Casual Conversations {about starting out in adoption}

We have been partnering and brainstorming with Mazi Adoption & Family Services for a little while now, wanting to connect in new ways with you! We are excited to begin Casual Conversations where we hope to open up space for families to share experiences, hear stories, and go deeper with others walking a similar path or serving families who are.

 

Our first Casual Conversations will be starting at the very beginning, opening the floor for those just thinking about or starting the process. It’s for those who are asking things like when, which program, and which agency? Join us next Thursday morning at 9:30am at Panera Bread in Exton. Hear from a couple women who have been there and get some perspectives from a few professionals in the field. Ask questions. Drink coffee. Feel supported.

Can’t wait to see you there.

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Sweet Confidence {Advocating}

When I looked back through all my pictures of the two trips I’ve made to this orphanage in the last year, I noticed that “Kevin” isn’t in too many of them. It’s one of the reasons why I was drawn to him actually.

He didn’t always come running with the other kids to squish his face into the frame whenever they saw one of our cameras come out. It’s not because he didn’t notice or was too reserved to join in. He  was gentle and invested in the moment, focused and content with whatever activity we were doing, engaging his friends in play. Though admittedly, that play did sometimes lead to victory signs and giggles.

Don’t get me wrong; he was interested in all of us foreigners and enjoyed interacted with us. But, when it comes to “Kevin,” there’s a sweetness that pours out of him that draws everyone in. He shares with his friends; he is obedient for his nannies; he is smart, kind, and silly; he’s creative and enjoys performing (especially poems and songs that may involve a little bit of dancing), which perfectly showcases how he also loves to have fun.

 

He isn’t one who will compete for your attention. Instead, he’ll simple capture your heart with his smile.

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Interested in learning more about this sweet little guy whose advocacy name is “Kevin”? He’s currently available for adoption through Madison, a good agency which is offering a $2,000 grant to the family who wants to make him their son. Contact info@sparrow-fund.org to learn more about where he is and our experience with him, and contact Sarah at Madison to request to review his file. We can’t wait to meet the family who gets to make this kiddo their son.

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Erin Garrison has been a pediatric physical therapist since 2010 and was first introduced to The Sparrow Fund through serving on an orphanage trip in October of 2016. It was during this trip that her heart was stirred and she was drawn to a big career change in order to serve children living in orphanages, their temporary caregivers, and families who move forward to adopt them. Her passion is to help equip and train the orphanage staff on developmental and handling techniques to assist in reducing delays. She also seeks to be a therapeutic resource for families as they transition children to home and get connected to the services needed. You can contact Erin directly at eringarrison@sparrowfund.org.

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Allow us to introduce you. Meet Sparrow Services Grants.

We started The Sparrow Fund with the specific purpose of encouraging and supporting families in the adventure of adoption. We did that exclusively through a grant program for families adopting internationally that covered their cost to enroll in programs that would give them preadoption support, counsel, and medical reviews of referrals. Those grants allowed us to meet a real need for families who might not get this type of support otherwise.

For nearly 7 years, we’ve been pressing on, continuing that original vision and growing as we’ve been led. We started offering training and connecting opportunities for foster and adoptive families including a marriage retreat Together Called to care for and fill up husbands and wives so that they can keep pouring themselves out and loving well. We also started leading teams to serve in orphanages in China with the primarily goal of building relationships and helping both children and staff more deeply experience relationships.

As our team grew in 2017, it was the right time to pause and ask if all we’re doing is consistent and reflects who we are and where we believe we should be. As we considered the grant program and our retreats and trainings both here and in China, the words caring for caregivers were imprinted on our hearts. That’s what we want to be about. We want to care for caregivers–caregivers who have committed to caring for life and caregivers who stand in the gap for a season. While the 101 grants we gave to families absolutely met a need and did real good for children and families, our team agreed that we could do a better job aligning those grants with the vision of caring for caregivers.

And, that’s how we arrived at our new Sparrow Services grants. We’re still going to help families pay the cost for those programs that will give them access to specialized medical professionals who will review their referral with them. But, we’re going to offer our grant families more than just that. We’re going to walk with them, cheer them on, offer individualized support including but not limited to marriage support, coaching to line up resources they may need once home, personalized suggestions for building attachment. There’s no itemized list of all that Sparrow Services grants will or could include because we don’t want there to be a list; we want to be more personal than that; we want to care for caregivers and help them become the caregivers they are meant to be.

We’ve updated our website and are ready to run with this. Do us a favor and spread the word. Our team and our Board can’t wait to see who we get to serve in 2018.

You can find general Sparrow Services Grant information here >>

You can find answers to frequently asked questions here >>

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Here’s what we think of him {advocating}

It was a Tuesday afternoon when I met him. He jumped off the school bus with his friends, and they all came running for us. He’s smaller than the others, but that doesn’t stop him from keeping up with the rest of them. His big smile lit up his whole face as he watched the happy reunion between his friends and their former host families. As we greeted each child, smiling and charading our hellos, the nannies pointed to his hands. They wanted to make sure we noticed that his are different.

They didn’t mean it in a negative way really; they just wanted us to be aware. We already were. Admittedly, his hands and his size are the first things we noticed about him. But, we also noticed the concern and curiosity on his face as he awaited our reaction. I wonder what he thought in the half a second he waited. What will they think of me? Will they dismiss me? Will they want to play with the other kids? Will they think I’m weird?

We smiled and waved our hands at the ayi, using the universal charade for no problem, no worries, never mind. And, we turned to him, bent down to look right into his eyes, and said “You’re perfect.” He didn’t know what we said; surely, they don’t teach those words in his primary school English class. But, he knew what we said. The big smile returned to his face, a smile that remained for the rest of the week.

As quickly as we had noticed his size and his hands, we forgot about them. As we played games, made crafts, and painted, he showed us that he doesn’t let anything hold him back. When it was time for fun, he cheered and teased, enjoying the kids, staff, and our team, and being enjoyed by them all. When it was time for crafts, he patiently and carefully held his paintbrush to create his masterpiece.

What we had told him is truth. He is joyfully perfect in so many ways; beautifully and intentionally designed, and waiting for someone to remind him of that everyday. I wonder who will be his reminder.

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Interested in learning more about this sweet little guy whose advocacy name is “Miller”? He’s currently available for adoption through Madison, a good agency which is offering a $3,000 grant to the family who wants to make him their son, with an extra $1,000 grant for any family who says yes to one of their waiting children during the month of December. Contact info@sparrow-fund.org to learn more about where he is and our experience with him, and contact Sarah at Madison to request to review his file. We can’t wait to meet the family who gets to make this kid their son.

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Angi Augsburger was introduced to The Sparrow Fund when her own family received a grant for their adoption. She got further involved with The Sparrow Fund when she was matched with a little boy from one of the orphanages where The Sparrow Fund serves. A year after he was home, she traveled back to China, this time as a volunteer on one of The Sparrow Fund’s teams to serve at her son’s orphanage and then again not long after on a trip to another orphanage where she met “Miller.”

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Who will get to see his smile everyday? {Advocating}

“Duncan,” before I met you, I didn’t know too much about the illness we grown ups call “thalassemia.” I knew it had something to do with the blood that pumps through your body and makes everything work. But, I didn’t know much more. I hadn’t come across it in all my years of working with kids.

But, then I came to China, and I met you. One of the grown ups at your orphanage told us you had thalassemia and that quite a few of your friends have it too. No one would know it really if it weren’t for the black bag around your neck, holding your pump.

That’s because you don’t let it stop you. You don’t let it become you. You are you. You are not thalassemia; you just happen to have it. You are strong. You are patient. You are easygoing even though life doesn’t always go so easy. You are happy and are known for your smile.

But, even though you seem so happy where you are, I want more for you. I want a forever family for you. I want a mommy and a daddy to say that boy is ours. I want them to love you and like you and learn from you way more than I’ve learned from you. And, I want you to show them and let them stand by you so you can all show the world that having thalassemia doesn’t mean you are broken or less able but that you are stronger because of it.

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Interested in learning more about this sweet little guy whose advocacy name is “Duncan”? He’s currently available for adoption through Madison, a good agency which is offering a $3,000 grant to the family who wants to make him their son, with an extra $1,000 grant for any family who says yes to one of their waiting children during the month of December. Contact info@sparrow-fund.org to learn more about where he is and our experience with him, and contact Sarah at Madison to request to review his file. We can’t wait to meet the family who gets to make this kid their son.

____________________________________

Erin Garrison has been a pediatric physical therapist since 2010 and was first introduced to The Sparrow Fund through serving on an orphanage trip in October of 2016. It was during this trip that her heart was stirred and she was drawn to a big career change in order to serve children living in orphanages, their temporary caregivers, and families who move forward to adopt them. Her passion is to help equip and train the orphanage staff on developmental and handling techniques to assist in reducing delays. She also seeks to be a therapeutic resource for families as they transition children to home and get connected to the services needed. You can contact Erin directly at eringarrison@sparrowfund.org.

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