National Adoption Month 2017: Spotlight on Special Needs

This year for National Adoption Month, we are shining a spotlight on special needs. All month long, we will share videos and stories that demystify some of the most common — or most misunderstood — special needs, from cleft lip & palate to HIV to children who are older in age when they come home.  Follow us on social media this November for myth-busting information and first-hand experiences of adoptees and families! Who knows, you may be surprised by what you learn, and how you could be the perfect family for a child with special needs.

As we prepare for National Adoption Month, we think of children like Elizabeth, Tanner, Aubrey and Braxton.

Eight-year old Elizabeth is smiley, easy-going and kind. Tanner is also 8 and is extremely social, helpful and caring. Six-year-old Aubrey is outgoing and loves riding her tricycle. Thirteen-year-old Braxton is shy and patient and enjoys practicing calligraphy.

But despite their differences, these children all have two notable things in common. One, they are all waiting to join a permanent, loving family of their own. And two, they all have a special need. Continue reading “National Adoption Month 2017: Spotlight on Special Needs”

The Secret of Their Lives

A little girl at the HIV group home looks out the front door to a sunny courtyard.

Most of the children here don’t know they are HIV+. It’s too risky.

Their teachers don’t know. Their neighbors definitely don’t know because if they did, they would have to move again. They’ve moved eight times in ten years, all 28 children. If their teachers knew, they would be isolated and discriminated against or even kicked out of their pricey private school — a school they attend because they don’t have to inform the principal of their disease.

Most of these children don’t even know about the disease in their blood, the disease that killed many of their parents, robbed them of their life in their villages and that was likely passed to them at birth.

They just know that they have strict rules to follow.

Absolutely no fighting. No rough housing. If they get a cut or a scratch, they have their own first aid kit. And they have Mr. Huang.

“The kids are happy now,” Mr. Huang says, his face worn and tired, his spiky, graying hair hinting at his age.

When children pass through the living room of the apartment, they stop to grab his hands or talk to him and his eyes soften as he greets them lovingly.

“They are too young,” Mr. Huang says. “They don’t understand their fate. But as they get older, they will learn. The discrimination will start. They will always have to keep their secret.”

Continue reading “The Secret of Their Lives”