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They are invisible until just one set of eyes sees their potential. Until one heart sees their worth. Until one soul sees their merit and their deservedness to live.
I think of my sons and their lives in an orphanage. I know what makes them standout today. But what made that one set of eyes pick them out of a crowd and determine they were more than invisible to a world beyond the walls of an institution?
What makes a person look at a child born without part of his face know within that broken exterior there is a beautiful spirit just waiting to touch lives in ways never expected? What makes a person notice the soft smile of a child with an extra chromosome and know that child will light up lives for years to come? What makes a person look at a child paled by sickness know that someday that child will be someone, a force in this world?
I have stood on the edge of the special needs adoption cliff. I’ve backed away in fear of the unknown. I’ve stepped forward again, teetering on the brink of jumping and stepped back one more time. And then, with the firm grip of my husband’s hand in mine, we jumped, together, into a life where we asked for a child who needed extra care.
And we have never looked back.
I have been humbled in my life as I have spoken with parents across the country who have stood at that same cliff and jumped. The one thing we all have in common is that as we move through life with our children by our sides we have defined the term new normal. Our lives are not scary or hindered or burdened. Our lives are normal.
I am forever and a day grateful to that one person who saw my sons in their orphanages, invisible to the world, and in a single act of recognition whipped aside their cloak and exposed their potential, their worth, and finally their deservedness to live… in this world.
Autor bio: Julie Barclay’s life has been dedicated to children. A former public school teacher and summer camp counselor-in-training director from the Pacific Northwest, Julie has worked with varied populations of children, always advocating for those most vulnerable. After having a biological daughter and son, Julie and her husband welcomed home an infant son from Korea in 2002.
Just over a year later, the Barclay’s family grew again. After seeing the photolisting of a 6-year-old boy with a heart condition in China, the family welcomed home their third son. In 2008 the Barclay clan welcomed their 5th child and 4th son, a 6-year-old from Ethiopia.
In 2013 Julie’s life was touched by adoption one more time. Through a genetic testing service, a cousin had found her and reached out with a Facebook message, “I believe we are cousins, would you like to connect via email?” The sender? Martha Osborne, founder of RainbowKids.com
Since that day, Martha (adoptee and mom to 5 through Intercountry adoption) and Julie have created a seamless blend between their families. Together, they have joined their passion to advocate for vulnerable children and have expanded RainbowKids from an adoption advocacy website, to a dedicated child and family welfare website.
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