..LOL.

Anyway the EUA was supposed to take 30 to 45 minutes but instead took 1 hour and 15 minutes and when the doctor came into the room he had two more people with him and their faces said it all…Max had 4 active tumors!  4!  And they were big ones!

Wait..what???..our son..the little one we just brought home??!..the one who barely understands English and is just learning to love his family?! The one who asks why daddy’s face is dirty because he doesn’t understand that men can grow a beard?! ..The one learning to eat cake? The one who can’t eat ice cream because is too cold?! Noooo! He can’t start fighting cancer again….not again!! He is only 29 lbs ..4 years old and 29 lbs! He can’t fight cancer when he is so tiny!

Well..here we go…July 30, 2018 we traveled to St. Jude in Memphis, TN, August 1st we got his second EUA, doctors couldn’t understand how he could even see because his eye was so damaged but they said they were going to do their best to save it as it was his only eye. They started treatment right away, they also ran tests looking to see if the cancer had metastasized, which it hadn’t , thank God!.

Every 10-14 days we went back to St. Jude in Memphis for treatment, or to the ‘Big House’ as Max calls it…because to him it just looks like a big house and it has toys everywhere, the nurses and staff love Max…he always has a smile or something funny to  say…oh!..always hungry..wanting to eat chicken and discovered St. Jude’s cafeteria tater tots! Ha! His favorite! The volunteer from the EUA playroom said she has never seen a kid as full of joy as Max, even when his eyesight was getting worse and worse he was still so happy and didn’t mind playing and just living his life to the best!

Unfortunately, September 19, 2018, yes, six months from Gotcha Day! We got some sad news, Max had some new tumors, these ones were looking really bad and the doctor was really concerned that the cancer could spread to the brain if we didn’t enucleate his remaining eye soon enough. Although the decision was really hard, we didn’t want to take the risk of metastasis so we scheduled the surgery for October 10th, 2018.

We went back home for the next two and half weeks and decided we were going to help Max experience everything we could and give him all the fun visual memories so that he could remember all that before going blind. With the help of family and friends he got to see a police car, fire station, fire trucks, went to Branson, MO and the amusement park, got on a monster truck, he saw a Christmas tree, we painted pumpkins, we celebrated his birthday (early) so he got to see his cake and blow his candles. He had so many good memories! We pray he will never forget them!

On October 10, 2018 Max had enucleation of his remaining eye, which left him completely blind, he has reacted amazingly well, he is as joyful and perky as he has always been! Nothing stops him! Not even a week after surgery he was bouncing and jumping around singing and praising God singing one of his favorite worship songs.

Although he has a few bad days, where he feels a little overwhelmed, the majority of the days are excellent, our child is teaching us that no matter the circumstances we have the choice to be happy and play or to stay in a corner and cry and even though doctors and experts have told us that we saved his life by adopting him, we believe that God brought Max here and in the right time for a reason and our son will show the world living his life as a testimony.

In celebration of National Visual Impairment Awareness Month, Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to be able to offer a grant of $1,000 to any family who applies, contracts, and commits to adopting a child with a visual impairement during the month of October.  Please email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Why Not Us?

An advocacy post on Facebook changed my life forever.

In the spring of 2016, God broke my heart for a little girl who was waiting for a family in China. She was precious – an adorably chubby baby sitting on the floor, arms stretched above her head, sweetest little joyful grin on her face. My heart shattered as I realized when she reached up to be held that there was no Mama (or Dada) to pick her up and love on her. This precious little one also happened to have Down syndrome.

Before her little face, we’d always talked about adoption. “Some day.” When we were more ready, when our children were older, when we had more money in the bank. Before her little face, I never thought that WE could say YES! to parenting a child with Down syndrome. Only “special” families were called to do something like that. We weren’t spiritual enough, rich enough, brave enough to walk that road.

After her little face, I began to wonder “Why not?” Why not adopt? Why not Down syndrome? If not US, who?

Many tears were shed, many prayers said on behalf of a little girl whose joy-filled face I could not forget. Were we missing out on our daughter? God eventually granted me peace through a dream that this little girl’s family would give her older brothers (something our family could not provide) and that she would be HOME. Over the years, I’ve continued to think about and pray for her.

A week before we left for China to meet our own darling girl, I connected with the Mama of the child God used to crack my heart wide open. She does, indeed, have a Mama and Dada. And two older brothers (and two big sisters to boot!) who love her dearly. I am so thankful that God orchestrated her story so beautifully. I will also be forever grateful that God used her face, and the idea of her, to change me and my family forever.

When you see the photos of little ones waiting for their families maybe you think the same things: “Not now!” or “Not me!” But maybe – just maybe – God will break your heart for that specific child, or one of the MANY other children, who waits.

We did not know anyone with Down syndrome before adopting. In fact, Cora was the first person with DS that we ever knew in person. I found so much support through online groups, where parents had already walked some of the roads we were about to take. There are so many groups, so many resources. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask to connect! Most families in “The Lucky Few” (because WE are the lucky ones!) would love to talk to you about raising a child with DS, or can point you in the direction for resources that may help you. Places to start: The Lucky Few Podcast, the Down Syndrome Adoption Questions Facebook group, or start following families or people with Down syndrome on social media!

The best thing about parenting a child with Down syndrome is getting to see the world from a new perspective. Cora has changed the way we think about almost every aspect of our lives. After our relationships with Jesus, getting the privilege of parenting her has been the next biggest catalyst for adding joy to our days, slowing down to appreciate the truly important things, and having a more eternal view of what our purpose is in this life we’ve been given!

On the flip side, the hardest thing about parenting a child with Down syndrome has been adjusting and responding to how the world views our child. Even though we thought we were prepared, there have been so many instances where I’ve been taken aback by people’s archaic, negative, or prejudiced views of people with Down syndrome. We knew we’d have to advocate for her in certain educational situations, but I’ve learned that advocacy is a day-in day-out process as we navigate the world. Helping others see beauty and worth where the world doesn’t can be exhausting, but what a joy and privilege it is to shout their worth. So much is changing in the world for inclusion. I cannot wait to see what the world looks like for Cora when she’s my age!

I wish others understood that each person with Down syndrome, like every other human who has ever walked this planet, was created in the image of God. We are ALL more alike than we are different. We are all created to contribute good and beautiful things to our world. I’ve had others tell me how tough adopting a child with Down syndrome would be, ALL the things that our child would likely never do, all the “hard” we were walking into by saying yes. But you know what? Zero of that matters. Because every child is worthy and deserves a family. 

Emily and her family are currently on their adoption journey to bring home their second child with Down syndrome. Thank you for sharing your story! Are you considering adopting a child with Down syndrome? Email Lindsey Gilbert to learn about the children who wait, or complete our free Prospective Adoptive Parent Form today!

WE are the Lucky Ones {A Family Perspective}

WE are the Lucky Ones {A Family Perspective}

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 Meilyn Joy, our 2 year old daughter with Down syndrome, from China in August 2019. 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 a grant 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.

Spunk & Determination {A Family Perspective}

Spunk & Determination {A Family Perspective}

We were deep in the process of adoption from India when I received an email, advocating for an 8 year old boy, who had the most incredible smile. I committed to pray for a family for this little boy, and I was faithful to do that over the next few months, as we received updated emails and pleas for a family for him. In the meantime, India denied our request to adopt due to our family size (we had five children at the time). Though our hearts grieved for the little girl from India whom we had hoped to adopt, we also felt confident that my prayers had been answered for the precious little boy from China. God had found him a family…ours!

We scrambled to update our paperwork for China, and also to learn more about this child’s special need, spina bifida, or myleomeningocele. We learned that it was a complex special need, requiring care from various specialists, but we were so certain that this child was our son, that we did not hesitate to move forward.

After Stephen Yuankai came home, we were on a steep learning curve. We waded through the many appointments and specialists and it wasn’t always with grace. But, our new son’s beautiful smile and wonderful disposition kept us fighting to learn more about how we could care for his needs.

Fast forward five years and we felt that God was leading us to put our knowledge of spina bifida to use again. We contacted friends, who were advocating for children, and asked them to let us know about any children that they knew who had spina bifida. When we saw 6 year old “Laurel’s” video on MAA’s special needs registry, we felt sure that we had found our daughter! She seemed to have a great deal of determination and spunk, and we were absolutely smitten. There were a few roadblocks to overcome before we could give our absolute “yes!”, but God used the time to strengthen our resolve.

On July 2, 2018 we finally met our beautiful daughter, Ruby Xiaohong, in Taiyuan, China. The spunk and determination that we saw in that first video were immediately evident. It was also evident that this little girl was one smart cookie! What she lacked in mobility (Ruby Xiaohong does not walk, but Stephen Yuankai does), she made up for in strength of character and will!

At just three months home, she has stolen the hearts of her siblings and parents. She is quite the dynamo! She chops vegetables with the best of them, plays wheelchair basketball with her brother, sings songs all day long, and knows almost all of the consonant sounds.

Ruby Xiaohong has had many doctor’s appointments over these past three months, but we can honestly say that it is much, much easier the second time around! One issue that is not uncommon for children with spina bifida is that they can have significant kidney issues without certain types of treatment. Ruby Xiaohong has grade 5 reflux in her left kidney that most likely would have caused her serious problems if she had remained in China. For that reason alone, we are incredibly grateful that she is here with us! It is a joy to attend to her medical needs, knowing that we are significantly improving her future quality of life.

Our family has eight children now, seven of whom are adopted. While it’s true that medically speaking, spina bifida is the most complicated special need of all of our children, we can honestly say that it is just a small part of who our son and daughter are, as people. Stephen Yuankai and Ruby Xiaohong are both bright, courageous, strong children who are absolute blessings to our family. We thank God for the privilege of raising these two precious children!

For more information about adoption, and our programs, please visit our website.  We are happy to offer a special grant of $1,000 in celebration of Spina Bifida Awareness Month.  Any qualified family who applies, contracts, and commits to adopt a child with Spina Bifida during the month of October will receive the grant, in addition to MAA’s regularly available grants.  Email lindseyg@madisonadoption.org for more information.

The Sibling Perspective: Older Child Adoption

The Sibling Perspective: Older Child Adoption

While adoptive parents frequently share their stories, we don’t often hear from another family member who is obviously impacted by adoption- siblings! MAA is grateful to Jase sharing his perspective on his parents adopting his younger sister from Colombia, read on to hear about his experience…

1.What did you think of the idea of having an adopted sister when your parents first brought it up?
I really didn’t think my parents adopting would have a huge impact on me because I live so far from them, but I was so wrong. Even though there is a 10 year age difference between my sister and I, we’ve bonded and talk about life all the time. I’ve learned a lot about the world from her and look forward to seeing her when I get to see my family.

2. What were you most worried about?  What were you most excited about?
Living across the country from most of my family, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to build a relationship with my sister while she grew up, but we’ve been able to spend time together and communicate over all kinds of technology and social media. Bonding has been so much easier than I expected.
When I met Angie, she couldn’t speak any English and I spoke extremely little Spanish, so our communication had to be pretty straight forward through translating apps or yes/no questions. I was so excited for both of us to grow in our language skills to actually communicate and get to know one another. She has definitely done a better job than I have of catching up to the language barrier, but it is so awesome now to have actual conversations about things that would have just been vague gestures before. Plus, she is constantly helping me learn a new language now, which is special for a younger sibling to get to teach something so important to her older brother.

3. What is your relationship like with your adopted sister?  How has it developed from when you first met her?
I was surprised by how naturally a relationship with my sister developed. It took a lot of time, of course, but I can relate to her now just like I do with my other siblings. She does a great job keeping up with her three grown brothers and sister in conversation and thinking about life, and we can tell that she wants to relate to us just like we want to relate to her. I do think Angie was skeptical of me when we first met, just because I can be so different from the rest of my family who she relates to well, but through visiting my home, meeting my partner, interacting with each other from across the country, and doing activities that she really enjoys, our relationship feels naturally like a brother and sister now.

4. How has adoption impacted your life?
Adopting a sister has expanded my family and changed the dynamic of how we relate to one another. I wasn’t expecting much to change for my siblings and I, with three grown kids out of the house and living in different areas of the country, but Angie brings such a center to us all. We try new languages, foods, and games that she shows us. We talk about and explain concepts like politics and faith that we may not have before. And we have to keep up with a teenager who loves sports and the outdoors. Angie has changed how we do things and what we decide to do, but it all feels natural now, like we were just missing a member of our family before.

5. What would you tell other young adults who are about to have an adopted sibling for the first time?
It takes a lot of time, but it does all come together naturally in the end. It was so hard not to try to force a relationship or overwhelm my sister with attention, but I am glad that we let things progress naturally because in the end, that is how a family comes together. Even for siblings like me who may be far from home, an adoption is still a huge blessing.

So many older children wait for adoption in every country MAA works in: Bulgaria, Colombia, China, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic, as well as Pennsylvania foster care. If you have considered opening your home to an older child, please contact us today or complete our free Prospective Adoptive Parent form to learn about the children waiting for families!