Superkids Perspective

SuperkidsCapturing the true abilities of children can be difficult. What if a child was sick on the day a test or interview was given, or hungry? What if the child felt more anxious than usual?

As adoptive families sort through official paperwork and read developmental information about a child it is important to remember this represents the child’s performance at one instant in time, only one snapshot.  Stephen J. Bagnato, a Developmental School Psychologist and Professor of Pediatrics and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine believes “Testing infants, toddler and preschoolers by strange adults, in unnatural places, at tables with flip cards and un-motivating toys does not make much sense.”

Superkids could not agree more! A key aspect of our mission is to supplement the developmental information provided in a child’s official paperwork with our observations. By meeting the children, each volunteer can provide another lens. This broadens the perspective on each child’s skills and captures their abilities! In the time that Superkids spends in the orphanages with the children, we strive to observe the children in a familiar environment, using familiar toys and with familiar caregivers; have a variety of people with varying backgrounds make observations collaboratively; and encourage the children to show their skills through play.  “When kids are comfortable and having fun, when you have the input of several professionals, and when they are being compared to a comparable sample of kids-then we start to get a picture of what the child can do!!”

-Keely O’Dell, PT

Superkids Team Member

International Search and Reunion Webinar

ALP

Webinar: It’s a Small World After All

Adoption Learning Partners presents a webinar on International Search and Reunion with speakers Susan Susan Cox and Joy Lieberthal, LCSW.  They will be discussing the possibilities and complexities of international search and reunion.

Live Webinar Details

Thursday, July 9, 2015 

7:00PM Central 

Q&A: 8:00PM

$15 

To Register Click HERE!

China Service Trip

Leta, April & Sara

Leta, April & Sara

We have a new intern in the New York office this summer, but she is not new to the Gladney family. Sara Davis is an adoptee from Shanghai and has participated in Gladney service trips. This summer she is excited to share with us her thoughts as she prepares to embark on another service trip– this time to China!  

Sara writes,I was adopted from Shanghai when I was thirteen months old, and currently live in New York City with my parents and two younger sisters, both of whom are also adopted from China. I was lucky enough to participate in the Gladney Service Trip to Bogota, Colombia in 2013 and had the most amazing time. This summer I chose to go to China because I felt more of a personal connection to the country and the people. I wanted to volunteer because I really love working with children and I thought that the prospect of working with children in this capacity was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. I feel so fortunate so be able to travel to China and give back to children who are in the same situation that I was in 19 years ago. I have been back to China three times since being adopted, but it’s now been seven year since my last trip. I am looking forward to seeing all the sights, tasting all the food, and being immersed in a new culture. I especially look forward to having all these experiences with fellow adoptees and members of the Gladney family.”

The China Service Trip team leaves for China tomorrow! We will be posting about their trip here – stay tuned!

Gladney’s 1st Philippines Family Comes Home!

The Walker Family with an ICAB Representative in the Philippines

The Walker Family with an ICAB Representative in the Philippines

We are excited to include this first-hand account from an adoptive family, the  Walker family.  They are Gladney’s first family to adopt from the Philippines and we think our readers will very much enjoy what they have chosen to share.

“We were so excited to get on a plane to go and meet Andrew for the first time! It all happened very quickly as ICAB approved our travel on Monday evening and we booked flights to fly out on Friday! When we arrived in the Philippines we were so thankful that Gladney had arranged for a liaison to meet us at the airport. She was so wonderful, helping us to get transportation and showing us how to get from our hotel to important things like restaurants and church. We arrived on Sunday morning and we would meet Andrew on Monday morning… longest 24 hours of our lives and it put all the waiting up until that point to shame as our emotions and excitement were sky high!

Meeting Andrew was surreal. You don’t know how you will react on that morning drive to finally wrap your arms around the child you already love so much that it has consumed you throughout the process. We hoped for the best and prepared our hearts for a shutdown. This is a reality that we had seen in skypes so it was so important to keep the whole situation in perspective and to not get overwhelmed to the point of scooping him up in our arms and freaking him out on a whole new level. This is hard, very hard.

Thankfully Andrew embraced us! He was full of hugs and smiles, as were we! We finally had our son in our arms.

Our time in the Philippines had its ups and downs, both emotionally and physically tiring, but overall we wouldn’t trade it for anything. We had the opportunity, through both the shelter where Andrew lived and through Gladney’s partner in the Philippines, to totally submerge ourselves in the culture of this beautiful country. We ate authentic food, went to the wet and dry markets and even had cooking lessons for Andrew’s favorite Filipino meals. We didn’t see the land and culture as travelers but rather as the people who live there do… for this we are so thankful! (But one day we will return to sit on the beaches as travelers!)

The people and culture here are beautiful and the hearts of Andrew’s caretakers were full of love and compassion. It showed in our time there and it continues to show at home where he is so confident in his role as a Christian. He continues to pray over our entire family daily, a testimony to the care he received.

This journey was fantastic and exhausting and wonderful indeed! We are so in love.  This is the good stuff… worth every second of the waiting and praying that comes with it.. home at last.”

Taiwan Program Update

CathwelProgram Update: At this time there are 7 families with referrals in various stages of the PAIR/dossier/court process. One family has just returned home after completing the adoption of their 5 year old son!

To commemorate its 30th Anniversary, Cathwel Service published the book God’s Pearls, and also produced a video, My Parents II. This month Gladney helped distribute these to families in the United States that have adopted from Cathwel through the years. If you are a Cathwel family and did not receive a package please contact Mary Chapman.

God’s Pearls is a beautiful collection of essays and stories written by Cathwel staff and volunteers. The book shares the intimate perspectives of several caregivers who helped prepare children to enter their new families. The film, My Parents II (a follow-up to the 2002 film, My Parents). These films capture the stories of several children with special needs adopted from Cathwel into the Netherlands. They explore the challenges these children faced growing up in an institution and transitioning into permanency.

China Program Update

ChinaHere at Gladney we are excited about our partnership programs with orphanages in four provinces throughout China. These relationships enhance integrity in the process of international adoptions and support a child-centered approach to advocacy. These partnerships provide opportunities for our Superkids volunteers to interact with children one on one. But this month we want to remember the thousands of children available through China’s “Shared List”.

The Shared List is a database that collects information available for children designated for international adoption throughout China.  As an accredited agency, Gladney has access to this seemingly endless list of children in need. This month when we spent time on the database pages, our hearts felt both light and heavy as we read the files of some of the children who are available for adoption.

Our partnership kids are, at least in one way, lucky, because they are the random recipients of something so important in life– an advocate. Whether it’s through photos of our Superkids photographer or blog posts of a volunteer who fell in love with them, these children have someone in their corner rooting for them. We try our best to tell their stories through the eyes of someone who sees their value and knows their worth. But not every child receives this same attention, despite deserving it.

Buried in the Shared List, we found the photo of a boy who reminded us that stories told through medical records and government reports cannot capture a child’s beauty. He is pictured above.  We knew this boy needed an advocate.  Better yet, we knew this boy needed a family–who would delight in the opportunity to remind him every day that he is cherished and that his life is miraculous.  We decided to print his file, keep it on our desks and feature his photo here. Just maybe….

Most children on the shared list will have moderate to significant medical needs.  If you are open to adopting from the Shared List please contact April Uduhiri.

Program Update: Seven families traveled to China in June to complete their adoptions and three more families will travel this month of June!

The CCCWA has processed referrals for families in the standard infant program for families with LID’s through 12/30/06.

Dragon Boat Races!

dragonboat

Lake Lanier, Georgia, 1996 races

This month brings us the Dragon Boat Festival!

A Dragon Boat Festival is a great way to kick off the summer and celebrate Father’s day!  Check out the official US Dragon Boat Festival website for more information!

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