Monthly archives for July, 2016

Goodbye, for now…

The day has come.  The day to say goodbye.  I type this through tears.  Forgive me if these thoughts are not coherent.  Or pretty.  But the weight of today has laid heavily on my shoulders for the past four weeks.  From the moment these five little bodies walked through airport security waving, and with smiles on their faces, I knew….I knew my heart was in for it.  And I was right.  Each one of these children have embedded themselves into my heart, into places I didn’t even know existed.  I thought my heart only had room for my children…but I was wrong….so wrong.  I have fallen madly in love with these five kids, and the host families who have loved them as their own for the past four weeks.  While it provides some comfort in knowing that three of the five will be returning to the US to their forever, it does not take away the angst in my heart for the other two….and it does not make watching all of their tears any easier.

Jasper and Shane.  I could shower you with words about each of them like resilient, kind, happy, amazing.  But I just can’t right now.  The thought of them on the plane.  Going back.  Knocks the wind right out of me and makes me feel like I can’t breathe.  And, as a dear friend recently said to me, that’s ok.  It’s ok for me to feel not ok.  For the sake of them.  I will continue to feel not ok until I know all five will come back.  Until I know that all five will come home for good.  Until then, I will leave you with these images.  These beautiful, heartbreaking, loving, emotional images.  And all I ask is that you dab your tears, and share the stories of these children to all you know, until we find them their forever…..until we know this will be their last goodbye.

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

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The Unexpected Teacher

I wasn’t sure how it would work.  We arranged for evaluations of the host kids this past Saturday.  All the details were prefect.  We had OTs, we had eager students, we had both bilingual Cantonese/English and Mandarin/English speakers to help translate.  We had host kids eager to show off!  But, we didn’t have anyone who knew CSL (Chinese Sign Language).  And, that’s how Jennifer communicates.  We decided to have one of the translators write the directives in Chinese for her, and have her read.  It had to work.

We quickly learned that while Jennifer could read simple Chinese characters, she was having a hard time with more difficult characters and concepts.  She was trying so hard, but wasn’t grasping what we were asking of her.  Oh well, we will continue to try, and do our best, though we could see Jennifer’s frustration, most likely because she could sense she wasn’t getting what we were asking, and she so wanted to please us.20160709_124805

In struts Shane, with a loud ‘HELLO’ and a smile from ear to ear.  My first reaction was to motion for him to ‘be quiet…we are busy.’  He looked at me, then looked at Jennifer.  And then he signed to her.  She smiled.  And did exactly what we had been trying to ask her to do for the past 10 minutes.  Eureka.  He can hear.  He can sign.  We continued the evaluation by having the translator tell Shane what we were asking of Jennifer, and Shane signing to Jennifer our requests.  Jennifer would respond to Shane in sign, and Shane would let us know her thoughts.  This boy.  This orphan.  Had rocked his own evaluation, and was now free to play in the monstrous indoor playground.  But instead he saw his friend needing help.  And he helped.20160709_124432

Amazing doesn’t even begin to describe this kid.  Shane has been a helper from day one.  From insisting he bring the groceries in (and insisting his host brother help, instead of host Mom), to insisting on making sure host Grandpa was comfortable, to this last week, and insisting on helping his friend Jennifer communicate.  Shane has a heart of gold, and we are still searching high and low for a family to see his heart, to see him, and to say YES. 


Shane leaves Thursday, after a month in the USA teaching so many about bravery, selflessness, and love.  We are still searching for Shane’s forever family.  Please email sarah@madisonadoption.org if you would like to learn more about this inspiring young man.  Or visit us at www.madisonadoption.org

A Bracelet

A Bracelet

She had been with her host family for one week when I visited her.  Now, she has one week left before she leaves.  When I arrive, she comes running out of the front door with that captivating smile on her face.  Jennifer 2016.07.05 2She was so happy to see me!  She welcomes me in, shows me where to place my shoes, and leads me to the couch to sit down.  While I chat with her host Mom, and laugh at her 3-year-old and 1-year-old host brothers’ antics, she keeps coming over to me to measure my wrist.  She quietly sits on the couch, intently working on something you can tell is very special to her, while her host Mom fills me in on what an incredible girl she is.  “Kind, helpful, patient, caring, sweet, determined, smart, funny.”  All words uttered as her host Mom went on and on about Jennifer. 

While our conversation came to a close, Jennifer came over to check my wrist one last time.  Perfection.  It fit.  Her smile made my heart stop as she secured the bracelet around my arm, that she had made, just for me.  braceletWe both smiled at each other.  No words were necessary.  Her eyes said, “Please, I made this for you, and I am excited for you to have it.”  And my eyes said, “Thank you.  Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.  I will treasure it always.”  And that I will.

Jennifer leaves on Thursday.  Back to China.  Back to the orphanage.  She has touched so many lives while here, mine included.  Though, we still search for her forever family.  I am so grateful to have met Jennifer.  I am so grateful to be a small part of her story.  And my vow to her is that I will wear her bracelet every day.  Every day until her forever family is found.


Jennifer will be in Maryland for one more week through Madison Adoption Associates hosting program.  Even though she will return to China, we will not stop advocating for her until we find her forever family.  Please email Sarah at sarah@madisonadoption.org to learn more about this captivating young lady.

The Incredible Shu Shu

by Beth Curry, host Mom to Jasper

During the first week that he was here, Jasper did not leave my side…he was the essence of the phrase, “he follows me more closely than my own shadow”. He was interested in everything I did, from making spaghetti sauce, to loading the dishwasher, to straightening my hair! Where I was, so was Jasper. Then, I went to my first day back to work since he had arrived, and Christian was on full time daddy duty…for our “four” kids. So, in typical Christian form, he wanted to be productive with the day and he enlisted the kids to help! Jasper and Shu Shu1He rolled out the shop vac to clean our “new to us” car. When Jasper saw this contraption, he was sold! He jumped off the bike he was riding and threw his little body into the back of the Jeep, like it was a pit of free candy! He started vacuuming, and did not want Christian or anyone else to do it. He was in pure heaven and was detailing the upholstery like it was gold. He had a constant smile on his face the whole time and Christian was cleaning the interior right along side of him. If that experience hadn’t won Jasper’s heart enough, Christian broke out his beloved scooter to give the weekly neighborhood scooter rides to the kids. Again, Jasper jumped on the scooter, looked at Christian, and grinned with a smile to rival any other happy, healthy child. Jasper and shu shu3He was hooked on Shu shu (what he calls Christian) and has not looked back. He asks about Shu shu when he is in the shower, he looks for Shu shu when he is taking out the trash, he mimics Shu shu when he is picking up lawn debris, he smiles and cackles at Shu shu when he sings a silly song in the kitchen. He literally jumps at the opportunity to help Shu shu. To “work” with Shu shu. To be with Shu shu. While he is still very much my shadow, he adores his Shu shu.

This sweet boy needs a dad. He craves a father figure who will teach him, pray with him, play with him, and show him how to grow into a man of integrity, devotion, and love. I so hope that he won’t have to call the man who cares for him Shu shu for his life, but that someday he can vacuum  and wash a car, ride a scooter, throw a ball, dance in the kitchen, jump into a pool, put training wheels on a bike, and a host of other things with a man he can call, Dad.


Jasper is currently being hosted in Pennsylvania through Madison Adoption Associates.  He will be here for one more week, while we all continue to work together to find his forever family.  Please email Sarah at sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information on this sweet boy!  Significant adoption grants available.

Shane

I had the honor of spending the day with Shane this week.  His host Mom dropped him off with me, and he was happy to dive into my toy room with my two boys.  The language of ‘child,’ specifically ‘boy,’ is universal.  From Legos, to dinosaurs, to robots, to swords, these three boys had no problems communicating!  But we had to pause the playtime for a bit so that I could take Shane to the Audiologist.

One of Shane’s special needs is atresia of the left ear.  A wonderfully sweet Audiologist donated his time and services to help us learn more about this need, and how it affects Shane.  Shane willingly waltzed into the Doctor’s office, and charmed everyone he saw.  Upon entering the testing room, Shane looked a little reluctant when we motioned that he should go in the little room.  Shane went in anyway, and with a little coaxing, and me holding his hand, he relaxed.  I did my best to translate through an app, “raise your hand when you hear beeps.”  No one was sure if the translation went through.  But we thought, well, we’ll find out!  The Doctor began the testing, and almost immediately Shane’s hand shoots up into the air while he mimics (rather, screams along with) the beeps.  That answers that question….he knows what he needs to do! 

The Doctor was blown away with Shane’s cooperation.  We won’t tell his other patients, but he may or may not have said Shane was his easiest that day!  The Doctor did a slew of hearing tests on both sides.  He was able to determine that Shane’s right ear hears perfectly!  And, he was able to confirm that Shane does in fact have some inner ear hearing in his left side, and might be a good candidate for a bone conduction hearing aid!  This was all wonderful news.

After our appointment, Shane joined me for lunch.  He was a perfect date.  While he munched on his hamburger (of course he got a hamburger….he LOVES hamburgers, and can say it quite clearly in English), he was enthralled with the touch screen game system on the table.  He picked up on how to play the games immediately, and we both giggled while he played.

shane worm

Boys will be boys….Shane loved digging for worms!

Shane jumping

Having a blast jumping in the moon bounce!

shane popsicle

Enjoying a cold popsicle on a hot summer day

Then it was back to my house to play with my boys for the afternoon.  Shane got right back into the toys, and was overjoyed to pet the dog.  After a while, we headed into the yard to burn off some steam.  Shane immediately went for the baseball and bat, and connected on pitch #1!  We had the moon bounce set up, and he wasn’t too sure about it.  Though, the instant he saw my boys jumping with glee, he dove in! Pure joy! The smile on this boy’s face was contagious.  His innocent joy…palpable.  He spun and jumped and tumbled until he was dripping with sweat.  A quick popsicle cool down, then it was time to go.

From spending the day with Shane, I was struck by his pleasant and polite nature, and his insistence on always helping me.  I wasn’t to open or close a single door….he was in charge of that.  I was also struck by his easy-going attitude.  I must admit, I was a bit intimidated at the thought of having to manage an 8-year-old boy, who doesn’t speak English, for the day.  Would he run?  Would be listen to me?  Would he understand anything that I was wanting him to do?  Well, those fears were beyond unnecessary, as Shane made it so easy!  He was a joy to be with, and will be such a blessing to the family that adopts him.

 


Shane is currently being hosted in Pennsylvania through Madison Adoption Associates for four weeks this summer, enjoying himself while we try our hardest to find his forever family.  Please email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information on this spectacular boy!