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.