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I recently heard a statistic that kids laugh hundreds of times per day, while adults laugh only a handful.  I tried verifying this statistic for the sake of this post, and found varying reports of truth.  So I scrapped the research and stuck with my own observations.  And I found it to be obviously true.  In just one evening of listening to my boys, I quit counting the laughs when I hit 100.  They laughed at a cartoon, at the dog, at my mismatched socks, and of course, too many times at the word ‘poop’ (they are boys after all).  I didn’t laugh half as much.  It was then that I realized, where ever this ‘statistic’ came from, whether or not it has any data-backed validity, it is filled with truth.  When you sit back and hear, really hear, a child’s laughter, it has an almost calming effect.  It pulls you into their innocence, and forces you to realize that the reasons you aren’t laughing (the dishes, work, the laundry, getting to basketball practice on time, upcoming holiday preparations) are not worth lost joy.  So I took a big pause, sat with them, and do you want to know what is even funnier than the word ‘poop’?  A Mom saying the word ‘poop.’  We laughed together for the rest of the evening.

So when I sat down today to write a post about one of our waiting kiddos, I opened Aubrey’s video, and not 4 seconds in, I knew I had to share her with you, as part of this post.  Her giggle just has to be heard.  Her sweet, innocent, not-a-care-in-the-world giggle will force you to pause.  Will calm you down, and make you hear, really hear, joy.  Oh how Aubrey would bless a family with this giggle.  How she would ground you, and make you realize, every day, there is joy to be had, and so many laughs to be laughed.

Aubrey is 6 years old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  She is diagnosed with thalassemia and CHD, and is reportedly developmentally on target.  There is a $2,000 grant available through the end of the year for the family who is lucky enough to adopt her and be blessed by her giggles.  Please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form for consideration as Aubrey’s forever family, or email for more information.

MAA Grant Announcement

MAA Grant Announcement

3,092. 3,092 children waiting on one country’s shared list. One country. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all of the children waiting in that one country. Don’t get me wrong, 3,092 is a huge number. But it is simply a fraction of the number of children waiting for forever families across the world. And it doesn’t come close to touching the estimated 153 million orphans in our world. So picture a number somewhere between 3,092 and 153 million as you read this next statistic….

40%. We’ve had to turn away 40% of families who recently contacted us about adoption, because they no longer qualify.

Regulations will change. They always do! But these changing regulations do not change the number of children who wait. That number continues to grow. It grows while the number of qualifying families continues to decrease. We could argue about how unfair it is, and we can fight policies (and, we do), but it still will not change the number who wait.

While we continue to do all we can behind the scenes to urge our partners to recognize the ramifications of regulations that are far too restrictive, the children still wait. So for now, while we fight for the children, and while we continue to wait alongside them, we extend this grant to you – to the qualified prospective adoptive family. We need you. They need you. Do not wait any longer. The time is now.


Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to offer the ‘Regulations May Change, But The Children Still Wait $1,000 Grant’ to any qualified family who applies and contracts with MAA for any program today through December 31, 2017 (deducted from the first agency fee). *This is in addition to all other qualifying MAA child and family grants.*

Email for more information.




I was rushing through the grocery store yesterday as I only had 15 minutes to grab my soup ingredients before having to be at the bus stop.  When I got ‘stuck’ behind another shopper.  Now, yes, I am a Mom myself, and should have had much more patience for a fellow Mom.  I am ashamed to say my first reaction was to sigh and roll my eyes.  See, she wasn’t moving because her 3-year-old wanted to pick each item off the shelf and place it in the cart.  And she was letting him.  Don’t worry.  My annoyance lasted for all of 2 seconds.  And then it was replaced with immense admiration.  Admiration for my fellow Mom who could have easily been sighing and rolling her eyes herself.  But instead, she was fully engaged in that moment, with her child, without focusing on her next task of the day and all the things she ‘should’ be doing at that moment instead.  It was beautiful.

As I was about to turn around and go about my business, I noticed who else was blocking the aisle.  An elderly man, with items in his cart indicative of his single life.  He wasn’t paused trying to choose a pasta shape.  He was paused just watching, and smiling, at the same Mom I was.  He too was lost in the moment.  Perhaps he was thinking of a moment from a lifetime ago, or perhaps he was thinking of grandkids.  Either way, we were both mesmerized.

Usually, it is my own kids who I always envision when thinking of the kids I advocate for.  But today, today it was this hero Mom and her kid.  And I immediately thought of Michael.  I pictured him, carefully dropping the can of peas into the cart.  With his Mom gently encouraging him, and showing him which ones to pick.  Such a simple, mundane, everyday task of grocery shopping will be imprinted on that little boy forever.  And I can only hope Michael gets the opportunity for those same moments.

Michael is 3-years-old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  He is diagnosed with Prune-Belly Syndrome.  There is a $2,000 grant available for the family who adopts Michael.  To be considered, please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form, or email for more information.

Dear soon-to-be-Mama-of-twins

Dear soon-to-be-Mama-of-twins

Dear soon-to-be-Mama-of-twins,

You’ve seen their pictures.  You’ve started picturing your life with them in it. 


I’ll never forget the first time I saw them in real life and got to actually hold them.  Elijah Asebe was not feeling well and was grieving hard- it was clear he had attached to someone.  Jonah Tesfaye came to us happily, waving goodbye to his caretakers. We were young and this was our first adoption.  Everything was new.  In fact, parenting was still fairly new to us.  All those months of the paperwork trail and painful wait were worth it- the boys were finally in our arms and our sons!

I’m writing to share a glimpse of what your life will be like as a Mama to twins.  First, it will be busy…of course.  But, it will be so much more than that.  The special bond that twins have is almost indescribable.  Our boys would flip-flop personalities and skill abilities just as we had started to figure out who each of them were and what they could do. It definitely seemed like, at times, they could read each other’s minds and were plotting things to do together.

Plotting a food fight!

But it isn’t all cute baby twin stories.  There is plenty of hard.  There are times when not one is crying, but both.  When not one makes a mess, but both.

‘We didn’t do it’

When not one is sick, but both.  When not one is hurt, but both.  When not one needs a cuddle with Mama, but both. 

Mama love time

 But, you scoop them both in your arms, ignore your aching back and utter exhaustion, and squeeze a little tighter knowing these moments will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Before you know it, they are growing up.  They are developing their own individuality, yet somehow, they are so much alike.  You question yourself constantly.  Are we allowing them to be and grow as individuals?  Are we celebrating the special twin bond they have?  Do we encourage them to do enough apart?  Do they do enough together?

 But with all the questions, and all the doubt, the joy and fulfillment those two beings will give you is immeasurable.  Strap on for a wild ride Mama. Those two eternally connected souls are going to take you places you never dreamed of.  Enjoy the ride.

Your fellow twin Mom,


Twins Sydney and Reagan, 20 months old, are available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There are grants available to the family who steps forward to adopt them.  Reagan is believed to be healthy, and Sydney is diagnosed with multiple, significant special needs.  Please email for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form for consideration as their forever family.



It’s been a while since we’ve seen you Beatrice.  But, I will never forget the moment we did.  We walked in, and there you were….laying happily in your crib.  You looked right at us, and I could tell you were wondering what we were doing there.  You followed us as we walked around the room, and you smiled when it was your turn.  Your caregivers doted on you, and were sure to tell us about your ready smile.

When I scooped you up, you weren’t too sure.  But, after a little bit, you relaxed and even giggled when I made silly faces at you.

They told us (and continue to) that there are many unknowns when it comes to your future Beatrice.  Unknowns about walking.  Unknowns about motor skills.  Unknowns about many things.  However, I choose to focus on what is KNOWN.  The ready smile.  The giggles.  The gentle spirit.  Those things are what should be focused on.  Not the unknowns.  As, aren’t all of our futures unknown?

Beatrice turned 1 in June and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  She is diagnosed as having post-operative meningomyelocele.  There is a $1,000 grant available to the family who adopts her.  Please email for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form for consideration as her forever family.

Yes doesn’t always mean Forever

Yes doesn’t always mean Forever

Dear Max,

I wrote my last letter to you over a year ago.  Remember?  When you weren’t too sure about hosting?  But you came on that hosting trip last summer.  You embraced it.  You dove into American culture and tested the waters of family.  We were all so proud of you.  You charmed those you met with your shy, kind, but spunky self.  A family said Yes to you, and you have been patiently waiting since.  But Max, and it kills me to have to tell you this, sadly, Yes’s don’t always turn into forever.  And, due to no fault of your own, you are waiting once again.  And now, it is that much closer to your 14th birthday.  Not to mention the fact that you are watching each friend who came with you on that trip leave for their own forever.  Max, we know it took all the courage in the world for you to come on that trip.  And we are so thankful that you did, because now, so many of us know you.  And so many of us continue to stand by you until my promise of a family, your family, is fulfilled, forever.  There is another Yes out there for you Max, and the next yes will be forever.


Your friends at Madison

Max turns thirteen in January, leaving only one year 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.  There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available for the family who adopts Max, as well as additional grants.  Please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as his forever family, or email for more information.


Welcome Jinny!

Welcome Jinny!

Celebrating Jinny’s birthday during her first week with MAA!

We are excited to introduce Jinny O, MAA’s new adoption case worker!  Jinny comes to us with over seven years of international adoption experience.  Jinny’s family emigrated from Korea in the early 1970’s.  She was born in Virginia and raised in southeastern Pennsylvania.  Jinny graduated from Penn State University with a major in Human Development and Family Studies, focusing on children and youth.  Jinny’s passions lie in helping children in need, as well as helping families navigate the adoption process.  We are thrilled to have Jinny on our team, and know incredible things are yet to come with her on our side!  Welcome Jinny!!


There are angels among us…

There are angels among us…

This place.  Most of us, when we think of the word orphanage, certain images come to mind.  This place, I can assure you, is most likely NOT one of those images.  This place is filled with love, and purpose, and nurturing.  This place is filled with angels on earth.

The House of Refuge prides itself on nurturing every aspect of ‘their’ children – physical, emotional, spiritual.  But, they do not stop there.  They understand the importance of preparing the children for their lives outside of the orphanage, whether it is with a family, domestic or international, or on their own.

Family is talked about, feelings are encouraged and shared, adoption is celebrated.  The kids are taught not only to cook, clean up after themselves, and to do well in school; but they are taught to respect others, to love one another, and to value family.  Signs referring to prayer, and love, and respect, and anti-bullying adorn the halls.  They have ‘no-rice days’ to help the kids get ready for their lives in different countries, they visit airports to familiarize the kids with their long trip to their new families, they share pictures and video of the families traveling soon and talk about them often to allay any fears that the children might have.  Ultimately, they understand and embrace the importance of loving these children fiercely, and preparing them for their futures as best they can.

I wish I could show you all of the pictures I have of the kids.  But, much like many of us, the caretakers respect the privacy of the children.  They respect them as individuals, and refuse to allow their children’s pictures shared without permission.  Talk about love.  So, instead, I’ll show you a small glimpse into this place that’s filled with big hearts and lots of hope…

House of Refuge is located in the Philippines, and they regularly care for and nurture older children who are available for inter-country adoption.  If you are interested in learning more about our Philippines adoption program, please contact Program Director, Amanda Felizardo, at or visit our website for more information.

She is me. I am her.

She is me.  I am her.

Amblyopia.  Strabismus.  Nystagmus.  Words very familiar to me.  Words throughout my own medical history.  These words led to surgeries, patching, therapies, glasses thicker than coke bottles, appointment after appointment after appointment.  While it was difficult at the time, looking back, I realize I could not have been luckier.  Parents dedicated to seeking the best medical care possible, parents with access to resources, stay-at-home Mom to ensure daily eye muscle exercises were done, medical insurance that covered most procedures, specialists, and appointments – my support system was rock solid.  And now, thanks to all of that, here I sit with (strong) contacts in, and no one would ever know that on more than one occasion there were significant concerns about the future of my vision.

Meet Pippa.  Amblyopia.  Strabismus.  Nystagmus.  Post-operative cataracts.  She is me.  I am her.  But not.  I could have been.  I could have been born into circumstances with those same words attached to me, but without the support system that I had.  I could have been Pippa.  Any one of us, or our children, could have been Pippa.  Though she doesn’t have the support system necessary to thrive, her spirit is more than apparent.  Despite those words attached to her, Pippa has a spunk that will take her places – with your help.  Be her support system.  Be her rock.  So she can do all the things she is meant to do.

Pippa is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  She is 10-years-old.  There is a $2,000 grant available to the family who steps forward to adopt her.  Please email for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as her family.

The boy who could fly, if given the chance

The boy who could fly, if given the chance

Dear Perry,

I can’t believe we are coming up on two years since we met you.  Two years since that magical week that we spent with you and your friends, getting to know you, and being blown away by your spirit and resolve.  Two years since our good friend shared you with the world here.

Perry, we thought you would have been home by now.  But sometimes, things don’t always work out as we expect them to.  So here we are, yet again, searching high and low for your forever family.  And we have to believe that they are still out there.  Waiting.  Just as you are.  Maybe they just have not had a glimpse of your sweet smile yet.  Or maybe they don’t know of your kind, generous spirit.   But we have faith that your happy ending is coming.

Last year we asked you about adoption.  You said you knew what it was, and you very much wanted to be adopted.  We very much want that too for you Perry.  You deserve a family.  You deserve love.  You deserve stability.  You deserve a family who is not only able to accommodate your all of your needs, but a family who will encourage you to push the limits.  A family who won’t ever let you say ‘I can’t,’ but one who will encourage you to only say ‘I can.’  One who will encourage you to fly.

Your spirit Perry is unforgettable.  A spirit that imprinted so heavily on our souls, even two years later, it is still palpable.  And it is that spirit that continues to drive us to not stop until we find your family.  We are sorry you have waiting this long.  But hang in there a bit more Perry.  They are out there.  And we will find them.


Your friends at Madison

Perry is on the shared list, therefore he is available for adoption through any China accredited agency.  Madison Adoption Associates will waive their entire agency fee of $8,000 for the qualified family who steps forward and adopts Perry through MAA.  If you would like to be considered as Perry’s forever family, please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form.