Mother/Daughter Team Educate on Identity and Chinese Policy

Mother/daughter team Melissa and Maya Ludtke have created a multimedia program for teachers and students. They used Maya’s experience as a trans-national adoptee as inspiration. The women collaborated on their idea with global educators.

Touching Home in China courses span from middle school to college. The curriculum can be used at home or at school and includes lessons and stories that cover population control policies and gender roles in China. The goal of the curriculum is to reach those who have a trans-national identity, but it is suitable for all ages and backgrounds.

The project came about after the pair noticed a lack of tools needed for one to be immersed in both cultures. On quests to learn more about her heritage, Maya was taken to the town where she was adopted. She visited at ages 7 and 16. Maya met with others her age. They seemed unaware that China’s one-child policy had led to so many to be abandoned and internationally adopted. Several hours of videos from those trips are included in their work.

Maya was just one day old when she was abandoned in a farming town. She was found and taken to an orphanage nearby. Nine months later she was adopted by Melissa. She recalls it being difficult to grow up in another country where she doesn’t look like others. Always having to answer question about why her mother didn’t look like her was hard. Then as she got older and visited China, she didn’t exactly fit in there either. She looked like them, but everything else was off. She spoke differently and carried herself with more confidence. Discussing those differences with her mother sparked the desire to help others.

China, in an attempt to control the population, had a one-child policy in place until 2015. Because most couple preferred to have a boy, a massive number of female infants were abandoned. Many of them were adopted by citizens of other countries. An estimated 80,000 women and girls can relate to the story of 21-year old Maya. Beginning in 2016, China changed to a two-child policy.

Birth Mom’s Message of Love to Her Newborn Son Goes Viral

Open adoption is often confusing for anyone who is not part of the adoption community. Many may not understand what open adoption involves, what it can be, and what a positive impact it can have on everyone involved. No one knows this better than the Marsh family and Hannah Mongie.

Hannah became pregnant at 18 years of age. A few months later, her boyfriend had died. After much discussion and thought of what would be best for her baby, she decided that it would be adoption. Hannah stated in an ABC news article that one day, she woke up and had a sense of peace about pursuing adoption.

Hannah’s next step was to select a family. She review many family’s profiles on Parent Profiles and found a good match with Brad and Emily Marsh. The Marsh family already had one son, whom they had adopted.  Hannah especially liked that Brad and Emily had a very high value of birth mothers and open adoption.

Hannah gave birth to Taggart (Tag) and he joined the Marsh family in March 2016, according to a Today article. After his birth, Hannah made a video for Tag, sharing how much she loves him and how the decision for his adoption was made out of love. Her video has been viewed and shared over 600,000 times. Hannah discussed how many birth mothers write letters, but she wanted to do a video to capture the depth of the emotion and love she has for him.

Since then, Hannah is basically just an extension of the Marsh family.  She sees Tag on a regular basis and even babysits him, when needed, for Brad and Emily. Hannah and Emily, who have become like sisters, even go together to local schools to share their story and educate about adoption and open adoption.

The Marsh family now has three boys through the joy of adoption. All three boys have pictures of their birth mothers in their bedrooms. Emily stated, “Our sons can always know they’ve been placed out of love and we love their birth families. I hope people have more hope and perspective on the positive experience adoption can be.”

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A Pure White Candle: Minister Shares the Story of Meeting His Birth Mother

Adoption relationships are often misunderstood by those outside the triad. It can be confusing for anyone not involved in the adoption community to understand the adoption triad and the impact of those relationships. The people in the adoption triad who seem to get the least amount of recognition are the biological parents. They make an enormously hard decision, placing a child for adoption, and are often misunderstood. Many people assume they chose adoption because they didn’t love their child. Usually it is the exact opposite. Also, unfortunately, birth parents often do not receive the emotional help that they need.

Leighton Ford was adopted as a baby. At age 12, was told he was adopted. Decades later, watching Roots, he decided he wanted to know about his heritage and biological family. At 50, Leighton was able to locate his biological mother, Dorothy, and planned a visit with her at her home in Canada.

Leighton stated that during the visit, he noticed a single white candle in his birth mother’s bedroom and asked her about it. She stated that it was for “purity.” But that one-word response seemed to resonate much deeper emotionally for Dorothy.  She told Leighton that she became pregnant at 16 with him and placed him for adoption at birth. Dorothy’s father was a pastor, but because of the stigma attached to a teen pregnancy, never talked to Dorothy about it.

Dorothy later married and had three boys, but that candle still burns. Leighton’s adoption and his existence always be a daily prayer with the lone white candle. Now, she is divorced and has spends a lot of time alone. Dorothy stated in a local newspaper, “I know God loves me. But on a cold winter day if there’s no one in your life to talk to, have a cup of tea with, it’s very lonely.”

Their story reflects the essence of life: Our past will always stay with us, maybe with regrets but always with forgiveness and grace.

‘People Called me Street Baby’ – An Adoption Story

“If adoption is something that you’re very passionate about, you should do it – but you should also tell people about it.”

Until he was ten years old, Michael’s bed at night could be an abandoned tire. On better nights, it might be a mat in a homeless shelter. He worried often about where his next meal was coming from.

His mother was lost in a world of substance abuse and addiction, but the thing that kept him going was his brother James, who was four years younger than him. “I watched out for him and made sure everyone knew no one messed with my brother.”

In the mornings, Michael would walk James to school. Doing so meant he missed his own bus to school, so he’d walk there, arriving late most days. After school, he’d head back over to his brother’s school to pick him up.

This is also the story of Dan and Karen, who thought there must be more to life than working and coming home to their beautiful – but quiet – home.

They saw two brothers featured in a newsletter sent to them by the Gladney Center for Adoption. They watched a Wednesday’s Child feature showing the two of them interacting. The lost their hearts to those sweet boys.

Now it’s a story of love and family. It’s a story of meaning and opportunity.

“I’m no longer primarily known as the toddler who lived on the streets,” says Michael. “I’ve not only survived, I have thrived. James is safely with me, I am bound for college, and these days people just call me Michael.”