Malachi* is this week’s featured waiting child. Please take a closer look at this extraordinary boy and share his story, photos and videos to help him find a loving family of his own!
Date of Birth: March 30, 2007, China
Actually, when I sat down to write, I couldn’t remember anything about Natalie. On the day we visited her orphanage, I was so preoccupied getting to know the other children that I overlooked her. In notes from the orphanage, Natalie’s caregivers described her as shy, timid and fairly introverted. And on the day we visited, she cried and frowned before the camera.
But after looking through photos and videos of Natalie and reading more about her, I discovered that we had more to share about Natalie. The side we saw of her that gray day in July was just that – one side of a naturally shy little girl, feeling scared among strangers. On other days, in more familiar surroundings, Natalie laughed and smiled and played with her friends at the orphanage.
Like all of us, I wrote, Natalie is different among different people, and in different settings.
After we featured Natalie on the Holt blog, a family saw her story and eventually decided to adopt her. Natalie – or Qiu Ni – joined her family in June 2012, and was 8 years old at homecoming. Recently, her mom, Tracy Kazsuk, wrote to share how Qiu Ni has transitioned into her family. “She has been a dream,” writes Tracy. “She is smart, sensitive, and considerate. She is artistic and creative, and has a clever sense of humor… We just love, love, love her.”
I thought of Natalie while reading about this week’s featured child, Malachi*. Like Natalie, Malachi’s caregivers describe him as timid, shy and fairly introverted. “He is not very talkative and may not like speaking when strangers are around him,” they write. Among friends and acquaintances, however, Malachi is “very lovely and talkative.”
Like Natalie, Malachi is an older child and has some special needs. Natalie has spina bifida, which is a condition that brings a range of challenges. She was also 6 years old when we received permission to begin seeking a family for her. Malachi is now 5 years old, and has a blood disorder called thalassemia, which causes your body to produce less hemoglobin. Doctors examining Malachi also found abnormalities in his brain scan, however he is developing very typically for a boy his age. Fortunately, Malachi has only had a mild case of thalassemia and has not required a blood transfusion.
Malachi came into care on Christmas Eve, 2007. He was found with a note in his pocket stating his birth date, March 30, 2007, which indicated he spent the first 9 months of life in the care of his family. He spent the next year and a half at a social welfare institute, before joining a foster family at the age of 3. In his foster family, he has thrived. He loves listening to music, piecing together jigsaw puzzles and playing with games and toys.
Although this is Malachi’s waiting child blog, I felt compelled to share Natalie’s story because they have so much in common. But there is one more thing I hope for them to share that they do not yet. Against the odds, Natalie found a family! In her blog, I asked families to take a closer look at Natalie. When so many children need love and attention, I wrote, it’s easy to zoom in on children who meet a certain profile – and overlook the rest. But look closer and you might discover a rare and extraordinary gem. Had the Kazsuk family overlooked Natalie because of her age or special need or simply the frown on her face in photos, they would have missed out. “To think that she might still be waiting due to this ‘need’ is sad and very scary,” her mom writes of her spina bifida.
Malachi’s needs are different from Natalie’s, and families should carefully consider the implications of his condition as well as their capacity to provide medical care throughout his life. But as with Natalie, I simply ask this: that families not immediately skim past his profile because of his age or medical history. Because one family took a closer look at Natalie, she is now a “ray of sunshine” in their lives. Now all it takes is one family to take a closer look at Malachi, and discover his extraordinary potential hidden within. — Robin Munro, Senior Writer
For more information about Malachi, contact Marissa Leuallen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* name changed