When we traveled to China last year, we had the pleasure and honor of traveling with with eight other families that had the same goal. To bring home their new children! Some, you may have met from links in my blog, like YoYo's Mama, Kate and Mia whose picture appears in blog posts from a visit we had last summer. Others I have been able to keep up with through occasional emails. Only a few seem to have fallen off our radar. But, we have a bond with most of these people because we went through something awesome, and we went through it together.
While I admit that I am closer to some families than others, I often find myself wondering about all of them. I want to know how the children are doing. How the Mommas and Daddies are fairing. I want to follow their journey as they navigate through life together. I want to compare it to our journey with Claire. After all, I can't measure this against what I already knew. This is way different on so many levels!
One family that we have kept up with via the net, is the Corkern family. Doug and Sue were with us in Beijing and then left to get their 8 year old son, Cole. We met back up with them 6 days later in Guangzhou. Cole was a bundle of energy! He broke his new parents in and good! But, Doug and Sue were in for the long haul and they were not about to give up. We heard from them shortly after they got home and found that Cole was doing very well once he settled in and realized that this family was forever!
Adoption is chaotic. Period. The thought of adopting an older child can be down right terrifying to many. I think it takes a special brand of parent to adopt an older child....just like I think it takes a special teacher to teach at the middle school level! :) Older children have pasts and many have deep scars from their lives before. There are so many unknowns with any adoption, but so many more with the adoption of an older child. Like, do they even want to be adopted and leave behind everything they've known? Some don't. Countless do. And many will languish in orphanages because it is so hard for us to say we will take a chance on an older child.
I personally was afraid to commit to a child much older than two because I was afraid of the language issue.... and the bonding issue..... and all kinds of other issues I could hide behind. Wouldn't it be easier to get a young child, a baby even and raise it from the start? Wouldn't it be easier if she didn't know much Chinese, then she could just learn English? Wouldn't it be easier if she hadn't lived in China long enough to form memories? Less messy, you know. Blah, blah, blah. The fact is, these older children want the same things we know the babies need. They want a place to call home. They want a Mom and a Dad. They want to belong.
After watching the families in our group that were being united with their older children, I could see how I had missed the boat with that one. These children bonded very similarly to the younger children. They learned the language just as fast as Claire did, and folks, she mastered it in under three months! They, Cole, Kate and Gia, are all thriving in their forever families! Oh of course, I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that they went home with families that wanted and felt called to the older children.
And, I was amazed to learn that Doug and Sue are doing it again!!! Less than a year after bringing Cole home, they have found a thirteen year old girl in China who desperately wants a family. Doug and Sue Corkern are going to give it to her!
When Doug and Sue were in China to adopt Cole, they met their daughter Katelynn. Of course they had no way of knowing that she would one day be calling them Mama and Baba!
"We met this young lady in May 2008 when we visited our new son’s orphanage. She is a good friend of Cole’s so we had an opportunity to speak with her about her dream of belonging to a permanent family. I will tell you that when we met her the first thing we noticed was her smile and how she brightened the room when she walked in. She has a joyful spirit and a gentle way about her which captured our hearts."
Katelynn was left at birth but found and raised by one family for 3 years and then passed to another family and raised by them for another 7 years! Two years ago, she was relinquished to the police to be taken to an orphanage so she could receive a proper education and medical care. "Because she had no formal adoption relationship with her foster parents, she had no file at the police station; therefore she could only study in a school which provided education for migrant workers’ children on temporary bases. In China, a citizen must be registered in order to receive an education and health care within their province. "
Doug and Sue are our friends now...whether they like it or not! Like I said, there's this bond. So, I feel the need to get their story out there. They need prayers. Prayers for Katelynn. Prayers for this journey. Prayers for the financial needs they have so they can bring Katelynn home! If you can help in any way, click on Katelynn's beautiful face down there and it will take you to a site with even more information, that is accepting donations for them! Above all, pray!