by Michele Mazzio
Adoption was something that my husband and I talked about many years ago, particularly after we lost our son, Brendan, to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in 2001. After a long grief process we started to explore and research domestic and international adoption. We discussed the programs and met with various people who had adopted internationally.
As a teenage girl I dreamed of having a little girl from China, and my husband was open to this, as well. After a little over a year of paperwork and wait time, we adopted our daughter, Emma from the Province of Guangdong in 2005. After so many years of empty hearts and arms we held our healthy 15-month old little girl. We were so excited and thrilled to have been blessed by this gift.
Emma is now an amazing 5-year-old girl who loves to hula-hoop, do gymnastics, play the piano and just enjoy life every day. As her pre-K teacher tells her: “You are the sunshine in my classroom.” She has certainly been my sunshine and warms my heart every day. Emma has taught us so much more about love and life and the importance of family. She has even taught me how to parent a child after the loss of another.
My husband and I decided that we wanted to take another journey back to China and adopt another little girl. We completed our paperwork and submitted our dossier to China in 2006. At the time we knew that the wait would be longer than before but not that the wait time would get extended each month that went by.
One day I was reading an article about Holt’s Child of Promise Program and about little boys who need families, too. When I think about adoption from China, I only naturally think about the little girls. I had never thought about adopting a boy from China.
My husband and I discussed the program and explored the possibility of being open to adopting a boy. After so many years had gone by and having my broken heart mended by my beautiful daughter, we called Holt and told them that we would like to be considered as a prospective family in the China Child of Promise Program, and in addition, that we preferred adopting a boy with a mild, correctable medical condition.
I’ll never forget the day I spoke to Brian Bradford at Holt. He was so happy to hear that we were open to adopting a boy. Furthermore, he told me that it could be a matter of weeks until we received a phone call (something I couldn’t comprehend after waiting for 2 years). We submitted our medical checklist in November and received the phone call in December about a 13-month-old little boy with clubfeet.
After contacting pediatric orthopedic doctors about the severity of his feet and condition, we were told that he has a mild case of clubfeet and would be easily corrected by serial casting and braces. We knew this was the child that we had long waited for.
For me it was that opportunity to provide a life to a little boy that we couldn’t give to our biological son. We left for China in April. Words cannot even express how much love I have for Daniel. He is truly an amazing boy and has shown me once again that life should be lived with joy and happiness. Daniel has gone through a lot since we brought him home, but he laughs and smiles every day. He completed a month and a half of serial casting for his feet and is now wearing his braces. He will only need to wear the braces at night after about a year, until he is about 3. Our two children have truly blessed us, and I never thought how much my life would be completed by my family.
I am writing this article not only to share our story with you, but also to connect with those who are willing to open their hearts to the little boys who need good homes, too. If you can open your hearts and minds, adopting a boy can be a significantly rewarding and memorable experience, as it has for us.