New OP Files Coming Soon!

Spring is here, and that means NEW kiddos’ files! 

Every year during spring time, GWCA’s Orphanage Partnerships summit NEW files of younger kiddos with more minor needs to our agency, and we are so excited to announce that we are expecting around 25 NEW files within the next month or so! While the majority of the needs that these children have are more minor, we typically see a variety of both Special Focus and LID files. Families that are interested in being matched with one of these younger kiddos with more minor needs should go ahead and contact our China Home Finding Team to find out how they can start the China adoption process.

If your family has already applied and started the adoption process with GWCA, you may be able to be matched even faster! These kiddos usually get matched very fast, so the sooner you get started with the adoption process, the sooner you can get matched with an adorable child who needs a loving Forever Family!

For more information on how you can be matched with one of the kiddos from our Orphanage Partnerships when we receive their files, contact our matching specialists today!

Read More

From a Shared Past to a Shared Future

Every family’s adoption journey is unique, and our China matching specialists love being a part of each one. GWCA’s China adoption program gives families the opportunity to play a role in their matching process, so from the moment a family begins their journey, they work with our adoption specialists to figure out what age range, needs, and gender they might be looking for in a kiddo.

Due to the policies in place by the Chinese government limiting the number of children that each family can have, it is very rare that we see sibling groups available for adoption in China. As such, many families choose to adopt two unrelated children simultaneously so that they can travel to China and welcome both of them into their family at the same time. While the two children being adopted may not be related biologically, simultaneous adoption is a fantastic way to bring two different children from a shared past into a shared future!

The story below is from one of our China adoption specialists, Mallory, who had the pleasure of working with a family that began their adoption journey with the idea of siblings in mind. Now, just one year after beginning their paperwork, they’ve been matched with two incredible kiddos from the same orphanage and they’re preparing to bring them home forever!

Last year, I was able to match a family that I have always enjoyed working with. When they first came into the office, they were seriously considering moving forward with on of our CAN international adoption programs in hopes of being matched with a sibling group. However, the consistent and predictable nature of the China program ultimately led to their decision to move forward with a China adoption.

Since this family was looking for children with more minor medical needs, we initially held off on looking at special focus children during their dossier phase so the family could have the option to be locked with an LID child.

Three weeks before the family was about to submit their dossier we received two special focus kiddos from one of our newest orphanage partnerships. The girl was 4 years old and the boy was 3 years old; both with heart conditions.

It’s not often that we receive files for children from the same orphanage with the same need who are so close in age.  I immediately thought of this particular family knowing that this might be the closest to adopting siblings as they were going to get.

The family had both files reviewed by a physician who had nothing but amazing things to say about the prognosis for both children. These two kiddos wound up being the perfect matches for this family and our partnership with their orphanage made this possible. This family had a very unique process and their children will have a very unique and special story to tell someday. I couldn’t be happier for them!

If your family is interested in learning how you can be matched with a child or two unrelated children through our China Waiting Child adoption program, visit GWCA’s photo listing or contact an adoption specialist today!

Resources:

Read More

#StaffSpotlight: Meet Heidi!

This month we are so excited to give all of our families the chance to learn a little bit more about Heidi, one of GWCA’s China adoption specialists!

1. What is your job title and description here at GWCA/CAN?
International Adoption Counselor – China Home Finding Team

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love my job!  I love getting to help children who don’t have parents find their forever families and I love helping families find their future child in China!  My favorite thing is when I can help get an aging out child matched with a family.  Recently I helped two children (April & Jonathan) who are aging out this coming Fall get matched with their future Forever Families and it was the highlight of my year thus far!  Older children, especially boys, are the hardest to get placed and once they turn 14 they no longer can be adopted according to China’s laws, so they desperately need to be adopted by families.

3. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The most difficult part about my job is not being able to help all the children I advocate for get adopted.  You can try and try to get a child placed, but at the end of the day it just might not happen.  It’s especially hard to see the huge amount of children with down syndrome not get matched, as there are hundreds, if not thousands of these precious little ones who have active adoption files and are just sitting in their orphanages, waiting for their forever families to find them.

4. How have you grown personally from working at GWCA/CAN and with their families?
I got to travel to China last year and met over 100 children at 6 of GWCA’s Orphanage Partnerships.  This changed everything for me as an adoption counselor because I really got to see first hand how amazing and resilient these kids are.   It made me realize more than ever that these children are not their special needs, but that their special needs are just a small part of who they are.  These kids are so funny, kind and full of life and love.  They want to be adopted and have parents so badly!  They yearn for the love of a family!  I became an infinitely better Adoption Counselor after my trip to China because I actually understood the true nature of who these kiddos are and how important helping them find families really is.  You can read more about my life-changing trip to China here: https://chinaadoptionlife.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/china-part-i/

There are so many incredible families I have gotten to know over the years of working at Great Wall and I am so privileged to have helped them find their child in China.  Nothing brings me more joy than getting to call a family up and tell them that they have officially been matched with their child.  I also love getting to follow family’s on Facebook and on their blogs because then I get to see their entire adoption journey unfold.  I love getting to see when the families post about picking up their children on “gotcha day” and bringing them home!  There is nothing more rewarding for me as an Adoption Councilor than seeing a child come home with their forever family and experiencing what it is like to receive that unconditional love they have been waiting for their entire lives.

5. Why do you love adoption?
I love adoption because you are taking a child who was abandoned and left behind and saying “I choose you” and bringing them into your family.  It is the most beautiful picture to me of what love can look like.  There are so many children already born into this world that need families and even though they are not your biological family, you choose to make them your family.  Family is more than DNA.  Family is about choosing to love someone and accepting them no matter what for the rest of their lives.  Adoption to me is what family is all about.

Read More

URGENT: Aging Out – Grant Available!

Jonathan

Jonathan currently has adoption grants totaling over $10,000!

(UPDATE: Jonathan’s Sponsored Star grant has been extended through the month of March!)

When an orphan ‘ages out’ in China, they lose their chance to be a part of a family, to be safe, and to be loved. At the young age of fourteen, children are deemed ineligible for adoption, and their hope for a bright future all but vanishes. This is what Jonathan will be faced with unless he’s able to find a family who can bring him home by his fourteenth birthday this September.

Jonathan is an incredible kid. You can see this not only in the love that his caretakers have for him, but in the fact that countless communities have come together to advocate on his behalf with the hope that he will find a family before he ages out. With all of these efforts combined, Jonathan currently has a total of around $10,700 in grants available towards his adoption fees!

(Jonathan’s Orphanage Donation Fee of approximately $5,700 has been waived, a private donation of $3,000 has been made by a generous benefactor, and through the month of February, he has an agency specific grant of $2,000 as GWCA’s Sponsored Star.)

Despite the fact that Jonathan is completely deaf in both ears, he is able to communicate flawlessly using Chinese sign language. It’s clear that his cognitive development is right on target, as he’s able to quickly solve math problems, write in Chinese, and even write about 40 simple words in English! He is a great student who is helpful around the classroom and very loved by his teachers.

In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys playing sports. He’s particularly fond of jump rope, ping-pong and badminton!

Jonathan has told his caretakers that he wants to be adopted, and regularly asks if it will be possible for him to have a mom and dad. If you’re interested in learning more about this AMAZING kid and the financial assistance that’s currently available towards his adoption fees, contact GWCA today!

Resources:

Read More

Connecting Hearts

1This adorable little lady recently received one of our Connecting Hearts care packages from the family that she’s matched with, and it certainly put a smile on her face! What a wonderful way for her family to remind her that she is so loved and that they’re working hard to bring her home forever. Happy birthday from all of us at GWCA and CAN!

Sending a care package is such an incredible way for our families to help their kiddos celebrate an occasion or let them know that someone in the world is thinking of them. If you’re currently in the process of adopting form China and you’re interested in learning how you can send your child a care package, visit our website or contact GWCA today!

Read More

February Is Heart Month

romposal

February is American Heart Awareness Month, a time when the country comes together to spread awareness about the dangers of heart disease and show support for those with heart conditions such as CHD. Heart Month is particularly significant to those of us in the adoption community, because many Waiting Children around the world are without families due to medical conditions such as CHD.

What is CHD?

Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) occur when a child is born with an abnormally structured heart. In many cases, CHD presents itself as one or more holes in the walls between the heart’s chambers, an issue with the vessels, or incomplete development of a portion of the heart, which can compromise the heart’s ability to pump blood to deliver oxygen to the tissues of the body.

Treatment

While most cases of CHD are treatable with medication and/or surgery, many of the children in our programs are in situations where they may not have access to the treatment they need. That’s where our Orphan Warriors come in! We’ve seen  countless families open their homes to children with heart conditions, and it’s incredible how quickly we can see improvement in a child’s condition once they’re home and receiving the treatment they need.

Down Syndrome and CHD

Although our matching specialists advocate for kids with a wide variety of special needs, the need most commonly seen among children that we advocate for — particularly in our China Waiting Child adoption program — is Down syndrome. While it’s not always the case, it’s common for children with Down syndrome to also have CHD.

GWCA is currently advocating for many children with Down syndrome. If this is a need that your family is open to, visit our China Waiting Child photo listing to learn how you can be matched with one of these incredible kiddos!

GWCA and CAN’s Waiting Children

Our China and CAN matching specialists are currently advocating for several kids with heart conditions. If your family is interested in learning how you can be matched with one of these incredible kiddos, visit our Waiting Child photo listings or contact our matching specialists today!

Read More

Eight Months Home – Learning Our Dance

YourdonFamily-2016.10.27-NealDieker-278It was eight months ago today that we brought our daughter home and began our life as a family of nine. I will never forget the day we met that little girl in the pink dress. The look on Naomi’s face during those first moments together is etched in my memory. She was so brave and clearly intrigued by us. At the same time, she had the “blank look” I have come to recognize as a sign that she is overwhelmed and nervous.

You see, 8 months ago, we were total strangers. I was already in love with her or at least the idea of her. She had seen our photographs but could not be fully prepared for what was to come. We were instantly mommy and daughter, all the while still strangers to one another. The dance of attachment was beginning for us but we were nearly four years late to the party. I didn’t know her cries, her looks or her needs. When you bring home a new baby from the hospital, you study them. You ask yourself countless times a day, what does she need? I found that the same was true for our little Naomi. I needed to become a student of her, study her sounds and her actions. I would love to tell you that I did this perfectly but I did not. There were times we were both in tears from sheer frustration. There were times I was not as patient as I should have been and lost sight of what was really important. I have had to apologize and ask her for forgiveness more times than I like to think about.

The beautiful thing about a family is that we just keep loving and moving forward. There have been countless victories in these eight months, reasons to celebrate and solidify the bond that we have created. We parent our seven children in a way that gives us the great gift of time. We home school so there is no need to rush off in separate directions each morning. Granted, Daddy has to go to work but we are all excited when he walks back through that door! Learning the rhythm of our family has been accelerated for Naomi as she watches the way I interact with all her siblings on a minute by minute basis. Giving her a solid foundation of what family means is our priority. We know that her little heart still has plenty of healing to do. A child who was abandoned at the approximate age of two certainly needs time to feel safe and secure. She asks me often, “Momma, gonna go bye bye?” I rarely leave the house without my children but the thought of being separated from Momma is still unnerving for our little girl. On the rare occasion that I leave the kids with Daddy or Grandparents, I remind Naomi, “Momma comes back. Momma always comes back.” We have a little song we sing with these words. It is an important ritual for us.

YourdonFamily-2016.10.27-NealDieker-178Naomi’s big sister, Izabella, is just a few months older than her. Izabella was our only girl for four years. We had no idea how their bonding would go but we prayed fervently that they would be a gift to one another. Their relationship has exceeded our wildest hopes. I will never forget one of their first nights together, Izabella hugged Naomi tight, looked at me and said, “Mom, thank you so much for my sister!” They take great joy in spending time together. They are little mommas to their baby dolls. They love to color and make crafts together. They sit next to each other for every meal. They are taking a weekly ballet class together. The sight of them in their little tutus is more than this momma’s heart can stand. They attend the same art class and story time class at our home school co-op. They are precious little shopping buddies and love it when we have girl dates. They often say, “girl power!” when they accomplish a difficult task. I am grateful to have a front row seat to watch their relationship develop. A sister is truly a gift.

YourdonFamily-2016.10.27-NealDieker-260We have been amazed by Naomi’s patience and kindness with all her siblings. She has learned to stick up for herself when she needs to. We think this a terrific sign of how comfortable she has become in her family. Her adoption was our first experience with adopting out of birth order. Naomi is older than our two youngest sons. They were two years old when she arrived home and she was weeks away from turning four. We felt that Izabella would keep her identity as our oldest daughter and the little boys would keep their identity as our babies. We were right. The transition has been seamless.

Every night when I tuck Naomi in bed she says, “Momma, sing Jesus!” She snuggles her teddy bear and baby doll and settles in for this comforting nightly routine. I rub her back and sing this song, “Jesus loves Naomi this I know for the bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong. They are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus love Naomi. Yes, Jesus loves Naomi. Yes, Jesus loves Naomi. The bible tells me so.” Then I lay my hand still on her back and whisper a prayer in her ear to the King of Kings. I thank him for her life. I praise him for the restoration he has done and will continue to do. I ask him to continue to bind our hearts together. I pray for her best friend from the orphanage who is happily home with her family. If I forget this part, I am quickly reminded. I ask God to draw her heart to his. I pray that she will grow up to boldly walk in the calling he lays on her heart. I have no doubt his plans for her are great. When I say amen, I kiss her little face and tell both my girls, “Goodnight my princesses.”

In the past eight months, there have been challenges to overcome, memories to make and milestones to celebrate. We are no longer strangers. We are well on our way to forever. Not only do we know the steps to our dance, we are tearing up the dance floor.

Read More

April Has a $2,000 Grant Available!

Introducing our Sponsored Star for February, April!

April Sponsored StarApril is a beautiful 13 year old girl form China who is in danger of aging out on her 14th birthday this September. Her file was recently prepared by one of GWCA’s Orphanage Partnerships and we are so hopeful that she will find her forever family very soon.

April’s file indicates that she has ametropia in both eyes, but other than that she seems to be doing very well! She was abandoned at birth, but was temporarily taken in and raised by a family until she was three years old.

At the age of three, April was taken to the orphanage where she lived before moving to a foster family. Her foster family describes her as obedient and very helpful with chores around the house. She is a very sweet girl with a quiet and introverted personality.

April is now in the 8th grade, and her favorite subjects are Chinese and English. She has been asked directly if she would like to be adopted by an American family, and she said yes.

As our Sponsored Star for February, April has a $2,000 grant available towards her adoption fees! If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about April, please visit our photo listing or contact our matching specialists today!

What is a Sponsored Star?

On the 1st of each month, Great Wall China Adoption will feature one of the kiddos from our Orphanage Partnerships as our monthly “Sponsored Star!” As our Sponsored Star, that child will be provided a $2,000 grant towards their adoption fees! Each of the kiddos selected will be a Special Focus child,  meaning they have not found their Forever Family yet due to their age or the degree of their needs. Together, we can find loving homes for these amazing kids!

We encourage any families interested in learning more about our Sponsored Star of the Month to visit our China Waiting Child Photo Listing, or contact our China Matching Specialists to learn how you can be matched today! Check back on the first of each month to meet the newest featured child!

Read More

Jonathan Has a $2,000 Grant

jonathan-sponsored-starIntroducing our Sponsored Star for January, Jonathan!

This amazing kiddo’s name is Jonathan, and he is 13 years old! Jonathan is completely deaf in both ears, but his cognitive and mobility development are on-target. He can communicate well using writing and hand gestures and is able to write about 40 simple English words. He is very helpful to his teachers and does well very well in school! He also love sports, and is great at jump rope, ping-pong, and badminton! We are so hopeful that Jonathan will find his Forever Family soon, as he will be aging out on his 14th birthday. If you or someone you know is interested in reviewing Jonathan’s file, please reach out to GWCA’s matching specialists to learn more!

As our Sponsored Star for January, Jonathan has a $2,000 grant available towards his adoption fees! If you’re interested in learning more about Jonathan, visit our photo listing or contact our matching specialists today!

What is a Sponsored Star?

On the 1st of each month, Great Wall China Adoption will feature one of the kiddos from our Orphanage Partnerships as our monthly “Sponsored Star!” As our Sponsored Star, that child will be provided a $2,000 grant towards their adoption fees! Each of the kiddos selected will be a Special Focus child,  meaning they have not found their Forever Family yet due to their age or the degree of their needs. Together, we can find loving homes for these amazing kids!

We encourage any families interested in learning more about our Sponsored Star of the Month to visit our China Waiting Child Photo Listing, or contact our China Matching Specialists to learn how you can be matched today! Check back on the first of each month to meet the newest featured child!

 

Read More

Forever Home for the Holidays

1One year ago this beautiful girl was listed on our Orphan Hosting photo listing with the nickname “Miss Happy.” When our interview team met her in China, they were captivated by her incredible smile and her playful spirit. She was excited to play dress up and show everyone her drawings, but behind her smile was a girl who was holding on to hope. She was hopeful that meeting with these strange people and answering their questions might lead to something new – something outside of the orphanage.

Last winter, Miss Happy was matched with an amazing host family and she had the opportunity to come to the United States to live with them for one month over the holidays. She had the chance to see life outside of the orphanage and she had the opportunity to experience the love of a family

Now, less than one year later, Miss Happy’s host family is in China preparing to bring her back to the United States and welcome her home forever. Although we’ve simply been following their journey through photos, it’s clear that Miss Happy has already gone through a huge transformation. While her smile is still as big as ever, it has changed in so many ways. It’s the smile of a beautiful girl who finally has the opportunity to be carefree. After years of worrying and waiting for a family to come get her, she finally gets to relax and be a kid, because she’s not “Miss Happy” anymore – she’s Celia Ginger Stark. She is a daughter and a sister, but most importantly she is loved.

31Celia will never have to spend another holiday season longing to be part of a family, and she will never spend another birthday worrying that she’s one year closer to “aging out.”   The days ahead of her hold so much love and so many firsts, and we can’t wait to continue following the amazing journey that began with Orphan Hosting.

There are so many children in China that spend their lives waiting. They are overlooked not because of choices they’ve made or because of things they’ve done, but because of their age or their special needs. These kids are INCREDIBLE, and our Orphan Hosting program gives families the opportunity to get to know them, not as they’re described in their medical file, but for who they really are.

We are currently matching children for our upcoming winter Orphan Hosting program, and we’re so hopeful that these kids will have the same experience that Celia did. If they are hosted this winter, they may never have to spend another holiday season in an orphanage. Our host families play a huge role in helping these kids find families, whether they themselves adopt their host kid, or whether they advocate on their behalf. There are only a few days left to be matched with one of these amazing kiddos, so if your family or someone you know is interested in learning how you can become a host family, contact our hosting coordinator at shannon@gwca.org today! Together, we can end their wait.

Congratulations Celia, and safe travels home!

blog

Resources:

Read More