Why Be “Paperwork Ready”?

Recently, one of our office staff members drove to the airport to pick up her parents whom she hadn’t seen in months. Though the flight was scheduled to arrive on time, she was excited and left early — 30 minutes early — just in case. “Sometimes planes arrive early,” she said. “I’ll just wait in the cell phone lot. I want to be ready for them when they arrive.”

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Waiting for the UPS man to arrive or waiting for vacation to start. Waiting for the phone to ring or waiting for a child of our own. In matters big and small, waiting is hard to do.

For children living in orphanages overseas, their entire childhoods have been filled with waiting. Many wait for medical care. All wait for love and a family who will warmly embrace them. They literally have been waiting their whole lives. Most tragically, these children wait for something they have never known. It is so hard to wait.

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During trips like the one we’re on now, we meet with many children who wait to be adopted. Each one has the same wish. She hopes that her waiting will end.

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You can’t make a flight shorter or will the UPS man to arrive a day earlier at your door. But you can shorten the time a child waits to be adopted. How? It’s very simple: be paperwork ready.

Long before you first see the photograph of your new child, you can begin working to shorten his waiting time. By taking the step to commit yourself to a particular agency, by completing your home study and dossier, you are literally erasing days and months that your child will have to wait. When your paperwork is ready, you’ll be amazed at how quickly the process can move.

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If you’ve been considering adoption, but you haven’t begun your paperwork yet, start today. In honor of National Adoption Month, we are offering a reduced application fee of $100 for new applications now through November 30. Call us at 253-987-5804 to get started. Don’t wait another day. Your child is waiting for you.

(All children pictured in this post are currently waiting for families of their own.)

Agape Adoptions Partners with Orphanage in Inner Mongolia

Greetings from chilly Inner Mongolia! It’s a brisk 27 degrees Fahrenheit here, and I’m glad I brought a warm coat.

On this visit to China, we’re excited to visit the two orphanages with whom we have new One to One partnerships. I have to admit, I never know what to expect when I visit a new orphanage. Families who have traveled overseas know that the standards can vary widely from one orphanage to another. Some facilities have much; others have very little.

I was thrilled to see that our new partnership orphanage in Inner Mongolia is a beautiful, newer facility. The rooms are clean, warm and engaging; and the staff is friendly and caring. It is clear to me that children are loved and cared for here.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESOne of the most exciting aspects of this particular orphanage is the community connection they maintain through a therapy unit on site. We toured rooms where children from the orphanage, as well as children from the surrounding communities, can receive a variety of therapies. The facility offers physical therapy, massage therapy, speech and reading therapy, play therapy, acupuncture and more! I was especially moved to see how children with significant medical needs were engaged and stimulated. In one room, a group of children lay relaxing in acupuncture; in another room a group of mothers and their children attended reading therapy, seated on the floor in a semi-circle.

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We have met so many precious children on this trip, and we’re excited to begin advocating for them when we return stateside in a few days. We are currently looking for families who are open to adopting Special Focus children from these two new One to One partnerships in China. By preparing a home study and dossier in advance, your family can drastically reduce the time a child waits in an orphanage. When you are paperwork-ready, you can be matched very quickly with a child! During National Adoption Month, from now through November 30, we are reducing our application fee to $100. Call us today at 253-987-5804 to get started and take advantage of this special celebration offer.

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Waiting for a Passport, or Love Accommodates for Unpredictability

Hello from Kampala, Uganda!

In the office we often say that, when it comes to Ugandan adoptions, the only predictable thing is unpredictability. Coming from a North American culture that is highly ordered and regulated, many families find it difficult to imagine what this might actually mean, especially as they travel to bring home their child. Do they just need to “be flexible” like all good international travelers, or does pursuing a Ugandan adoption require something more?

Today, as we waited off and on for six hours – count ’em, six! — at the passport office for a single passport, the answer was clear. Completing an adoption in Uganda requires an extra measure of patience and fortitude. Not simply the politeness of a traveler in a foreign land, but the unconditional love of a family whose heart will now forever live in two countries.

After breakfast, I headed to the passport office with our attorney to pick up a passport we had been told would be ready before lunchtime. The passport office is a series of offices, but the waiting area is a group of tents with metal benches. And it was hot. Super hot! For over an hour we were shuffled from one tent to the next as we waited for our number to be called. We waited as employees filed through boxes of passports, calling out every number, it seemed, but ours. Some people were told to come back again in two weeks. Others arrived only to discover there was a problem with the passport they were waiting for, and could they please wait in another line to see if it could be fixed? Hours later, our number was finally called. Our passport was correct and ready. Time to head out to dinner!

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As I opened that passport and saw the beautiful face of the little boy inside, my heart filled with happiness. The frustrating wait, the equatorial heat, the shuffling from tent to tent – it was all worth it. That passport means a child can travel home with his new parents. But more than that, the passport is a symbol of the beautiful country that gave him birth.

It’s been almost five years since I first stepped foot in Africa. Every time I arrive at my inn in Kampala, I feel like I’m coming home. For many years now, my heart has been in two places – at home in the U.S., and here in Africa. Despite the headaches of developing systems and infrastructure, I love this place. I love the natural beauty and the warm culture of hospitality here, but, especially, I love the people. And I have learned that love can cover a multitude of mishaps; it can accommodate for unpredictability. Not simply with the polite graciousness of a traveler, but with the deep affection that only family can give.

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We’re in Uganda this week, visiting our children’s home and preparing documents for families. Our children’s home recently moved to a newer, larger location, and we’re excited to see how much the children are enjoying running around in their new big yard. Take a look at these pictures of daily life at our children’s home.

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You can partner with Agape Adoptions to support these children as they wait for families of their own! Click Here to make a donation on behalf of Ugandan children. 100% of your gift goes directly to providing these children with daily necessities like clothing, food, and school supplies.

Jenny, the Chinese Nightingale

As we closed out our trip in Yunnan Province, we enjoyed an elaborate celebration of International Children’s Day at the orphanage where we have our One to One program. Townspeople and visitors came to the orphanage campus as the community honored all of its children on this special day. Local children performed beautiful dances and songs. We enjoyed festive foods and gifts, and I even gave a speech! The event was filmed by a local television station. It was a happy way to end our visit before heading back to Beijing, but the celebration was also bittersweet.

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After we’d sat for over an hour watching local children perform, precious Jenny, from our One to One program, surprised us and took the stage. As she stood boldly before the crowd and her beautiful little voice filled the air, my heart swelled with love and an aching sadness. Jenny has been waiting a long time for a family — six years, to be exact.

I remember reading Jenny’s files when they arrived in the office. Age five. Loves music and dance. An extroverted, active playmate. Expressive, friendly, bright. Blind. I met Jenny last year when I visited China and took videos of her. Unlike some children, Jenny loved the camera. It’s as though she knew our meeting could be her ticket to a family and she was going to make the most of it.

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Jenny’s years of institutionalization have been particularly difficult because of her blindness. She has a vibrancy that cannot be quenched, yet as I visited with her this time I could see her turning inward, looking for a safe space in a world that, because of her disability, is uniquely complex and, at times, frightening. More than ever, on this visit I saw that this courageous little girl needs a family who will advocate for her and provide her with the reassurance of their unconditional love.

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In a centuries-old fairy tale, the Emperor of China becomes enchanted with the song of a nightingale. When he falls deathly ill, a small nightingale comes to sing to him. The sweet voice of the little bird so intimidates death that it flees, and the emperor’s health is restored. Though Jenny has obstacles that she must face, I am convinced that, like the nightingale, her song and her tenacious little spirit will prevail. In the loving arms of a family, Jenny will flourish. She simply needs a family — one who will transpose her bittersweet song into joyful melody.

To see Jenny’s performance, click here.

Jenny is eligible for a $1000 grant through Agape Adoptions, and the CCCWA can be flexible on eligibility requirements for prospective parents. To learn more about Jenny, contact our office at 253-987-5804 or myriam@agapeadoptions.org. We have lots of pictures and videos to share with you, and we’d love to help you as you begin your adoption journey! To see the eligibility requirements for China, click here