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It is safe to say I have met the sweetest girl I have ever met in my life.  This 11-year-old girl left the only place she ever knew, got in a van, got on two planes, flew for over 18 hours, and arrived at a strange place at 2 in the morning.  As we all anxiously awaited our group to come out of those ˜do not enter’ doors in the airport, standing on our tip-toes to catch the first glimpse of them, I spotted her.  She spotted us.  She read our sign that said ˜Welcome’ in Chinese.  She immediately put her arm around her younger travel companion, pointed to us, and in her own way, indicated, ˜that’s them.’Jennifer 2016.06.26 1

I met up with Jennifer and her host family one week later.  Jennifer’s host Mom gushed as to the sweetness of this girl!  Jennifer interacts beautifully with her 3-year-old and 1-year-old host brothers.  She is kind and gentle with them, and patiently ˜puts up’ with their constant activity and antics.  As her host Mom states, œJennifer has a smile that will light up a room.  And, that smile is constantly on her face.  Jennifer finds great joy in helping her host Mom cook, and helping out with other everyday chores.  Jennifer’s host Mom asked her to put a new spice away in the spice cabinet, and next thing you know, Jennifer organized the entire cabinet based on size and color of the spice jars!! 

I got to hang out with Jennifer again at our agency picnic.  Once again, I was struck by this girl.  She knows what she wants, and she has mastered the art of conveying her message, and her IMG_8692wants, so politely and courteously.  She knew she wanted to try some Fritos, so she taps me, points to them, and looks at me waiting for approval.  I help her with her snack, and while she’s enjoying it, she looks at my toenails, then looks at hers, points to them both, and giggles.  I smile back, and nod, œYes!  We both have pink toenails!  And there was that smile again. 

Resilience and courage don’t even begin to describe this girl.  Found at six months old on a lone chair in a hospital, to now being across the world and handling herself with such poise, kindness, and grace.  She has taught her host family so much about bravery and love.  To those of us who have met her, we are moved by her charisma, charm, and that light in her eye.  This is a very special girl who has so much to offer a family, and our world.    IMG_4049

Jennifer is currently being hosted in Maryland through Madison Adoption Associates hosting program.  Jennifer is 11-years-old, and hard of hearing.  She is available for adoption, and her host Mom is eager to share about her with any interested family!  Be sure to follow along Jennifer’s hosting journey here!  And please email with any questions about this unbelievable young lady!

One Week In

They have been here one week.  And I am not sure which is greater¦what we have learned about the kids, or what we have learned from the kids.  I myself, even on the outskirts, have learned about grace, about strength (both of the children and the host families), about resilience, and about pure love.  To think what these kids have gone through in their lifetime, and over the past week, I am awestruck.  I am humbled.  Their courage and bravery is incomprehensible.  While we will all continue to learn many things from these inspiring kids, let me pause the lesson for a moment to introduce you to them!


Jennifer 2016.06.17 2

From the moment she stepped off the plane, you could see the sweetness and intelligence in this girl.  She saw our group, saw the Welcome sign, read it, and her face lit up with a smile that filled the terminal.  But instead of running towards us, she took that moment to share with one of the other children what the sign read.  She pointed to us, and signed to him œThere they are! to make sure he understood.  Despite it being 4am, and having traveled for 24 hours, Jennifer fought sleep on the ride so she could catch her first glimpses of America.  She would stay with me that first night, due to the late hour.  She cautiously entered my home, and looked around in wonderment.  Jennifer’s face lit up once again when she spotted the dog.  Exhausted and excited, Jennifer followed me upstairs to where she would sleep.  She gladly put on her pajamas, crawled into bed, and slept for the next nine hours.  The next day, she was excited to dive into the toys, especially the Legos and puzzles, with her five-year-old temporary host brother.  A simple tap on the shoulder, and showing her things, was all it took to engage Jennifer.  She knows what she wants, and will politely decline what she does not care for.  Stay tuned to continue to get to know this precious girl, and to hear how wonderfully she is doing in her host home.  Jennifer is 11 ½ years old.  To follow along Jennifer’s hosting journey, be sure to ‘like’ her Facebook page!


Jasper 2016.06.15 4

Energetic, full-of-life, goofball, brave all words that his host family uses to describe Jasper.  This boy is the epitome of living life to its fullest!  Jasper is a no-holds-barred barrel of fun.  From day one, his spunk was evident he strutted off the plane with a smirk on his face and a glimmer in his eye.  This first week, Jasper has embraced his host family, and is eager to participate in new experiences.  He has loved his first donut, his first time running through a sprinkler, and his first swim, though a bit hesitant at first.  Jasper will no doubt light up his forever family with an energy and buzz that only he can provide.  Jasper is 8 years old.


Brett 2016.06.21 1Oh what a sensitive soul Brett is.  We have learned that he is smart, reserved, shy, and a bit slow to warm up.  But, once he does, and once you see that dimpled smile, it’s all over J.  The charisma this boy exudes is palpable.  He has won over his host family, and fits right in with his host siblings ages 7, 10, 12, and 14.  For the kids, the moment Brett peeked over to his host sister’s Uno hand, and suggested her next move, that was it¦he was cool in their book.  Brett is 8 years old.  To follow along Brett’s hosting journey, be sure to check in on his host Mom’s blog!


Shane 2016.06.19 1Gentleman.  There is no better word to describe Shane.  He is a true gentleman.  Day 1 went shopping with his host Mom and host brother.  When they returned home, Shane insisted on carrying ALL of the groceries into the house.  Day 3 visiting his host Grandfather.  Shane notices he needs to sit down due to leg pain.  With no prompting, Shane runs to get him a pillow, a glass of water, and the book Shane noticed him reading earlier that day.  This was not an act.  This is Shane.  Pure goodness, with a little bit of spunk of course¦he is an 8-year-old boy after all.  To follow along Shane’s hosting journey, be sure to ‘like’ his Facebook page!



Our host children will be in the Philadelphia region until mid-July.  Their host families are eager to share about them!  There are grants available for the families who adopt these children.  If you are interested in learning more about any of our host kids, or about our hosting program in general, please email Sarah at

And they’re off!

Dear Host Kids,


Five of our 17 host kids on the van headed to the airport!

You have started quite possibly the longest journey of your lives.  You are excited, and scared, and happy, and anxious.  How will it feel to fly?  What will America look like?  What will my host family be like?  Will there be lots of kids there?  Will they have any pets?  Will I like any of the food?

While your heads are spinning with questions, so are ours!  Will he feel comfortable in our home?  Will we be able to communicate with him?  Will she like the Chinese recipes that I have been practicing?  Will she be OK in a bedroom alone, or would she rather share with her host sister?  Will we be able to find his forever family?

This is just a quick note to let you know that even though there are so many unanswered questions between us, we are ready for you!  We are excited for you!  You are so very much wanted, and so many people have been working together for months to make sure that you have an amazing trip!  We have been praying for you, dreaming of you, envisioning you, and preparing both physically and emotionally for you.  And the time to meet you is finally {almost} here!

It will take some time to get used to things here, but know that we will be with you to show you everything you need to know.  We will be with you through the scary, and the sad, and the confusing, and the fun!  And all we ask in return is that you not only have fun, but that you learn from us.  Learn from your host siblings¦.learn how to play¦.learn how to be a part of a family¦.start to learn how to let your guard down, even if only a little bit.  And while you are busy learning and having fun, we know that it will be us who will learn the biggest lessons from you.  Lessons in courage, lessons in humility, lessons in love.

So safe travels sweet ones, and rest up, knowing that there are so many of us ready to welcome you with open arms. 


Your friends, and family, at Madison

A Playroom

She walked into the orphanage.  Her senses were immediately in shock.  First, her hearing.  She heard nothing.  This was a baby room.  And she heard.  Nothing.  Next, her vision.  More cribs than her mind could comprehend.  These weren’t cribs that you and I would envision.  They weren’t espresso brown cribs from Pottery Barn, with the cute matching sheet, crib skirt, and quilt set.  No.  These cribs had metal bars for walls and wooden boards as ˜mattresses.’  Lastly, the smell.  It didn’t smell like that sweet, one-of-a-kind baby scent it smelled stagnant, sour, and old.  And the stifling, oppressive heat in the room did not help.

She stepped back.  She took it all in.  And after registering what her senses were picking up, she was able to see past it all, and see the nannies.  She was able to see them doing their best with what they had.  She started talking with the nannies.  They shared their dreams for ‘their’ babies.  They dreamed their babies could have toys to play with, and a safe place to explore¦a safe place to BE babies.  There was no such place in the orphanage.  The babies were physically safest in their cribs.  All. Day. Long.

It was at that moment that she was overcome.  Overcome with sadness at how these babies had to live.  But also overcome with gratitude that she worked with an organization that could help.  œMadison will help you, she told the nannies.  And that they did.

Madison Adoption Associates went on to partner with this orphanage (name withheld for the privacy of the children there, and out of respect for the nannies who are doing their best).  We were able to fund and build a play area for the babies.  gaozhou new playroom gaozhou new playroom3


We were able to provide mattresses with sheets.  gaozhou6











And we were able to provide a bit of relief by securing new air conditioning units for them.gaozhou1 gaozhou4










This is just one orphanage partnership that Madison Adoption Associates maintains.  We are dedicated to working closely with each of our 17 partner orphanages to determine their specific needs, and meet those needs accordingly. 

To learn more about our one-to-one partnerships, and our humanitarian aid, please visit our website at

MAA Family in the News: Angels in Adoption Award Nominees

The Anderson family of Decatur, Illinois has worked with Madison Adoption Associates for the past four years. They contacted MAA to do a homestudy for their family as they pursued an adoption from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The family has recently brought home four year old Phoebe and they are doing fantastic together! After a three year wait and two trips to the DRC, the Andersons are thrilled to have their daughter under their roof and in their arms. They have been nominated by Congressman Davis for the Angels in Adoption award for their determination.

Full news article with video!

They stated, “We are so grateful for a homestudy agency that encouraged us along the way while awaiting our daughter from the DRC to arrive home after 4 long years. Madison Adoption Associates was there at the very beginning of our adoption process until the end. The staff at MAA was available for guidance and encouragement if ever needed. Our case worker always went above and beyond to make sure all of our questions were answered throughout the entire process. She fought on our behalf at the state level while assuring us that everything will fall into place. Even though MAA was not our placement agency, they did not forget about us and often asked how we were doing during the turmoil of the 4 year wait!  We are thankful that they stood by us! Thank you MAA!”

If you would like to learn more about Madison Adoption Associates, and the adoption services that we offer, please visit our website at