Family is a place of belonging and becoming. It is a place where you can always come to "fit in," and it is a place where you discover who you are meant to become.
I (Matt) am a Gladney baby, adopted in Fort Worth, Texas, in June 1980. From my birth mother making the choice to place me for adoption to my recent experience with adopting our son from Taiwan in July 2020, Gladney has been part of my whole life story. I am happy to have the experience as both an adoptee and an adoptive parent.
I've learned through the recent adoption of our son, Max, that there are many different working parts to one adoption story. We had the privilege of becoming the adoptive parents to a little boy whose birth mom knew adoption was the best choice for her son, who was loved for many formative years by a foster family and social workers that advocated for him in Taiwan. Without agencies advocating for kids, adoption wouldn't be possible. While adoption is complex, it is a beautiful picture of what happens when people work together towards a common goal. Through adoption, a child is given one of the most important tools for success—connection that comes through being part of a “forever family.”
When Lillian, our youngest daughter, was 1.5 years old, we decided our family wasn’t complete. Becoming a family of four hadn’t been an easy road, but we both felt certain someone was missing. It seemed a little crazy that we’d begin the process of trying to have a third child. After almost three years of waiting, loss, grief, and doubt, adoption kept coming up everywhere. Once we made the decision to move forward with adoption, we chose to work with a local agency in Tennessee—New Beginnings. We had never thought we’d adopt internationally, but we decided at that point, a child between 2-4 years old would be the best fit for our family. Therefore, international adoption was the way we needed to move forward.
We were quickly drawn to Taiwan and found out New Beginnings had a partnership with Gladney as the placement agency for international adoptions from Taiwan. They worked with the SAME agency that I (Matt) was adopted from as a baby. Not only did we think that was pretty cool, but it was clear we were headed in the right direction. And we were! Once we finished up our home study, we worked exclusively with Gladney for the remainder of the process. It felt good to know our adoption and all of the details were being taken care of. We were working with an agency with a long-standing reputation and lots of experience—an agency we could trust and one that was helping us advocate to bring our son home as quickly as possible.
We're proud of how brave Max has been. He has shown very little hesitation or fear about coming into our family. In fact, as soon as we got home from our long journey from Taiwan, he ran into our home, up to his room and started looking around. We know his foster family and social workers in Taiwan did everything they could to make the transition for him as easy as possible, and it has been apparent through the way he has transitioned to our family. Max is adaptable, determined, and joyful. I hope he grows up to love and trust us as his family. We hope he will keep his connection to his home country of Taiwan, cultures, traditions, and history. We hope he grows to be an independent and confident man. We want him to love his story and never be ashamed of where he came from or the circumstances that brought him to our family.
Through Gladney's Facebook groups, post adoption department, and the Chinese New Year celebration, we've been able to stay connected to Gladney. It's important to stay connected to our adoption community for continued support, take advantage of the offerings of cultural and post adoption services and programs, and remain in community with those that walked the two-year journey with us to bring home our precious child. We're so thankful for the impact Gladney has had on our family.
Matt, Gladney Dad