They are now home. Forever.

They are now home.  Forever.

The ‘Pennsylvania Five’

As I sit here and reflect on 2017, I can’t help but think of the 126 children that we, Madison Adoption Associates, brought home to their forever.  126 lives changed, not to mention the hundreds more impacted in the families they joined.  So many faces come to mind as I envision a referral picture, followed by a ‘Family Day’ picture, and then the pictures I love the most – the Home picture.  Of these 126 souls, while they are all on my heart, five in particular from this year stand out.  The ‘Pennsylvania Five.’  Remember them?  The five brave souls who left all they knew, and traveled around the world to Pennsylvania to spend four weeks during summer 2016 with host families.  You may remember them as Jasper, Brett, Joel, Shane, and Jennifer– their advocacy names.  And you may remember when we had to say goodbye to them.  They left a hole in the hearts of many, especially their host families.  And those families continued to stand by them as we advocated, guided forever families through paperwork, and waited for the day they would come back.

The children with their host families

They are now home.  Forever.  Thanks to five brave, loving, compassionate host families.  Families who stepped out into the unknown, and chose to stand in the gap for each of these children.  Families who knew it would be hard to love, and to say goodbye, but who did so anyway.  Families who took these children in, and cared for them as one of their own.  The love shared over those four weeks that summer was remarkable, and frankly, it was what brought these children home this year.  For good.  ‘Thank you’ to the host families doesn’t begin to cover it….but it will have to do for now.

‘Jasper’ (on the left) – now HOME

‘Brett’ (bottom left) – now HOME

‘Shane’ – now HOME

‘Joel’ and Jennifer’ – now HOME, and now siblings!


Interested in hosting a waiting child?  We will be welcoming host children from Colombia and the Philippines in Summer 2018, and need host families in PA, MD, NJ, IL, and MO to step forward and stand in the gap.  Visit our website for more information, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org.

Boy O Boy {2}

Boy O Boy {2}

Our second post in a series about adopting boys, by adoptive Mom, Amanda…

First of all, I will tell you right away that my perspective is quite biased! I have just one child, and he is a 3-year-old gem that we brought home from China six months ago. This boy gripped my heart from the moment we met and is most definitely the sweetest gift we have ever been given.

Lately my husband and I have been talking about how there are just no words to describe how amazing our son Silas is, how well he has adjusted, or how blessed we are to be his parents.

That being said, I will give it a whirl and tell you a little about him. Here are a few words that describe our indescribable son.

Brave:  Our little boy has walked through loss and change, and taken on his new and very different life with more courage and strength than I ever would have been able to muster. I will never forget the courageous way that he walked into the room where we waited to meet him. He held a photo album with our pictures under one arm and a stuffed panda under the other. Although he was hesitant, he bravely allowed me to hold him and it didn’t take long for him to break into a smile and laugh. From that moment, he has met every challenge head-on, including saying goodbye to his foster parents, enduring hotel stays and long plane rides, doctor and dentist appointments, and meeting dozens of new people. He asks tons of questions and wants to know how to say everything. He has learned not only a new language, but a new home, foods, people, and places, and all with a smile on his face. He has accepted a big, bustling extended family and jumped right in as if he has been with us forever. I am constantly in awe of his ability to adapt and learn, and find joy in it all.

Funny:  From our first days together, it was clear Silas has a great sense of humor. Before we could even speak the same language he was cracking us up with silly facial expressions. He learned that hiding in the closet and bursting out made us laugh, and we played that game throughout our entire trip in China. Now he makes jokes and says “I kidding” with a big mischievous grin. He loves to be tickled, and hides under a blanket every day when his Baba gets home so that he can find him and tickle him. He has the best belly laugh. I have laughed more in these six months than I ever have before!

Kindhearted:  Silas is warm, kind, loving, and affectionate. He likes to snuggle on the couch and will put his arms around us both and say “Family.” I melt every time! He is sensitive to other’s feelings. He lets me kiss his cute little cheeks. He runs to his grandparents and aunts and uncles to give hugs. He is obedient in Sunday school and works hard to share toys and play fair. He says please and thank you more regularly than many adults I know. We joke that he’s so great, our only job is to not mess him up!

Gift:  This child is a gift… a miracle… a blessing beyond what I ever dreamed. He is a perfect fit for our family and we are honored to be his parents. I can’t compare this experience to raising a girl, but all that I can say is that this has been the most joy-filled and exciting adventure of our lives and that we look forward to each moment with this incredible little boy!


Thank you, Amanda, for sharing about your son!

Madison Adoption Associates is expecting many new referrals of waiting children in the upcoming months, many of which will be for boys.  Interested in adopting a boy?  Contact us at sarah@madisonadoption.org to get started!

 

 

 

 

The letter I didn’t want to write

The letter I didn’t want to write

Dear Max,

I can’t believe I’m writing this.  Honestly, I didn’t want to write it at all.  But I owe it to you.  I made a promise to you over a year and a half ago .  We all thought that promise was fulfilled when a family committed to you.  But sometimes things happen, and families don’t work out.  NOT BECAUSE OF YOU.  But sadly, it happened nonetheless.  So I promised you I’d try again .  And I have Max.  I have tried.  I have done everything I know to do.  I have shared about you, done my best to track down pictures of you smiling (you sure are serious!), and asked friends to meet with you to chat about your hopes and dreams.  All to help in finding your forever family.  Well, I haven’t found them Max.  And now we are at the end of our time as protectors of ‘your file.’  But you were never ‘just a file’ Max, and now there is a lump in my throat knowing we are about to lose you.  I know you probably don’t believe my promises anymore.  And I get that.  But I promise to keep trying.  Where ever your file ends up, I will follow you.  I will continue to share with whoever wants to hear that you want to be an inventor, you want to play soccer, you are interested in fixing appliances.  I’ll share that it’s pretty tough to get you to crack a smile, but when you do….man is it electric!  I’ll share that you were reluctant to come to America, but you braved it, and now you want to come here forever.

You have a significant birthday coming up Max.  You’ll be 13 in January.  That’s big for all kids, regardless of circumstance – you will enter the teen years.  But it’s even bigger for you, because it means only one year left.  One year to not only find them, but get them to you in time.  I’ll try until the last minute Max.  Until then, keep dreaming of what you want to be when you grow up, and keep cracking those smiles.

Your friend,

Sarah


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.  Please complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as his forever family, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information ASAP, as MAA only has Max’s file until December 18.

11 holidays come and gone…

11 holidays come and gone…

This time of year is busy.  We get it.  We, too, are juggling gift planning, holiday gatherings, school functions, and family get-togethers.  The countdown to the holidays is looming…and there is so much to do!  We see it every year – holidays roll around, inquiries decrease exponentially.  But one thing doesn’t change about this time of year – the children who wait.  Take Aiden for example.  He is new to our list, but he is not new to waiting.  He’s been waiting for over 11 years.  11 holidays have come and gone, and he still waits.  Granted, he most likely does not celebrate a December holiday like we do in the US.  Though I can’t help but think of him, for 11 years, waiting, while we celebrate family, and togetherness, and giving.  Yet, the inquiries decrease exponentially around the holidays…


Aiden is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  He will turn 12 in January, and is diagnosed with post-operative CHD(VSD).  There is a $3,000 grant available towards his adoption, as well as an additional $1,000 grant for a family who commits by the end of the year.  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Meet The Waiting Children of Colombia

Meet The Waiting Children of Colombia

The process of gaining accreditation to conduct adoptions from Colombia was filled with paperwork, meetings, strategic planning, late nights, early mornings, and too many emails flying back and forth to count.  We vowed to be transparent, ethical, and honest throughout all of our future work in Colombia.  And we do not take those vows lightly.  But the most important vow we made was to be a voice for the children of Colombia.  We have been entrusted with their futures and their well-being – a burden that is terrifying, humbling, and honoring all at once.  A burden with a gravity that can often be overwhelming, but which is also the driving force behind the work we do each and every day.

We are honored to introduce you to the beautiful children of Colombia, who so desperately need ALL of our help.  You can ‘meet’ them here.  And please, as you look at each and every one of them, ask yourself, “What can I do to help?”  Whether it is forwarding this post along, emailing for more information, hosting a waiting child, sponsoring a host child, or praying, please join us in being a voice.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ~Charles Dickens


Click here to learn more about adopting from Colombia.  Or email misty@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Boy O Boy! {1}

Boy O Boy! {1}

Our first post in a series about adopting boys.  Waiting Mom Shari shares what led her to pursue the adoption of her son…

The Forgotten Boys

I agree, adopting a Boy isn’t probably your first thought when thinking about adoption.  Like many families, adopting a girl was my first thought and want, too.  As a matter of fact, I did just that.  I adopted a girl from China in 2015.   But, the crazy thing was, I thought I was finished.  I thought I had my family complete.  I have one bio son, and now I have my little girl.  And, not to mention, I’m a single mom.

But, then my heart was burdened.  I was seeing, watching, reading, and researching how boys are being left in the orphanage in China.  Every family wants the pretty, sweet girl, because that is what we were taught – girls are left in the Chinese orphanages because of the one-child policy, so there’s no boys there.

On the contrary, that’s not true.  I actually went on a mission trip to China in 2013 to two different orphanages.  Yes, there are girls, but there were more boys, to my surprise.  How come the boys are there?  Aren’t they the ones that never get abandoned?? My own eyes and heart were opened to the reality, that boys are in need in China – a need for a family!

After my adoption with my girl, I kept reading stories and watching families adopt – adopt girls.  My heart grew more burdened for these forgotten boys out there.  I know they are out there just waiting for you, for me, for a forever family.

It honestly kept me up a nights.  How come no one explains this side of the adoption/orphanages?  What can I do to help?

That’s when I knew God called me to go back to China and get my son.  I was made aware of all this so I would be one of the families that go back to get a boy.  I feel like the boys, especially with special needs, are truly the least of “the least of these.”   I’m finding out that even with adopting a boy, the process actually goes quicker!  And, many of them have more grants than girls.  It’s like they are begging to come home – to my home, to your home!

So with God’s calling and strength, I have once again opened my heart and home to receive another child, both are older children, from China, a girl and a BOY.

I can’t wait to bring my new son home!  My two kids are more than excited to have a little brother, a “didi”.   As a matter of fact, my older bio son is already planning on teaching him his video games and saving some of his games and electronics for him.  He’s so excited to have a brother that he can play “boy-things” with and not just a little sister who wants to play girl-y things.

There are so many boys out there, and so many families wanting to adopt – maybe one of the boys is yours.  Don’t look past them just because of their gender.  Boys needs homes too!

So my story will be continued.  We are hoping to travel around Summer of 2018 to go back for a older boy.   And, maybe, this can be your story too…..


Thank you, Shari, for sharing your story!  While we can’t show you Shari’s son’s picture just yet, we will be sure to continue to check back in with her closer to travel so we can show her handsome little man to the world!

Madison Adoption Associates is expecting many new referrals of waiting children in the upcoming months, many of which will be for boys.  Interested in adopting a boy?  Contact us at sarah@madisonadoption.org to get started!

 

Thankful for YOU, the adoptive family

Thankful for YOU, the adoptive family

As we gathered around the conference room table during our own makeshift ‘Friendsgiving’ last week, the time came to share what we were grateful for.  Of course, our own families were mentioned, but then you were too.  Our adoptive families.  Because without you, we cannot do what we do.  We cannot change the lives of the fatherless.  YOU make it all possible.  For you, we are eternally grateful.  And while we would love to share each and every story, as they are all so special, we only have room for one today.  Please read Jenny’s story.  And as she gives thanks for her daughter this Thanksgiving, we give thanks for her.

Their first hug

For years, her friends would return from these trips and she would see how they were changed.  She would see how their hearts would bleed for the children they met.  Not only were their lives changed, but the lives of some of the children they met were changed, as they would advocate for the children until forever families were found.  She wanted to go.  She wanted to do her part to be a voice for the fatherless.  So in November 2016, Jenny went to China as part of Madison Adoption Associates ‘Ambassadors of Hope’ team.  A trip that would change her life more than she could ever imagine.

The team visited three orphanages that trip.  They met many children, getting to know them, doting on them, playing, laughing, teaching them how to be kids.  And taking pictures galore knowing they would help advocate for the children on their return home.  Each advocate was assigned one or two children at each orphanage.  Prior to the trip, Jenny was drawn to ‘Nikki’s’ picture.  So she was assigned as ‘Nikki’s’ advocate.

Upon arriving at ‘Nikki’s’ orphanage, the second orphanage on the trip, Jenny felt butterflies like she hadn’t at the first orphanage.  She was going to meet the little girl whose picture she had been praying over for weeks.  And what a spectacular meeting it was!  ‘Nikki’s’ smile lit up the room, and she and Jenny were inseparable during their days together.

Jenny went on to orphanage number three, where she continued to do her part to advocate for the kids she met, but she could not get ‘Nikki’ off her mind.  Of course she was dedicated to advocate hard for all of the kids assigned to her, but especially ‘Nikki’ – she just HAD to find this sweet, special girl her forever family.

One of many hugs to come as Mother and daughter

Jenny returned home.  ‘Re-entry’ was difficult, as it can be coming off a trip like this.  You see, the children have a way of imprinting themselves deep into your soul.  You might try to get back to your normal, but they will always be there, on your heart.  Jenny experienced this for all the children she met, but especially for ‘Nikki.’  She could not get this girl off her mind, off her heart, off her soul.  She dove into advocacy, but quickly realized she was having a difficult time advocating for ‘Nikki.’  As, the ‘what ifs’ wouldn’t go away.  What if I am her Mom?  What if she is the reason God sent me on that trip?  What if?  What if?  After pondering and praying through all of the ‘what ifs,’ it became clear to Jenny that her advocacy for ‘Nikki’ was complete.  Her forever family was found.  In Jenny.

Jenny dove in head first that day.  And almost one year later, ‘Nikki’ became Evy Lu, and was placed into Jenny’s arms again….this time as daughter, this time forever.

Ready to go home!

Evy’s first Halloween

Home


Madison Adoption Associates has adoption programs in China, Philippines, Bulgaria, and Colombia.  There is currently a $1,000 grant available to any family who signs on for any adoption program by the end of 2017.  Visit our website, or email sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.

Giggles

Giggles

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 sarah@madisonadoption.org 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.

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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 contact@madisonadoption.org for more information.

 

Stuck

Stuck

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 Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information.