Determination

Determination

You must watch the video until the end.  Until you see her amazing smile and giggle when talking to her Ayi.  She is trying so hard to get that sock on!  She does not get frustrated, but instead sweetly asks her Ayi for help.

Her update matches that sweet giggle of hers.  Viv is kind and obedient.  She is known to share her food with the younger girls.  She follows directions and helps put things away.  Viv doesn’t like to be criticized, and will pout in the corner if she is.

There is so much potential in this angel, with her determination and sweet demeanor!  Viv would excel at lightning speed in a family!


Viv just turned 3.  She is diagnosed with Apert syndrome.  She is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $1,000 grant available for the family who adopts her.

He’s Loved

He’s Loved

We got Allen’s update today, and it is perfection!  My initial reaction to reading it was ‘Thank God.  He’s loved.’  The care and detail that went into his update, you can tell it was written from a place of great love for this child.  And the icing on the cake?  Hearing how amazing Allen is!  He may look a but different, but it clearly isn’t holding him back!  What this boy has overcome, to how he is now, is nothing short of phenomenal.

From the first question:

How is his mental ability compared to peers the same age?  He is very smart.

To the next:

Please describe his personality in details.  He is very happy and smart. He is easygoing and very extroverted.

To the added detail, very uncommon in these updates:

How is his emotional development? Is the child attached to anyone? Who is he close to? Does he care for other people?  He will be close to people who are nice to him, not a particular person. He cares for kids younger than him. He shares with other kids.

Is he well behaved and obedient? He is very obedient and well behaved. Once, he was taken to the hospital for exam. The doctor required that he could not eat or drink from morning to afternoon. In the hospital, the nanny told him the exam was for the purpose to fix his head and he needed to cooperate. The other kids were eating and he would not even look at them eating. He just stayed quietly with the caretaker for long time, not cranky at all.

He is loved.  You can read it in his update – seeing the extra care his nanny took to make sure we all knew what a good, smart, caring, loving boy he is.  While we all know he would do best in a family, the nannies filling in the gap until that happens are crucial.  His nannies are able to look past his deformities, and love him for who he is.  Now we just need to find his family who will do the same!


Allen is 2 1/2 years old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $2,000 grant available for the family who adopts him.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Kendra

Kendra

Kendra is a feisty 4-year-old.  She is a sweet girl, who enjoys helping the nannies soothe crying babies.  She has a soft spot for her favorite nanny, and is known to crawl onto her lap for snuggles.  Kendra is described as quiet and cute, and loves to imitate adults.

Kendra has been waiting for her family to step forward for years!  Could it be you?  

 


Kendra is 4 1/2 and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  She is diagnosed with post-operative hydrocephalus.  There is a $1,000 grant available for the family who adopts Kendra.  Please email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Rest In Peace sweet Taliah

Rest In Peace sweet Taliah

I was scouring the shared list one evening last week, and I came across you.  I skimmed your referral, and felt drawn to know more when I read, “you would not forget this girl after meeting her.”  You were described as an active and BRAVE girl.  You had already overcome so much in your five short years from orphanage life to undergoing surgeries.  You must be brave!

You intrigued me.  So I requested your file, and asked for an update.  And then the email came.  ‘She has died.  We cannot place her.’  No other explanation.  My head began spinning with questions… How?  When?  Did you have a favorite caregiver with you?  Were you alone?  Were you ‘home’ at the orphanage?  Or in a hospital?  Were you in pain?  Was someone holding your hand?  Was it sudden?  The questions kept swirling around in my head, along with pleas to you, ‘Please know you were loved,’ ‘Please know people cared about you,’ ‘Please know we made that call to your orphanage because we were committed to finding you a forever family,’ ‘Please know you will not be forgotten,’ and on and on.

Sweet girl, we hadn’t even given you an English name yet, but since I cannot share your real name, you deserve at least that.   A name to be called by your friends on this side of the ocean.  Taliah.  Means dew drops from heaven.  While some would say our ‘time’ together was insignificant, as it only consisted of reviewing your file and learning of your passing, it was more than enough for me, and you will forever be imprinted into my heart.  Rest in peace sweet Taliah.  I will not forget you.

Craving Cuddles and Kisses

Craving Cuddles and Kisses

“If you don’t cuddle her, she will cry; if you cuddle her, she would laugh happily; you kiss her neck and play with her, she would giggle”  (from Ava’s file).  I can picture sweet Ava laughing and giggling at her nanny’s touch.  The smile that comes across her face when she sees a familiar adult approaching.  But then I can’t help but wonder, how often is she given this opportunity to laugh and giggle from touch?  Once an hour?  Once every few hours?  Once a day?  Once every few days?  While her nanny does her best to tend to all of the children in her care, it is impossible for her to cater to each beyond his or her basic needs.  Ava has made it clear that she enjoys physical touch, as that is human nature.  But she doesn’t get it nearly as much as she should.

Many of us take human touch for granted, myself included.  I can’t even count how many times I touch my boys throughout a given day.  From the moment they wake in the morning, to the hug and kiss at tuck in, I feel as though I am constantly touching them – holding hands, ruffling hair, bear hugs, tickles, high fives, snuggles.  If I had to guess, I’d say at least every 15-20 minutes I touch them.  It’s intrinsic to my Mom-denity.  I can’t NOT touch them.  Doesn’t Ava deserve the same?  A Mom who just can’t leave her alone?!

In a way, I am grateful that Ava craves touch.  I have seen far too many orphans in orphanages recoil in anticipation of touch, as they have learned to fear it – whether from abuse or strict unfamiliarity with it.  Nurturing human touch is something so foreign to them that they cannot recognize any good from it.  But not Ava.  Ava holds out hope for that touch.  Somewhere within her, she recognizes its importance, and how it brings joy to her sedentary life.  Ava has made amazing strides in physical therapy, maybe in large part because touch is involved.  Oh to think of the positive gains she would make in a family.  In a family who would love on her, and hug her, and kiss her, and tickle her to her hearts content.


Ava is 3 1/2 and is waiting through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $1,000 grant available for the family who adopts her.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails

Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails

Boys. Their days are filled with poop, fart, and burp jokes.  If there’s a puddle, they’ll splash in it.  If there’s a snow pile, they can’t NOT pick up a chunk and form a snowball.  If there’s mud, well, they’ll be covered head to toe.  From chasing sisters with bugs, to turning anything they can get their hands on into a ‘zapping machine’ or other such contraption, they don’t stop.  Constantly up and on the go.  Jumping, bouncing, running, GOING.  They are always ‘on.’  But yet, their sweetness abounds too.  Tenderhearted, compassionate, kind.  It is a thing of beauty to see them go from knee deep in dirt, to making sure little brother is OK after that knee scrape.

If you are blessed to have one, I don’t need to keep going – you know the sheer joy that having a little boy brings.  And as wild and crazy as they can be, at the end of the day, they still need a Mommy to kiss their boo-boos, and a Daddy to play catch with.  Sadly, for ‘our’ boys, their biggest special need is just that – being a boy.  Which I will never understand.  The life and love a little boy brings to a family is immeasurable.  Meet just a few of our boys, whose biggest need is the one thing that makes them absolutely awesome!

Bronx – 4. Special Need: BOY

Byron – 3. Special Need: BOY

Damon – 6. Special Need: BOY

Heston – 2. Special Need: BOY

Homer – 1. Special Need: BOY

Kyron – 2. Special Need: BOY

Nash – 2. Special Need: BOY

Niles – 3. Special Need: BOY

Wade – 4. Special Need: BOY

Zeb – 1. Special Need: BOY


To learn about any of our amazing boys, please visit Madison Adoption Associates Waiting Children page.  You will have the opportunity to request the password so that you can review all of our precious children!  Email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

No Personality

No Personality

When the update came in, it was hard to read.  But I powered through.  Until I saw this:

  1. Please describe his/her personalities in detail? No personality

No personality.  No personality.  I kept reading it over and over again.  No personality.  This cannot be so.  Her referral, from two years ago, describes her as “giggles when she is touched; lovely when she smiles; enjoys that someone accompanies and plays with her.”  Now, no personality.

In continuing to read the update, and comparing it to the two year old referral, it is pretty clear that Harlow has been forgotten.  She does not go to school.  She cannot perform any fine motor skills simply because she cannot see.  She cannot perform most gross motor skills simply because she is given no chance to.  She spends her days in her crib.  Alone.

I am fairly certain that it should not read ‘no personality,’ but instead should read ‘no spirit,’ or ‘lost spirit,’ or ‘crushed spirit.’  It is not her personality that is lacking, but her spirit slipping away.  She has been given up on by those around her, and has no other option but to give up on herself.

Harlow lives in dark, quiet solitude.  No place for a child.  She has lost hope.  But we have not.  We still see potential.  We still see hope.  And we will continue to share about Harlow until a family – HER family – sees it too.

The update is concluded with:

  1. Anything else you think the family should know about this child? No

A response laden with hopelessness and doubt.  A response lacking any type of love or compassion for this child.  This soul whose spirit is in there somewhere, but if she stays where she is, will soon be gone forever.


Harlow will be 4 in April, and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $1,000 grant available for the family who adopts her.  Please email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

The Unseen

The Unseen

You’re used to my posts by now.  I introduce you to kids.  Share their stories.  Share their heartbreak.  Share their pictures.  I do my best to make sure you get to know them as more than words in an outdated file.  I do my best to bring them to life, and to let you get a glimpse of who they are.  Maybe the picture of him laughing with a visitor made you pause.  Maybe the story of her asking, begging, for it to be her turn to be adopted brought you to make that first inquiry.  Whatever it was, advocating for these kids, and sharing them with you, works.  Families are found, matches are made, and children are orphans no more.

But what happens when I can’t show you their picture?  When I can’t share much about their heartbreaking past?  Are they any less deserving?  No.  In fact, they need our help almost more than the others, because they can so easily be forgotten.  If we can’t see them, they aren’t there, right?  But they are there.  In orphanages.  Waiting.  I can’t show you her picture.  I can’t share him with the world in hopes of resonating with one person – that person who might be his family.  While I completely respect the country’s desire to protect the privacy, and the stories, of their children, it makes advocating for them that much more difficult.

So, I ask of you, think of the stories that you have read, and the pictures that you have seen.  Think of the kids who have touched your heart, whether they led you to make that first call or not.  Now, for each one of those who touched you, think of the hidden children that I can’t introduce you to.  Think of the ones who also wait, but who can’t be seen.



We are currently looking for both adoptive families and families interested in hosting this summer for these older children from a small Asian country.  Contact Sarah@madisonadoption.org for program information about these oh so deserving, unseen children.

“OH, the places you’ll go”

“OH, the places you’ll go”

“OH, the places you’ll go” by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And then things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on y our way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or the waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for the wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be as famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t
Because, sometimes they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.


And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Pippin has so much potential.  And, OH, the places he WILL go, with the love and support of a forever family.  BE the one to read this to him.  BE the one to believe in him.  BE the one to push him and encourage him to move those mountains!  He deserves to be OUT of the ‘waiting place.’

Pippin currently lives at New Day, and more information can be found on him here.  Pippin is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates, and there is a $3,000 grant ($4,000 in March!) available for the family who steps up to become his forever family, and biggest fan.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Hands are Overrated

Hands are Overrated

An interview with Diana Bramble, Executive Director of Operations and Mom

What led you to adopt a child with a limb difference?

When my husband and I decided that we were ready to adopt, we were open to many different needs.  We were basically just waiting to find our child, and were willing to explore different special needs.  Though, we had to be realistic about our lifestyle.  I work a lot, and I love my job, so we knew that a child needing many medical appointments, therapies, surgeries, etc. would not be a good fit for our family, or for that child!  We wanted to expand our family, but also wanted to respect our current children and not adopt a medically fragile child who might significantly take away from time with them.  When we saw Chase’s referral, the fact that he was missing his left hand was significant, however, we knew he would not need many surgeries or therapies or follow-ups.  We were pretty certain he was our son.  And then when our oldest saw his picture and said, “That’s my brother.  Go get my brother,” it sealed the deal.

What type of limb difference does your child have?  And what has medical treatment looked like?

Chase is missing his left hand.  I have often put one hand behind my back and tried to function like that, and for me, it is impossible!  But for Chase, since he has only ever had one hand, it is not a handicap for him.  It is not hard at all.  He has always learned to do things with one hand, so he adapts unbelievably.  We did have him fitted with a prosthetic, which had specific attachments that he could use for his various activities.  He used them for a bit, but has since decided it’s much easier for him to function as he always has….with one hand!  If he wants to try again in the future, of course we are open.  But, for now, he really doesn’t need it!  He is actually above average in everything he tries- even with the one hand!  There really is nothing he can’t do!

Describe what it is like to parent a child with limb difference.

Sometimes we forget that Chase is missing a hand.  He carries just as much, if not more, laundry upstairs as the other kids do.  He carries just as many, if not more, grocery bags in as the other kids do.  There is nothing, and I truly mean nothing that this kid cannot do.

Chase plays competitive ice hockey, and although I know I am Mama-biased, he literally is one of the best on the team!  He competes on swim team each summer.  He plays baseball.  He rock climbs.  He dresses himself – buttons, snaps, zippers and all!  He builds Legos.  He climbs on the monkey bars.  While he hasn’t made it all the way across just yet, mark my words he will this summer!  Plus, the one by us is really long.  Chase was the first kid in his kindergarten class to tie his shoes.  There is literally nothing that I can think of that his two-handed siblings can do and he cannot.  When you tell a child he can do anything, and you instill that idea in him day after day, he will figure out how to do it!

When we were preparing to bring Chase home, my biggest fears had to do with the stigma of being a person with a missing limb.  I was not worried what others would think, but I worried how those thoughts, comments, reactions would affect Chase.  While most people don’t even notice Chase’s missing hand, some do, and they are usually little kids.  Sometimes there are stares and pointing, and when this happens, we usually just smile, and they catch our eyes and then smile back.  If appropriate, we use the opportunity to educate kids (and sometimes adults) about limb difference.  Usually, once they get a good look at how amazing and ‘normal’ Chase is, they just say ‘Cool!’ and go about their business.  Chase is almost seven years old.  There was a period earlier this year when he was self-conscious about his arm.  Not wanting to embarrass him or answer for him, my husband and I made sure to reassure him that he is perfect just the way he is.  We also taught him that it is his story, and his hand, and to share as he sees fit.  We explained to Chase that it was his choice to either educate the person, or explain to them that it was a “shark attack,” or “dinosaur battle,” or, “oops, I didn’t notice.  The alligator must have bitten it off when I was feeding him at MomMom’s in Florida.”  Of course he tells the truth later, but what good is a missing hand if you cannot have a little fun with it?!

If anything, I think Chase inspires people when they see all that he can do.  He is amazing!  There was one kid on the bus this year who told him his hand looked weird.  I am pretty sure that kid got an earful from Chase’s fan club that day!  We know that he will face adversity when it comes to his missing hand.  And all we can do as parents is equip him with the tools necessary to confront adversity, and continue to make sure he knows how awesome he is just the way he is.  We always do our best to focus on his positives, and not worry about the negatives.  Every child is different and our differences make us special.  We tell Chase all the time, “How boring would the world be if everyone was the exact same?”

What activities does your child enjoy participating in?

You name it, he does it.  The list is endless.  Rock climbing, baseball, ice hockey, swimming, running, basketball, monkey bars, carrying laundry, sassing his Mom, wrestling with his siblings.  If a ‘normal’ seven year old boy can do it, Chase is doing it, often better.

What would you like to share with parents considering adopting a child with limb difference?

I have been working with adoptive families and children for years, and I can truly say that in my humble opinion, this is possibly the easiest need out there.  As a parent, watching Chase learn and do things we wondered if he’d be able to do, I just burst with pride!  It is almost even more gratifying seeing Chase accomplish certain things than our other kids, knowing he has to work so much harder, think differently, and adapt in order to do so.

My greatest hope for Chase is for him to know how truly incredibly awesome he is.  I thank his birth parents daily for making such a remarkable boy, and I really hope they somehow know deep down how amazing he is.  I am blessed beyond measure to be able to call him son.  Even though I often forget that he is missing a hand in everyday life (because he truly does everything any other six-year-old boy does!), I will never forget that he is perfectly, incredibly made, and I am in awe of him daily.


Cyrus

Meet Cyrus.  Cyrus is 10 years old and doesn’t have a few fingers.  But much like Chase, he does not let that hold him back!  He is a fun, active, healthy boy, desperately wanted a family.  There is a $3,000 grant available, plus an additional $1,000 for the month of March for the family who adopts Cyrus. 


Wallace

Meet Wallace.  Wallace is a three-year-old barrel of fun.  He has adapted to his limb difference, and figures out a way to do whatever his peers are doing!  He is helpful and kind.  There is a $2,000 grant available, plus an additional $1,000 for the month of March for the family who adopts Wallace.  


Visit Madison Adoption Associates for more information, or email Sarah@madisonadoption.org