Just the word alone fills me with a calm. My mind is flooded by memories of past vacations (from childhood all the way through now), and also visions of future getaways.
Who doesn’t love a good vacation?!?
So when our partners mentioned that they strive to take the children on a vacation when possible, we jumped at the possibility of being able to help make that happen! Everyone deserves a vacation every now and then, but especially waiting children who don’t otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy such ‘typical’ childhood experiences!
So we began asking questions –
When? Where? How many children? Budget?
And while getting the details, we learned these vacations go far beyond fun in the sun. The orphanage staff utilize these trips to begin teaching and instilling independence and life skills. They utilize public transportation, not just to save costs, but specifically to guide the children on how to do so. They stop at convenience stores for supplies, but have the children budget the shopping, make the purchases, and check to ensure they received the correct change back.
They include the children in the planning, the preparation, and the packing, all in an effort to prepare the children for their years beyond the orphanage – whether those years are in a forever family, or out on their own.
Upwards of 40 children, ranging in age from school-aged to teens, will participate in this amazing opportunity this spring.
The intentionality and forethought to not only give these children the vacation they so very much deserve, but to do so in a way that will teach them valuable life lessons, left us in awe.
MAA Colombia Team: “Wait until you hear about Sia who we just met with! We HAVE to advocate for her ASAP!”
MAA Advocacy Team: “Tell us about her!”
MAA Colombia Team: “She’s like the sweetest little old lady sitting in a rocking chair on her front porch welcoming her friends and neighbors to come take a seat with her and waste away the day chatting, but she’s only 8.”
MAA Advocacy Team: “Well with that intro, we have got to hear more!”
MAA Colombia Team: “Sia is 8 years old. She is kind, smiley, loving, and accepting of all people. She understands boundaries, but when she knows she’s in a safe space she will open up to you and welcome you to do the same. She plays a mean game of Connect 4! She was eager to show us her excellent arithmetic skills! She’s an old soul in a little girl’s body desperate for a family to call her own.”
MAA Advocacy Team: “She sounds perfect!”
Have an empty rocking chair on your front porch? Sia would be the most perfect occupant of it!
Sia is waiting in a country in South America. If you are interested in learning more about her, please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form and an MAA staff member will be in touch!You can also find more program information on our website.
She walked in with her head held high, displaying the perfect ‘this is lame’ teen strut. She was trying her best to let us know this meeting was boring, and she’d rather be doing a million other things. But she slipped up when she briefly made eye contact with both of us, letting down her tough teen façade just for a moment, and giving us our first glimpse into the amazing young woman that she is. She knew why we were there, and it wasn’t hard to see her vulnerability behind the valiant attempt of only giving off teen ‘tude.
Maleah (13) beelined straight to the familiar face in the room to sit next to, and geared up for our questions. At first shy, quiet, and attempting disinterest, she slowly answered our questions with the briefest of answers. She likes school, loves sports (she’s very tall!), loves helping with the little kids in the orphanage, and desperately wants a family. Maleah is open to just a Mom, or a Mom and Dad, who will support her athletics, as well as teach her to cook. With each question, we got a bit more out of Maleah, and little by little we cracked her shell and got to see the real girl under the teen face. The Maleah who loves with her whole heart, despite a challenging childhood. The Maleah who tried so hard to give a teen eyeroll at our American antics, but ultimately let her giggles slip out. The Maleah who takes care of the younger kids as if they were her little siblings. The sweet, funny, kind, nurturing, hopeful Maleah.
Maleah started our day together with her armor on and buttoned up tight. But we ended the day knowing the real Maleah. And we couldn’t be more grateful and humbled that she let us in to see a small part of her soul. To see her heart, her hopes, and her dreams. Dreams of a family to call her own.
There were delays in preparing Maleah’s adoption paperwork, giving us very little time to find her family. But we vowed to her we would do all we can to find them, and we need your help. Interested in learning more about Maleah, and about adopting from Thailand? Please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form today! Not in a position to adopt? That’s OK! Simply sharing this post will help find her family!
When we arrived at the orphanage to meet the children we are advocating for, we were told that Petey was in the hospital with pneumonia. So couldn’t be with us. We were disappointed, but grateful for the excellent medical care he has access to.
After meeting with several children, a staff member shared, “Petey was just released from the hospital, so you can meet him after all!” We expected a weak, tired child to enter the room, as he literally came straight there from the hospital. Boy were we wrong! In comes Petey, running in like a dinosaur complete with using his pointer fingers as horns on his head and roaring with all his might. I had to confirm with the staff, “Wait…..this boy was just released from the hospital? He just had pneumonia?” “Yes!”
To say this boy has personality doesn’t.do.it.justice.
The light Petey brings to the room is magnificent.
He proceeded to entertain us with more dinosaur impressions, singing baby shark in Thai, as well as signing other Thai songs, teaching his friend different animal sounds, and just overall bringing an unbelievable amount of joy to everyone in the room. The staff shared that this is Petey. Overjoyed, animated, social, happy.
His friends miss him desperately when he’s in the hospital, and rejoice the moment he comes back to the orphanage. On paper he sounds like a very sick little boy (and he does have medical needs that his family must be prepared for), but in real life he is so much more than his needs! He clearly does not let his needs bring him down or define him! Petey is not a sick boy. Petey is a lively, animated, happy-go-lucky, light up the room, loving little boy who just so happens to have some medical needs. There’s a big difference.
The family who brings this boy home will be blessed beyond measure with one of the happiest souls I have ever encountered. We have several pictures and video that we would be more than happy to share with an interested, qualified family. Please complete our free Prospective Adoptive Parent form today to learn more about this special boy!
To respect the privacy of waiting children, Madison uses representative photos of children. We do not publicly share photos of waiting children in our programs. If you would like to learn more about a child, please contact us for the next steps to be taken.
The holidays are over. School is back in session. In much of the country it’s chilly, wet, and gets dark early. And at least someone is sick. Sometimes it feels like Groundhog Day, with each day like the last. Wash, rinse, repeat. It’s easy to let the winter blues get you down…..if you let them. But I challenge you not to. Because the days of January and February are far from mundane. In fact, these are the days when magic happens. It’s during these winter days that family dinners are early and long, weekends are snuggly and slow, hot cocoa and cookies turn into secret telling sessions. These are the days where the real family memories are made. The memories rooted in time spent with one another. Mundane, ordinary, even boring days are the ones that build trust, attachment, and security. Making them the farthest thing from mundane. Making them magical.
Alonzo deserves to be part of a family’s mundane winter days. Part of HIS family’s mundane winter. He deserves hot cocoa and cookies, early and long family dinners, and snuggly and slow weekends. He deserves the magic of the mundane.
Alonzo is a sweet, kind, amazing 6 year old little boy who has Down syndrome. He is from a country in South America and is waiting for his forever family to come forward and say Yes to him. If you are interested in learning more about Alonzo, please complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form.
Sarah Hansen, International Programs Director, takes a moment to review and reflect on ‘A Place Called Home,’ a memoir written by David Ambroz.
Every human living in America needs to stop what they are doing and read this book. In this memoir, David Ambroz gives an eye-opening glimpse into the lives of foster youth in the US. From poverty, to abuse and neglect, to system failures, and so much more, Mr. Ambroz shares not just his experiences, but all of his feelings associated with these experiences, and the impact they have had on the person he has become.
Whether you are involved in foster care or not, this memoir provides insight far beyond the walls of the foster system (though, that specific insight is crucial for every American to open their eyes to). But David’s account of his tumultuous upbringing drives home the importance of being trauma informed. Regardless of where you fall – adoptive/foster parent, child welfare professional, teacher, or just a human who interacts with other humans – it is imperative to understand how adverse childhood experiences affect a person for a lifetime. Through his heart-wrenching personal account, David puts the reader in his shoes, making them understand why children with a history of trauma put up walls –
“Child abuse and neglect have a long shadow that stretches beyond physical pain. For decades I’ll flinch when someone goes to hug me – sometimes I still do. It’s an irreconcilable contradiction between the love of a caregiver and the damage she does.”
“No. Stop. Crying. Now, I command myself, and eventually I do.
Your tears are useless. Tears are going to get you killed. No more tears, I vow.
No more emotion. I can dim that part of me to almost nothing. These people can’t have that power over me. I take the pain and squeeze it into a tight square. Then I pack it in a box and place it on a shelf…. I know where it is, and maybe one day I can take it down and feel again. But right now, feeling is a luxury I can’t afford, not if I’m going to survive. Whatever is coming, I need to be bulletproof and numb. I’ll wear a mask. I don’t know this yet, but I won’t shed a tear again for twenty-three years.”
He painstakingly portrays that regardless of how unhealthy a relationship might be, connections to birth family are nonetheless such a primal part of a person’s essence –
“This woman is my curse, my burden, and my blood. I will never stop loving her.”
“I have one foot in my mother’s world, anchoring me to a past, and one foot stepping into this one, with Holly’s outstretched hand reaching from the shore of a loving present and a better future. I’ve only got to lift my anchor, but I can’t, not yet. Holly is offering me the life I have always wanted, if I can just find my way there.”
He truly makes the reader understand that while one healthy connection and environment can make a dramatic impact on a child’s life, the lasting impacts of trauma do not go away over night –
“…relieved to be out of there, but also sad. I finally have the freedom to be normal, but I don’t know how.”
Though a gut-wrenching read, I walked away from this book with a renewed passion – to act, to protect, to speak up, to put words into action. Children are living in poverty, children are being abused and neglected, right down the road and all around the world. It is 2023 – we can do better. We can all do something. So let’s.
“Where are the adults? Where is the DARE officer? Where are the teachers? The social workers? Where is anyone who can protect us? They have left us here. We are kids suffering in plain sight. Save your prayers, they won’t protect us. Over and over again, the three of us were left with a woman who was clearly hurting us by people in positions of authority. I want others to know what it means to be equally neglected by a parent and a society. I want it to be impossible to walk past a child who is begging in the street. Thank you for the Christmas presents collected at your office, but I’d rather you vote for people and policies so children don’t suffer from neglect, abuse, hunger, homelessness, violence, and maybe death.”
2023 is the year of the water rabbit, which predicts beautiful things like hope, peace and prosperity.
Chinese New Year is quickly approaching and we can already smell the Jiaozi steaming! Delish! This is a time for family to gather and enjoy the foods that bring good luck. It’s also the time for all of us to take a break from working, to rest and gather new energy for this new year. Make sure you sweep the house to get rid of all the bad luck and make space for new adventures.
Rest. Gather. Eat. Clean.
Sounds like the perfect recipe for hope, love and connection! Madison will be ready for this year with our mission to bring “Hope, Love and Connection by serving children, individuals, and families in the areas of adoption, foster care, and support services.” We know that 2023 is going to bring new families together and we are so excited to journey with you this year.