UPDATE: ROYCE HAS A FAMILY!
Seven-year-old Royce has watched many children go home to loving families. Now, one of these families is eager to help Royce find his own family. You can help too! Share his story today on social media and in your community!
Born: July 24, 2007, China
He totally stole my heart.
These are the words Holt adoptive mom Jenn Lawlin shared when asked about Royce — the sweet 7-year-old boy she met while adopting her son, Micah, from the same orphanage in China.
“I haven’t been able to get him off my mind!” she wrote in an email about Royce. “The brief amount of time I spent with him while we were at Micah’s farewell party at the orphanage gave me a peek at his personality… Here is what I can tell you: Royce loves cameras and kept trying to get me to take his photo. Then he wanted to look at the pictures I took. He was beside me even more than my son was!!”
Jenn’s son, Micah, says Royce is “one of his special friends from his China family.” Royce likes to ride bikes and would sometimes sit on the back of Micah’s bike while he rode him around.
Royce came into care when he was just a newborn. A day-old baby wrapped in a pink quilt, he was found abandoned on the streets of Beijing. Although the local police launched a search, they were unable to locate his birth parents and brought him into care at a local district orphanage.
Here, under the patient care of the caregivers at the orphanage, Royce grew into a healthy, chubby baby. Royce was born with cleft lip and palate and ptosis — a drooping eyelid — of the right eye. Ptosis can usually be corrected for cosmetic reasons, but it doesn’t affect his vision. Because of his cleft lip and palate, the caregivers put a lot of energy and effort into nourishing him — creating a special bottle designed for his condition, and developing a special feeding plan. He grew stronger, and became a clever and active boy with eyes full of intelligence. “All the mothers love him very much,” his caregivers wrote in one of his reports. “[Royce] lives happily here.”
In the next couple of years, Royce received surgery to repair both his cleft lip and cleft palate. The orphanage also arranged for him to receive speech therapy. Every day, he practiced language games with his speech therapist and gradually, his speech became more clear, confident and strong. Of all the children with a repaired cleft lip and palate, his caregivers say that Royce showed the most improvement through speech therapy. At the end of the year, Royce read a poem entitled “Mama” for an audience of his caregivers and his speech therapist. “Mama you teach me to walk, Mama,” he recited. As he read, the audience sitting quietly, Royce began to grow full of emotion. It was very clear how much he had practiced this poem, and the audience applauded his achievement.
Royce is also described as generous and fond of sharing. When he was given a piece of fruit as a gift after his surgery, he refused to eat it all himself, but instead insisted that some of it be taken to other children in the orphanage. If he sees one of his caregivers holding something heavy, he will run to help her and if she is tired, he will massage her shoulders.
Jenn Lawlin says that the orphanage where Royce and her son, Micah, grew up is “quite exceptional.”
“It was clear that the staff loved our son and would miss him,” she writes.
“I cannot say enough about the excellent care that this institute is giving the children who live there,” writes Kristy Weis, another parent who is currently in China adopting her daughter from the same orphanage. “It is not perfect, and definitely not a family… but these kids are loved and taken care of… The care and love they showed [my daughter] and the other kids is genuine and real.”
Nine of the families who adopted from this orphanage have also stayed connected through a private Facebook group. “Not only will the children be able to stay in touch long-term through skype, email, snail mail, Facebook and reunions,” Jenn writes, “but we can pay it forward by providing support as other families come behind us in the adoption process!”
Watch Royce sing with other children in the orphanage! He is the boy at the far right…
The family who adopts Royce will have the special benefit of participating in this group, and receiving their shared wisdom. “I feel truly blessed, knowing that our daughter is in such a caring and special orphanage, until we bring her home,” writes Lindsey Brockway, a parent in process. “I believe the children and families connected to this orphanage are equally amazing, and have been an awesome support. We have no doubts our daughter will be well-prepared for her adoption day.”
Once Royce is home with his family in the U.S., he will be able to reconnect with Micah and the other children in his “China family.”
Jenn and Micah are so excited for that happy reunion with Royce. “Micah and I are both praying Royce finds the right family and can be adopted soon,” writes Jenn.
Could you be the right family for Royce? Email Jessica Zeeb at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about him.