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!

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!

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!

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.

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.

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

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!

Levin

Levin turned 10 this year, he is a sweet boy with a beautiful smile. We have met him several times and he seems pretty quiet, but he loves to do little projects and show them to us. He is so proud of his beautiful pictures and the little Lego sets he put together.


He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy. This sweet little guy really needs a family to get him the care he needs and to help him reach his full potential.

He attends school at the orphanage and can read and write quite well. He does addition and subtraction and can recite his multiplication facts. He uses a wheelchair and needs help getting dressed and with some self care. He feeds himself and can use his hands to string beads.



Levin gets along well with other children and has a very sweet spirit. His file describes him as lively and cheerful. Could he be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Chuck

Chuck is a sweet 2 year old boy whose favorite activity is playing with a phone! 




Like many children, he is fascinated with the music, and can sit for a whole morning playing happily on the phone! He is described as more reserved than the other children, but once comfortable will come out of his shell and is a happy child. 




Chuck has developmental delays compared with other children his age, however his caregivers have seen progress in the time he has been with them.  Currently, Chuck likes to play with other children and is altogether active and content. 




Could Chuck be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Pretty Little Lucinda

Lucinda is a beautiful 4 year old girl who is described as being talkative and laughing easily. Her file states that she has a pleasant personally and gets along well with the other children.



Lucinda has mild cerebral palsy and is receiving therapy. She walks without assistance and uses her hands well. She can pick up small objects and string beads. She dresses herself and feeds herself. She loves to help clean and to pretend to cook.



Her file states several times that she is well-loved and an easy child to care for. She lives in a foster home where she loves to help her foster mom with household chores.



Lucinda speaks in long sentences of 5 or more words and her speech is clear and easy to understand. She is attending kindergarten classes at the orphanage.



This precious little girl is waiting for a family. Could she be your daughter? please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

In Honor of Self-Advocacy {Taiwan Wrap-Up}

We just returned from a week long trip to Taiwan where we met around 70 children in 2 orphanages. We met children of all ages. Some of them need us to step up, speak up, and tell their stories for them. They need us to make them visible. And we are honored to be the ones to do that.



But then there are the ones who have a voice, they have the ability to advocate for themselves. They need us to step back, be quiet, and provide a platform on which they can speak. And we are honored to be the ones to do that.



These are the children who wear their best clothes and want to talk about their lives. These are the children who do 20 push-ups when we ask for 10. These are the children who share with us their dreams to be a chef of Japanese cuisine or show us their magic tricks. These are the children who recognize their need of a family and do whatever they can to make themselves visible.



We all love the babies, the little ones who need us to meet their needs. But the need to belong is just as strong in the hearts of some of the older children we meet. Everyone deserves to be so loved that someones' world would shatter without them in it.



We will be sharing children's stories here over the coming months. Some we will tell for them, for others we will allow them to tell their own. Please listen carefully and allow them to speak to your heart. Listen carefully, you may be the one their message is meant for.

Contact us at mary.chapman@gladney.org for more information on adoption from Taiwan.

Cory {China}

Cory is a darling two year old boy who is waiting for a family. He is in Shanghai for treatment right now and we just got new pictures of him. He seems to be doing well.



He has anal atresia, for which he is being treated. He is living in a foster home there. When he was first sent to Shanghai he was small and it was difficult for him to eat, but he has improved and started eating better and gaining weight with the treatment he has received there.



He is now crawling and walking with assistance. He likes to listen to music. When he first meets people he is quiet, but if you are patient he will warm up and start to play.



Cory needs a family! Could he be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

Taiwan Day 5

The time has passed so quickly as today was our final day with our partners here in Taiwan. And oh, what a day of adventures...



From familiar faces to new faces, girls & boys, brothers and sisters, we shared a lot of precious memories. We learned about, not just the children waiting for their forever homes, but also about all those who are helping to raise them in this wait.



Most importantly, join us in advocating for the children that are awaiting their forever family. Share the blog posts. Join the private Facebook page. And ask questions. The more you know the more you can share. Adoption journeys start here.



This trip was amazing and we have so much to share over the next days, weeks and months. Stay tuned...

Taiwan Day 4

Just a little glimpse into our amazing 1st day at Cathwel... 

As we pulled up to the Cathwel this morning it felt so familiar. We were welcomed warmly and shown up to our rooms to start our day.



The morning started with some itty bitty cuteness. A little one who has a family working to bring him home being one of them. Oh how he is so little yet amazed us as he was showing off his skills. The love of these nannies always shines through and oh, how precious it is to watch the little ones respond them. 


As the morning continued the room was filled with many little ones. They had with them foster parents, social workers and sometimes even a foster sibling or two. The continual flow kept us on our toes. There were giggles galore, little ones and older ones running up and down the play set, in and out of the play house, completing balance beam challenges and much, much more.


For lunch we shared a family style meal and had great conversation. It’s always a special time to sit around the table and just catch up. And it’s a bonus as we get to experience first hand the meals that are prepared for the children at Cathwel.

The afternoon was also filled with many adventures. We even met a set of twins! And you can help us pick advocacy names for them on our Advocate for Taiwan Waiting Children Facebook page. 



The later part of the day we caught up with some familiar faces. And oh, how much these boys have grown in just a short time! They continue to melt our hearts with their genuine sweetness and caring nature.



If there is one thing to take away from today... it’s how very important team work is. Each and every member has such an important role. The love and compassion for the little ones shows through all the way around. The saying it takes a village... so true. Each and every time I’m amazed at how amazing each team is from the social workers to the nannies and foster parents it always shines through how much they genuinely love these little ones.

Taiwan Day 3

It never stops being amazing to see the little ones come in. Their bright, dark eyes looking up at you. Some are shy, others look at you and those little eyes sparkle. And each one is amazing. Each one in their own way. The older boys who show off their English and put together Lego sets really fast, all the while watching you out of the corner of their eyes to make sure you are still watching them. The baby repeating a word unexpectedly. It is amazing.



It is amazing, seeing the difference in children seen 6 months or a year ago, toddlers now striding around, jumping and kicking balls. Elementary aged children who have learned a new skill, and are suddenly looking more grown up.



And then there is the fun of meeting new children. The little girl whose beauty takes your breath away, and who makes you laugh with her love for a silly little giraffe mask.  The baby boy who surprises you with everything he can do over and over. The surprise of seeing a child you had known previously, but had not expected to see. Every one of those little moments is amazing.




Our days here are filled with amazing moments. But some of those moments are amazing in a sad kind of way, because these little kiddos are each little individuals with their individual heart breaking stories and difficult pasts. And we hear them and determine to stand with them and ease some the pain of their past by providing hope for their future.



Today was amazing.