Stop the presses!!! Caleb’s smile will melt you. Absolutely melt you! I can just envision how much bigger it gets with a good tickle-fest by a Daddy. Or with blowing belly raspberries by a Mommy. He truly defines ‘smiling with your whole body.’ And he’s not just cheesing for the camera. His nannies share that he always walks into the playroom with a huge smile on his face. And when they hand him his favorite ball, he claps his hands like mad and says ‘thank you,’ while running around the room.
Caleb’s smile is phenomenal, and it will truly bless the family lucky enough to call him son. Though, more important than having a family to make him smile and giggle, is having a safe place to be sad. Because he will be sad. Adoption is sad. And it may take a while for his family to see this smile. It may take a while for him to grieve his losses, and learn to accept his new reality. But oh boy, once his family gets through the trenches of trauma and grief, and once they are the reason that heart-stopping smile spreads across his face, it’ll be that much more beautiful.
Be the reason that Caleb is smiling.
Caleb is available through Madison Adoption Associates. He is two and a half and diagnosed with post-operative anal atresia. His family is eligible for a $2,000 grant. Email email@example.com for more information.
It was impossible not to notice those cheeks and lips as they came towards me. Enter Yani. Chubby cheeks, pouty lips, and a whole lot of (appropriate) skepticism as to what this room full of strangers wanted. I could see Yani taking it all in, one person at a time. She never strayed far from her nanny, with the exception of snagging a lollipop from the candy bag.
Though quietly, Yani actively participated in our evaluation. She followed directions with ease, and even let a few smiles sneak out. Even though her shy sweetness was more than apparent, her nanny wanted to be sure that we knew Yani always helps in class, and is a kind, calm girl.
Yani is three and a half, and is diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage and sequelae of cerebral obstruction. While her diagnosis may sound intimidating, Yani surely is not! This genuine soul would so benefit from the love and support of a forever family!
Yani is 3 years old. She is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. Please visit our website or email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.
I woke up to the falling snow, school cancelled, and two boys begging me to go out and play in the winter wonderland with them. I was able to put them off for a couple of hours while the gusts died down, but I knew it was inevitable. So then there I was, spending the half an hour suiting them up with four layers each, and giving myself a pep talk to put my own snow boots on, and my smile, to allow them this rite of passage. I don’t like the snow. I don’t like being cold. And I don’t like when the wind slaps you across the face. I’ll be the first to admit it. But it’s amazing how those feelings (mostly) dissipate as I see the utter joy in my children’s faces.
We built the wonkiest snowman ever. Then we played ‘bury and find his nose’ (the carrot) for a good hour. And of course, the snowball throwing was in full force. There were laughs. There were tears (the four year old took one right in the face…..it happens). And there was innocent fun.
Back inside we go, and they are now thawing out with hot cocoa in front of the fire, as I sit to write a post about Bentley. I pulled up his file and pictures to help me think about what I wanted to share with you about him. I noticed he is from northern China. And once again, my mind goes where it often does. Comparing the children I fight hard for, like Bentley, with my own. I wondered if Bentley likes the snow. I wondered if he has ever really been taught how to play in it. I wondered if he would prefer sledding or snowball fights. He loves sports, so I’m guessing he’d enjoy both! I wondered if he would like hot cocoa when he came inside. And if he would like it with the colorful marshmallows or the white ones. And if he’s a cookie dunker or not. I continued to wonder about Bentley as I heard the final slurps of my boys finishing their cocoa, and starting to beg to bake the cookies I promised them we would.
Bentley, just like all children, so deserve to experience childhood joy and wonder like a no-school snow day. He deserves a Mom who doesn’t like the snow, but goes out anyway for her kids. He deserves siblings to throw snowballs at. He deserves to bake cookies and fight over licking the spoon. He deserves a childhood.
Bentley is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. He just turned 10 and is diagnosed with post-operative Spina Bifida. There is a $3,000 grant available to the family who steps forward to adopt Bentley. Email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.
187 days. 187 days until his birthday. Kids should be excited about a birthday countdown! And maybe Joe is. But I’m not. And all those who love him are not. Because in 187 days he will no longer be eligible for adoption. He will ‘age out.’ Perhaps he will be able to stay at the orphanage and work. Perhaps not. Perhaps he will get vocational education. Perhaps not. The future for children who age out in China is filled with uncertainty and often instability. We cannot let that happen to this sweet boy.
Joe is warm. He is always eager to help. And is so often seen as happy and with a smile on his face. Joe knows he has limitations due to his low vision, and he is honest to himself and others about his abilities. But he still does all things with vigor, and is usually willing to try new things!
Joe will bless his family. He seeks connection from others, and is loved by those who know him. Though they will miss him fiercely, it is the hope of everyone at his orphanage that he is chosen as a son.
Joe is eligible for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. He is diagnosed with septo-optic dysplasia, but does have some vision. There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available to the family who adopts Joe. Email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.
It was so fitting that he was dressed in yellow, as he truly came into the room like a ray of sunshine. The innocent joy coming off of this child was palpable. He truly defines the term, ‘to smile with your whole body,’ as you could sense his happy energy even from behind. To think of this ray of sunshine abandoned at the age of two at a tea house is almost just too much to bear. I could bombard you with words like happy, sweet, joyful, innocent, and silly, but I will let his videos speak for themselves.
There are many unknowns with Sampson’s special needs. Sampson is diagnosed with CP. He is enrolled in a therapeutic program where he has made exceptional progress in the past few months. He needs a family willing to accept him for who he is now, and to take it one day at a time. Despite the unknowns, I AM certain of one truth – Sampson’s family will be blessed beyond measure, and so incredibly lucky to be able to wake up to this smiling ray of sunshine every day. Take a chance on Sampson. See all that he is, and not what he is not. He IS a boy filled with such an amazing zest for life. He is NOT just a boy with Cerebral Palsy.
Sampson is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. There is a $2,000 grant available to the family who adopts him. Email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.
I will let the pictures and video speak for themselves when it comes to Quinn. But, let me just say, with her charm, charisma, and genuine zest for life, this girl will not only bless her family, but will do amazing things in life!! When she first waltzed in, she was a bit shy. But it didn’t take her long at all to show us her true, spunky self!!
Quinn is 6 years old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. She is diagnosed with a-thalassemia. There is a $1,000 grant available to the family who adopts Quinn. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Those dimples. They speak for themselves. I see sweetness in them. But also boyish mischievousness. I see Gus’s spunk in them, as well as his shyness. This boy has it all (minus a few fingers) – charm, resilience, sass, and sweetness – all rolled into one perfect boy.
Gus turns 9 in exactly one month. He was abandoned at 13 days old, and has spent his last 3,244 days as an orphan. He has waited far too long.
Gus and his good buddy Bentley, hard at work at school.
Gus is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. He is missing a few fingers on his left hand. There is a $3,000 grant available for the family who adopts Gus. Bentley is also available for adoption. Email email@example.com for more information.
Oh sweet boy. As your friends lay still in their cribs, unaware of us, you were attentive. You noticed us and immediately engaged. Who were we? What were we doing there? Your large, beautiful brown eyes followed us while we moved around the room as you asked those questions to yourself. I spotted your rosy, chubby cheeks from yards away. I just had to come over and give them a playful pinch.
When it was your turn for an evaluation, you held Lynne’s gaze. You interacted with her intently and purposefully. You took the toys when appropriate, and passed them from hand to hand. You passed her tests with flying colors, all while continuing to wonder about us.
Trent, I see hope in your big brown eyes. I see a light. I see strong-will and determination. Traits that will take you places in life. As long as you have family to go along with those admirable traits. A family who will pick you up when you fall down, dab your tears when you cry, and hold your hand when you’re scared. Trent, you keep doing what you are doing every day – work hard, practice your walking, stay engaged with those around you. You keep doing that, and I will keep searching for your family.
Trent is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. There is a $2,000 grant available to a qualifying family. Please email Sarah at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Of recent I have become a huge fan of Ruth Chou Simons, both her art and the words she writes. Her artwork is beautiful and I have been ever so pleased with the pieces I have ordered which now hang on my wall. The only problem that discovering her art has caused is now I want more of it!
There is a particular piece that I am so very happy to have found whilst drooling over the watercolor paintings, which to me are worship on paper.
It is Advent, the season we prepare our hearts and minds with joy for the coming of the Messiah. And, soon Christmas will be upon us and we can celebrate together that Christ is born just as was told. He came for us all. And His imagine, His glory, is in all of us. Ruth Chou Simons created a Christmas piece that so beautifully reflects this.
In her piece, Abide With Us, Joseph and Mary are holding the newborn Savior. Please go and take a look. Let your eyes rest on the beauty of Mary in particular in this piece. There she sits next to her husband, holding her son, and she reflects not only God’s goodness and the beauty of his creation and promise….but also my daughter. Your daughters too.
How perfect, for each of us to be able to witness our likeness painted on canvas, as the image of a great love that was set into motion and continues unto the end. I am so thankful Ruth Chou Simons painted Mary as Asian, for many reasons, but the greatest is giving it to my Chinese daughter and watching her eyes sparkle as she beholds her own reflection in the greatest story ever told.
While we make sure the stockings are hung just right, they wait. While we decorate gingerbread houses and cookies and make a joyful mess, they wait. While we run out for that one last gift, they wait. While we hang ornaments and put the star on top, they wait. While we stock our cupboards for the holiday feast, they wait. While we laugh with family and friends and make memories, they wait. While we rejoice, they wait. Think back to your last nine, ten Christmases…. they have been waiting every single one.
This holiday season, enjoy the magic and merriment. Enjoy your children’s innocent awe. Enjoy each other. But I have one favor to ask. Please remember those who wait. Bring them into conversations. Share about them with others. And while you are making sure they are not forgotten, take it a step further. Consider hosting one of these six precious ones who wait.
Be the reason they do not have to wait any longer.
These six children are available for hosting through Madison Adoption Associates from February 13-March 6, 2017 in Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. You do not have to be interested in adoption to host, you simply have to be willing to open your heart for three short weeks. Email email@example.com for more information.
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.