Monday, November 30, 2015

New Week, New Partnership, New Files!

We are pretty excited this Monday morning! We have a lot of exciting news to share!



First of all, our partnership with the Ningbo orphanage in the Zhejiang province of China is now official! We visited there in April and met a bunch of super sweet children, so we are extremely excited that we will be working with them on an on-going basis!



And...



New files! We love when we find out about new files! This group consists of all really young children, including twin 3 1/2 year old girls! Oh the cuteness! And a tiny little boy with the sweetest little expression. And... well, I could keep going, but I'm just giving you a little sneak peek right now, so I'd better stop.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

One thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, GOTCHA DAY! 

 

What a day -- excitement, joy, anxiousness, sadness, promise, love....



Gotcha Day and Thanksgiving: trains, planes, and automobiles....and family.  The opportunity to hold our child, or parent, or sibling, in our arms and say:  "I am finally here for you today; and I will be here for you always". 


You can follow the blog of a family currently in China adopting one of our little Superkids here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Shining A Light On... Taiwan



This month the Gladney Superkids team has been sharing what we have been #gratefulfor.  On Tuesdays we always like to shine a little extra light  - and focus our thoughts and work  - on the children in Taiwan who need families. I know that the country of Taiwan may not be the first place that parents might think about traveling to when they choose to adopt a child who is Chinese.  But, I encourage everyone to learn about Taiwan - It is an interesting and beautiful country with a history intertwined with mainland China.  It is a country of modern conveniences and challenges.





The adoption process in Taiwan is a very stable process with the opportunity to receive updated medical and developmental information on a regular basis once matched with a child.  Most often the children needing an adoptive family are toddlers are sibling groups.  Several years ago I had the opportunity to spend 5 months in Taiwan followed by 3 months in China, so in many ways- when I think about China -- I think about my adventures in Taiwan, and the friends I made when I was visiting.  I am #gratefulfor the opportunity I had to visit "both" Chinas - and there will always be a special place in my heart for Taiwan.  




Could your child be waiting in Taiwan? Visit Gladney’s website to read the adoptive parents requirements for the Taiwan program. If you are interested in learning more about the Taiwan program or waiting children, please be in touch with Taiwan Program Caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

-Wendy Stanley, Director, Asia program Social Services

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's Start the Week Off Right!

First of all a let's say congratulations to the family of our recently matched little

LAUREN!!




Then let's congratulate the families meeting their little Superkids this week!




And last, but not least, we had a great time meeting new families and sharing about Superkids and Gladney's programs at the APC Conference this weekend.

April and Mary at the display table.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thankful Thursday {#gratefulfor}

This week we are thankful for...

Opportunities!



We are so blessed with opportunities! We are given the opportunity to travel to Asia and are welcomed into orphanages in both China and Taiwan. They welcome us in with our cameras and donations and they set up scales and answer our questions and give us access to so much information. They trust us to use this information and the photos and videos responsibly and we appreciate their trust.

We have the opportunity to meet children. We meet hundreds of children in a year's time! We treasure each moment with each child. We cradle babies, we play with toddlers, we put Legos together with older children.


We have the opportunity to meet so many awesome families! (See last week's post)

We have the opportunity to advocate and educate! Tomorrow afternoon Keely will be holding a webinar to help people understand neurological issues better in order to prepare them to parent children with these needs.

We are so thankful for the many unique opportunities we have!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why In The World? {Taiwan Family Story}

There are many children with Down syndrome or other similar special needs in Taiwan waiting for their forever families. If you are interested in learning more about Taiwan adoption, or the waiting children in Taiwan, please contact Taiwan Program Caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

Note: The photos in this post are not of Kaden, they are of a little boy in Taiwan whom we met in September. 

One mother’s letter of support to others thinking about adopting a child with Down syndrome.

We have a biological son and our daughter is adopted from South Korea.  We were in the process of prayerfully considering our second adoption, never expecting to have another child of our own.  Little did we know, God had other plans for our family and we found out we were expecting.  After many tests and sonograms, we learned in the Spring of 2010 that our son would be born with Down Syndrome and have 2 different heart conditions. 



We heard many comments from Drs. over the months that were less than supportive -- you name it, we heard it!  While it was not easy, we brushed off each and every comment the OB/GYN Doctors had to say to us, just because our son happened to have an extra chromosome.  Caleb was truly a VERY unexpected gift and we loved him so, including his older brother and sister!  After two open heart surgeries, Caleb climbed into Jesus' lap after being with us for a little over a year.  Caleb had taught us in only 414 days that not only could we care for a child with Down Syndrome, but that they had a lot to teach us as well.  He never spoke a word or even learned to sit up, but he taught us more and showed us what true unconditional love is in a very short amount of time!  After months of grief in our family, we knew full well we were not "done".  As time lifted some of our grief, we began to realize that we were still meant to adopt again, but this time we were to adopt a little one with special needs.  Something we would have never considered for our family before Caleb.



We fell in love with a little guy who was featured on Reese's Rainbow, as well as Rainbow Kids!  We inquired and filled out information about our family and a couple weeks later, we were told that we had been chosen by the birth family to raise Kaden. The process began and we were off to the races!  International adoptions have many twists and turns and many times where we had to hurry up and wait...but on the other end of the paper trail is a beautiful child needing a home.  Kaden had a mom, dad, older brother and sister who could not wait to bring him home.  The process took 14 months, but thankfully the agency in Taiwan was good about sending updates, pictures and videos, almost every month!  We could not wait for those updates each time!!  After 14 months, we finally brought Kaden HOME and a little piece of our broken hearts was filled again.

Sure, it is not easy raising a child with special needs, but what child is easy?!  Our greatest challenges have been with insurance when something like physical therapy is not billed right!  :)  
Kaden brings so much joy to our lives each and every day.  He runs to his daddy when he walks into the door after a long day at work.  He makes us laugh at the dinner table every night.  He amazes us with his strength and determination every day!  What is different about a child with Down Syndrome...absolutely nothing!  He may need a little extra therapy at school or a little extra help with forming his words.  He may need a little extra time potty training or learning how to tie his shoes, but he teaches US more every day then we can even describe.  We have determined after two and half years with K that the extra 21st chromosome is made up of mostly love (the other portion is made up of stubbornness:).



Did we ever think when we got married that we would have a special needs child...no!  But are we thankful that we have been blessed to raise a child with special needs...absolutely!  We are better for it, our other children are better for it.

So, in the end, why in the world would you want to adopt a child with Down Syndrome?  Because you can!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Josh

Josh is a super cute 2 year old boy who is described as active and cheerful with a ready smile. He likes to sing and dance and his favorite toys are blocks.



Josh has complex CHD as well as a repaired hernia and hand deformities.



He is walking independently and can go up and down steps. He speaks in 3-5 word sentences and can express his needs in words.



Josh needs a family who will love him and be sure he gets the medical care he needs! Could he be your son? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Adoptive Parent's Conference! {AKA Meet Superkids Volunteers!}

We are so excited to be presenting at the Adoptive Parent's Committee Conference in New York City next weekend! Both Keely O'Dell and Erin Martin plan to be there with April Uduhiri, Wendy Stanley, Leta White, and Mary Chapman. We will be holding a workshop in the afternoon, but we will also be available to talk about Superkids and China adoption throughout the day. We are planning leave our lunch hour open so we have time to visit with anyone who wants to join us!

We are thrilled about this opportunity and hope to meet some of you there!

Come Join The Adoptive Parents Committee Inc., 
on Sunday November 22, 2015 at the 35th Annual APC Adoption Conference!
 Doors Open At 8:00AM 
St. Francis College Brooklyn, NY
 Key Note Speaker: Pat O’Brien President Citizens Coalition Of Adoptable Children, National Child Advocate Of The Year 2015 
For More Information Please Call (212) 304-8479 
Register Online! www.adoptiveparents.org 
70 Workshops, 35 Exhibitors & A Bookstore All In One Place, For One Day!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Webinar Time!

It is almost time for our monthly Superkids Spotlight webinar!

Join Superkids Pediatric Physical Therapist Keely O'Dell for an informative series on common medical needs seen in children available for adoption. Our November webinar will focus on children with neurological issues, specifically those related to the spine. 

Superkids Spotlight: Neurological Conditions Part Two - Getting to Know the Spinal Cord and Nerves

Adoptive mom, Jenny Calfee will be joining us to share her family's experience adopting a child with Brachial Plexus.

We will also be sharing some kids who are available for adoption!

Join us on Friday, November 20, from 1-2 PM EST

Friday, November 13, 2015

Update Time For... Gayly!

Gayly is a gorgeous 5 year old girl. She has post-operative complex CHD and developmental delays. Please watch her video and share it to help us her family! You can contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday {#gratefulfor}

Right up at the top of our list of things we are #gratefulfor is...

Well...

YOU!

Each time we go to China and Taiwan we come to you asking for donations to take with us, each time our list is taken care of in short order. You bless us with financial donations, making our trips possible. You come up with fundraising ideas like being a charity organization in the NYC Marathon the other week. Some of you make sure that you bump our kids to the top of advocacy groups regularly. It all makes a difference and I'm proud to be a part of this community!

Playing with Legos, one of the many donations we took on our last trip.

You read, you share...

But more than all of that, you love our kids.

We meet these wonderful children and we fear just a bit that we will not be able to communicate their unique preciousness to you. We introduce them to you and time after time, you read, you share, and you fall in love. Child after child is seen for who they are. They are loved for who they are. Their family steps forward and they are brought home to flourish.

And for that, we are forever grateful!

What are you #gratefulfor today? Tell us on our Facebook page or comment here!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sweet Felicity {Taiwan}

Felicity is an adorable almost 12 year old girl who wears glasses and has a big smile. Superkids was not able to meet Felicity on our recent trip due to the typhoon disrupting our plans, but she is described by her caregivers as gentle, shy, and sweet. She loves to lend a helping hand to others and gets along well with her peers in school and at the orphanage where she lives.

Taipei 101 
Felicity loves creative activities! She enjoys doing arts and crafts, and drawing. She also took a music class where she learned to play the bongos! She likes to play games with her friends after school. On a recent trip to the zoo, Felicity fell in love with koalas!

Felicity is diagnosed as having mild/moderate mental disabilities. She receives some extra help at school, however she is in a class with her same aged peers. She does not need assistance with normal daily activities or self-care.

We hope to meet Felicity on our next trip to Taiwan – and maybe we’ll be able to bring her a stuffed koala!



Could sweet Felicity be your daughter?  For more information on Felicity, please contact Taiwan program caseworker Mary Chapman atmary.chapman@gladney.org.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Captivating Courtney {Under Consideration}

We were talking about Courtney recently trying to remember if she has any delays. Both of us who had met her just said, "I only remember her as being perfect in every way!" This little girl just exudes joy. She is such a little darling!



Courtney is 3 years old and her nanny was determined to show us everything she could do! She has limb differences, but she is very determined and figures out how to do what she wants to do!



We took a helmet for Courtney when we went to China in September since she cannot catch herself when she falls and she bumps her little head. We thought it might frighten or distress her to put it on her. Boy were we ever wrong! She absolutely loved it. As a matter of fact, one of the other kids was upset that we did not bring one for him too! It was so adorable watching her decorate her helmet with stickers.



She is doing very well developmentally. She walks, runs, and jumps. She can throw a ball and follows simple directions. She speaks in simple sentences. She is potty trained. She likes to color and can stack blocks. Pretty much she does everything you would expect a little 3 year old girl to do.



This little girl is so precious! We all just fell in love with her! Superkids has seen her several times, the first time being when she was only 10 months old. We have cradled her as a baby and watched her grow into the independent, amazing little girl she is today!



And now we get to share her with you! Courtney needs a family to help her continue to develop to her full potential. Could she be your daughter? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information.

And please share this post! Let's find Courtney's family together!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Lovely Lexie {Under Consideration}

Lexie is a lovely little 3 year old girl. See what I mean? I really don't use the word lovely lightly here! Her caregivers describe her as smiley and sweet, though she was pretty sober with us. Not that I blame her! I'd be a little unsure of that many new people too!



She is a quiet, calm little girl who likes to be held. She liked to sit on our laps and observe what was going on in the room around her. She loved looking at pictures of herself on my camera.



She is doing well developmentally. She speaks in sentences and follows simple directions. She throws a ball and walks independently. She is potty trained. Her favorite toys are blocks and puzzles. She enjoyed playing with Legos and trying to build something with them.



Lexie has postoperative CHD. Superkids volunteers will be glad to speak with families who are interested!

Could Lexie be your daughter? Please contact April Uduhiri at april.uduhiri@gladney.org for more information!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday {#gratefulfor...}

We are taking time this month to count our blessings! We have so many things to be grateful for!

Rocky
First of all I have to mention the China and Taiwan teams who make our travels so easy and enjoyable! From getting us to where we need to be to helping us get laundry done to buying us coffee and water when we need it to translating for us these extraordinary people make our trips possible!

Rocky and Ashley

And on top of that they are just fun, caring people whom I feel privileged to know. Each of them cares so much about the children that we see! One of my favorite memories of China includes Rocky singing along with a child who felt a little shy about singing a song that her caregiver suggested she sing.

Wendy

We are so blessed to have such talented, caring, extraordinary people on the ground in the countries we visit!

We are sharing different things we are #gratefulfor each day this month on our Facebook page! Come join us and share what you are #gratefulfor this month!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Amazing Mara! {Taiwan}

Mara is a happy, playful, and fun 10 year old little girl. She loves going to school and doesn’t like when she has a day off! Her favorite subject is Mandarin. She is very proud of her beautiful handwriting and even did a writing demonstration for the Superkids team. She also challenged Keely to some math problems. They would take turns writing a problem for the other to solve – Mara was getting tricky with some of the problems she came up with for Keely! She would crack up laughing if Keely pretended to be stumped.



Other than school, Mara likes to watch TV and is great at completing 100 piece jigsaw puzzles. She has a sweet and gentle nature, and is very nurturing to other children in school. She lives in a foster family and has two foster sisters that she gets along with well. Mara is very helpful and doesn’t mind assisting her foster mother with chores.



Mara has encephalomyelopathy and scoliosis, which affects her movement. She is able to walk unassisted and take care of her self-care needs. It is also noted that she has some global developmental delays and is therefore in special education classes at school.

Could Mara be your daughter? For more information on Mara, please contact Taiwan Program Caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November- National Adoption Awareness Month

We started off November with a bang! Yesterday, November 1st, five brave people ran in the TCS NYC Marathon to benefit Superkids.



As a spectator in the vast crowds it was very emotional for me to stand there thinking about these runners pushing themselves through the pain of running for 26.2 miles because they care so much about our little Superkids!




I Am Team Gladney!!

A huge thank you and congratulations to all of the runners who ran for Gladney's Superkids! The nearly $16,000 raised will be put to good use as we continue to serve the children in China and Taiwan!