International Adoption 2012
In 2012 we awarded grants to help 90 children to be adopted from 12 different countries. Some of their wonderful pictures and adoption experiences are recounted below in the family's own words.
Mia - China
We want to thank you again for blessing us with an adoption grant. It was truly an answer to prayer as the costs of
adoption can be overwhelming.
Mia has been a part of our family now since July 23. The hole in her heart that classified her as a special needs child is
now tiny, and our doctors say that it should never cause her any problems. She is a healthy child.
Since she has been with us, she has learned to walk and feed herself. Her language skills are increasing daily. Mia is
funny, intelligent, and of course adorable. We thank God for allowing Mia to become part of our family, and we thank A Child Waits Foundation for helping make it possible.
Brenden - S.Korea
GOD SENT US ON A JOURNEY TO FIND OUR SON, BRENDEN. AFTER STRUGGLING WITH INFERTILITY FOR SOME TIME, WE DECIDED THAT ADOPTION WAS OUR CALLING FROM GOD. MY AUNT AND UNCLE ADOPTED THREE FROM KOREA, SO WE THOUGHT THAT IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR OUR SON TO HAVE COUSINS WITH HIS NATIONALITY. WE ARE ALSO EXCITED TO HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE KOREAN TO BE HIS ROLEMODEL AND CAMPS THAT WE CAN ATTEND AS A FAMILY SO WE CAN ALL DO SOME KOREAN TRADITIONS.
AFTER LOOKING THROUGHT THE WAITING CHILD PHOTOS, WE KNEW THAT THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE FOR US TO GO. THOSE CHIDLREN DESERVED TO BE LOVED. WITH EVERY PICTURE, WE BECAME MORE FRUSTERATED BECAUSE IT JUST SEEMED LIKE SO MANY CHILDREN NEEDED HOMES, BUT WE HAD NO EMOTIONAL CONNECTION TO THEM.
WE WENT TO BED ONE NIGHT, AND PRAYED LIKE WE ALWAYS DID. THIS TIME I HAD A SILENT PRAYER BETWEEN ME AND GOD. I TOLD HIM I WAS READY TO GIVE UP TRYING TO BE A MOTHER. I COULD NO LONGER PHYSICALLY OR EMOTIONALLY GO THROUGH THE EMOTIONS IT TOOK LOOKING THROUGH THE PICTURES. IF WE HAD A SON OUT THERE, WE NEEDED HIM TO COME TO US RIGHT AWAY. WE BEGGED MY GRANDFATHER AND RODERICK’S MOTHER WHO BOTH HAD PASSED AWAY A FEW YEARS AGO TO HELP JESUS FIND OUR SON.
THE NEXT MORNING I OPENED MY EMAIL TO FIND THE ANSWER WE BOTH WANTED. OUR SOCIAL WORKER WANTED TO SHOW US A BOY WHO SHE THOGUHT WAS OUR SON. SHE COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MORE RIGHT. TEARS FLOODED MY EYES AS A PICTURE OF A BEAUTIFUL BOY WHO LOOKED LIKE MY HUSBAND CAME ACROSS THE COMPUTER MONITOR. RODERICK WALKED INTO THE ROOM TO ASK ME A QUESTION, STOPPED AND SAID, “THAT’S OUR SON.” WE DIDN’T CARE WHAT KIND OF HEALTH CONCERNS HE HAD; WE WROTE HER AND SAID, “YES, HE IS OUR SON.”
EVERY NIGHT I TALKED TO MY SON AND ASKED HIS GRANDMA AND GREATGRANPA, WHO HELPED JESUS FIND HIM, TO HOLD HIM IN THEIR ARMS UNTIL I COULD. I WOULD SEND THREE KISSES TO THE MOON, ONE FOR EACH ONE OF THEM.
WE SENT A BOOK WITH US READING TO HIM, BLANKETS WITH OUR DEODERANT, TOYS, CUPS, CLOTHES, PICTRUES OF FAMILY MEMBERS (LABELED IN KOREAN), EVERYTHING THAT WE THOUGHT HE WOULD NEED AT THAT TIME TO HIS FOSTER FAMILY. I WROTE IN A JOURNAL TO HIM TO TELL HIM HOW MUCH WE LOVE HIM AND CAN'T WAIT TO GIVE HIM THE LIFE HE DESERVES.
AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF OF UPS AND DOWNS, FILLING OUT LOTS OF PAPERWORK, PRAYING FOR UPDATES; WE FINALLY GOT THE TRAVEL CALL TO GO GET HIM. FINANCES HAD BEEN A HUGE PROBLEM FROM THE VERY START. I AM A DAYCARE PROVIDER AND MY HUSBAND WORKS IN A CALL OFFICE. WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT IN SAVINGS, BUT EVERYTHING WE HAD WENT TO THE AGENCY TO BRING BRENDEN HOME. WE ASKED FOR HELP FROM FAMILY, TOOK OUT AS MANY BANK LOANS AS WE COULD, AND WAS MAXED OUT OF OPTIONS. WHEN WE GOT THE CALL, I WAS SO EXCITED AND NERVOUS. GOD HAD GOTTEN US THIS FAR, NOW WE NEEDED ANOTHER MIRACLE.
WHERE WERE WE GOING TO GET THE MONEY TO FLY TO GET HIM? WE RECEIVED INFORMATION FROM A CHILD WAITS THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO HELP US BY GIVING US A GRANT. WE CALLED THEM. GOD SENT US ANTOHER BLESSING, THE NEXT DAY WE RECEIVED A CHECK FROM THEM, WITHOUT THEIR GRANT, WE WOULDN'T HAVE THE MONEY TO FLY TO KOREA TO GET HIM. WE FLEW OFF TO BECOME A FAMILY OF THREE INSTEAD OF TWO.
WHEN THE FOSTER FAMILY BROUGHT HIM IN, BRENDEN WAS ASLEEP IN HER ARMS. WE ALLOWED HIM TO SLEEP AS WE DISSUSSED THINGS ABOUT HIM THAT WE WOULD NEED TO KNOW. SHE TOLD US HOW EVERY NIGHT HE WOULD LISTEN TO OUR BOOK AND GO THROUGH OUR PICTURES, SAYING EACH ONE OF US BY NAME. IT WAS AMAZING TO FINALLY MEET HER. SHE WOKE HIM UP, TEARY EYED, AND WE HANDED HIM A SNACK. HE ATE A LITTLE, SHE HANDED HIM OVER TO RODERICK, SAYING DADDY. HE LOOKED INTO MY HUSBAND'S EYES AND SAID "DADDY." THEY HELD EACH OTHER FOR A MOMENT AND THEN HE HANDED HIM OVER TO ME, TELLING HIM THAT I WAS HIS MOMMY. "MOMMY, MAMA, MAMA, MAMA," BRENDEN KEPT REPEATING SOFTLY HOLDING ME AROUND THE NECK WITH HIS HEAD ON MY SHOULDER. WE SAT THERE FOR TEN MINUTES. I COULD FINALLY KISS HIM, HUG HIM, AND HE COULD HEAR MY VOICE SAY HOW MUCH I LOVED HIM. AFTER A FEW MINUTES, HE TOOK MY HAND AND LED ME TO THE TOYS SO I COULD PLAY WITH HIM. MY HEART WAS SO FULL OF REJOICE AS I WATCHED MY SON KICK ME A BALL, THROW ME A BALL, PLAY ME SOME MUSIC ON A LITTLE PIANO, AND LAUGH. HIS LAUGTER FILLED THE ROOM AND OUR HEARTS. EVEN WHEN HE HAD TO SAY GOOD BYE TO HIS FOSTER FAMILY, HE SMILED AND WAVED SAYING "BYE”. BRENDEN KNEW HE WAS FINALLY WITH HIS FOREVER FAMILY.
Thalia - India
I got “the call” on February 17th, the call that all prospective adoptive parents wait for. You know the one? It starts with “Hi, I’m calling about a possible referral of a child.” I had requested a 3-5 year old little girl from India. I had a long list of logical reasons for requesting an older child, all of which disintegrated as soon as I heard that the child for me to consider was not quite 2. “Is that too young?” my agency asked. Absolutely not! Before I could share the news with my family I was already in love, and I hadn’t even seen a picture.
Thalia was born prematurely in April of 2009. She remained in the NICU for 19 days. Following this it was determined that she required blood transfusions to address her hypogammaglobulinemia. Tragically, the blood or instruments were contaminated because Thalia developed septicemia and remained hospitalized until September. She was nearly 5 months old and had never been outside of the hospital! Thalia must have been a fighter, even at birth. How could I help but anticipate meeting such a strong personality inside this little person? But her prematurity and subsequent illness left its mark. Thalia was developmentally delayed. Her physical exams always reported that she was a tiny, underweight baby and she was behind on major milestones including standing, walking, speaking, eating, etc. How severe these delays might be was anybody’s guess. But I took the plunge. I felt that my child had been chosen by a higher being than me, or even my agency. I had faith that Thalia was meant to be my own.
Even with that conviction, I didn’t immediately accept the referral but did request further blood tests. Finally, everything was in place and I signed my name to the Child Study Report on March 31st. Can you believe that I hadn’t even completed my dossier yet? I frantically worked to gather all the necessary documents and get them notarized, apostiled, and off to my agency as a complete dossier. It was now mid-April and I couldn’t wait to meet my daughter. I optimistically thought that she would come home in September-October. What a dreamer! India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) had decided to re-organize and institute new guidelines. Nobody could predict how these changes would influence my adoption so I waited with baited breath, hoping for a smooth adoption journey. While I waited for the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to be issued from India I dreamed. I dreamed of Thalia joining me and my older daughter to complete our family. I dreamed of how our life would be, and I planned. I planned for the services and care that Thalia might need once she arrived home. In July my NOC was issued and everything seemed to be progressing perfectly according to my plan.
Until a Friday afternoon in late September. That’s when I got another call. This call said that the judge in Thalia’s home state of Maharashtra wanted me to travel to India for the court appointment. Sounds great, right? Nope. Unfortunately, none of her immigration paperwork would be ready for 6-8 weeks following the court date. This would require either an extended stay in India or a second trip. Now I must tell you, I’m not rich, in fact, far from it. I had scrimped and saved for several years to afford the costs associated with adoption. My older daughter and I lived on an extremely tight budget. She’d be horrified for the world to find out that we have neither cable nor internet in our home! I cut everything extra from our budget and thought that all the anticipated adoption costs were covered. Never did I anticipate two trips to India. After discussing the situation with my agency we decided to appeal to the judge to reconsider her position. She did not. CARA tried to convince the judge that requiring two trips constituted undue hardship on the family. There was no change. At that time I realized that the judge had the advantage because she wasn’t waiting on pins and needles to hear that Thalia was mine. In November I caved. I booked a flight to India over the week of Thanksgiving, leaving my older daughter behind, and traveled to India for a November 25th court date. For the few days that I was in India, Thalia stayed with me in my hotel. It was just the two of us and it was a pretty rough situation for both of us. You see, the judge expected to see some form of bond between Thalia and myself. I was supposed to achieve this in 2 ½ days! Anyone familiar with adoption, or toddlers for that matter, understands what an impossible task this seemed. Yet the judge saw something that satisfied her need to see us together. My guess? Thalia wasn’t throwing herself out of my arms onto the floor. Thalia returned to the orphanage and I left India that very night. Legally, Thalia was now mine, but with no legal documents available I had to leave my newest daughter on the other side of the world and return back to my everyday life.
Leaving Thalia was very difficult. My return journey home seemed interminable. Going back to work and thinking about everyday things was torture. But by far the most difficult aspect of that time was wondering how I would afford a second trip to India. The last of my resources, and friends and family resources, had been exhausted. Even though it was predicted that Thalia would legally be able to leave India in early January, I was expecting that I would be unable to travel to get her until that summer, at the earliest.
I began searching for adoption granting agencies. Many had very strict requirements about the type of applicant or the type of child being adopted. For some agencies, my single status made me ineligible to apply to their program. My own adoption agency referred me to A Child Waits Foundation. I filled out the preliminary application and was thrilled to hear that I met all the requirements for my application to be considered. Shortly after the winter holidays Mrs. Cynthia Nelson contacted me to tell me that I had been chosen as a recipient of a grant. I cried because a way had been shown for me to bring home Thalia. I traveled to India on February 1st and we both returned home on February 8th. What an amazing journey we have had. Thalia has been a member of my family for fewer than four months but you would never guess when you watch her in action. She is a firecracker and her eyes sparkle in a way that makes people happy to just be around her.
Thalia’s transition to the family was quite smooth, but not without a few bumps along the way. My daughter had some serious cuts on the bottoms of her feet, presumably from lack of shoes. In fact, she slept with her shoes under her arms for the first week she was with me, and would have continued to do so if I hadn’t put a stop to it. She suffered from nightmares for a time, and would cry out of “Ma” which to my dismay and grief didn’t indicate that she wanted me anywhere near her. Thalia also suffered, and still does, from difficulties with eating. I have spent many a morning preparing pancakes or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, two things that she can eat without difficulty. Our speech therapist believes that Thalia probably wasn’t introduced to solid foods until very recently. Did I mention she just turned 3? How sad, but by far the most concerning issue has been Thalia’s ears. She has most likely suffered from chronic ear infections, two of which I have seen myself. What a trooper, she never once cried out at the pain! A specialist has verified a hole in one ear drum and was unable to visualize the second drum due to extreme wax accumulation, yet it seemed clear that my little butterfly was not hearing very well. It’s no wonder that her speech was/is delayed and is very garbled. Like the parent of any toddler, I understand much of what she is saying, and I am privileged to serve as her interpreter to the rest of our family.
In just a few days Thalia will receive a hearing evaluation. Whatever news I receive won’t change the joy within this child which she shares with every person she comes into contact with. It is hard for me to believe that this bundle of joy is mine forever. I am eternally thankful to A Child Waits Foundation for uniting me with my child. Without their generous assistance I might still be dreaming of that first smile, first hug, first kiss. Today she is my butterfly. I could talk about her beautiful spirit for hours and hours, but now I’m getting the best call of all…”Mama?” and it’s a call I have waited my whole life to hear and to answer.
Emma - China
Hello! As we celebrate our 6 month anniversary of returning home from China with our daughter Emma Grace in our arms, we think of all the wonderful people who helped us bring her home and make a life long dream come true. A Child Waits Foundation showed us such kindness. Your generosity changed all of our lives, most notably, the life of a little girl once in an orphanage in Shanghai. Emma Grace is such a joyful child. She has brought new meaning to our lives. We have even began talking about going back.....we are taking one day at a time, praying and listening. We are already forever blessed either way. Our endless thanks and gratitude for your gift of our daughter - Emma Grace.
Eli - China
We cannot express how much we want to thank you for approving a grant for us to help get our little boy from China!
In December 2011, right before Christmas, we decided to grow our family through adoption. We already had two biological children, a nine year old girl and a two year old boy. We knew we wanted a child younger than our oldest, but other than that we were open to anything. After trying to get started, adopting domestically didn't go anywhere, we happened upon the China adoption program. The China program's requirements matched us well as a family, so we chose to investigate further. We pursued many lists of waiting Chinese children with special needs, when one day we found a picture of a little boy with a repaired cleft lip and palate. We felt like God put him on our hearts, and we just knew he was the one.
Fast forward to October 2012, and we are home from China with our new son! We just got back very late on Saturday night. Many members of our extended family and friends had followed along with us on our journey as we kept a blog of our travels, and their prayers and emotional support have been a blessing.
Our son is adjusting well so far. He comes to both of us with hugs, and he likes playing with his new brother and sister. He even slept for half of the long plane flight home! He is a soft-spoken, good natured sweetie pie with the biggest smile! He literally wakes up with a smile every morning! We can't wait to see the things he will do as he grows up. He really seems to be the perfect fit for our family.
We cannot thank A Child Waits Foundation enough for helping us with the exact amount of money we needed near the end right before travel. What a blessing!
Maggie - China
It’s hard to believe that Maggie has been with us for such a short time. Maggie is sweet, lively, and full of spunk just like her siblings and she fits in perfectly. Her older brothers joined the family as biological newborns. The girls both came from China through the special needs program. All four children are uniquely “our own” without question, for God made it so. While we knew we wanted another child through adoption, we did not agree right away on the program. We knew first hand that adoption from China could be challenging and costly. We looked into all other possibilities and every other door closed quickly. Finally we both were in agreement that our next child would be Chinese just like her big sister, and we were ready to take on the challenge.
There were many obstacles along the way. Later we came to realize that every delay, obstacle and challenge was for a purpose, so that we would get the right daughter at the right time. Enter Maggie, our little firecracker who came home to the states in April of 2012 at two years of age. Like her sister, we spotted Maggie on our agency’s waiting child list and she had some medical and developmental needs (also things that were not on our checklist). Sometimes God will take us outside of our comfort zone. When we went to China to pick her up, we discovered she was also without any speech delays like we thought, as she was yelling at us fluently in Chinese about how messy the hotel room was and how the trash needed to be taken out. Actually our room was quite tidy but Maggie did not like the idea of empty water bottles surrounding the trash can. She also was heard singing about her “nice and good” new mama in Chinese. To this day Maggie is a really sweet girl who is not afraid to tell it like it is, in English or Mandarin, or in a feisty combination. She is the first to say “thank you” for anything you give her, even a vegetable, and cleans up her (many) messes often without prompting. She LOVES her grandparents, brothers and sister, and will tell anyone about them who will listen. Family life just plain suits Maggie. Her slow physical development is a thing of the past – she is so fast on the playground that it takes two people to chase her. She is also healthy in every way thanks to the medical care she has received here in the United States.
We call her Maggie after a long time friend and adoptive parent who cheered us on every step of the way even when we were exhausted with the adoption process and unsure of how we would pay for the fees. Being a physician she was the one who reassured us that Maggie would be not only fine medically and developmentally but perfect for us. Maggie is the woman who said “take her!” when we had to make a speedy decision with limited and vague information, which is common in international adoption. Viewing a child’s referral can be a little intense, because it is a decision that has life-long consequences! For those spontaneous folks out there this may be no big deal, but for the people who like to think, plan, make safe decisions, and feel in control, well, it is like diving off of a 30 foot ledge into murky water blindfolded. Adoption is one experience in which God will show His ultimate control.
Along our adoption journey big sister had been expressing a deep desire to go along to China so that she could help her new sister with the transition and “make her smile.” She worked very hard to learn some words in Mandarin to prepare for the trip of a lifetime. We are all so thankful that her dream came true – thanks to A Child Waits Foundation. She was such a blessing on our trip. She was instrumental in making Maggie’s transition a joyful time. When we first met Maggie she was scared and angry, kicking, fighting, and screaming at mom’s attempts to get to know her. After about 15 minutes of this, it was a good time for big sister to step in, with some silly games to make her laugh. It was instant sister bonding. We expected Maggie to get upset and anxious at bedtime on her first night. However we were pleasantly surprised to find that the girls were so giddy and silly and excited to be together that Maggie kept us awake from loud laughing rather than crying!
Overall our biggest challenge was financing the adoption, and travel for us and the 2 girls, all on one modest salary. For years we gave up everything that was not a necessity such as cell phones, cable TV, gym memberships, and the like.
A Child Waits Foundation stepped in to help our family when we were confirmed for travel and needed airline tickets and money for accommodations while in China. Not only did they help us financially to bring our daughter home, but it gave us the peace of mind to focus on how we could best meet her needs on our trip and afterward. The Bible tells us that we are to care for the orphans, but adoption is not for everyone. I believe that people who help other people adopt and support adoptive families are doing even greater work, for they are sacrificing, yet might never get to see the fruit of their labor. Those who have contributed to our adoption might never hear our little girl roar with laughter with her sister, sing songs to her daddy or thank her brother wholeheartedly in Chinese for an unwanted brussel sprout. They may never see our daughter jump up and down in front of the mirror with sheer joy to put on a pretty dress that was worn long ago by her big sister, or the look on big sister’s face as her dream has finally been fulfilled by this exuberant little person putting on the special clothes she once wore. However, when you help an adoptive family you are turning orphans, God’s most vulnerable ones, His often lost and forgotten treasures, into daughters, sisters, sons, precious grandchildren, and lifelong friends. I wish I had the perfect words to express our gratitude, but all I can really say is “thank you” to A Child Waits for what they did for our family. A day has not gone by without us feeling encouraged by and thankful for what people (most of whom we don’t even know) did for us. A Child Waits has forever impacted our family and will always be an integral part of Maggie’s adoption story.
Madeline Mei - China
In August of 2010, after a couple of years of prayer and contemplation, our family began the adoption process. Having two boys already (Caleb, 13, and Joshua, 11), God led us toward the adoption of a little girl … from China.
Having a close friend who is a maxillofacial surgeon, we were open to the special need of cleft lip/cleft palate. As months past, we completed form after form and appointment after appointment. On August 30, 2011 (1 year and 1 week after we started the process), we received the referral for our daughter, who will forevermore be known as Madeline Mei. But, there were still many more forms and many more appointments before we could travel to bring our little Madi Mei home.
In March, we were notified that our travel date would be May 2nd. All was falling into place. We had made provisions for the majority of our expenses through a home refinance, savings and through other fund raising efforts like a CD of original songs I recorded, but we were still a little short on the funding needed for this trip. In stepped A Child Waits Foundation with just the help we needed. They were able to supply us with the additional funding we needed at a low interest rate that was fair and affordable. Due to their help, we were able to keep our travel date of May 2nd. And, on May 7th, we had our little Madi Mei in our arms for the first time!
On May 16th, we were finally back home and introducing our Madi Mei to the rest of her family and friends. We’ve been home for about a month now and Madi is adjusting very well. She loves her mom, dad and big brothers; she sleeps great at night and she eats better than any of us! It is impossible for us to truly express how grateful we are to A Child Waits Foundation for their help. Without them, we may not have been able to keep our original travel date and may still be waiting to travel to China to bring Madi Mei home!
Meena - India
I am writing to thank you for the generous grant you awarded to my family. I was at the end of my adoption process and ready to travel to India in September of this year but I still had the last portion of money due. Your foundation was there to assist me during this crucial time. You made sure the grant was issued at a rapid pace so payments could be made before I left the country. I am so grateful for people like you!
My beautiful daughter, Meena, will be 4 years old in January 2013. She has been home for only three months. I was able to stay home with Meena until November 26th. She had many doctors appointments and medical testing done. It was confirmed that she is profoundly deaf. She is learning Sign Language at an incredibly fast rate, she has an expressive vocabulary of approximately 260 words!
Meena is a happy little girl who has adjusted well to her new family; mom and 6 year old brother. She has enjoyed many firsts- Halloween, Thanksgiving, a trip to sit on Santa's lap, being able to communicate, living in a home, having personal space, clothes, toys and a choice of foods to eat. She has a resilient spirit that has allowed her to take in all these wonderful experiences with a smile! I so often wonder what she is thinking~ but there's one thing I know about my daughter. The first week she was home, two deer ran across our yard. Meena looked at me with huge eyes and signed "elephant"! I signed to Meena that they were not elephants but deer. In my heart I thought: "you are not in India anymore!!!"Meena is home thanks to generous people like you.