Photo Post - Food Market




















Our Second Day at Cathwel

An amazing day filled with lots of little faces... some matched faces, some familiar faces and some new faces. The perfect blend for our second day at Cathwel.

It’s a special experience for the team to share care packages and photos of the forever families with the matched faces. It’s a celebration. A celebration of family. An adoption journey that all started because a family connected with a child our team had met.



Familiar faces bring smiles to our faces as we have learned so much about them and enjoy time with them during our visits. While at the same time our hearts ache that they are still waiting. Each time the team comes we bring hope. Hope of a forever family.




Then there are the new faces we are introduced to. Lots and lots of new faces this trip. The team is so excited to share what we have gathered in our adventures together. Let the advocacy begin and let us be a voice. A voice that brings a waiting child to life so that their forever family will find them. 



Each and every face forever a part of our memories shared here in Taiwan. Every child deserves a family. And there is a family for every waiting child. Now we work together to help them find each other. Forever families really do start here.

Our First Day In Taiwan

As the post adoption specialist, I have been wanting to attend a Superkids trip for a while now and I’m so grateful to be able to be a part of this trip. In my role at Gladney I get to see so many children after placement and watch them grow with their new families but I never get to experience where they come from. I’ve read referral paperwork and heard stories, but nothing compares to seeing it and getting a feel for what it’s like in person. Today was day number one and all I can say is what an amazing and eye-opening experience it was. 



It was a busy day and we saw so many children at Cathwel. 21 to be exact. It was also a long and tiring day but so insightful. Upon first entering the room, I was impressed with the space. Not what I would have imagined an orphanage to look like. The assessment process flowed smoothly as we obtained background information, physical therapy assessments, pictures, etc. I mainly tried to focus on how the children interacted with their caregivers/social workers and with the other children in the room. I also wanted to see their demeanor and how aware they were of their surroundings. I was able to float around and see all the different parts of how Superkids runs.



Two things surprised me the most today. First, was the amount of care and attention the children receive from their caregivers and social workers. They are clearly loved and cared for. Most children I observed would smile up at their caregiver or want to sit in their laps. They would engage with us and complete the assessments but weren’t overly indiscriminately friendly. For someone who focuses so much on attachment, this was incredibly encouraging to me. 



The other surprising thing was how much I enjoyed being with the older children today. Typically, I personally tend to gravitate towards younger children. I also tend to advocate more for younger children in adoption just given everything thing I’ve seen with older children and their adjustment/history. However, I have to admit some of these older children we saw today, just amazed me and warmed my heart. They were so sweet and full of life. A few of them were older siblings who seemed to look after their younger sibling(s). They smiled often and weren’t discouraged by their situation. I can’t help but think if I knew I were getting older, closer to aging out, that I would start losing hope but not these kids. They were a joy to be around and hopefully through our efforts we can help some of them find their forever homes.



We still have some long days ahead and many more children to see, but overall, I’m encouraged. I’m looking forward to getting to know these children as much as possible so I can not only help advocate but also share information with their future families about what I observed. I’m also excited to potentially see some of these children after placement when I complete their supervised visits. I can’t help but think what a privilege it would be to see where they came from and then be able to see them grow and develop once they’re home. 


Who Are We? And What Do We Do?

As I am preparing for another trip to Taiwan; packing my suitcase full of lollipops, Legos, and fruit snacks, I started thinking about how these trips have become such a big part of what we do and that maybe some of you don't know exactly why we make this trek half way across the world twice a year.

As you can see, we don't exactly travel light!
I have been working with Superkids since 2013. In that time I have taken 11 trips to Asia and taken over 50,000 photos of children in orphanages. I have seen hundreds of children go from being part of a social system to treasured members of a family. I have been moved to tears by the hard things I have seen and by the precious, amazing things I have seen. I have endured the long, grueling flights and the re-entry into everyday life when it seems it cannot be real that the two worlds I have experienced are both continuing simultaneously on opposite sides of the world. Here is a post that I wrote after my first trip with Superkids to China.

Why do we do it? What is our goal? And are we achieving what we set out to do?



Why? That is always an important consideration. We do it for a few reasons. We go so that we can add to the files prepared for the child and help to bring the child to life. It is one thing to read a file, it is something else to speak with someone who met the child.  Seeing pictures and getting reports from professionals who have personally interacted with the child can give prospective adoptive parents a lot of reassurance as they make the decision of whether this child is a good fit for their family. 

We do it because we want children to be in families who are prepared to parent that child. This is a situation where knowledge is power. The more they know the more successful the family will be.

We also do it to shine a light on children that might otherwise be overlooked. Sometimes it is older children who do not need us to tell their story, but rather need us to provide a platform so that they can tell their own story to the world. I think of one young man we all loved. We met him several times and the last time we met him we were not going to interview him because we did not want to cause him pain that he was still waiting. But he came into the room and he insisted. He needed people to see him and hear his story. Guess what? By the next time we went he wasn't there anymore. He was at home with his family. 

Our goals not only include the things mentioned above, but also to provide caregiver training and professional advice to the people overseeing the care of the children so that the lives of the children we meet and all of the other children in the orphanages we go to can be a little better each time we go. 



And finally, are we achieving our goals? Yes and no. Like I said, we have seen so many amazing children come home and do well. That is the most beautiful thing to witness and to know that we had a part in making it happen. But, we want to do more. We are constantly needing to change as laws in the countries we work in change. And we are always looking for new opportunities and new ways to work to better the lives of children in these countries. 

The work we do is important. And you all have supported us so faithfully. Please help us by following our upcoming trip. Like our Facebook page, share our posts, join our private Facebook group. Every like, share, and comment can help us reach more people and help more children.

That is our biggest goal. And trust me, the children we see are worth every mile traveled and every minute of sleep lost. 

The Countdown to Taiwan Is...

The countdown to Taiwan is officially ON!!!


Taiwan Trip Details

I know, if you are as excited about this trip as we are, that you cannot wait to hear all of the details!

Gongzhan Wu, vice president & executive director of the Asia programs for Gladney is already in China. He will be joined there early next week by Monique Lee, who works in the post placement department at Gladney.

On October 27th the rest of the team:

Mary Chapman - Taiwan caseworker
Nancy Dobson - pediatric physical therapist
Michelle Snyder - Taiwan adoptive mom & waiting child advocate
Erin Martin - photographer & waiting child advocate

will fly to Taipei, Taiwan, where we will be joined by Gongzhan and Monique.

We plan to go to Cathwel on October 29th & 30th. The 31st will be a day of sightseeing and relaxation. Then we will go to ChungYi on November 1st & 2nd. November 3rd we plan to travel home.

Now on to how to follow the trip:

We will be posting here on the blog as often as we can, hopefully once a day. We will also post on our public Facebook page. We try to post there throughout the day, even from the orphanages if we can! Taiwan has strict laws on what can be posted publicly to protect the privacy of the children, but we also have a private Facebook group where we can post photos and videos that we can't post publicly.

Follow along! Share, comment on, and like our posts! Help us shine a light on the amazing children we meet and on the important work we do!

Just... Thank You

Last week on Friday we asked for your help with things we needed for our upcoming trip to Taiwan. By Sunday things started arriving. By Tuesday everything on the list was purchased. Today the last of the things arrived.


Everything from fruit snacks to Legos to an external hard drive to store the information, photos, and videos on.



Just... thank you for always supporting these trips we take. Thank you for caring about the children we meet. Thank you for everything you do to support us.

Just... thank you... from the bottom our hearts!

Rick & Ryder [TWINS!!!}

Rick and Ryder are 2 year old twin boys and, let me tell you, it is double the cuteness for sure! 

Both boys have CHD and HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy). Rick is the more outgoing of the two, but both like to smile. 

Rick
We got an update on the boys when they were almost 18 months. At that time Rick was crawling for short distances and sitting with assistance. He was also vocalizing, but not saying words. Ryder was rolling over but not yet crawling. When they give Ryder a bottle, he tastes it to see if it is milk formula and if it is not he will not drink it. 

Ryder
These sweet little guys need a family who can meet them where they are and help them reach their fullest potentials! For more information please contact us at superkids@gladney.org.

Ray

Ray is not quite 2 years old and is a bright, charming baby boy. He started rolling over at 5 months, crawling at 9 months, and pulling to a stand at 9 months. At 11 months he was taking steps and walking in a baby walker. 



His file was prepared when he was 11 months old, so the information we have is from that time. He moves toys from hand to hand and bangs them together. He holds his own bottle and does fine motor things such as tearing paper into small pieces. He responds when his name is called and laughs when he is teased. He gets excited when he sees his favorite caregiver and cries when he is frightened. He smiles at himself in the mirror, and who can blame him? 



Ray has a "port wine” birthmark. The file indicates that he has one leg that is possibly slightly shorter than the other. It sure does not seem to be slowing him down in any way! 



Could this cute little guy be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.

We Are Going To Taiwan!

We have our fall Taiwan trip dates! We are planning to leave on October 27 and return home on November 3. We will be spending 2 days at ChungYi and 2 at Cathwel with a day for sightseeing between.



We will be giving you details as far as who is going and how many children we plan to see and all the other fun details as we get closer to the time to leave.



For now we need your help to get the things we need for the trip. We put together an Amazon wish list which you can see here

Thank you in advance for helping us get ready!

Kassie {Taiwan}

Kassie is an adorable 5 year old little girl waiting for her forever family. She loves to play with dolls and be outside. Her favorites on the playground are the monkey bars and slide. She also enjoys playing in the sand box. 



Kassie is curious and enjoys learning new things. She gets along well with her peers, and also easily with familiar adults. She lives in a foster family and her foster mother states that she can handle all of her self care needs, but still sometimes needs help with a shower. She loves bamboo shoots and fruit, as well as chocolate.



Kassie does not have any medical needs and is reported to be on target developmentally. Her adoptive family must be open to knowing information about her birth family. We have Kassie’s full profile, including a cute video of her dancing! For more information on Kassie, please be in touch with Mary Chapman at mary.chapman@gladney.org.

Roy

My goodness! I opened up a file this morning to read through it and the cutest little pictures reached out and grabbed me. Then I watched his videos and I was done, smitten, totally smitten.



See what I mean!?



This is Roy. He is 4 years old and is doing everything you would expect a curious, active 4 year old boy to do. His file describes him as very smart and cute. He lives in a foster home and gets along well there. When he fights with other children he is able to easily express himself to tell his foster mom what the issue was and why he is upset.



He likes to go swimming and to pretend that he is Superman. He enjoys playing outside and can jump rope, kick balls, and climb in the toy castle on the playground.



This sweet little guy was taken in for treatment when a caregiver noticed his left eye had a white spot in it. He had a malignant tumor in his eye and his left eye had to be removed. The entire tumor was removed and test revealed no other cancer. He not has an ocular prosthesis. He does not have any on-going treatment for cancer.



Roy is waiting for his family! Could he be your son? Please contact us at superkids@gladney.org for more information.