The Interrogation

The Interrogation

Usually we are the ones asking the questions.  Not this time.  Not with Jorge.  From the moment he walked into the room, we (Diana Bramble, Executive Director of Operations, and Misty Lucas, Colombia Program Director) could tell we were in for it!  Totally reminded us of the above movie scene.

The interrogation began…

Jorge: What’s your name?

Diana: Diana

Jorge: How old are you?

Diana: 40-something

Jorge: Where do you live?

Diana: Delaware, USA

And the list goes on and on!  How many kids?  Any pets?  What kind?  Can I see pictures of your pets?  Can I see pictures of your kids?

And then it was Misty’s turn….

Jorge: What’s your name?

Misty: Misty Lucas

Jorge: How old are you?

Misty: Also 40-something

Jorge: Where do you live?

Misty: Illinois, USA

Etc…

While normally we would gently shift the questions back to the child to get to know him better, not this time.  Jorge’s ‘interrogation’ delivery was just too captivating!!  He didn’t demand answers.  There was no arrogance, or expectation for us to answer.  We could tell that he was just so curious to get to know us.  He was as captivated with us, as we were with him!  And when we started showing him pictures of our lives, our families, our pets….well….we all became even more captivated.  Jorge was genuinely giddy to get a glimpse into our lives.  And by showing this genuine giddiness gave us a glimpse into Jorge himself.  Witty, sweet, funny, kind, smart, energetic, charismatic.  The list goes on and on and on.  It turns out, we didn’t need to ask Jorge a single question in order to get to know him!  For the first time, it was the child asking us questions that gave us the best impression of who he is as a person.  Jorge will be a blessing to the family lucky enough to adopt him!


Jorge is 10-years-old and is available for adoption from Colombia through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $1,000 grant available to the family who is lucky enough to adopt this boy as their son.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

 

Are we crazy? – A Family Perspective

Are we crazy? – A Family Perspective

MAA family, Candace and Joe, graciously share their adoption story…

“Are we crazy?” “Can we really do this?”  So many questions were swimming through our minds as we sat there looking at the most precious face.  A dark hair, pig tailed, dimpled cheek, sparkly eyed little 3-year-old girl stared back at us on the screen with an extra-large smile and such a joyful spirit about her that we couldn’t stop looking at her.  Over the next few days we couldn’t stop thinking about her too.  “Is this our daughter?” We hadn’t necessarily been thinking of adopting a child with Down syndrome.

Our oldest son, Wyatt, was born back in 2004.  He had catapulted us into the roles of mother and father, and special need parents at the same time.  Although we were surprised and scared to find out around 23 weeks that Wyatt would be born with Down syndrome, we have since had 14 years being his parents.  Experiencing the wonderful blessings that his uniqueness brought to our lives, we were cautiously open to the thought of welcoming a new little one with the same uniqueness.

Still, there were lots of questions and prayers placed on the table as we felt more and more drawn to this girl who had stolen our hearts. So, with excitement and a little fear we pushed “send” on the email requesting more information about her.  Over the next few days we felt more and more confident that God was asking us to move forward with this adoption and to trust him with the details.  The year long process of paperwork came and went with lots of anticipation among all the members of our family.  Besides our 14 yr old, we also have a 12 yr old son Owen, and a 9 yr old daughter Ruby, who was also adopted back in 2009 from Ethiopia.  There was lots of talk about how our new life was going to look after we brought our new daughter home.  But the truth is you can never really fully prepare for your new normal until you meet your child and begin it.

So on that hot, humid day in July, in the most northern province of China, in the City of Harbin, after what seemed like a never ending process and airplane flight, we walked into a conference room at the social services building. There, sitting sweetly in a big black office chair was a pigtailed little girl in a pink lace dress and white sandals.  She was gently ushered over to us and we were introduced to her as her mama and papa.  Through all the uncertainty that had proceeded this meeting, through all the uncertainty that surrounded us in that room, and through all the uncertainty that we knew would still be waiting to come, through all of this, we KNEW that this was our daughter.  We also knew there would be challenges to come, there would be losses to grieve, attachments to begin and adjustments to be made, but through all of this we knew she was ours and we were hers forever.

Since that first meeting a few month ago so much has changed and love has grown exponentially as we have become a family of 6.  All of the children have fallen head over heels for their little sister.  She is cuddly and independent, sweet and a little naughty, curious and timid.  She is learning that we are her mom and dad and whatever she needs we will provide.  She is her own unique, perfectly formed self.  Her future is bright and exciting to us and we see her impact on earth as limitless.

When we were discussing names back before we ever met this beautiful child, we knew that it needed to embody her little personality well.  We decided on the name Chloe Joy.  Chloe means new tender growth. So her full names means: New tender growth of Joy! To us this is perfect and could not be more accurate as she continues to bring joy into every new life that she encounters.  We are so blessed that God chose us to be together forever.


For more information about adoption, and our programs, please visit our website.  We are happy to offer a special grant of $1,500 in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Any qualified family who commits to adopt a child with Down syndrome during the month of October will receive the grant, in addition to MAA’s regularly available grants.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Why Colombia?

Why Colombia?

by Dorcas Horst, MAA family

Many people have asked us this question when they discover this to be the birth country of our four children.

What made you go there?

The answer is God. We could have picked any country, but God moved our hearts and circumstances to help us choose Colombia because that is where our children were waiting for us and we couldn’t be more grateful. Now that we’ve been through the program four times, there are many reason that we love and recommend adoptions from Colombia.

The adoption program in Colombia is long standing and stable. The requirements for adoptive parents such as age, income, and health are reasonable, and many families will fit within these guidelines.

We have always been profoundly touched by the love and care our children have received before they came to our family. We discovered with amazement the amount of work the staff puts into preparing the children for their new families. It didn’t make the adjustments non-existent, but it made them much, much easier. There is careful thought and planning put into the meeting with your child in hopes of making the transition as smooth as possible. I loved being able to send a photo book to my children, knowing that when we met them, our faces would already be somewhat familiar to them, due to the wonderful preparation from their caregivers. And for this, we are deeply thankful.

The amount of information we have received about our children has been a huge blessing. There will always be questions and blank spots in your child’s history, but Colombia does a wonderful job at providing as much information as possible. If there are questions about information in the child’s file they are usually willing to do what they can to get you more information or updates.

The broad range of ages of children available makes this program a good fit for many families. There are very young children available and all the way up to teenagers who may be running out of time to join a family. There are also many beautiful sibling groups. Why not experience twice the love? or triple?  The health of the children covers a broad range as well, from very mild to more severe medical needs or developmental delays. So, again, this makes it a good fit for many families.

The stay in country can be a draw back for many families, as it is longer than some other countries, but don’t let that deter you from adopting from Colombia. Those weeks of family time with your new child without the distraction of outside schedules and responsibilities are so valuable to your bonding. Sometimes the four walls of the hotel might drive you crazy, but needing to be this close as a family is something you will discover is so good for all of you. By the time you are home and thrown into the whirlwind of activities there, you will have that much more groundwork laid and know your child so much better than if you had a very short adoption trip.

This time also gives you a better chance to learn more about your child’s birth country and heritage. Colombia is a very beautiful country. You will probably have opportunities to visit points of interest and learn more about the local culture. Our family enjoys quite a few Colombian foods and traditions that we never would have been able to experience on a much shorter stay in country.

So, as you consider adoption, please take a second look at Colombia and all the beautiful children who are waiting. Let your heart be moved by the plight of the thousands of orphans in Colombia. You could make the difference of despair or hope, of a lifetime of loneliness or of a family’s love and care.


Madison Adoption Associates is happy to assist you in your adoption from Colombia.  Please feel free to visit our website for more information, or email Misty Lucas at misty@madisonadoption.org.

 

Hearing Smiles

Hearing Smiles

Do you know what it sounds like to ‘hear’ someone smile?  You know…when you can’t see their face, but you can feel the pause that happens as the corners of their mouth turn up?  And you can somehow ‘hear’ the smile before they even speak?  Every person I have asked about Stellan, I have heard their smile before they responded.  ‘So, tell me about Stellan.’ Insert smile induced pause here. They respond something to the effect of, ‘Oh yes, Stellan.’  And often, there is another insert smile induced pause here, as they reflect on their time spent with him.

You see, Stellan is one of those boys you just know is special.  From the moment you lock eyes with him, you know this boy has a sweet, old soul.  What appears as shyness at first, is really just Stellan ‘taking it all in,’ reflecting, and deciding what he makes of the situation before engaging.  But when he does engage with you?  He’ll shine a light into you like no other.

Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  And this couldn’t be truer of Stellan.  From agency staff, to advocates, to adoptive families, many have crossed paths with Stellan, and all walk away with the same feeling – one of absolute awe and a warmth that reaches their bones.  And if Stellan leaves this mark on those who meet him for just a brief time?  Imagine the imprint he would make on his family, day in and day out.


Stellan is running out of time.  He will turn 14 in April 2019, so must be adopted before then, or he will no longer be eligible for adoption.  There is a $5,000 grant through Madison Adoption Associates, as well as an additional $5,000 through the LPA Adoption Committee available to the family who steps forward and says Yes to this boy.  To learn more about Stellan, please visit our Waiting Child page, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org. 

Nurture Groups – What are they? And why go?

Nurture Groups – What are they?  And why go?

We caught up with Laura Taylor, Clinical Supervisor at MAA and TBRI Certified Practitioner, to chat with her about Nurture Groups…specifically the Nurture Group that MAA is starting on September 20!

  • What is a Nurture Group? A Nurture Group is more about experience than education. That isn’t to say you will not learn…of course you will learn!  But, a Nurture Group is designed to teach with experience, rather than instruction or lecture.  You will be given a variety of exercises that will help you and your child connect, and nurture your relationship.  As part of the group, we will do these exercises together, so that you can leave with a thorough understanding of how to implement the exercises at home.
  • What can I expect to learn at MAA’s Nurture Group? You can expect to participate in activities that promote attachment and bonding, and will therefore learn how to implement those exercises at home.  Each week, you will be introduced to new activities that encourage connection.  At the group, you will practice these exercises one-on-one with your child, so that you both are comfortable with them before the group session is over.  You will learn some TBRI connecting strategies, as well as TBRI catch phrases that will serve as reminders to your child.  You and your child will also work on self-regulating behaviors.
  • What is the appropriate age of child participants? Why?  In order to fully participate in the Nurture Group, the appropriate age would be 4-years-old and older.  Participants must be able to follow 3-step directions.  Parents can assist their children with understanding the directions if necessary, but ultimately the child should be able to be easily guided in the activities.  Children must also be capable of taking turns.
  • Why can I only bring one child? The sole purpose of the Nurture Group is to promote connection with your child. The best way to do that is by utilizing one-on-one interactions.  Therefore, the group is designed for pairs, so parent and child can be 100% focused on each other during the session.  By working one-on-one with your child, you both will become more attuned and responsive to each other, and you will strengthen your attachment.
  • Will all Nurture Group sessions present the same material? All sessions will promote the same goal – to promote and enhance attachment.  The exercises shared at each session will vary.  Each session will present the opportunity for playful connection, which is the foundation of attachment.  Children from hard places can develop secure attachments, but often only once they feel safe.  Play disarms fear, and it is in this playful environment that your child can learn, develop, and connect.
  • What are the benefits of regularly attending a Nurture Group? Each session you attend, you are taking one hour out of your busy day to solely, 100% connect with your child.  This is a gift!  The more you attend the group, the more insight you will gain into ‘connecting principles.’  You will also begin to see that as your connection with your child grows, many troublesome behaviors may begin to decrease in frequency and intensity.  By attending several sessions, you will not only become equipped with activities to strengthen your bond with your child, but also with hands-on strategies to help your child self-regulate their emotions.

THE DETAILS

We invite you to join us at our Nurture Group to learn TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) based techniques that will nourish your bond with your child, and hers with you.  Laura Taylor, our Clinical Supervisor and TBRI Certified Practitioner, will lead the group and teach you different techniques that you can utilize to strengthen your connection with your child.

Open to:  Parents (adoptive, biological, foster, step, waiting) and their children 4-years-old and older (adoptive, biological, foster, step).  **Due to the one-on-one, instructional nature of this group, only bring one child per parent please**         

When:   Thursday, September 20; Thursday, October 18; & Thursday, November 15

6:30pm – 7:30pm

**2019 dates TBD**

Where:   Madison Adoption Associates

1102 Society Drive

Claymont, DE 19703

RSVP:   Space is limited.  RSVP required.  Please complete and submit the RSVP form

Cost:   $20/family when paid in advance.  $30/family at the door.  When paying in advance, please print and sign the RSVP form, and mail in with check to: Madison Adoption Associates, 1102 Society Drive, Claymont, DE 19703.  Please put ‘Nurture Group’ in the memo.  We are sorry, but we are unable to accept credit card payments at this time.

Firsts

Firsts

Firsts.  I’m sure you remember a lot of yours.  I definitely remember many of mine.  Maybe not the very early ones, and maybe not always pleasant ones, but I remember plenty.  The first time I rode my bike down the big hill in our backyard.  The first time I got my braces tightened (ouch!).  The first time I played a solo piano recital.  The first time I flew in a plane.  The first time a boy called me.  I can think of many more throughout my childhood and adolescence.  And, now that I am a Mom myself, I understand even more the importance of being present for every.single.first a child experiences.

So, when I hear from his host family that Stover has experienced not one, but two firsts so far during the hosting session, I knew I had to share.  Because he deserves praise.  He deserves accolades.  He deserves for those firsts to be shouted from the rooftops in his honor.  Not only did Stover learn to ride a bike, but he also experienced the ocean for the first time.

In both instances, he started out with much hesitation.  He wasn’t sure about either one.  But he gave them both a chance, and the end result was pure, unadulterated joy.

While his host family is absolutely celebrating these firsts, it is my hope and theirs that by sharing them with you all we might find his forever family, so that his next round of firsts can happen with those who will remember them forever right alongside him.


Stover is 9 years old and is available for adoption from Colombia through Madison Adoption Associates.  He is here in the US on a hosting trip through August 14.  For more information about this sweet boy, please email sarah@madisonadoption.org or complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

The Little Helper

The Little Helper

Oh Stover.  Where do I even begin?  Honestly, his formal referral does not paint the best picture of him.  Frankly, we weren’t sure that bringing him on a hosting trip was the best idea after reading it.  But, our friends who know him well assured us that he would be OK.  Fast forward until now, and boy were they right!  I had the absolute pleasure of spending the afternoon with Stover today.  Sweet doesn’t even begin to describe this boy.  I visited his host home to see how he is doing, and check in with the host family.  When I asked about his positives, I couldn’t keep up with writing them all down.  And, when I asked about his negatives, his host Mom was hard pressed to come up with any.  You see, this boy is everything.  First, he is a helper.  He INSISTS on helping his host Mom at the grocery store – he wants to check things off the list, carry all the bags, and when asked if he wants to pick anything out, the answer is always, “No gracias.”  Second, he is filled with empathy.  On a hike, his host brother fell down, and the first at his side was Stover to make sure he was OK.  On another occasion, Stover may have butted in front of his host sister in line for the slide.  Upon realizing this upset her, Stover made sure to apologize and allow her to go in front of him.  The list goes on and on.  There are daily examples of his grace, compassion, and all around huge heart.

He is all smiles.  All the time.  Flexible.  Adaptable.  Loving.  Caring.  Helpful.  Brave.  And ultimately, he is desperate to be part of a family.


Stover is 9 years old and is available for adoption from Colombia through Madison Adoption Associates.  He is here in the US on a hosting trip through August 14.  For more information about this sweet boy, please email sarah@madisonadoption.org or complete our Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

30

30

Thirty.  30.  I’ll say it again….THIRTY.  30 children woke up, packed their back-packs, and embarked on the biggest trip of their lives.  Though well prepared, they were nonetheless flying into so many unknowns.  Three flights, and over 3,000 miles later, they arrived.  Into our arms.  With smiles on their faces, and hope and excitement in their eyes.

We have been entrusted with these 30 precious souls for the next three weeks.  To pour love into them, to nurture them, and to show them what it means to be a part of a family.  The magnitude of what we have agreed to do, and more so, what our host families have committed to do, is not lost on any of us.  We will dedicate every single day of the next 20 days to these children.  We will introduce them to you all, and share about their personalities.  More importantly, our host families will give them some of the best days of their lives.  And that does not mean extravagant trips to Disney World, or dinners at fancy restaurants.  No, it means dinner together as a family, playing board games, going for walks, and getting tucked in every night with a kiss on the forehead.

So we invite you all to join us as we get to know these precious children.  We invite you to also share about them with those you know.  Because we vow to do everything in our power so that the next time they come to the U.S. will be forever.


The children are here through our Hosting Program.  For more information on our hosting program, or adoption, please visit our website, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org.

A picture speaks a thousand words

I woke up early, before the kids even, so I could sit down and write this post in peace before the day got away from me.  As I’m jotting down notes, and trying to get those creative juices flowing, my Dad walks in, pours his coffee, and says, “Wanna go fishing?”  Once a year, my husband and I load up our boys and head to the lake with my extended family.  This year, we so happen to be here over Father’s Day.  So, while I had every intention to provide a heartfelt, touching Father’s Day post for you all, I’m going to instead go wet a line with my Dad on this peaceful, quiet morning, and let these pictures of some of our amazing MAA Dads do the talking for me.  As, we all know…a picture speaks a thousand words.  Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there – May the fish be biting, and may the kids be doing the grilling for you.

The One

The One

Dear Max,

I wrote my last letter to you six months ago.  And here I sit, again, to share my heart.  Don’t think for one minute that I haven’t thought of you in these past six months.  Quite the opposite actually.  If I wrote you a letter every time I thought of you, I’d have hundreds by now.  Maybe thousands.  You see Max, you are the one.  The one I think of constantly.  The one who comes to mind as I am getting ready to go see my son’s end of the year school play.  The one I think about whenever I hear talk of an inventor.  The one who brings tears to my eyes and keeps me up at night.  I know this fact, that you are constantly on my mind, doesn’t help you.  I know it doesn’t matter unless it results in your forever family being found.  Or, maybe it would matter to you.  Maybe I’ll translate my letters to you one day and send them your way.  Just so you know that you have been, are, and will be, on someone’s heart.  But I don’t know.  I don’t know if it would make you wonder ‘why?’  ‘Why, even though she tried so hard, did no one pick me?’  And I would never want you to think that.  I would never want, for one moment, for you to think that you are not wanted.

I got this picture of you from a friend who also always has you on her heart and mind.  I can’t believe how handsome and grown-up you are looking!  Mr. ‘I refuse to smile’ cracking a bit of a smirk.  It looks good on you, especially knowing it doesn’t come easily for you to do!  There are so many layers to your story Max.  Layers that, while complex, don’t define you.  But nonetheless, layers that make up your story.  Your story….not mine.  So I am going to refrain from sharing anything else here.  Instead, I will leave you with my continued promise that I am still trying, and will continue to do so, as long as it takes.

Your Friend,

Sarah


Max turns fourteen in January, leaving only six months to be adopted.  Though he was diagnosed as a ‘premature infant with low birth weight,’ Max does not present with any special needs.  Except, of course, being an older boy.  Max is currently on the shared list, but Madison Adoption Associates has a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available if a family adopts through MAA.  Please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as his forever family, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.