Flamingos by the Yard are Flocking to Help a Chinese Adoption

Join the ‘Flock a Friend’ Fundraiser
Aug 01, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill The Eng family, of Tuckerton Meadows, demonstrate what a flocked yard looks like! The flamingos are for "hire" to be placed on someone's yard in this fun fundraiser that is helping defray costs of adopting a boy from China.

If you see a man sneaking pink flamingos onto a yard in the dark, usually in the Tuckerton area, chances are it’s the “Flock a Friend” fundraiser helping his family adopt a special-needs child from China. It takes $30,000 to adopt, and the Jackie Eng family of Tuckerton Estates is using some of their retirement funds. But for the rest, every flamingo helps.

“Flocking,” as it’s called, happens overnight when someone who wants to donate money for the cause contacts the Engs and tells them where the flamingos should roost. The target wakes up to find a flocked yard and a flyer of information on what it’s about.

A grant through Lifesong for Orphans in partnership with The Tim Tebow Foundation is matching every dollar donated, up to $3,000, until Sept. 1. As of July 27, that money was halfway raised. Plus, the family has been doing other fundraisers since last fall. A friend passed along the “flock” of flamingos after it had done its job to raise money for her to adopt a child.

“We’re in the home stretch,” said prospective adoptive mom Corrine Eng.

The suggested donation is $30 for a regular flocking.

“We have some people give less, which is fine; some give more, which is fantastic,” she said. For a bigger staged “scene,” such as for birthday parties, baby arrivals and such, they ask for $50. “It’s time-consuming getting them all gussied up for their event!” she joked.

“We have a few-hundred-flamingos option, but nobody has taken us up on that – I don’t know how they’d be able to walk though their yard.”

The family already has four children, all girls.

“‘What’s one more?’ my husband has always said when we would end up with extra kids in our house, or car, or dinner table,” Corinne Eng tells of the background. “Honestly, it’s been a running joke for years now, and we never dreamed it would be anything more than that ... things were finally starting to get more comfortable in our lives.

“However, over the last few years adoption has become more and more a part of our world,” she explained. “We have friends who have adopted and friends who have been involved with hosting, and the thing is, once you do either of those things, you start to advocate for these children. As I followed my friends on social media, I would see the pictures and pray for the children to find their families.

“I got bitten by the bug and often prayed that we would be that family for one of these children.”

While browsing a China adoption advocacy page, she happened upon a picture of a little boy “who was cuter than words could describe,” she recalls. She showed the picture to her husband, Jackie, and was shocked when he said, “If I was ever going to adopt, that would be the one!”

The two fully agreed “that this was our son.”

They reviewed the file and researched the child’s special needs. He is affected by Dandy Walker Malformation, which affects the base of the brain and interferes with motor skills. The child had hydrocephalus and received a shunt.

“He will need physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy once he gets here,” which is expected to be in October, Corrine said.

“His disabilities are complicated, and he needs to be with his family so he can start thriving.”

The prospective adoptive mother found his situation to be “a little overwhelming at first,” but the family is sure that the match is meant to be.

Their path to find the child was fortuitously cleared of one obstacle.

“At the time our journey first started, China would assign children to various adoption agencies for a period; if that agency wasn’t able to find them a family within that time, the child would be moved to the shared list and eventually to another agency,” Corinne related.

“By the time we were ready, our son was back on the shared list. We contacted our agency, gave them what little information we had and prayed they could find him. Not only did they find him, but the very next day China assigned his file to them. Some people would call that a coincidence; I call it God just being faithful and another indication that this is the child he has picked out for us.”

Corrine Eng is a sign language interpreter in a school in Mays Landing; Jackie is employed by the Little Egg Harbor Township School District.

“All money raised will go toward the cost of bringing home our son,” Corrine said.

“Living in this community, we’ve met some really fantastic people through this,” she said. “People have been generous and kind, and even the emotional support has been overwhelming. You see how much good there really is.”

The website https://mystory.lifesongfororphans.org/stories/from-jersey-to-jackson has complete details. The Facebook page Flock To Adopt has an easy one-click link to the web page, found in the “about” section.

— Maria Scandale

mariascandale@thesandpaper.net

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