Forever Left Behind

John, this week’s featured waiting child, has watched two close friends leave the orphanage to join adoptive families in the U.S.  Left behind, and wondering when it will be his turn, John has less than four months to find a family.  Or he will stay left behind, forever.

by Jessica Palmer, Waiting Child Program Manager

Last summer, Holt’s senior writer, Robin Munro, and I visited southeastern China for the Journey of Hope – a gathering of children with special needs, all hoping to find adoptive families in the U.S. Over the last year, we have shared many of their stories in Waiting Child blogs and featured their photos on the Holt photolisting.

Several of the children we met now have forever families, and a couple of them have already come home!

One little guy I blogged about, Xing Men, really stole my heart – and I am glad to say he is one of the several children who now have families.

When I remember that trip to China, though, another boy always pops into my head.  Now 13 years old, this boy doesn’t have much longer to find his forever family.  When he turns 14, on November 12th, he will no longer be eligible for international adoption.

John* first grabbed my attention during the Journey of Hope camp performance.  Although calm and collected, he seemed a bit shy – introducing himself with his head lowered, his posture stiff.  Once the music started, though, he began dancing, moving and jumping to the beat with excellent coordination, eventually flashing a smile.  John seemed even more at ease when his good friend Ben joined him on stage for a poetry recitation.  No scripts were needed, as these boys had so much memorized, they had to end early to give other children a chance to take the stage!

The next day, I got to know John a little better when we met in a smaller group setting. Like many boys his age, he loves playing basketball.  He also loves to watch cartoons and piece together jigsaw puzzles. John has been in care since he was about one week old, and seems to be a favorite among caregivers. I didn’t get the chance to ask his caregivers what they love about John.  But I did observe some particularly loveable characteristics.  Throughout our time together, I noticed how caring and helpful he behaved toward others.  During lunch, I watched as he helped serve the food – very carefully placing platters of watermelon on the tables.  I watched him with Ben, and heard about all the other great friendships he has with children at the center.

Although behind academically, John is making progress in math and writing.  His true talents, though, seem to lie in fine arts.  He loves dancing, and drawing his favorite cartoon characters.

During our conversation, John told me that a close friend of his had recently left the orphanage to join an adoptive family overseas. He told me that he, too, would like to come to America to live with a family – with brothers, sisters, and even dogs!

Soon, John will have to endure the loss of another close friend.  Ben has been matched with a family, and will soon leave China for his new home in the U.S.  As he watches Ben go, John will likely feel a mix of happiness for Ben, and grief at his loss.  He may also wonder when it will be his turn to forever leave the orphanage behind, and join a loving family of his own.

John can’t wait much longer.  His birthday is on November 12th. If he does not find a family before then, he will stay left behind.  Forever.

Families who already have their dossier in China, or families who have adopted from China within the past year, would be eligible to bring this sweet, kind-hearted boy home.

For more information about John and your eligibility to adopt him, please contact Erin Mower at erinm@holtinternational.org.

* name changed

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