Blake: An Adoption Story
Blake’s story is a wonderful example of the precious work that LWB does and how much kids can overcome when loved and nurtured! If we had met Blake when he first came to Heartbridge (and was known as “Henry”) in Spring 2010, we probably would not have adopted him due to his severe delays and scary diagnoses.
At 21 months old, “Henry” could not sit unsupported and weighed only 16 pounds. In addition to his heart defect, an MRI had shown “mental retardation” and hydrocephalus, and caregivers questioned if he would “ever be able to live independently”. But LWB gave him a chance. After LWB arranged his heart surgery, he was welcomed at the Heartbridge Healing Home, where his progress was remarkable! He then graduated to LWB-sponsored foster care where he lived for four years until he joined our family in July 2015 at seven years old.
Blake was well-prepared for his adoption and came to us with openness and excitement. The file we received for Blake (prepared when he was five) described him as “timid”, “shy”, “fond of quietness” and a “follower”. But those are the exact opposite characteristics of the little firecracker who marched into the Civil Affairs office to meet us with confidence and curiosity.
Following our introduction, Blake immediately started playing with his new big brother, smiled for this photo just minutes after meeting us, and walked out of the office happily holding our hands. No hesitation and not a single tear shed. Above all, Blake is brave!
During our adoption trip we were able to meet Blake’s foster family, see their apartment, and tour his school and SWI (social welfare institute). It was obvious that Blake was loved and well-cared for. We will always be grateful for his foster mama who helped him grow into a happy, handsome little boy.
Blake is playful, kind, silly, thoughtful, full of energy and endlessly curious. In our hotel in Guangzhou he accidentally summoned the manager to our room by pushing an emergency call button in the bathroom. We see many similarities between Blake and his favorite fictional character, Curious George. Blake also admires superheroes and chose to be Superman for his first Halloween, which seemed appropriate because he’s brave, courageous and caring.
Living with a foster mama and foster siblings, we believe Blake learned the concept of a family, and his adjustment into ours has been easy. He now has a big brother and two little sisters, whom he adores. There has been a bit of testing boundaries, normal sibling squabbles, and grieving (understandably!), but overall Blake has accepted his new life with ease and excitement.
Just a month after getting home from China Blake started first grade, and he is already very popular at school, loved by his classmates and teachers. His teacher describes him as a leader in the class and very smart. We recently received this note from her:
I have enjoyed Blake so much in the class. The children love him and he is blossoming each and every day. He is talking so much and he tries to tell me things from home. Most of the time he mixes Chinese into it, but I think I understand most of it. I think back of the first few weeks and see such progress and a happy boy. He jumps in to everything with such zest for life and the whole class is in awe of him.
In China, we introduced Blake to swimming, and it’s one of his favorite things to do! He learned to swim within a month and also enjoyed his first trip to the beach where he fearlessly jumped waves and built sandcastles.
Now home four months, Blake speaks quite a bit of English and is thriving. He’s a completely normal, healthy, active seven-year old boy with a silly sense of humor, who only needs yearly cardiology check-ups and some dental work. Blake’s eagerly counting down the days until Christmas and wants a nerf gun and a pet bunny!
We recently learned that his foster brother, Caleb, is being adopted by a family about two hours away from us, and we are excited to reunite them on this side of the world.
We are so thankful to LWB for giving Blake, and all the many other children like him, the chance at life!
~Emily Lovely is married to the love of her life, David, and lives in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, with their four amazing children