~ URGENT – CALL TO ACTION ~

~ URGENT – CALL TO ACTION ~

To those of you who care about the orphans of the world…

The orphan crisis is massive.  It is hard to comprehend.  But, we do what we can to put faces to the astronomical numbers.  We meet these orphans.  We fall in love.  And we introduce them to you, in hopes of making them orphans no more.  It is tireless work.  It is exhausting and draining, yet fulfilling and so worthwhile.  It becomes more than work.  It is our heart.  The children…are our heart.

We are writing to you today, because the orphan crisis just got bigger.  We are now fighting a force we never thought we would have to.  We are fighting a force who should be our allies, who should be with us, who should be with the children.  Our own United States Department of State. Though we understand and appreciate the critical nature of regulating and oversight, the reality is that OVER regulation has been killing adoptions, putting agencies out of business, and most importantly, hindering children entering families for a long time now.

During the past several months, we have shared with you the shifting of accrediting entities from COA to IAAME.  As this shift continues to progress, we were recently made aware on February 1, of the new accreditation fees that will be implemented by IAAME, beginning as early as February 15, 2018.  These fees, which the Department claims will not have a significant impact on Adoption Service Providers and families, show an increase of unfathomable proportions.  One said fee (and, these are not ‘proposed’ fees – they have already been approved by DOS) is a $500 fee (per adopted child), required to be paid by the adoptive family, due at time of contracting with the placing agency.  Effective February 15, 2018.  The purpose of this fee, as stated by IAAME and USDOS, is to fund the startup costs of IAAME.  In 2016, there were 5,370 international adoptions to the US, as reported by DOS.  5,370 x $500 = $2,685,000!!!  This is just ONE fee that IAMME will soon be receiving in one year!  And this does not even factor in the additional excessive accreditation fees that they will charge all adoption service providers.  In looking at preliminary numbers, it appears MAA’s accreditation costs will increase more than 400%!   This is an insane amount of money that will now be subsidized by adoptive families!

Of course, having an accrediting entity is absolutely necessary to oversee the work that we do.  It ensures transparency, ethical practices, and ultimately protects the children.  We fully support the role of an accrediting entity.  However, we must be heard.  An immediate, hasty fee increase like this, which has not been thought out or discussed with adoption service providers (those who understand and are DOING the work on the ground) will no doubt prevent more orphans from having families and put more good agencies (the advocates for the most vulnerable) out of business.

How will this affect me?
If you are thinking of adopting, please apply here now:  MAA Application

If you are on board, please get your contracts in now!  After February 15th, the additional fee of $500 (per child you are adopting) will apply to every family.   Though we hope and pray for this to be reduced or overturned, we need to be proactive and proceed now so less families will feel the effects.

What can you do to help?

Although we have to move forward, we are not giving up the fight!  Increasing costs and over regulation are hurting children!  Families and agencies should not be subsidizing start-up costs for accrediting organizations!

Here’s how you can help save international adoptions:

  • The National Council for Adoption and Families has coordinated All Call days to Congress people on February 7th and 8th to protest. Call Wednesday or Thursday! Find your Senators and Representatives HERE. A huge wave of calls from like-minded individuals with a common goal is the best way to be heard and effect change.
  • Read these TIPS to make your call as effective as possible. Also, request that the Small Business Association investigate an approximate fee increase of 3000%+.
  • Share this email with your friends, your relatives, and anyone who believes that all children have the right to a permanent, loving family – without extra financial burdens from the Department of State.

Visit http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/intercountry-advocacy for more details on how to participate. See the press release HERE.

PLEASE make the call.  Make your family make the call.  Make your friends make the call.  Make your voices heard.  Because your voice, and our voice, is the voice of the orphan – they have no voice without us.

We thank you for doing all you can.  And please know, we will continue to fight.  For you, our adoptive families, and ultimately for the children, who need us now more than ever.

Madison Adoption Associates

Sweet Adelyn

Sweet Adelyn

We ask for updates on all of the children that we are entrusted with.  Most are sufficient.  Most answer the questions, and provide the information that we need.  Some don’t share much at all.  And then there are others.  Those where you can feel the love for the child.  Those where you can tell that the caregiver providing answers really want us to know this child.  Adelyn’s update is one of those.

While the entire update stood out to me, there were two questions that really just made me smile:

How is her emotional development? Is the child attached to anyone? Who is she close to? Does she care for other people?
Great. She is very attached to her nanny. She knows how to care for others. When her nanny gets tired after a long walk, she will bring a stool for her. She will massage her nanny’s legs, waist and back. If her nanny coughs, she will ask her to take medicine. When her younger brother cries, she will give him toys. When her neighbor gives her snacks, she will share with her younger brother. Her neighbor is a disabled man and she will help him with his cane.


How are her social skills? Does she get along well with other children and adults?
Great! All the neighbors love her!

I can see these answers in these pictures of Adelyn.  I can see her sweet spirit in that big smile on her face.  I can see it in the way she dances in the rain.  This girl is special.  This girl will bring immeasurable joy to the family who says Yes to her.


Adelyn is 6-years-old and is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  There is a $5,000 Bright Futures grant available for the family who adopts her.  Interested in learning more?  Email sarah@madisonadoption.org or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form.

Dharma

Dharma

by Drayer Spurlock

Dharma. Why do you wait? You’re as cute as a button, outgoing, and friendly. Your eyes shone so brightly when we met. You didn’t say much, but your personality sparkled. You were so excited to meet me and seemed so sad to go back to your room, as if you know you have waited for your own family for a long time. You held my shy and nervous son’s hand as we waited for the elevator to take us upstairs.

Dharma, you broke my heart. You have been on my mind since I returned from China. I have prayed for you since I met you.

Your caretakers explained that you have CP. They really want you to find a home, a family, and they have tried so hard to find you one. I can tell you want that, too. Why have you waited so? It makes no sense to me. I watched you walk and feed yourself grapes, both of which you did well. You did everything that your caretakers asked you  to do. They say you are smart, potty trained, and that your brain is not affected by CP, which seems limited to your right side and your expressive speech. Our guide said that your orphanage has the resources for food and shelter, but not the resources for the therapies that would help you. You definitely need the love of a family, and it would be so easy for you to receive services here.

Dharma, it breaks my heart that you aren’t home yet. Every day, I pray your family sees you and works to bring you home.


Dharma is 7-years-old.  She has Cerebral Palsy.  But much more important than that, she has a sparkle, a kind soul, and a burning desire for a forever family.  Could it be you?  You can find more information about Dharma here.  Or email sarah@madisonadoption.org. 

Diana’s Plea

Diana’s Plea

by Diana Bramble, Executive Director of Operations

PLEA

OK, so I don’t post a lot.  I am not the best writer.  My words are black and white and don’t evoke much emotion.  However, please know with my whole heart, I am filled with emotion as I write these words.

I LOVE THIS GIRL.  AND SHE AGES OUT IN A FEW SHORT MONTHS…

Yes, I know I love many kids.  Yes, I know they are all special.  Yes, I know they all deserve a family.  But some just get in your heart a little more…  Or in some cases, A LOT MORE.

So, I am making a plea to anyone who will listen or read or watch my tears fall for her….

Yes, I know she is 15 and has most definitely had her fair share of trauma and not many people should take this on.

Yes, I know the teenage years are stressful, even for children who do not have a history of trauma.

Yes, I know she is not a baby that you can pick up and kiss a boo-boo and make the world right again.

BUT KNOW THIS….

She is special.  She is kind.  She is beautiful.  She is thoughtful.  She takes care of the little ones and helps the adults all day long.  She is funny.  She is smart.  She wants to be a lawyer or police officer.  She wants justice in this world.  She loves to travel.  She loves to experience new places. She is a cute little teen who loves to pose for photos.  She is begging to be a beloved daughter and sibling and granddaughter and niece and finally have a family to call her own….


Why is she still there you ask?  After years and years, she finally had a file prepared.  Then she found a family.  She loved them and they loved her.  She has been talking to them for months.  But sometimes great things don’t always work out and this is one of those times….  Unfortunately, her family cannot  come for her.  It has nothing to do with her and she is powerless.  She just found out.  She loved them.  She lost them.  She is afraid that she will now be an orphan forever….

But it is not over yet.

Aimee deserves a family.  She deserves love.  She deserves happiness,  She deserves a chance.  She deserves a future.

So here is my plea…  Will you please pray for her?  Or consider her?  Or advocate for her?  Or share this post?  And tell every family you think may be a good fit about her.  Why her you ask?  Because she deserves it.  And someone else deserves her too….

People who have not adopted before often tell me how lucky my kids are that we adopted them.  This could not be further from the truth…  Because we adoptive parents know that it is us that are happy and lucky and privileged and  truly blessed individuals to have the privilege of being their parents.   You can’t even imagine it until you think how you could have missed it…   I pray that some lucky family sits back a year from now after seeing the most beautiful smile in the world looking up at them, and thanks God that they took a chance on our Aimee.

Let’s all come together and do what we can and not let this girl be forever an orphan.

Thank you for reading.  This is my PLEA.


Aimee is 15 years old, which means she barely has any time left to be adopted.  The family who steps up and commits to Aimee must be ready to move heaven and earth to get to her in time.  But where there is a will, there is a way.  Interested in learning more about Aimee?  Visit our website or email Misty@madisonadoption.org.  Or, complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as her forever family.

The Evolution of the Peace Sign

The Evolution of the Peace Sign

Marta, when I first met you, I couldn’t get over your cuteness.  You had a tragic buzz cut, and were trying your hardest at doing the peace sign just like all the other older kids.  You knew it involved two fingers….you just weren’t sure which two.  But you tried your hardest!  Is it these two?  Like this??  Not quite Marta.

 

Fast forward one year.  Your hair is growing in beautifully.  You still got those chubby cheeks, and gorgeous, full lips.  Still trying your hardest to figure out that peace sign.  Close Marta, but not quite.

While your cuteness level is the same (how can the cutest get even cuter?), and your peace sign skills are slowly developing, there is one big change since I saw you last Marta.  Your adoption file is ready.  Your future.  Is ready.  So keep working on that peace sign Marta, as the next time you’ll throw it for a picture will hopefully be on your Forever Family Day.


Marta just turned 3 last September.  She is diagnosed with post-op spina bifida and club foot.  She is available for adoption through Madison Adoption Associates.  Email Sarah@madisonadoption.org for more information, or complete the Prospective Adoptive Parent form to be considered as her forever family.

In search of her Hero – In search of her Dad

In search of her Hero – In search of her Dad

My Dad is my hero.  He always has been.  So when I saw this video of Zelena, my heart ached for her.  All she wants is a Daddy who will protect her.  Who will stand by her no matter what.  Who will make sure nothing bad ever happens to her.  Even though she has a strength that could rival any strong Dad, she shouldn’t have to carry that weight on her shoulders.  That’s a Dads job.  Could you be her Dad?  Could you be her hero? (Be sure to watch video til the end)…


Zelena is available for outright adoption in any state, or for hosting this summer in MD, PA, NJ, IL, or MO.  She is 11 years old, and medically healthy.  Email misty@madisonadoption.org for more information.

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.