October 2017

Busy October!

This month we celebrate many things - fall activities, American and Chinese holidays, and Down syndrome awareness --  and if that's not enough, we're already looking forward to National Adoption Month in November!


Fall pictures are full of pumpkins and big smiles!

Welcome Home!
Looks like Lilah, age 5 from Taiwan, is fitting right in with her family!

October Holidays!

October 1st marks the beginning of the celebration of China's National Day holiday.  Founded in 1949, the People's Republic of China held a grand ceremony in Tiananmen Square to commemorate the occasion.  Since that time, October 1st is celebrated as National Day. This holiday is one of China's "golden weeks" as the country takes time off to celebrate for an entire week!
Meka proudly shows off the lantern she made at school!

Another major Chinese holiday this month is the Mid-Autumn festival (also known as the  Harvest Moon festival, among other names).  This holiday celebrates the gathering  together of friends and family to give thanks.  Mooncakes are a traditional food served during the Mid-Autumn festival and lanterns are often lit and carried or floated during the celebration.  This festival is also celebrated in various ways in Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

Children adopted from China often celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with their family or even in school.  Gladney mom, Dawn, had this to say about celebrating the holiday with their daughter Meka: 

" This week we celebrate Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is a lot like our Thanksgiving. We are giving thanks for all that we have. Today, among the many things that I give thanks for, I give thanks for our girl.  Such a blessing!"
CHINA Program Updates:   October brings more good news for families working hard to move forward in the paperwork process!  

We have recently received 5 Letter Seeking Confirmations (LSC) and 1 Travel Approval (TA) for families in the program.  Gongzhan Wu will be speaking with more families to prepare them for travelling to China to meet their kiddos!

Currently, 1 family is in China finishing the adoption of their child from Hunan province.

Asia Program Caseworker, Lindsay Hatcher, will be at Gladney's TX office on November  9th.  We invite all families to join her for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant.  Please email Lindsay at lindsay.hatcher@gladney.org to RSVP and get details.
Program Update:   We currently have 8 families matched to children, and 7 families with pending matches to waiting children! 2 families will be traveling to complete their adoptions this month, and at least 1 family is already confirmed to travel in November! 

We are looking forward to our Superkids trip to Taiwan next month. In preparation for our trip, I'm reminded of just how many boys are waiting for their forever families. We are currently advocating for 46 boys, including 5 sibling groups of brothers! Over the last month, we've learned about 8 boys who are newly available for international adoption. Many of the waiting boys are healthy or have very minor medical needs. 

A few of the boys we've learned about recently who are still waiting for their forever families are Aaron, age 3, who has minor needs, Draydon, age 8, who is healthy with no medical needs, and brothers Deacon, age 6, and Dudley, age 5, who are both healthy with no medical needs. You can click on each child's photo to read their Superkids blog post to learn more about them!  
These boys are fun, active, sweet, playful little guys who could really thrive in a family! Could you picture yourself helping your son learn to play soccer or baseball? How about teaching your son to play guitar, or admiring his latest art masterpiece? Think of all the amazing things a boy could do when given the chance of a loving, supportive forever family!

To learn more about any of our waiting boys, or simply about the process of adopting from Taiwan, please reach out to Taiwan Program Caseworker, Mary Chapman, at mary.chapman@gladney.org. And don't forget about our private Taiwan Advocacy Group on Facebook!
Click below to view our video of waiting children with Down syndrome.

Since the fall of 2016, Gladney has been able to offer a $4000 grant to eligible families adopting children with Down syndrome!  Email superkids@gladney.org for more information.
This month, Superkids is shining a light on two adoptive parents who have recently adopted children with Down syndrome.  
These moms are tireless advocates, and as a bonus, they are both Superkids volunteers!  
Lora and Michelle have graciously agreed to answer our questions about adopting a child with Down syndrome.  

Gladney Center:  Please introduce your family and share your connection to Gladney Center.
Lora:   We are the Offer family. Brian and I have been married for 26 years, and have
Lora's girls
seven children, ages four to almost twenty four. All but one of our children is adopted. One of our son's was adopted domestically at birth, and the other five internationally from Taiwan and China.  
In October of 2015, when we were in the process of bringing home two of our children from China, I had the opportunity to join the Superkids team in China. It was an amazing two week journey that changed my life forever.
Michelle:  Hello we are the Snyders.  Lonnie and I have been married for 11 years. When we met I brought along 
with me the two little loves of my life, Kaiyla and Kyle. Just a short 9 months ago we brought home our newest family member, Miles. An adoptionjourney that lead us half way around the world and has forever rocked our worlds. Through this journey I have come to be an active advocate for the waiting littles of Taiwan and have even had the opportunity to join the Superkids team on the Taiwan trips.  Our adoption journey led us to become a part of the Gladney family. It all began with a little post on the Superkids blog about a precious little... Magnificent Miles!
GC:  When did you realize that you were interested in/ready to adopt a child with Down syndrome?
L:  I absolutely fell in love with a boy with Cerebral Palsy while on our Superkids trip the year before, but the timing just wasn't right.  Still having that longing to bring another child home, I began my search through the internet.   As I searched, I got to a group of children's posts who had Down syndrome, and quickly scrolled past thinking, "Oh, we can't adopt a child with Down syndrome!" And then a huge light bulb went off in my mind, and I realized that a child with Down syndrome was exactly who we should adopt! That evening I took my husband to dinner and told him, "I think we should adopt again, and not only that, but I think we should adopt a child with Down syndrome." He agreed to pray about it, and then within days agreed to go forward to bring a child with Down syndrome into our family.
GC:  What is your favorite thing about your child(ren)?
M:  My favorite thing about Miles... hum... that he is exactly who he is meant to be. 
Rocking that extra chromosome. I love his sweet compassionate personality, his contagious smile, and ooh his precious giggle and absolutely adorable toes!  The sheer joy of having the privilege to be Miles' forever mama is worth a million words. To come alongside him as he journeys through life, to advocate for him when others may questions his abilities, to love him unconditionally for exactly who he is, is a privilege.
GC:  What advice would you give to other parents considering adopting a child with Down syndrome?
M: The greatest guidance I have to offer any family considering adopting would be... make sure the whole family is on the same page, because this is a big decision. Talk to 
Magnificent Miles
them about what life looks like bringing home a child but also talk about what life will look like in the future.  Educate together and ask questions together.   But above all... don't let the diagnosis of Down syndrome discourage you. Down syndrome does not define your future little. Each child with Down syndrome is different, as some may have little to no medical needs while others may have heart matters, thyroid matters and muscle tone matters. We all have our "matters" so honestly it comes down to what "matters" you are comfortable with navigating.

L:   My advice would be to become educated about Down syndrome, read other families' stories, get to know families that have children with Down syndrome. Most of all I would say that to bring home a child with Down syndrome, you need to be open and accepting to all possibilities. As with any international adoption, you learn as much as you can about your child before they come home, but there is always the possibility that there may be more (or sometimes less!) medically or emotionally than you had planned for. Again, every child with Down syndrome is different. Don't have expectations as to where your child will be developmentally when they come home. Just meet them where they are at. 

Click HERE to read the full Q&A on Gladney's blog!

Upcoming Events
Looking ahead to what's happening in November for 
National Adoption Month!

Need ideas of how YOU can celebrate National Adoption Month?  Gladney has you covered - click here to find out how you can get involved!

Check out these NAM events!

Fort Worth, TX

The  Adoptive Parents Committee's 37th Annual Conference  is coming up next month on Sunday, November 19th in Brooklyn, NY.  The APC conference is a great place to learn more about Domestic and International adoption options and hear from great speakers!  Don't forget to stop by Gladney's table and meet staff from the NY office!

Oct/Nov 2017 GFA Events:   
10/21:  Washington DC  National Capital 130th Anniversary Party
10/21:  Haverford, PA  Delaware Valley GFA Celebration Social
10/23:  Denville, NJ (Metro NYC)  Baby Care Basics
10/28:  Houston, TX  Baby Care Basics

11/3:  Austin, TX  Austin GFA Educational Evening
11/4:  Houston, TX  Houston GFA Photo Shoot
11/4:  New York, NY  Gladney Brunch
11/4:  Pittsburgh, PA  Ladies Night Out
11/5:  New York, NY  TCS NYC Marathon
11/9:  Fort Worth, TX  Stork Watch Dinner on Campus
11/11:  Baton Rouge, LA  Louisiana GFA Family Tailgate!
11/16:  Dallas, TX  Ladies Night Out Recipe Exchange
11/18:  New Orleans, LA  Louisiana GFA Luncheon

Click  HERE  to view all GFA events


11/9-11/10: Fort Worth, TX   Gladney Pathways Training

NEW!!  Gladney Center  is proud to offer free trainings for adoptive parents and professionals through Gladney University!  

Monday, Oct. 23
Building a Deeper Bond With Your Child: Presented by Ginny Manley, LPC

Tuesday, Nov. 7
Perspectives on Shame: Presented by Carol Park, LPC