Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Reflections

By April Uduhiri, Caseworker, Gladney Asia Program

As I reflect on the past year and ready myself for the hope and prospects of the year to come, I am reminded of how much I am blessed with.  I am lucky to share my life surrounded by special people; my husband, family and friends.   I am also fortunate that my work at Gladney Center is in line with my heartfelt passions.  I am grateful for being able to play a small role in helping to bring families into the lives of orphans who would otherwise face a bleak future.  Orphans with medical needs, especially visible issues, are considered outcasts in their own culture.  When they are adopted into a family, they experience acceptance and belonging that they would not have known otherwise.

My gratefulness extends far – from the officials in China whose motto is everything for children, to my co-workers and supervisors who make working for Gladney such a privilege.  And of course, to the ones doing the hard work, before and especially after the adoption – the adoptive parents!  Over and over again I am amazed at your hope, faith and strength of character as you place your family’s future in the hands of caregivers, social workers, immigration officers and foreign governments!  I am often encouraged through your emails and blog postings, and for this I am truly thankful.

I hope that when you gather with your family and friends over the holidays – either with your adopted little one(s) at your table for the first time, the 10th time, or simply in your hearts this year, that each and every one of you has a happy and blessed holiday season.
A wistful look from Jenna Lenig, as she enjoys her first wedding.
Jenna was adopted in November, 2010, from China.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Greetings

Home For the Holidays! 
The Marran family joyously welcomed home their 2 year-old daughter, Maelin, from Taiwan with the completion of their adoption last week.
"We can show you the way!"

Charlotte Chieh Marran (age 7) and Noah Chen Marran (age 6) guide their sister Maelin Hsuan through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

Best Wishes from the Gladney Asia Program Staff
for a hopeful, joyous, and peaceful holiday season
with your family.
Gongzhan Wu
Wendy Stanley
April Uduhiri
Lindsay Hatcher
Mary Chapman
Lydia Macci

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chinese New Year's Area Celebrations

Chinese New Year is on Monday, January 23, 2012. Over the next few weeks, as the holiday approaches, keep your eyes open for celebrations in your area. Numerous groups have parties, dinners, march in parades, etc.

Gladney Chinese New Year celebration information is now posted on the Gladney Family Association website (click here for the GFA Network Events calendar, then choose January 2012 in the drop down Date box).

Check your area's Families with Children from China website or local cultural organizations and museums for other New Year activities.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Connecting with your Child's Culture

Keeping a connection with your child's culture comes in many forms. There are the subtle, day to day activities like eating at local restaurants and visiting markets that specialize in traditional foods, or watching movies, reading books, and discussing current news events and politics that relate to your child's birth country.

A more formal connection can be established by enrolling in language and culture classes, or belonging to associations (Gladney Family Association, Families with Children from China or Organization of Chinese Americans) and local museums (Museum of Chinese Americans) that celebrate and teach the culture. These organizations are a wonderful resource for media materials, local activities and celebrations. They can also offer ideas, such as suggestions on how your child can celebrate Chinese New Year in school.

Staying connected with other adopted children, either from the child's travel group or children from the same country, is invaluable when it comes to solidifying the cultural connection. Meeting for social gatherings, going to local cultural fairs, attending officials' visits or sharing in holiday celebrations, give children the opportunity to have fun being together and share special moments.

For some adoptive families, traveling to the child's birth country for a heritage tour offers them an amazing way to see, hear and taste their birth country's culture first hand.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrating the Gift of Giving in Non Material Ways

At this time of year, when gift giving is at the forefront of our thoughts, an increasing number of charitable minded people choose alternatives to traditional material gifts. Teaching children that there are options to material gifts can be a rewarding and eye opening opportunity. The gift of time in the form of service to others can be a heartwarming experience. Gathering items for orphanages and foundations in Asia or raising money so essential items can be purchased are examples of service projects that benefit others in a meaningful way.

Another option to traditional gift giving involves a donation made in someone else's honor. In lieu of giving a traditional gift, a monetary contribution is made, usually to a not-for-profit organization that has significant meaning to the person being honored. For Gladney adoptees, a contribution can be made to one of the many wonderful programs that help children in their birth country (click here).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Interview with Pat Marcus, volunteer with Gladney's Superkids Charity

Pat Marcus is a pediatric physical therapist in New York State. She has participated in several Superkids trips to Asia to work with children and caregivers in orphanages to enhance the lives of children with physical disabilities. Pat recently travelled in November with Superkids to China and Taiwan with Gongzhan Wu, Managing Director of Gladney Center for Adoption's Asia programs.

To read an interview with Pat about her trip click here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Upcoming Asia Waiting Child Webinar

Each month Gladney hosts an Asia Waiting Child Webinar. Our next Webinar will be this Wednesday, Dec. 14th at 1pm EST. Be sure to register for the Webinar!

This informative webinar will focus on the process of adopting waiting children from China. The webinar will provide an overview of Gladney’s program as well as share photos of available children. You will get a detailed explanation of the Application and paperwork process involved with adopting internationally. Also, each month we will feature different children, with a variety of ages and special needs, who are available for adoption. At the end of each webinar we offer time for attendees to ask questions and will provide contact information for you to follow up with one of Gladney’s Asia Program Staff.

We hope you will be able to join us for our webinar! Feel free to pass this invitation along to friends and family members that may also be interested.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Recommended Vaccinations

As parents preparing for the adoption of a child, we often are very focused on the health of the child we will be adopting. However, it is important that we also take care of ourselves to make sure that we are protected from infection and disease.

The National Council for Adoption ( has alerted the adoption community of a recent recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (APA) that family and close contacts should receive the Hepatitis A Vaccination. To read the full APA report click here.

Before your travel, consult with your doctor to discuss which vaccinations are appropriate for your travel plans. This will depend on your personal vaccination history, as well as the specific overseas region you will be travelling to. Some immunizations may need to be given in a series over a number of months, so plan ahead! A helpful article that provides guidance for adopting parents preparing for international travel can be found here.