If You Could Only See My Face

For children who need extra advocacy to be matched with a family, online photolistings can be a powerful tool. They allow families open to older children, sibling groups or children with special needs to learn more about the children who are waiting for families like theirs. And we often hear that families fell in love with their child the first time they saw their face on the photolisting.

But there are some children on the photolisting whose faces we cannot show due to safety laws in their home country. This puts them at a severe disadvantage. When so many families are first drawn to a child’s picture, a child without a photolisting image may not get the attention they deserve — and may get overlooked by the best adoptive family for them. Our waiting child coordinator says she rarely receives inquiries about children without photolisting images, while inquiries for children with pictures receive more attention. For National Adoption Month, we strive to raise even greater awareness about the children behind these graphics — and encourage you to see beyond the graphic to the child waiting for a family, maybe even yours. anya_april

Hi! My name is Anya. I’m featured here, on Holt’s photolisting (click the “SE Asia tab”). I’m only 9 years old, and I would really like to have a family — me and my little sister April, too. She’s 8. Holt says they are trying hard to find me a mom and a dad and maybe even brothers and sisters. But I’m scared I’ll never find a family. I’m afraid my mom and dad won’t recognize me. I’m afraid they won’t even see me.

I’m afraid that they will never notice April and I, because they can’t see our faces.

I’ve learned an important American phrase: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” When you look at the children just like me all around my square on the photolisting, you can learn a lot about them, just by looking at their photo. You can see sisters Pheobe and Witney and their beautiful smiles. I bet you can picture them laughing with your family while you play board games or read bedtime stories. When you look at Leah’s bright, shining eyes and cute pigtails, I bet you can picture having picnics in the park with her, or taking her to her first day of Kindergarten. Or, maybe you see Kaden’s picture and can tell that he loves to have fun and be silly. You don’t care that he takes seizure medication because you can see his spirit. You can see from his picture that he’s just a little boy who needs a family to love him.

I just know that if you could see my picture, you would realize the same things about me: that I have a bright, loving smile and I’m ready to tell you how much I love you every day. I have Down syndrome, but that’s not what defines me. Maybe, if you saw my face, you could picture other things about me, too — my great laugh when I play, my excitement to try new things, or even how I might like to have my bedroom arranged or the toys I might like to play with. You may even picture how perfectly I would fit in with your family — how I’d lead prayers before dinner, color pictures to decorate your refrigerator and get excited to play board games with the whole family.

And, April, too. Holt promised us that they would find us a family where we can be together. That made us really happy and excited. You should see April. She always poses for her photos and her smile is so beautiful. She loves fashion! She’s really funny and likes to talk more than I do. She would love to have dance parties in your living room or perform her special skits for you. She is super duper smart, even her teachers say so! One of our caregivers said that April is full of “zest” and that she’s curious about everything. April makes so many friends — I bet all the kids in your neighborhood would like to be her friend, too.

Just because we can’t show you our faces doesn’t mean you can’t see a picture of us.

Actually, learning more about April and I — including looking at a whole bunch of photos of us — is really easy. You just have to request them! It’s a simple email! I have a friend named Kristen in America. She works at Holt International and her whole job is helping to find families for kids like me!

She would love to tell you more about April and I, and send you our photos — everything! — right to your email. And not just me, but all the kids like me — Jace, Waldon, Anya and April, Matteo, Rosie and even more. All of us!

Just like Savanna and Moriah, I would really like a mom and a dad. I want my caregivers to tell me that my special day has come — that April and I finally have a home, forever.

My friends at Holt say that it’s National Adoption Month. Maybe this month, you can take a few extra minutes to learn all about us? Maybe you can see beyond the faceless graphic filling the space where our smiling picture goes? We are ready to meet a mom and dad who understand that we’ve been through some tough stuff, and we can be pretty protective of each other (especially April! She just wants to keep me safe). Maybe we would have brothers or sisters who are older than us, and you already have experience parenting kids our age. Maybe your city has great hospitals and special education programs for me! If so, you might be just right for us!

If so, click here to request more information about us! Kristen will email you soon!


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