When working with children that need our advocacy, meeting them in person is truly one of the most life-changing experiences. From the moment that you hold them in your arms, your heart breaks for them and you know you have to do everything in your power to help them find the love of a family. Every day GWCA and CAN’s matching specialists advocate for kids, many of whom they have never met before. While it is always incredible to help a child find their family, nothing can compare to the moment when you see the same child you held in your arms in an orphanage finally uniting with their Forever Family.
We asked our matching specialist, Hilary, Meredith, and Heidi to reflect on a few of the incredible moments that they experienced while watching the adoptions of children they met come full circle.
GWCA and CAN are currently advocating for many Waiting Children who are in need of loving families. If you’re interested in learning more about these incredible kids or finding out how your family can be matched, visit our Waiting Child photo listings or contact our matching specialists today!
There are not many moments in your life where you truly feel the ground move beneath you. And, there are not many moments in your life where you can say that you directly impacted someone’s life and changed it for the better. As a matching specialist that is a feeling I often get to experience and it is nothing short of incredible. However, there are also moments when you get to meet a child face to face in their country and later see that same child come home with their forever family, and that feeling…well that is a feeling like no other. It is honestly indescribable.
I recently got to experience this feeling when one of my kiddos from Haiti came home. I met little E about a year ago and she was the caretaker of her creche. She loved to give everyone hugs and check on her crying friends. After spending a short amount of time at the creche little E quickly became one of my buddies. She would grab my hand and drag me from room to room and even jumped of my back for a photo op. This sweet little girl was full of personality and at the time was soft matched with one of my families. I could not wait to get back to Texas and call her mom to tell her exactly what her precious girl was like! Time passed, documents were approved, and I finally got to make the call that we as matching specialists love to do, “This is it. This is the call. You can go pick up your girl!” And, just like that, little E finally came home.
Once they were settled her mom called me to update me on how they were doing and that phone call went something like this, “Can you say hi Hilary?”, “Hi Hilary” in the tinniest and cutest little voice. It was little E on the other end of the phone. The sweet girl I met so long ago and now in her home with her forever family. I LOST IT.
International adoption is not easy. It is not easy for anyone involved in the process whether you are working on the adoption or adopting. But, these moments are what keep me going. These are the reminders of why I do what I do.
Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to fly to Chicago to meet the summer host kiddos that were flying in from Beijing. I will never forget the feeling of waiting at the gate with all of the families eager to meet the children they would be hosting for the next four weeks. For the kiddos that were going to be advocated for, I had the amazing chance to spend time with the kiddos at the airport to learn more about their sweet and incredible spirits. One little girl in particular, Lottie, captured my heart completely while we were waiting for her connecting flight. Even after a long and exhausting day of travel for the kiddos and the chaperone, she brought such joy and mischievousness to our little group. During the hosting session Lottie’s host family and I worked closely to find her a forever family, and now I am overjoyed to say that her family will be traveling to bring her home soon! I can’t wait to see photos of Lottie again, this time with a family to call her own.
What does it feel like to meet a child in China who doesn’t think they’ll ever have a mom or a dad, brothers or sisters, a home, a family to call their own? What does it feel like to give them hope that one day you might help them find what they’ve always dreamed of? What does it feel like to talk to a family who wants that child they have seen on a photo listing, to help them start the adoption process, to see their family work for months and months and finally get to go pick them up?
I got to follow their journey, I got to see pictures of their Gotcha’ Day, and even better, I received a phone call from the family telling me that the child I had met one year before was on the other end of the line asking to speak with me.
What does that feel like you ask? It is indescribable! There are no words to describe that feeling. It takes your breath away. It punches you in the gut, but in the best way possible. You want to run and jump and laugh and scream with joy, but you also want to fall to the ground and cry because of how big, how huge that moment is. How can you describe being the catalyst for an orphaned child’s life being changed forever? How can you describe someone telling you that the photo or video you took in China is what made them fall in love with a child? The sheer weight of that knowledge is almost too much to bare! And yet it’s one of the most amazing feelings a person could ever experience!
A moment of silence. Then you hear the child pick up the phone. And then, “Hello Heidi? It is…” Breathless. Speechless. Silent tears stream down my face. There are no words to describe this moment. And there never will be.
*Note: For privacy purposes, the kids shown in the image above are not the kids featured in the post.