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I was packing for my trip to Bulgaria, and my six-year-old was sitting on the bed watching me.

Son: “Mom, why are you going to Bulgaria?”

Me: “To help more kids find Mommies and Daddies.”

Son: “Why don’t all kids have Mommies and Daddies?”

Me: “Well, every kid has a Mommy and Daddy, but those first Mommies and Daddies can’t always raise their kids.”

Son: “Why not?  Don’t they love their kids?”

Me: “They do love their kids.  Usually, very much.  But, it takes more than love to take care of a kid.  It takes resources, and support, and community, and a home, and access to doctors, and food, and so much more.”

Son: “But it takes love too, right?”

Me: “Yes, of course it takes love too.  And, a lot of times, it is that love that drives these Mommies and Daddies to hope that a new Mommy and Daddy can be found for their kid.  They love them so much, they want them to have a Mommy and Daddy who can give them the things that they can’t.”

Son: “And that’s why you’re going to Bulgaria?  Because the old Mommies and Daddies need you to find new Mommies and Daddies?”

Me: “Kind of, I guess.”

Son: “That’s good Mom.  I hope you find Mommies and Daddies for kids who need Mommies and Daddies.”

Me: “Me too buddy.  Me too.”

Of course we all know summarizing the orphan crisis isn’t this easy.  And the solution isn’t this simple.  But then again, maybe it is.  Maybe my six-year-old is onto something.  Maybe it is just that the ‘old Mommies and Daddies’ need ‘new Mommies and Daddies’ to be found.  And please know I don’t say that to imply that ‘old’ means disposable, or that first families shouldn’t always be the first choice, or that it means anything derogatory at all towards first families.  But that this is simply the word of a six-year-old.  A six-year-old trying to justify in his innocent mind how a child like him could end up without a Mommy and Daddy.  And as much as I too have tried to justify it to my 38-year-old self over the past 16 years working in the field, his simple explanation makes more sense than anything I’ve ever come up with. 

I often feel like we’re getting buried by new regulations, laws, and rules. And I feel like it’s harder and harder to find families for waiting children. But over the past several weeks I keep coming back to what my son said – “Because old Mommies and Daddies need you to find new Mommies and Daddies?”  And I can’t help but think Yes.  Yes, that is why I do what I do.  That is why I travel across the world.  That is why I sometimes answer my phone at dinner.  That is why I spend day in and day out searching.  Because I am searching for new Mommies and Daddies.  New Mommies and Daddies for these children whose first Mommies and Daddies could no longer care for them.  So thank you, sweet son.  Thank you for reminding me why each trip matters.  Why each phone call matters.  Why each email matters.  Thank you for bringing me back to the simplicity that regardless of new regulations, new accrediting entities, and new guidelines, that no matter what, kids need Mommies and Daddies.  And please forgive me, sweet son.  Forgive me if I am not present for you every moment that I should be.  But my hope for you one day is that when you are a Daddy, you will fully understand why I do what I do.  I truly do it for you, and because of you.  I do it because the love that I feel for you is so all-consuming.  It is a love that permeates my soul, and I want all kids to feel that same passionate, raw, fierce, pure love of a parent.  So, I will keep searching sweet boy.  I will keep searching for Mommies and Daddies for kids who don’t have them, and I hope you’ll be sitting on my bed asking me why every step of the way.

Our passion for children drives our work. But our work is useless without families.  We can only search for Mommies and Daddies if there are Mommies and Daddies to be found.  That’s where you come in.  Interested in adoption?  Please contact us today.  We have programs in Bulgaria, China, Colombia, and Philippines

Please complete a Prospective Adoptive Parent form, and an adoption consultant will be in touch with you regarding programs that you qualify for.  Waiting children need families now.  Please do not wait.

Journey to Benjamin {a family story}

        Adoption first became a serious topic of discussion in our home in January of 2018.  I (Brooke) had begun reading The Best Yes, by Lysa Terkerst, and while doing so adopting a child came to the forefront of my mind.  My original intent in reading Lysa’s book was unrelated to adoption so when instead adoption became a recurring thought, I felt compelled to begin seriously considering it. 

Over the next month, God helped to lay the foundation for me to see the correlation between my spiritual adoption in Christ and the physical adoption of orphans here on earth. The Lord allowed us to see that if we believe that God knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139), if He knows how many individual hairs are on our heads, if everything about us was on purpose, then it is no accident that we live in the most affluent country in the world, in a home that keeps us warm, with plenty of food in our refrigerator, and water that flows at the twist of a knob.  During our time of discernment, the Lord simplified adoption for us into three questions. “Do you have room in your home for another child?  Do you have room in your finances to care for another child?  Do you have room in your heart to love another child?” When all those questions were answered ‘yes’, God assured us that He would take care of the rest.

Over the next year we began the process of adopting from China with Madison Adoption Associates, and we officially met our son, Benjamin An Xia Yang on March 24th of 2019.  Benjamin is an active, expressive, all-boy, 2 1/2 year old.  While he has a heart condition, aside from the scars you would never know.  We were blessed to be able to adopt him from an orphanage with wonderful nannies who loved him very much (we’re still keeping in touch over WeChat) and his needs were provided for beyond what we expected.  Because of their hard work and gentle love, a little boy who, while still overcoming a language barrier and grief, is adapting exceptionally well to our family.

Our days have been full of sign language, smiling, laughing, tickling, teaching, loving, caring, hand-holding, trying new foods, learning to recognize emotion, sharing, rocking, and more.  It’s been a whirlwind of a month and with so many things still yet unknown we’ve seen the biggest success come from the closest possible one-on-one attention and utilizing all the things we learned during the educational portion of our adoption process with Madison.

It was in response to God’s prompting, His love for us, and His love for the parentless, that we decided to adopt. We have been adopted into God’s family, being allowed to partake of His riches. And now we are excited to do likewise for Benjamin, a child who needed the same thing.  We are so thankful to Madison for helping us make our adoption a reality.  We’re looking forward to the days ahead and are excited that God chose us to be Benjamin’s forever family.

With the deepest gratitude,
Brooke Varner (and Brad, Abilene, Andrew, and Benjamin)

To learn more about adopting from China, please visit our website, or email us at


мартеница, or, in English, Martenitsa. We saw them all over Bulgaria when we were there. So, of course we had to find out the significance of this red and white tassel! We learned that this small red and white ‘tassel’ is often found in the form of a male and female doll. It signifies the start of spring, and is worn by Bulgarians from March 1 (also known as ‘Baba Marta’ aka ‘Grandma March’), until they see a stork or blossoming tree. Wearing this red and white ornament, or adorning trees with it, is said to bring spring!

Happy Spring! Interested in adopting from Bulgaria? We need families open to accepting children from this beautiful country rich with culture! Contact for more information.

Or complete a free Prospective Adoptive Parent form, and we will get in touch with you to discuss the Bulgaria program in depth.

MAA visits Bulgaria

Our staff just returned home from a week in Bulgaria.  It was a busy, productive week of meetings with partner organizations, touring an orphanage and group home, and meeting with the Ministry of Justice (Bulgaria’s Central Authority).  We were thrilled to have been immersed in the culture, enjoy the food, and to gain a deeper appreciation for the Bulgarian people and their customs.  It was more than apparent, of everyone we met with, their passion and dedication to the children who wait.  And we are humbled to be able to stand alongside the Bulgarian people and do all that we can to find families for their beautiful, waiting children.

MAA meets with MOJ
Signing agreements with a partner agency
Happy to finally meet our partner who we have been working with for years!
Outside MOJ with partner agency
Promenade on Vitosha Street
Quintessential Sofia city street
Sveta Nedelya Church
Typical Bulgarian food
Ivan Vazov National Theatre

There are two different tracts for adopting from Bulgaria – submit a Dossier and receive a match directly from MOJ, or identify a waiting child and apply to adopt that specific child.  The first tract will allow a family to be matched with a child with less severe needs and/or healthy sibling groups or healthy older children.  The second tract typically consists of waiting children with more significant special needs.  Either way, there are children waiting who need families!

The requirements to adopt from Bulgaria are straightforward:

  • Married couples and single parents are eligible
  • Parents must be at least 15 years older than the child(ren) they wish to adopt
  • There is no specific requirement regarding length of marriage or prior divorces, however the strength of the current marriage and relationship history is taken into account
  • Parents should have good general physical and mental health
  • Parents should not have an extensive criminal history
  • Parents should have an annual income over the poverty guideline 

We return from our trip not exhausted from travel, but instead with a new found passion ignited to do our part to find families for the waiting children of Bulgaria. Could your child be waiting for you there?

Please visit our website if you are interested in learning more about this wonderful program, and the beautiful children who wait for you! Or, email for more information!