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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.

10 Reasons to begin your Adoption Home Study today

10 Reasons to begin your Adoption Home Study today

Adoption has been on your heart for a while, so you begin investigating the process.  Everything you find references an ‘adoption home study.’  So what is the big deal with an adoption home study?  And why should it be a priority when starting the adoption process?  The adoption home study is the cornerstone of any adoption, be it domestic or international.  Here are 10 reasons why you should start your adoption home study today:

  1. The adoption home study is not just an investigation of the family, but it is an educational experience as well. During the adoption home study, the prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) will have the opportunity to meet with an adoption expert, their home study social worker, on many different occasions over the course of several weeks. During these meetings, the PAPs will learn invaluable information about adoption, the process, the children, what to expect, and more from their social worker.  The education pertaining to adoption that you will receive during the home study process is reason alone to begin now!
  2. Not only will the PAPs gain valuable knowledge throughout the home study process, but you will also work closely with your home study social worker to determine the type of child that your family is most suited to adopt. While you may enter the home study process envisioning a specific age range, or gender, or level of special needs, that could very well shift as you receive adoption education or at the discretion of your home study social worker. Your home study social worker will work closely with you to determine the best fit for your family, but ultimately it is the decision of the home study social worker as to the parameters that you are approved for.
  3. The adoption home study process can take anywhere from 2-5 months to complete. It is an intense process that is much more a marathon than a sprint. The home study should not be viewed as a task to simply check off.  It is to the benefit of you, your family, and your adopted child that you embrace this process in the most thorough manner as possible.  The agency will take their time to interview, educate, and assess you, reading between the lines and doing all they can to thoroughly prepare you for adoption.  Not only does the home study process prepare you to be the best parents to your future child, but it is also what gives adoption officials a taste of who your family really is. While the interviewing, education, and investigative components of the home study should never be rushed, you have the opportunity to speed up the process by gathering the required home study paperwork as fast as possible!  Remember, the sooner you start the home study, the sooner it will be complete, and you will be that much further into your adoption process!
  4. In all adoption programs, PAPs cannot be considered for a specific child until they have a current, valid home study. In order to be matched with a child, you must complete your home study.
  5. It is an opportunity to involve your whole family in the adoption process!  During the home study process, you and your children will meet with the social worker.  This is a great time for your children to speak to an adoption professional, and ask all of the questions they have about what is about to happen to their family.
  6. Adoption is already on your heart, but the home study process will only intensify your passion to adopt. The education and reality of millions of children who have no one to hug them, or encourage them, or tuck them in, or kiss their boo-boos, or fight for them will be heavy on your heart in ways you never thought possible.  You will look at the world differently.  You will look at your current children differently.  You will be more knowledgeable, more open, more accepting, more empathetic.  All things that will make you that much more equipped for when your child comes home.
  7. Having your home study complete will put you in the position to be matched with your child if you happen to find them in an advocacy post. Agencies work hard to advocate for waiting children.  Many times, a PAP will see a picture of a waiting child and feel drawn to that particular child.  Without a current, valid home study, you would not be in a position to be considered for that child.  With a complete adoption home study, you will!  And perhaps it was a specific child that spurred you to start the process.  While you are working on your home study, that specific child could be matched with a family who has a completed home study.  Though it could be difficult to ‘lose’ that child, you must remember that the ultimate goal is for every child to find a home!  And if that specific child was the spark that ignited your desire to adopt, and he found a family, and your future child will find a family – that is two less orphans in the world!
  8. Your new child will not have to wait for you as long! The home study is typically the longest piece of the adoption Dossier for an international adoption.  Adoption Dossiers, including the home study process, typically take 5-7 months to complete.  After home study completion, typically it is only 2-3 months until Dossier completion!
  9. Every day an orphan has to wait is one day too many. While adoptive parents would move mountains to get to their child as fast as they can, there are many factors that are out of their hands.  Each adoptive home study is a very personal process, catered to your specific family.  Because of this, it is difficult to predict how long your specific home study will take.  Perhaps additional clearances are needed, or perhaps your social worker needs to consult with your doctor – whatever your personal adoption home study process looks like, there could be delays that come up along the way.  Starting your home study today means that it will be complete one day sooner than if you started tomorrow, and that means your child waits one less day!
  10. Adoption can be expensive. Prospective Adoptive Parents must financially plan for their adoption.  That being said, there are many grants available for adoptive families!  However, many of these grants require a completed adoption home study before the organization will consider your family as a grant recipient.  Once your home study is complete, it could open the door to additional financial resources for your family.

There are millions of orphans in the world waiting. Our beloved Starfish poem puts it best: Looking at a beach covered in starfish the boy throws one in the ocean.   A man says, “There are so many…  You can’t possibly make a difference!”  Boy picks up another starfish and throws it in the water…  “I can make a difference for that one!”

Make a difference.  Change a child’s world and make yours better!  Start your adoption home study today!

 


Live in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, or Illinois?  We can help you with your home study!!  Madison Adoption Associates is a Hague Accredited adoption agency licensed in PA, DE, NJ, and IL, and we are experts in both domestic and international adoption home studies.  From one of these states, and interested in our international adoption programs as well?  We are currently offering expedited home studies at no cost for PAPs contracting for both home study and placement services.

Please note that our expedite service is in regards to the writing of the home study document itself.  The interviews, education, and investigation components of the process are NOT rushed.  Our expedite service relates to the writing of the document once all paperwork is gathered, and all education and interviews are complete. 

Contact us for more information at contact@madisonadoption.org!

Jumping in Puddles

Jumping in Puddles

While I would love to talk to you about Isaac, there is someone who could do it better.  Isaac.  So I am going to let him speak for himself…

When asked about his likes, Isaac shares: “I like to play soccer, get wet when it’s raining…it’s very fun!  Jumping boots!  I like to play hide and seek, especially at night because I can hide better.  I also like to make jokes, to make people laugh.  I like to go to the bakery, to eat what we prepare.  I like the weaving workshop because we make beautiful things, like stuffed animals.  I like to listen to reggaeton.”

His thoughts on finding a family: “When I think of a family, I feel love, that I can share and be close to them, of brothers and a mother and father.”

And regarding his life goals: “When I grow up I want to be a doctor to help people who are injured or sick.  I would also like to be a police officer to eliminate the evil ones.  I also want to be a father and have a family of my own.”

This boy.  He is special.  He has had his fair share of injustices, but his resiliency allows him to still have hope.  Please consider giving Isaac a chance, and host him this summer!


Isaac is 10 1/2 years old, and is available to host (in MD, PA, NJ, IL, MO) or for outright adoption in any state through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $500 hosting grant available to the family that hosts him.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

 

Their Last Chance

Their Last Chance

This could be it.  This could be their last chance to find their forever family.  Well, and stay together that is.  You see, Adel is almost 17.  And if she is not home with her forever family by the age of 18, she can no longer be adopted.  Her two younger brothers will still be available for adoption, and will potentially leave to their forever without her.  None of us want that to happen.  So, we are pleading with you to spread the word about these siblings!  Specifically, to help us find a family willing to host them this summer.  If we can just get them here, we KNOW we’ll be able to find them their forever.  Their TOGETHER forever.

We need a host family in MD, PA, NJ, IL or MO to step out of their comfort zone for only three short weeks this summer, and welcome Arlo (6), Antonio (13), and Adel (16) into their hearts and home.  You have the opportunity to make a lifelong impact on these children, and play an integral role in keeping these siblings together forever!


These siblings are available to host (in MD, PA, NJ, IL, MO) or for outright adoption in any state through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $500 hosting grant available to the family that hosts them.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Time.

Time.

Paulina (3)

Time.  Some of us waste it.  Some spend it wisely.  Some cherish it.  Some say it’s an illusion, while others say it’s on our side.  Some take it for granted.  And then there are those who don’t have much of it left.  When I first ‘met’ (on paper) Paulina (3), Presley (17), Penny (12), and Paris (16), it was to consider them for our summer hosting program.  But I quickly noticed Presley’s age.  And I told the team, “He doesn’t have enough time.”  You see, Presley will turn 18 at the end of August.  He will no longer be eligible for adoption.  And while his little sisters still have time left, the thought of being separated from Presley is incomprehensible to them – and to us too.  Time is not on their side.

Paris (16), Penny (12), Presley (17)

So, we beg of you, if you have time, please share their story far and wide.  They would need a miracle, but one that is possible, even with little time left.  Paulina, Presley, Penny, and Paris would need a home study ready family, as the family would need to submit I-800 for these siblings prior to Presley’s 18th birthday.  Please, use some of your time in hopes of extending their time together….extending it from ‘not much left’ to forever.


Paulina, Presley, Penny, and Paris are available for adoption from a South American country through Madison Adoption Associates.  Contact Misty Lucas at misty@madisonadoption.org to learn more, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as their forever family.

‘I live in the children’s welfare institute’

‘I live in the children’s welfare institute’

Many things struck me when reading Wyatt’s file….mostly good things.  Things that impressed me about this special boy.  It is filled with details, and was obviously written by someone who cares about him.  But one thing stood out much more than the rest.  The part that says, “he can say, ‘I’m Wyatt.  I’m a boy.  I’m 4 years old.  I live in the children’s welfare institute.’”  While this is shared in his file as a compliment, as an example of one of the many things that Wyatt can do and say, it still pretty much tore at my heart.  A 4-year-old should never have to say those words.  A 4-year-old should never know what those words even mean….. ‘I live in the children’s welfare institute.’  But Wyatt does.  It is his reality.  He lives in the children’s welfare institute.

I read on, and found myself smiling while reading of all the things Wyatt can do.  Smiling especially at the section describing how he likes to pull weeds in the garden.  He is sure to ask if something is a weed or vegetable before yanking it out of the earth, followed by happily singing the ‘pulling out radish’ song.  And while I found myself smiling at these anecdotes about Wyatt, I still couldn’t shake the “I’m Wyatt.  I’m a boy.  I’m 4 years old.  I live in the children’s welfare institute.”  It is simply something a child should never know to say.


Wyatt is not yet 5-years-old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  He is diagnosed with a limb difference.  There is a $500 grant available to the family who steps up so this child no longer has to say ‘I live in the children’s welfare institute.’  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as his forever family.

An Unbreakable Bond

An Unbreakable Bond

A dear friend of mine has spent a lot of time with these two.  When we received their files and were able to start advocating, she shared how crucial it is to keep them close.  To keep them connected.  You see, Ari and Haven have been together in their foster home for the past three years.  They are siblings, in every sense of the word.  Except not by blood.  But, as we all know….blood is not what makes a family.  Love and togetherness is.  And these two have had that in each other for as long as they can remember.

China no longer allows two unrelated children to be adopted at the same time, so, sadly, despite their requests, they cannot be placed together.  But, it is our vow to them to keep them close.  To keep them connected.  To find them both families who understand the importance of the bond that they have, and to promise to do all they can to ensure that this bond stays intact, especially through one of the biggest transitions of their lives.

Haven

Ari


Haven is 7, and is diagnosed with Thalassemia.  Ari is 6 1/2, and is diagnosed with Hemophilia.  The families that step forward for these ‘siblings’ must be open to maintaining strong connections.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered.

Families needed for Philippines adoption!

Families needed for Philippines adoption!

Madison Adoption Associates is pleased to announce that we have been granted new healthy slots for our Philippines adoption program!  Several families are already happily on board, but we are still in need of families who would like to adopt a young, healthy child form our Philippines adoption program.

What is the Philippines adoption program all about?

There are two tracts to consider when adopting from the Philippines –healthy, and the Special Home Finding program.  In the healthy program, Madison Adoption Associates receives a certain number of ‘slots’ to for families wanting to adopt a healthy, young child.  Once those slots are filled, we must wait for our next allotment of slots.  We are grateful to Philippines’ ICAB (Inter-Country Adoption Board) for entrusting us to find exceptional, qualified, trained families to adopt the beautiful children from their country – from BOTH of the tracts.

The Special Home Finding program is dedicated to finding adoptive families for children with special needs, be it medical, psychological, age related, or sibling groups.  We receive summaries of available children on a monthly basis that we are able to share privately with qualified families.  Families interested in learning more about the children available through the Special Home Finding program should complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

Another option to explore whether or not an adoption from the Philippines is right for your family is the hosting program.  In this program we bring children available for adoption from the Philippines to the US for 3-4 weeks in the summer.  The children stay with host families while they learn about a new culture, get to know our staff, and spend time with a family.  While they are here, we are all able to get to know the children better in order to be best equipped to advocate for them.  The majority of children who participate in the hosting program are matched with their forever families, whether it is the host family themselves, or a family the child meets while here.  Either way, the hosting program is a rewarding and fulfilling experience for all!  Our hosting program is extremely community oriented, for the sake of both the children and the host families – therefore, our hosting program is only available to families in MD, PA, NJ, IL, IN, and MO.

Travel to the Philippines for your adoption trip is approximately two weeks longs.  During your trip, you will not only get to meet your child and the people who have cared for him or her, but you will get to explore this beautiful country.  The people of the Philippines are kind, welcoming people who take pride in their culture and customs.  You will get to enjoy many things quintessentially Filipino!


Interested in learning more about any of our Philippines programs?  Email amanda@madisonadoption.org, or visit our website.

Boy O Boy! {3}

Boy O Boy! {3}

Our third post in our series about the awesomeness of boys!  By 2x boy Mama, Lindsay

As a young married women in my mid-20’s, I thought the next step in my life would be having two blonde haired, blue eyed little girls that looked just like me and my husband.  Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having girls, playing dolls, shopping together and enjoying all things pink.  Let’s just say God had a very different plan for my life.  After years of struggling with infertility, my husband and I finally made the decision to adopt.  We knew absolutely nothing about the adoption process in general much less any specifics about the Chinese special needs program so we checked the box on our application for either gender without much thought.  It would be just like having our own child and we wouldn’t know the gender until we were matched.

Oldest son referral photo

It likely comes as no surprise to most of you reading this but since we were open to either gender, we were quickly matched with a 15 month old little boy.  A tiny guy with the chubbiest little cheeks and a sparkle in his eyes.  There are really no words to express the joy we felt the day we met our first son.  After over 5 years of actively trying to conceive and then adopt, it felt almost unreal that I was finally a mama.  We were so happy to be parents but also extremely exhausted from our long journey.  It took us a full year from the time we brought our son home until we even started to consider if we wanted to adopt another child.

Oldest son lining up cars

We did decide to adopt again and this time, being much more aware of the adoption climate in China, we carefully considered that gender box.  This time we checked boy.  Why?  Well, my husband likes to tell a little story about me and it goes something like this.  One day, Lindsay was cuddling our son and she said, “I just can’t imagine if we had adopted a girl.  I am a boy mama now”.  Despite my inability to make car engine or train noises, catch or throw a ball or find amusement in fart jokes, I loved being a mama to that little chubby cheeked cutie.    We also thought how wonderful it would be for both boys to grow up with a brother.  Not just any brother either but a brother with a shared history and birth culture and the same eye and hair color.   The second time around, the match took a little longer but when we finally saw our second son’s picture, he had that same sparkle in his eyes.

Youngest son referral photo

We brought our second son home in November 2017 at 22 months old and I still cry happy tears just thinking about the fact that I am a mom of two!

At 2 and 3.5 years old, our boys are opposites.  One loves all things orderly and would spend all day lining up his matchbox cars all over the house.  I like to describe the other as a little bowling ball.  He is rough and tumble and oh so strong.  One is a Daddy’s guy and the other a Mama’s boy.  But they are both so sweet and

Youngest son playing

know to be gentle with their Mommy.  I cannot wait to see what kind of kid, teenager and man each of them grows up to become and I cannot help but hope that they both always call me Mommy.

Now in my mid-30’s (36 still counts as mid-30’s right??), I am so happy that God knew the plan for my life should contain brown haired, brown eyed boys.  My life did not go exactly according to my plans but I could not have hoped for a more perfect family for me.

Brothers


Madison is in need of families open to adopting boys in all programs!  To learn more about our programs, and the boys waiting for you, please visit our website, or email Sarah@madisonadoption.org.