Quilt Update:

Last fall, we began collecting quilt squares for a waiting child tribute quilt to be presented to The CCCWA.  We asked children and their families to draw on a square, write a message or trace their hand.  We started on the boat cruise around New York Harbor and continued to collect quilt squares at the Chinese New Year celebrations in Texas and New York.  The kids created some beautiful pictures!  This weekend, I am beginning to assemble the quilt.

Much love goes into assembling a quilt; it is such a sweet experience as I stitch the squares together, handling each child’s picture.  There is so much love here!  What is more beautiful than a child's drawing?  Here are some pictures as the quilt comes together.

So, thank you sweet kiddos for your beautiful drawings. Thank you CCCWA, for all the work you do for adoption.  Waiting children, you are in our hearts and we are committed to helping you be united with forever families!

“Everyone can DO something!”

After my last blog post, which had very specific suggestions to help families in the process of adoption, it made me think about what we can all do to raise the awareness of adoption.  As I LOVE to say, everyone can DO something to increase awareness.  Only by speaking out, can we make a difference.  If you yourself don't feel called to adopt, help those that do and raise awareness to all the beautiful children who wait.

Having been to many orphanages in China, I have seen so many children who are waiting: they wait for their meals, wait to get washed up, wait for their turn with a toy, they wait to be the next child picked to leave the orphanage - they wait for their forever family!

So, here are some suggestions on what you can do even if you are not adopting:

-  promote adoption blogs on your blog.

-  make a pledge on a site that helps raise grants for adoption such as Reece’s Rainbow (www.reecesrainbow.org) an adoption ministry for children with downs syndrome

-  visit Rainbow Kids (www.rainbowkids.org) and advocate for these beautiful waiting children.

-  spread the word at your church, synagogue or religious institution.  Talk about the waiting child crisis.

-  when asked to read at a school or preschool, choose a book that highlights adoption.

-  if your child is involved in a group, have the group fundraise for a waiting child project.  The group can save change, sell lemonade, or rake leaves and donate the proceeds to waiting children charities.

-  embrace diversity and the beauty of each child.  Families are made in the heart.

I know there are many more suggestions to raise awareness and promote adoption.  Please comment on my blog or Facebook with your suggestions.  Remember, “Everyone can do something!”.

Please note: April Uduhiri and I are holding a special webinar on April 25th at 7 pm EST.  We will be joined by Juliette Howard, a Gladney mom who will speak about adoption from a parent’s perspective.  We have a group of older boys from the Hunan province available for adoption.  It is quite sad that being a boy makes it less likely that they will find a home.  Let’s see if we can change that!  Sign up at the link below.

Register here to attend the April 25th webinar.


Ways to support a family in the process of adopting

I meet so many parents in the process of adopting.  They tell me such great things about being supported by friends and family.  So, I thought I would create a reference list for all of us.  If you helped me with ideas on Facebook, thank you so much.  Here is the list.
 Before/during the process:
- Be there as a friend and good listener. Don't judge that the wait is really not that long. Share the wait. Be available to just talk.  Be positive.  Don't ask “how much longer?”.  A kinder question is “what's the next step?”.

-  Show genuine interest in what the family is doing to prepare for child.

-  Treat this child as a person even before they are home.  Call them by name, if you know it.  The updates that parents get are like sonogram pics; share the development of their child.

-  Listen to the specifics - how long the process will be, what each document means. 

- Create some kind of ritual that marks milestones.  Like a special lunch out when each stage is completed.  Or, make a craft together that can be for the child's room when they come home.

-  Get the adoptive Mom, Dad or both, out of the house for a break.  Iced tea in the garden or watch a mindless comedy. A relaxing little break.  

-  Throw a party or shower for the parents. The child's age does not matter.  They will still need new things for their child who is coming home.  Celebrate with them as they wait.

-  Assist in preparation for travel and the gottcha day.  Offer suitcases, packing info, make some frozen dishes for the family to share upon return or for the children who are not traveling.

-  If you have technical/computer expertise, offer it.  Help them get their VPN (Virtual Private Network) set up.  Go over how to download pics, etc.

-  If there is an adoption issue, a match falls thru, be there to support, cry with them and just listen.  Your love and support means the most at this time.

-  Support from your church, synagogue, place of worship means a lot.  Tell them and let them share in the process. One of the most popular suggestions was to pray for the family and their child.

-  Help the family hold a fundraiser or throw a party to fundraise.  A popular suggestion that everybody liked was to hold a yard sale.  People raise amazing amounts at multi-family yard sales.  Any amount helps the family with paying for an expensive adoption.
While the family is in-country:
-  Email, Facebook your love and support.  It means a lot to the family to know they are supported in their journey.  

-  If the siblings stay at home, try to visit while Mom and Dad are away. Maybe arrange a play date, or a special movie outing.  You can post on your Facebook so Mom and Dad know everyone is supporting the kids at home.

-  Help with dog sitting or dog walking, feed the cats, other pet care too. Check on the house, etc. Anything to decrease the stress level.
When the family comes home:
- Check with the family before they arrive home to see if it is okay to create an airport welcoming committee.

-  Be available, but don't hover, call or text to check in with them.  Respect the fact that the family is cocooning.  

- Offer to do the grocery shopping.

- Offer to do mundane chores such as the laundry, carpooling for the siblings.  

-  Offer more frozen meals.

-  Arrange a play date with the siblings so the Mom and Dad can settle and bond with the newest family member.

- Create a “first days home” survival basket that includes: Starbucks or Dunkin gift cards. Something pretty-smelling for mom to remind her to take care of herself. A hobby related gift for Dad. A group gift like pails and shovels in the summer, or bubbles, something the whole family can have fun with.  An age appropriate book to read to newly adopted child.  Some goodies or DVD for the siblings. A take-out restaurant coupon.  Dog walking coupons. Coupons you make for free babysitting, for the siblings or the whole bunch.  Even an hour can make a difference.  

-  Have the fridge stocked with food for the family when they come home.  Make sure to include the all important paper products.  

-  Once the family has settled in, ask mom over for a cup of tea.  Let her share her feelings, struggles, but don't judge.  

I hope this helps and everyone can share this with their friends.  If you have more suggestions, let me know.  I will continue to update the list as new suggestions come in.  Wishing everyone the best in their journey.


Superkids is on a Journey

We started out in 2007 with a mission: empowering orphans worldwide.  It was broad enough to cover all the things we wanted to do… whatever would make the most difference to the children we would meet.  On our first trip, we brought therapy professionals to the Shanghai Children's Home for five days.  We worked with their rehab staff and saw so many children we lost count.  It was a journey, full of unexpected experiences, big smiles and tears as well. After that initial trip we grew, our work spread to more orphanages in different provinces. We met and worked with more rehab staff and trained more caregivers.

Superkids now has physical therapists, speech therapists and doctors on our teams.  Our mission has become broader.  We want to continue to improve the quality of care given to waiting children, but we also now advocate for these beautiful kiddos to find their forever family.  This is one of the most important things
we could ever do.  That part of our mission continues long after we come home.  The therapists and doctors remain dedicated to the children we have met in country.  Our teams follow the children's journeys and hope to see each one united with a waiting Mom and Dad.
We provide as much information as possible to those considering adoption.  These children are more than words on paper to us.  We have held them, touched their hair and listened to their words.  We get to meet or talk with Mom, Dad and family before they travel, sometimes even before they are matched.  Sometimes when we meet a matched child and can tell them something about their waiting family, it gives them comfort.  We are their line of communication in many ways.  We take the hug and pass it on.  I saw a waiting mom when I was in Texas in January, visiting the Gladney Center.  She said to her husband "Pat has held our daughter".  I gave her the hug her daughter gave me in China months before.

Every child that finds the family they are waiting for is one step forward in our mutual journey. They say that even the longest journey begins with just one step.  Where are we heading as adoption changes? I don't know.  We will continue to evolve and grow.  I hope our journey ends with empty orphanages and all children with their forever families.