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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.

Love,

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 sarah@madisonadoption.org 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 amanda@madisonadoption.org 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 sarah@madisonadoption.org 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.

Love,

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.

 

 

They Made It!

They Made It!

This news is too happy not to share.  Remember ‘Joe’?  When we ‘met’ him, he had 187 days before he aged out.  Refresh your memory here.  Well, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  But, we made it.  They made it.  His family that is.  They made it to him in time before his 14th birthday.  And he is home now, safe and sound, forever.

Welcome to America Joe!!  So many of us are so happy to have you here!

Sweet Baby Girl

Sweet Baby Girl

Sweet baby girl.  You cannot talk, but I hear you.  You cannot walk, but I see you.  You no longer cry, as your cries go unanswered.  You wait, but for what you do not yet know.  But I know.  I know you wait for a mother’s love.  It will come sweet baby girl.  It just must.

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.” ~Agatha Christie


Sweet Libbey is only 8-months-old.  She is diagnosed with Down syndrome.  She is available through Madison Adoption Associates with a $5,000 Bright Futures grant, as we know her future would be so bright with a family.  Please email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as her forever family.

Friends around the world

Friends around the world

Dear Benjamin,

I just got a new picture of you, and you are handsome as always!  When we lost your file back in May, having not found your forever family, I was devastated.  Each night, I searched the shared list in hopes that your name wouldn’t pop up, suggesting that maybe you were matched.  But it did.  Every time.  Which meant you still wait.

Fast forward a couple months, and I get an email with the subject line ‘Benjamin.’  And then I get another.  And another.  As much as my hope was that these emails were from potential families, they were not.  But, they proved to be almost as special.  These were emails from people involved with Progeria.  Doctors, specialists, advocates – all people who had heard that you were waiting, and were stepping up to help.

So we got your file back, and Benjamin, my hope for you is back!  I’m sorry I lost it for those couple months.  But thanks to some guardian angels, it is back in full force.  There are so many people working hard for you right now Benjamin.  A warrior who has come along side us in your fight is Miss.  She works closely with children with Progeria, and has a huge heart and desire to make sure all the kids in the world with Progeria have their dreams come true.  So when she heard you were waiting for a family across the world, she immediately joined the fight!  Miss has been contacting all of her friends with Progeria, and telling them about you.  And I’m not the only one writing you letters!  One of her friends, Sammy, wanted to share some words with you…

 

Dear Benjamin,

I’m Sammy B, I’m 21 years old, and I live in a small town near Venice, the city on the water, in Italy.  I have Progeria, like you ,and I want that you know that, also with Progeria, your life will be a very great life and you can become everything you want.  Do you know why?  Simple, because you are not different to other: Progeria is something related with your body and not with your soul.  In your soul you are a dragon, powerful and beautiful.  I can’t wait to meet you, and also my parents are very excited for that.  When you will meet the other kids with Progeria you can see that we are like brothers.  Soon you will be part of the Great Family with Progeria around the world!  A big hug and stay strong, we love you! A lot of kisses,

Sammy

While this new ‘family’ of yours that Sammy speaks of is an important one to have, I know your forever family is still out there too.  We are going to find them this time Benjamin!  We have an army on your side!

Love,

Your friends at Madison, and your friends around the world


Benjamin is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available to the family who steps forward to adopt Benjamin.  He just turned 7, and though his file states diagnoses of rickets and hernia, it is highly suspected that Benjamin has Progeria.  Please email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as his forever family.

Shame On Me

Shame On Me

Open and honest guest post by one of our Madison families.  She graciously agreed to share here, knowing how important it is to educate those following behind her about all aspects of adoption, and not just the unicorns and rainbows.  Please check out their full blog here to read more!


He is a part of every conversation.
He inserts his opinion on on every topic, even ones he knows nothing about.
He remembers and confirms every detail, even when he was never here in the first place to experience it.
He’s wiggly and jiggly and bouncy and giggly almost all the time.
If he doesn’t know the answer, he lies.
He talks constantly… sometime just to repeat everything you’ve saying.

And it’s all a part of his defense to the newness of it all and finding his place in it.

Just prior to this he literally bounced out of his shoes.

There’s a lot of research and soul searching when you adopt, especially an older child. And much of this research is directed toward attachment. We ask ourselves a lot of questions. Will our child like us? Will our child accept us, love us, eventually? Will we form a family unit with parents that unconditionally love their child? Will our child feel secure enough to trust us with the scariest of feelings? Will he initiate appropriate affection? Will our child feel safe enough to show us their real un-perfect self? In all 3 of our prior adoptions I firmly believe that I solidly attached to my child extremely quickly, maybe even before I met them (if that’s possible) with 2 of the 3 children. So if you would have told me a year ago that I would be the one with the attachment issues this time around, I’m not sure I would have believed you.

This is our 4th time around adopting a special need’s child via international adoption all from institutionalized care. I know better than to create a false image of what it’ll be like ahead of time. Yet completely unknown to me, I absolutely did that with Ru, created an image of what he’d be like in my head even before I met him. And this vision was so far from accurate. Because Jude is also a boy, around the same age and also adopted, I think I unknowing envisioned Ru having a lot of Jude’s personality traits.
Reserved.
Cautious.
Sensitive.
Incorrectly I thought Ru would have a personality that would need to be coaxed out. You know, like the stereotypical orphan you see in the movies. A scared little boy that would need to be wrapped in love before we’d see glimpses of his true personality. A shy quiet still child who would literally hide behind my skirts (or a pole or the chair or the wind) with fear in his heart and wouldn’t smile till he felt safe.

***insert record scratch here***

Ummmm nope!
That’s not what we got at all! 
Ru is nothing like that, and instead this is the boy that walked through the door 3 months ago.

In a room full of scared and crying children meeting their forever families for the first time, Ru contrastingly laughed and smiled his way through it. This pic was taken about 30 minutes after we met.

Full of life, vim and vigor from moment one. Enthusiastic about life! And certainly no need to coax out out his personality because he wears it on his sleeve! On the outside he’s afraid of very little. He’s on All. The. Time. He’s confident and bold. He’s nothing like what I imagined he’d be.

Shame of me for even unknowingly creating this image of a child I knew nothing about. He’s so different. So so much more. He’s louder. Ru is more in the middle of everything I do. He’s faster and brash and more self-reliant than I unknowingly thought he’d be. He’s just plain o’ more than I expected. Again, all unknowingly.
And this is taking me time to process.
And accept.
And attach to.
When folks ask me how it’s going I truthfully say something like, We’re still finding our new normal, but everyone seems to be adjusting well and just like we hoped they would… 
except me.

Keeping it real, ’cause that’s what I’ve always tried to do here, (except for the name thing. Sorry.) I’m surprised by my lack of unconditional acceptance who my new son is. I’m embarrassed that there’s some part of me deep down that might still be trying to put him in a box that he just doesn’t fit in. I don’t want to do this, but let’s be honest, there’s parts of me that are. The good news is that with time I think I am getting to a point of acceptance and ultimately a secure attachment. I thought it would be all Ru that would need help attaching to us. I’m surprised that instead it’s me that’s going through this journey. I’m also trusting my support system that time and practice will get me there.

Destined for Greatness

Destined for Greatness

She began with us as an eager, determined, optimistic graduate intern.  And now, almost eight years later, we have to say so long to the same eager, determined, optimistic woman, but who is now no longer intern, as she has blossomed into a seasoned professional.  Sara Oglesby has been the heart of our Illinois office for years.  Her passion and dedication to children with special needs has been the driving force behind the amazing work she has done over the years.  Sara has changed the lives of so many children and families for the better.  She has cried with families during the hard times, and rejoiced during the good.  We will miss you dearly, but please know how proud we are of you as you follow your dreams and become a pediatric nurse for children with special needs.  Best of luck Sara…you are destined for greatness, and we have been blessed to have had you for the time we did!  You will always be part of the Madison family!!