November is Adoption Awareness Month throughout the United States, including in Connecticut. But when millions of children around the world are waiting, longing for a family to hold them and love them and care for them, why only one month?
Let me tell you about just one child who is waiting.
Born in China with stiffness in his hips and legs due to a mild form of cerebral palsy, Kit was placed into care at the age of five months. He grew up in a Chinese orphanage supported by many loving caretakers and doctors. As he grew, he became self-sufficient, able to manage personal care activities, read and write, and memorize long passages of Chinese poems. He even received surgery to improve his mobility. The surgery was a great success. He’s finally able to have fun with friends and get around on his own!
While walking is a huge accomplishment for Kit, what he needs most is a family of his own. Once home with his new family, he will likely benefit from continued physical therapy to improve his gait, and perhaps another surgery or two to help him walk longer distances without a walker or wheelchair. Without a family in China, Kit’s future is uncertain.
I found Kit to be a loving, joyful and charming boy. He is handsome, kind and bright. He longs to have a family of his own and I can confidently say that the right family would benefit from having this special child in their lives.
So why is he still waiting? Why are so many children waiting? And why only one month out of the year do we chose to advocate for them?
You may ask, what makes one child like Kit “harder to place” with a family than another. I’ve asked, and here is what I have been told.
1. Girls are adopted more often than boys.
2. Younger children are adopted more often than older children.
3. Children with physical disabilities like cerebral palsy are less likely to be adopted, although many excel in life —with professions in law, medicine, education, and much more.
But when a child like Kit asks me why, I find these reasons inadequate. Is the reason Kit still waits, that millions of children are waiting, because boys or older children or kids with disabilities are less wanted? Or is it’s that we as a world society have forgotten them? That we don’t care enough. Could it be because we simply cannot see the blessing that they are – we only see the burden?
What if each child came with a pot of gold? If we could be sure they would fill our lives with magic? Would every family agree to love just in just one, or two, or three?
I have my three. Their names are Mia, Ella and Joy. They are the light of my lives. They are worth their weight in gold. They fill my life with magic each and every day. Truly, they do.
Children in China are no longer eligible for adoption upon reaching their 14th birthday. In just a few short weeks, Kit turns 12 and an adoption usually takes about 12-16 months from beginning to end. Each night we pray that the right family will find him soon and begin the adoption process. And that one more child will become someone’s blessed son.
Penny Phillips lives in Canton and is an adoption advocate for Holt International.