Thursday, December 14, 2017

All I Want For Christmas... {Dennis - Taiwan}

All I want for Christmas...

Is YOU!

Dennis was one of the first children to come into the room on our last trip to Taiwan. Sometimes we forget that, while we spend all year thinking about these precious kids and weeks preparing to see them, they do not have the same anticipation about seeing us. Dennis was met at the door by a very enthusiastic welcoming committee. His little eyes got big and it was a little overwhelming, but it didn't take him long to begin to enjoy the fun things we had with us.



Dennis is 5 years old and was all dressed up in the most darling little suit the day he came to see us. He was in the room when we were preparing to eat lunch and I had to laugh at how he just helped himself to the food that was on the table. We were sitting there politely waiting to see who got what and when we should start eating and little Dennis came right up and grabbed a box and some chopsticks and dug right in.



He has CHD (Tetrology of Fallot) and has had several surgeries. We have met him several times and were excited to see that he appears to have more energy and stamina than he had the other times we have seen him. He has some developmental delays which is to be expected with the time he has spent in the hospital.



Dennis attends kindergarten at a special education school, where he was nominated to be the class captain. He is also in speech therapy. 



In our notes we use words like "quiet, shy, and curious" to describe him. He was very good at matching colors and shapes for us.



Dennis needs a family! Could he be your son? Please contact Mary Chapman, our Taiwan program caseworker, at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

All I Want For Christmas... {Russell}

All I want for Christmas...

Is YOU!

Russell isn't asking for much. He is just asking for a family to see him and fall in love. He could be home by next Christmas. Can you imagine the excitement and joy for this adorable little guy? The lights, the fun-to-play-with wrapping paper. The time spent with his very own family...



Russell is 21 months old and his favorite thing to do is rock on the rocking horse. He has amblyopia (lazy eye) in one eye and his file indicates that his eyesight is poor in that eye. His file indicates that he is behind his peers in some areas but also states that his sight may be the reason for that. He also has some eczema patches on his little head. 



He crawls and is learning to walk. He says a few words and even puts a few words together into phrases. He likes to listen to music and bounce with the beat. 



Little Russell needs a family! His needs sound very manageable and he would bring so much joy to any family! Could he be your son? Please reach out to us at superkids@gladney.org for more information! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

All I Want For Christmas... {Mark - Taiwan}

All I want for Christmas...


Is YOU!

An update on a special young man who is waiting for a forever family. The Superkids team first met Mark in May 2016, and so much change and development has happened since then! Nonetheless, he still remains his giggly, glasses sliding down his nose, fun-loving ten-year-old self.



Mark  holds a dear part of my heart as he was the first child we saw on my first Superkids trip! And wow, seeing him on this past trip left me speechless!  How grown up he looks from when we saw him last fall! From that little guy that was playing hide and seek and pretending to drive me around on a "bus" to a now strapping 10 year old boy, almost as tall as me!  His love for the bus and subway system is advancing. In place of pretending to be a driver he is now enjoying memorizing the routes. He is always up for an adventure.  It’s no surprise that PE is his favorite school subject. Have you ever tried to do sit-ups while laughing?  Well, Mark managed to do 20. Mark enjoys helping with the orphanage garden, playing ball and he is always up for a good game of Chinese chess.



Mark has had hand surgery in the past to remove an extra digit and has residual limitations. He  also has some global delays and will benefit from an academic program with socioemotional supports.

Mark is one amazing young man that is sure to bring smiles everywhere he goes.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could tell  Mark on our next SK trip that we have a family for him?!  Contact Taiwan Program Caseworker Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information on Mark and adopting from Taiwan.

Monday, December 11, 2017

All I Want For Christmas {Lester}

All I want for Christmas...

Is YOU!

Lester!

We're starting the week off with a video! Just look at this sweet little guy! 



He is almost 2 and has hydrocephalus. He has a shunt and is developing very well! In his file it states that he laughs easily and loves to be lively. He has learned to sit independently and crawls very fast. He is beginning to use some simple words and understands what is said to him.



He is curious about new things and will play with a new toy for a long time. He feeds himself small snacks and he likes to have his caregiver's attention. He has learned how to get their attention if they are busy for awhile. He crawls to them and calls them until they pick him up and hug him.



Lester needs all the hugs and cuddles that he would get in a family! Could he be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Friday, December 8, 2017

All I Want For Christmas {Holly}

All I want for Christmas...

Is YOU!


There are so many children waiting for homes! If someone steps forward today sweet Holly could be home by next Christmas. One of the things people worry about with adopting older children is all of the first things they miss out on as parents. But, no matter the age of the child, there are also so many first things adoptive parents get to experience! Imagine experiencing the magic of Christmas for the first time with Holly next year!

One of Holly's pictures.

Holly is an almost 10 year old girl with an unusual story. She was in a vehicle accident several years ago that resulted in paralysis in her legs. She is a sweet child who does well at school. She has been spoken to about international adoption and has expressed a desire to be adopted.



She likes to write and draw. She enjoys listening to music. She is a chatty little girl who enjoys visiting with her friends about her day. She uses a wheelchair to get around. Our team met her last October and were very impressed with her and touched by her story.



We are very dedicated to finding a family for Holly. We are providing a special $5,000 grant for Holly through Gladney. Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Aiden

Watch out preschool teachers, here I come!



What a fun 3 year old he is – Aiden’s whole face lights up when he smiles and he has one of those great belly laughs! Superkids took several additional photos for his file that capture this amazing boy’s joy.



Aiden was a willing participant in all the gross motor skill screening activities -- running, jumping, and kicking and bouncing a ball, he can do it all!  He was also proud to show off how that he can count to 20 in Mandarin and 10 in English. He also knows most of the alphabet. We all smiled when he was playing with a toy animal and exclaimed “lion!” in English rather than the Chinese word “shi zi”.  When Aiden saw another child playing with some blocks, he went right over to play with him,  He was great at both sharing and building tall towers. Aiden’s social worker told us he also enjoys playing pretend games and playing with toy cars.  After playing, he was content to sit calmly in his social worker’s lap and rest with his head on her shoulder.


Some of the fun extras we learned about Aiden – his favorite color is red; he prefers noodles to rice; and he sometimes try to sneak the food he doesn’t want to eat into his friend’s bowl.

Aiden is curious, playful, and affectionate with his caregivers. Could he be your son? Please contact Mary chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Asher & Amber {Siblings from Taiwan}

This darling little sibling group came bouncing into the room together when we met them last month. They were obviously great friends and I was surprised to learn that they are not actually in the same foster home. They do have regular play dates and seem to get along very well.



Amber is 4 and enjoys listen to and singing along with the choir at church. She is in preschool and loves telling her foster mom all about her day each afternoon. She enjoys playing with dolls, pretending to cook, and taking cell phone pictures. She loves to pose for pictures and is awfully cute when she does it!



Asher is 2. He likes to play with little cars and throw balls. He likes to cuddle and still enjoys being rocked to sleep with his pacifier. He is described as lively and clever by his foster mom. He is learning to speak and communicates quite well. He follows simple instructions and is starting to recognize colors.



Amber has a few developmental delays. She has possible mild cerebral palsy and wears braces on her feet. She easily walks without the braces as well as with them. Asher does not have any known medical needs.



To learn more about this precious little sibling group please contact mary.chapman@gladney.org. We have photos and videos that cannot be shared publicly, so be sure to join our private Facebook page to see those!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Kristoff

Today we introduce to you for the very first time... 7 year old, Kristoff!  He is one of the brilliant boys we met this month while on the Superkids trip in Taiwan. 




As he first came in he remained shy, but soon warmed up. Kristoff was eager to answer in English when he was able and grinned at the surprise on our faces when we heard it.  Soon he was showing us his artistic talents - drawing an adorable elephant with wavy ears just like the one on the mat where he sat. 



The activities in the room often drew Kristoff's attention, however he completed all the tasks we asked him to do with ease!  He definitely showed his ability to multitask, completing a puzzle for us, while at the same time watching his peers in the room and the cartoon playing in the background.

Kristoff likes school and is making high marks in both Math & Mandarin. Of course his favorite subject is Mandarin. He enjoys fried chicken, cheese, and apples. When asked to describe himself he said he is, “very happy, noisy, talkative.” We didn’t get to see that side of him during our limited visit, but we are certain if we had longer to play we would have seen more of his joyful spirit. He is described by his social worker to be persistent and holds himself to high expectations. His excitement in his accomplishments was shown through his smile.



Kristof has mild Tourette syndrome. His file also indicates that he receives treatment for ADHD.



We are looking for Kristof's family - one with whom he can share his joys of learning, eating good food, playing dodge ball and creating origami. Could that family be yours?  Kristoff's full profile, which includes photos and videos, can be shared with interested families - feel free to reach out to mary.chapman@gladney.org today! And don't forget to share widely about this amazing boy!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Dougie {Taiwan}

Edited to add: We have some adorable little videos of Dougie that we can't share here due to Taiwan's privacy laws. Be sure to join our private Taiwan FB group to see them!


"Vroom, vroom"... those are the sounds we think of as we remember meeting precious two year old Dougie!  Why? Well, this little guy was quick to discover the blue ride-on car and climb in. His little toddler legs were just barely long enough for him to get over the car's edge but that didn’t slow him one bit. Once in, he confidently grabbed onto the steering wheel and pretended to drive. The grin on his face was priceless. He also shook his head “no” when asked to climb out of the car to go play on the mat. Gotta give him credit as he knew what he wanted! With just a little help from his foster mom he was out and playing with us on the mat.



His fluffy brown hair and soft brown eyes along with that full face grin kept our attention. He showed us how he could stack the blocks. All the while looking back to check in with his foster mom to make sure he was doing it right. Their connection is oh so sweet. 







We thought he might never get off the rocking horse, but he surprised us. His foster mom called to him and said it was time to put his socks on and go... so he climbed right down and went over to his socks.



Dougie is a little guy that would thrive in a family. He is quick to learn, very observant and has a genuine sweet spirit about him. Could you be his forever family? We have so much to say about him, so please reach out to Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information about this special boy. Share with everyone you know as we join together in our search to find Dougie his family, a mom and dad to call just his own!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Lee

We have some super cute updated pictures and videos of Lee to share with you.






You can read a post about him here, but I'm just going to throw these out there because they are too cute to not share!



He now has a $2,000 grant through Gladney. And don't forget we are waiving our application fees through the end of this month! Today would be a great day to inquire about Lee!



Contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Double the Fun! Ava & Alex {Taiwan}

4 year old twins! Ava and Alex!  

Like all siblings they have differences and similarities.  What did we learn about them when we met them earlier this month?  They both seem like typical pre-school age kids. Ava likes singing and listening to music and Alex isn’t too fond of bugs.  

They both enjoy preschool and their teachers report many early learning strengths like getting along with peers and following instructions. They have their favorite toys, for Alex this is a bicycle and for Ava a stuffed bunny. And, maybe not too telling, but they both love white rice! 


Alex and Ava are both reported to have some developmental delays. Ava has mild cerebral palsy. She wears a brace on her right leg, though she can walk, run, and jump without it. She strings beads and can manage buttons. Both of the children speak clearly and do typical developmental things such as count to ten, string beads, and play with balls.

The advocacy names Alex and Ava were given to this sibling group by volunteer advocates who participate on the private Advocate for Taiwan Waiting Children Facebook page.  In this group we share photos and videos that we cannot share on our public blog and Facebook page. Be sure to join if you haven't already!
Please contact Taiwan Program Caseworker, Mary Chapman, at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Gratitude {A Family Story}

This Thanksgiving we have a beautiful family story to share with you. It is a story about the young man whom we called Landon, you may remember him if you have been following the blog for very long. 



Before we share the story written by his mother, we want to reflect a bit on the times Superkids met Theo in China. From the first time we met him we knew he was a special guy. He clearly wanted a family and  boldly asked us to find one for him. We tried! In spite of our best efforts no one stepped forward. 

The last time we saw him in China we almost didn't interview him again, fearing that it would only be painful for him to speak with us again. But he came into the room and he insisted! He told our translators that he needed us to keep looking for his family. So we sat down and listened as he told us his story.

He looked into the video camera and told us of his need for a family and his desire to come to America. We came home and shared that story, in spite of our fears that it was unlikely that a family would step forward. You can only imagine our joy when the Scott family contacted us about him. I will never forget the day I heard the news: They are bringing him home! He has a family! And his name will be Theo.

So this Thanksgiving season we are grateful and humbled to be a part of this story, to have been there at the right time to provide a platform for Landon to advocate for himself. We are grateful for all of the people working together behind the scenes to make this adoption happen. And we are especially thankful for Rocky, our China coordinator, who insisted that we give Landon the opportunity to share his story with us again. 

Our hearts are full as we share this special story of Landon, now named Theo.

Gratitude is what I feel towards Gladney and Superkids when I look at my 14 year old son. It has been just a year now since we adopted him. He was 13 ½ years old and had been on the shared list for years, available for adoption, but lost in the crowd.  He had virtually no chance of finding a family.
We weren’t looking for him either; we had applied to Gladney to adopt an older girl. As we waded through the paperwork, we followed the latest Superkids trip to China out of curiosity but without any expectation of finding our child on their blog. However, one child stood out; one child whose intelligence and curiosity seemed to beg us to look further. He was in a wheelchair and his file was 8 years old. We live in the country with a two story house and the nearest paved surface is a half mile away. This surely wasn’t meant to be.




And yet –I couldn’t forget him. He was 13 and I knew what his future held as someone in a wheelchair in China. He would never have an independent life regardless of his abilities, probably never live outside an institution. His only real hope for a future was to be adopted, and he had less than a year left.


We called Gladney and spoke to a member of the Superkids team. There wasn’t really any new medical information that they could share, but what they could tell us was that he was very intelligent and that he understood what adoption was. He had asked over and over for them to help him find a family. When asked what kind of family, it didn’t matter. He just wanted to live somewhere where he could go outside sometimes, because he rarely got to experience the outdoors in his institution. When we heard that, our hearts turned over. The old medical report didn’t matter, the unknowns didn’t matter, and the need to redo our house for a wheelchair didn’t matter. He was going to live where he could go outside whenever he wanted.



The day we met Theo, he rolled right up to us and asked when we were leaving for America. He was disappointed that it would be another week. He left China with us with no tears, ready to meet the rest of his family and see his new life in America. He had been waiting for so many years and had seen so many of his friends leave. Now it was finally his turn.



He has thrown himself into life in our family. We have adopted seven children and he has had the easiest adjustment of any of them by far. There is nothing he won’t try. Communication was rough for a while, but Google Translate got us through a lot. His sense of humor makes me laugh every day. He enjoys helping me fix dinner and going to the store. He spends a lot of time hanging out on the porch, marveling at the butterflies and hummingbirds in our flower bed. I have found him many times in the yard, just gazing out over the hills, enjoying the outdoors as he so wanted to do.




I have heard so many people tell me they would be afraid to adopt an older child. Yes, there have been challenges, but his adoption has been easier than any of the others we did with younger children. Theo was old enough to understand the process of adoption and to understand what staying in China meant. Although he was understandably nervous, there was no hesitation. I am in awe of his courage, in unhesitatingly leaving his old life behind for the chance of a better one.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The APC Conference in NYC

A Great Day at the APC Conference!



Last Sunday Leta and I spent the day at the 37th annual APC adoption conference in NYC (www.adoptiveparents.org).  The conference was great (as it always is) – but each year I like it for a different reason.  This year my top 3 reasons for loving the conference were:
1.       I got to meet a wonderful USCIS supervisor, Terri Karafin, and thank her in person!  Terri is a supervisor overseeing the processing of 1-800s and I-600s (among many other things).  She is a smart and compassionate professional whose supervisory attention has helped with the processing of some of our difficult cases.  
2.       I attended a workshop with a mom, Roseanne, who I helped adopt from Russia 15 years ago.  Her son is now attending college – he may be 2.5 feet taller, but he still has the same cute smile – and as I told Roseanne, I felt really proud of her son…I can only imagine how she must feel.
3.       I talked with a new family working with Gladney to adopt from China who stopped by our exhibitors table to say hi!  They were excited to be at the conference and had just attended Gladney’s Pathways Training earlier in Texas.  They have a move to Chicago planned – but in the meantime, we will make the most out of our work together in NYC over the next few months.
Seeing people face to face makes such a difference – it reminds us of the shared community we are in – but also of the very individual connections we have that make up our lives.   I hope everyone has the chance to attend adoption events in their local area to celebrate and learn from each other.
Wendy Stanley
Director, Asia program Social Services

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Desiree {Taiwan}

She’s MORE than Amazing! 



This is Desiree! A precious 4 year old girl who has shown us she is “more than amazing”!



It wasn’t enough to just sit on our laps, (and share our lunch with us) she wanted to snuggle and rest her forehead against our foreheads. This girl definitely seeks out connection!  As we look through our pictures we always smile to ourselves and say “beep beep” in our heads.  Why?  Each time Desiree saw a staff ID card, she would sing out “beep beep” imitating the sound made when the cards were used to open secured doors.  Her giggles and grins brightened our day – maybe they will brighten yours?


Desiree’s file indicates that she has sensory processing issues.  Since we met her on the May 2016 Superkids trip she has made great improvement in her attention span and her ability to interact with our team. She is still delayed compared to her peers, but we feel that her ongoing therapy is helping her catch up to age-appropriate developmental milestones. 

Contact Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information. And please share, share, and share again!