Update: As of April 2014, Olivia has been matched with a family! Congratulations Olivia!
Olivia wakes up three hours before school starts. She folds the quilt on her bed and heads out to play an hour or two of ping-pong before the other children in her house wake up. After her practice, she picks out a stylish skirt and asks her foster mother to do her hair. She helps to make breakfast and get her three foster siblings ready for the day. Then, she heads to her morning classes. Her teachers and foster parents agree that today, Olivia’s bubbly personality shines. She walks with a confidence and enjoys meeting new people.
Olivia has made incredible strides to grow and thrive. She’s 13 years old now, and she already knows what she wants for her next birthday on December 1. She wants to be placed with a permanent, loving family. The countdown is on, because if she isn’t adopted before her 14th birthday, she will age out of China’s child welfare system.
When Olivia first joined her foster family as a 7-year-old, she was considered “unadoptable” because doctors thought her physical needs might be too great. Found abandoned at the gate of a travel agency as a 4-year-old, Olivia spent three years in institutional care before she was placed with the same compassionate, loving foster family she lives with today. At first, Olivia was constantly afraid — of new people, new places and new experiences. She would put her head down and cry if strangers spoke to her. Even with her foster parents, she was silent and stubborn at times. Born with symptoms of cerebral palsy, Olivia had physical struggles that began to take over her life. Traumatized and scared, she struggled to learn new ways to accomplish tasks.
Slowly, Olivia’s foster parents helped her work through her fears. They brought out her confidence. They encouraged her to play ping-pong, which she hated at first. They helped her to overcome her physical challenges, and she learned to care for herself, help with household chores and take care of her younger foster siblings. At first, it took Olivia more than an hour to fold her bed quilt. But after years of hard work, she now considers herself no different than anyone around her. She is self-assured, and she knows she can accomplish anything. Now, she folds her bed quilt in just a few minutes. She’s also risen to the top of her class at school and her foster father has taught her to express her feelings through art.
Olivia’s doctors are amazed by her progress. She is emotionally well-grounded, and her cognitive abilities have not been affected by her physical disabilities. Olivia does walk with a small limp, and she has limited movement with her left arm. Regardless, she likes to spend much of her time playing ping-pong — by choice now — or shooting hoops with a basketball. She loves to draw and play games with her foster father. She is caring, sweet and vibrant — and proud to be self sufficient.
Most importantly, Olivia has big goals for the future. She wants to join a family (and admits she would love siblings!), and she dreams of being a teacher. Sadly, Olivia is almost out of time. This is her last chance to find a family of her own.
Olivia needs a family who has access to the medical and therapeutic resources that she’ll need to continue making progress. Her ideal family will be knowledgeable about the impact of grief, trauma and institutionalization on child behavior, development and the ability to cope with change. To adopt this child, applicants must be 30-54+ years old and meet an income requirement of $30,000 plus $10,000 per additional family member in the home, with $80,000 net worth. Single parents or older couples may be eligible to adopt Olivia. *See country criteria for complete requirements. Families with an eligibility concern should contact Holt’s country program staff as China may be more flexible for a child of this profile.
* name changed