When he saw the big group of Americans, he wasn’t too sure. He shed a few tears, and he clung to his nanny’s hand. He was relieved to hear that she was going with us, so he mustered up his courage and came along. After a half an hour on the bus with us, he soon realized we were harmless. And he began to let his guard down, just a bit. Little by little, he let more down, and showed us the incredibly sweet, charming boy that he is over the course of the next few days. It wasn’t our intention to cause him stress, but we knew that we may be his only chance of having a voice. We may be his only chance for the world to know how truly incredible he is.
Some of the orphanage workers call him ‘alien.’ They say he looks ‘so weird.’ There are snickers and sneers to his face and behind his back day in and day out. When we finally got his file, some people asked if we would return it because of the life expectancy of people with his disorder. Why would we even try to place him? Why? I’ll tell you why. Because he is a beautiful, sweet, kind, deserving boy, filled with more life than many ‘healthy’ people I know. His smile will warm your heart, and his love of art is endearing. Benjamin is just like any other boy, but because he looks different, he is not usually treated as such. Benjamin deserves a chance. He deserves a life. He deserves to be loved and not laughed at. He deserves to live each day to the fullest, despite his prognosis. He deserves a family who will surround him with love, joy, and laughter WITH him, not laughter at him.
Benjamin is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. He is seven-years-old and recently participated in an Ambassadors of Hope program. Benjamin’s file states he is diagnosed with Rickets and hernia, though, it is suspected that Benjamin also has Progeria. There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available for the family who adopts Benjamin.
He’s ‘on’ all day long. He is a seven-year-old boy after all. He runs around, chats with friends, goofs off, and brings smiles to the faces of those around him. But at the end of the day, he sleeps. He crashes hard. When I first got the video of him sleeping at 10pm from his nanny, I thought, well that looks a bit weird to watch him sleep. And I focused on the negatives. He’s seven, and he’s still in a crib. And he doesn’t have jammies on – he’s still wearing his shirt. But then it hit me.
Here is his nanny, this working woman, pausing in the night to watch this sweet boy sleep. I do it all the time. I sneak into my boy’s rooms as soon as I hear the silence hit. And I stare at them. I watch their little chests rise up and down. I smile when my oldest smacks his lips together and grunts, and I laugh to see my youngest plastered into the crack between his bed and the wall (where he insists on sleeping every night).
Those thoughts are what pulled me away from the negatives of this video, and lead me to the positives. Bless this woman for filling in the gap for Wayland. For being a giver of love for him while he is stuck in limbo between his first Mom and his forever Mom. While the simple act of watching him sleep speaks volumes, and while she is doing such an amazing service to this sweet soul by standing in the role of nurturer, it is still only temporary. Though her job is so very important, she is not his forever, and never will be. Wayland still waits for his forever. He waits for a Mama to sneak into his room and do just what many of us Mom’s do – watch his sweet soul sleep away the day with a smile on her face. And to his nanny, thank you. Thank you for pouring into this boy’s heart, knowing it is only temporary.
Wayland is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates. He is seven years old and is diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease. There is a $2,000 grant available to the family who adopts him. Email email@example.com for more information.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.