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!



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Bryndal’s Story

October is the National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Before it gets away from us, we wanted to make sure that we featured one of our amazing  GWCA families and their little Bryndal. The power of unconditional LOVE shines through this family! Check out their story below and take a minute to visit their adoption website, as it is truly a touching story.

Adopting a child with special needs can be a difficult and intimidating process, but with blind faith and love it can absolutely be done. The road will never be easy. For a family like this one, they already knew the difficulty of bringing home a healthy child through adoption, but never a special needs child. Adopting a child with special needs was never in “their plan.” However, they have changed this little girl’s life forever all thanks to their family’s willingness to love. It doesn’t take an expert to see that she fits right in, and is right where she belongs!

Bryndal’s Story

In 2006, we traveled to China to bring home our precious daughter, Bria.  Exactly one year later, we submitted paperwork to return to China to adopt another Chinese Princess.  During the course of that year, the process to adopt a non-special needs child from China had gone from a one year to a six to eight year process.  We decided to leave our dossier in China knowing that God had another special angel for us in China, and we would wait on His timing to bring that child home.

bryndal31-300x203During our wait, we traveled to Africa twice to bring home two beautiful daughters and we completed one domestic adoption for our youngest jewel, a precious son. Throughout the years, we discussed our “future child” in China and wondered when God would finally introduce us and bring that child home.

In May of 2012, we opened our weekly email from Great Wall that introduced two special focus children of the week.  The moment the photos loaded in the email, our hearts skipped a beat and we KNEW this was the precious Princess we had been waiting on for years.  She was not a baby, she was not on the non-special needs track, she was not who we expected…BUT she was beautiful with a smile full of pure JOY and she was OURS!  We called Great Wall and quickly received approval to adopt a special needs child and were matched with our precious, amazing Bryndal!

As we flew through the steps to bring home our new daughter, we faced many days when we were scared to death about what the future would hold for us once Bryndal came home.  This was our first special needs adoption, and this was not really in “our plans.”  How would she react to us, how would our kids react to her, what would our family think, how would we communicate with her, what would the attachment process be like adopting an older child, how would we parent a child with Down syndrome…  We had to place these fears in God’s hands knowing that He had led us to this child at this time with this special need, and He would take care of all of these details.

On July 1, 2013, God calmed all of our fears when we finally met our sweet girl.  She walked through the door full of smiles, hugs and kisses, and her amazing love has continued to blossom each day.  Words cannot describe what a blessing this precious child is to our family and to everyone she meets.  She is FULL of joy, laughter and LOVE!

Our other precious jewels have enjoyed Bryndal just as much as we have.  They take turns sitting by her at meals and argue over who gets to sit by her in the car.  She has blended into our family as if she was with us since birth.  She has added so much love to our family…our hearts are truly overflowing! We expected to bless a child with a forever home, but we had no idea what love and blessings she would bring to us! We could never have dreamed of such a smooth transition and not a day goes by that we do not thank our Heavenly Father for bringing us to this child at this time with this special need…our forever Chinese Princess!

Each day Bria thanks God for giving her a family and she prays for all the orphans in the world to find a family too.  She is so happy to have Bryndal for a sister and refers to her as her “China twin.”  Bria is four months older than Bryndal.

To learn more about our journey to Bryndal please visit our site here! 

If your family is interested in learning more about the children with Down syndrome that GWCA is currently advocating for, please visit our China Waiting Child photo listing or contact our matching specialists today! 

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Ya Ya’s Story

I was innocently browsing through Facebook one day this fall when I saw the post. “Host families needed” it read. Intrigued, I clicked on the link and quickly requested a password to see the profiles of the waiting children. One smiling face stood out and I was immediately drawn in. I called and received more information over the phone and the anticipation set in; the anticipation of having a familiar conversation with my husband. “So, I was on the internet today and I saw this little girl…” it began.  We agreed to host Ya Ya over Christmas and advocate for her.

We drove through the night that cold December morning and arrived at O’Hare airport before the sun rose. We met with some of the waiting families and soon, a group of children, led by chaperones started towards us. And there she was! She was much, much tinier than we had imagined, full of smiles and not afraid.  I motioned to her and she came right over and gave us hugs. Our 9 year old daughter gave her a doll and she latched onto her right away. She was amazed by everything around her, automatic flushing toilets, doors that opened on their own, everything was new and exciting.

We arrived home and were greeted by the rest of the family. Ya Ya immediately was drawn to our son, Ashton, who shared something in common with her, Down syndrome.  They became good buddies over the month she was here. Ya Ya was sweet, gentle and kind with him. She fit in very well with everyone, after a few initial struggles between her and our almost 3 year old son. I believe he thought she was much closer to his age as she was so small. Once they (he!) worked out their “differences,” all was well!

Ya Ya fit in incredibly well! Everyone around us wondered how she would adapt, how would she understand us, what if she is upset, how will you communicate with her??? We used Google Translate and she understood very well! She is very expressive and we could tell by her reactions if she understood or not. Her English was pretty limited, but that did not stop her from playing and interacting.  She enjoyed showing us that she could count in English and liked to use the phrases that she picked up. We discovered her love of dancing around the second week here and dance parties were a regular happening around here!

Ya Ya is bright, inquisitive and catches on quickly. The fact that she had Down syndrome really wasn’t a concern of ours as our son has Down syndrome. She could do far more than we imagined! She was completely independent with her personal hygiene; showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed, combing her hair she did all by herself. Honestly, I think she trumps our 9 year old when it came to taking care of that independently! She enjoyed playing with dolls, our play kitchen, coloring and painting. Her artistic “skills” were a bit lacking, but she played well with toys.

As our visit drew to a close, I found myself panicked and a bit weepy thinking about sending her back “home.”  After some discussion, we made the decision to move forward with adoption. It just felt right, especially after being able to see how she fits in with our family. I have to admit that while she was here, I found a message board discussing hosting programs. Several people posting on the site were aghast that children with Down syndrome were being brought over as part of the host program. They wondered how they would understand what this was all about and how would they react when it was time to go back? I can say first hand that she handled it great! We started talking about going back to China about 10 days  before her departure. We talked about how excited her friends would be to see her and that she could share her new things with them.  At the airport, she played and interacted with her friends while waiting for the plane. When it was time to go, she gave Baba a big hug and boarded the plane waving with a smile on her face. We are so grateful for this experience and for this ray of sunshine we will now have in our home forever!

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Forever Family Friday!

helen1Hooray,  we are so incredibly excited to announce that a family has started submitting their paperwork to bring this beautiful girl home FOREVER!

She came to America with our Orphan Hosting program earlier this summer, and her host family had an amazing time with her. These experiences played a huge role in her advocacy, as both her host family and our China matching specialists were able to provide families with first hand information about her personality and development!

While there are still several steps in the journey ahead, we are so glad that this time when she lands in America, she will be doing it with her loving family by her side. Congratulations from all of us at Great Wall China Adoption, we can’t wait to see you come home!



Learn how you can host this winter!

We are currently matching families for our winter Orphan Hosting program. If you’re interested in learning how you can welcome an orphan into your home for the holidays, visit our Orphan Hosting photo listing today, or contact our hosting coordinators at shannon@gwca.org! Will you give the gift of family?


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Forever Family FEAT

I Found My Family!

We are so incredibly happy to announce that a family in our China Waiting Child adoption program has been matched with this adorable girl through the LID track. Congratulations from all of us at GWCA and CAN!

DueForever Family Friday to her young age and the fact that her needs are relatively minor/correctable, her file was considered LID. As such, the family that has been matched with her had to have their dossier logged in before they could view her file. If your family is interested in learning how you can begin your journey towards being matched through our LID track, contact our China matching specialists today!

What does LID mean?

In China’s Waiting Child adoption program, children’s files are either considered Special Focus or LID (sometimes referred to as Non-Special Focus) based on a couple of factors including their age and the severity of their needs. Children who are considered more difficult to place based on the fact that they’re older or have more moderate to severe needs are typically “Special Focus,” while younger children with more minor or correctable needs are generally “LID.”

Although the process of adopting an LID child is very similar to that of adopting a Special Focus child, there are a few differences. While families adopting a Special Focus child can be matched with a child on our China photo listing at any point in the process, families in the LID track must first submit their dossier to China before reviewing LID files.

For more information on the differences between GWCA’s LID and Special Focus adoption tracks click here, or contact our China matching specialists today!

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Sponsored Star Featured Image

Ming Has a $2,000 Grant!

Ming - Sponsored Star2Ming is our Sponsored Star for September!

Ming is an incredible 13 year old boy who needs to find his family before he ages out on his 14th birthday. He was hosted in the US this summer, and his host family had only the most positive things to share about their experience with him. Now that Ming has returned to China, we’re desperate to help him find a family that is ready to start their journey towards bringing him home forever.

Ming’s host family describes him as being a courageous and intelligent boy who has a very pleasant personality. Despite his medical needs and his prosthetic leg, Ming doesn’t back down from challenges that he’s faced with. Ming is very hopeful that his Forever Family will find him before he ages out. As our Sponsored Star for September, he currently has a $2,000 grant available towards his adoption fees. If you’re interested in learning more about Ming or viewing his file, 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!

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6 New Kids are Waiting

Six new kiddos have been added to our China Waiting Child photo listing this week! If you’re interested in learning more about Cooper, Macy, David, Logan, Bella or Laney, contact our China matching specialists today to request their files. Each of these kiddos is in need of a Forever Family, and we’re determined to help them find a loving and permanent home. Click the link below to see all of the children that we’re currently advocating for on our Waiting Child photo listing.

 Click here to visit the Waiting Child photo listing! 


This adorable little guy is Cooper! He just turned 8 years old this past June. Cooper’s eyes appear to be underdeveloped, but he does have some vision in both eyes. Cooper was hosted in the hosting program this past summer and had an amazing time with his host family! Here’s something that his host family wrote about him:

“He is independent, unbelievably well behaved, follows direction and likes to help.  Shy at first he quickly opens up to everyone. Very inquisitive, he is constantly asking questions.  Wakes up in the morning and greets us with a cheery “Hello!”, one of the several English words he learned while with us.  He has been as low maintenance as any child I have ever met.  They way he adjusted to the drastic changes of hosting was unbelieveable, he is so ‘go with the flow’.  He doesn’t need to be constantly entertained, he will go up to the toy room and just grab whatever he is interested and plays by himself if we are busy.  He has a good sense of humor and really understood and got a kick out of his host dads gentle sarcasm.  While he was here being hosted it was clear that he knew this was only a short vacation to America but still he bonded with his host dad.  As we did the countdown to departure day he was excited to go back to China saying he liked China and America equally.  But speaking to the chaperone the night before he told heels he was not willing to go back to China.  Once we arrived at the airport it all seemed to settle in and he was clearly devastated to be leaving America and said he wanted to stay.  I think a family with a brother for him would be great but he did enjoy playing with the girls.  Sounds too good to be true but he didn’t misbehave for a second while he was here.  I really don’t have any negatives to say about him.

His special need is blindness in one eye and nearsightedness in the other, which glasses helped immensely.  Also his eyes wiggle a bit (nystagmus) as he is refocusing but that seemed to be greatly reduced with the glasses.  We honestly forgot that he had any vision issues at all. He rides a bike, power wheels, scooter, runs races, all no problem.”

Please reach out to Great Wall if you would like to learn more about Cooper!


Macy is a cutie who is about to turn 6 years old! She was born with hydrocephalus and a meningocele which she received surgeries for. When Macy’s file was prepared, she needed assistance walking and standing on her own but GWCA is trying to get more details on her current condition. Her language development is described as being normal and she seems to be cognitively on target. Macy loves music and dancing along to the beat! She is described as being sweet, smiley and cute. Contact one of our matching specialists if you’d like to learn more about Macy!


David is a sweet little boy from China that is 6 and a half years old. David is deaf so he some developmental delays compared with his hearing peers. David lives in a rural area of China, so his ability to learn sign language currently is very limited, so he isn’t really able to communicate well with others. One of our GWCA staff members met David when she visited China earlier this year and she would be happy to speak with any interested family about David.

Even though David can’t communicate all of his thoughts and feelings with others, David has a good attitude and a happy nature. David is shy but he does get along well with others. David’s caretakers say that he has good self-care abilities like being able to go to the bathroom by himself and putting on his clothes by himself. David does not currently go to school, but when he is older they hope they will able to get him some schooling to learn sign language. What David really needs though is the love and care of a Forever Family and the educational resources to thrive as a deaf individual. David will most likely never receive what he needs to grow up and become an independent person without being adopted by a family in the United States.

You can contact the China Home Finding Team at Great Wall if you would like to learn more about adopting David. We hope we are able to find David his Forever Family soon!

Click Here to Watch David’s NEW Video!


Logan is a cute kiddo who is 6 years old! He has esotropia of both eyes and polydactylism of his right thumb. He is a very active child that gets along well with his peers! He loves playing outside and jumping on the trampoline. Logan is described as being inquisitive and a great listener. His file indicates that his special needs don’t have an impact on his daily life. Logan has great self-care abilities such as getting dressed on his own, using the bathroom and taking care of his plate after meals. GWCA is currently asking for some updated information on Logan! Contact one of our matching specialists if you’d like to learn more about him!


Bella is a wonderful young girl from China that just turned 11 years old. Bella is essentially a healthy child, she just has a scar across her face and part of an ear missing, and she has three fingers that are shorter than the others. Bella was found as a baby lying in a field where she had been abandoned, and the people that found her said that bugs were eating away at her face, so that is why she has her large facial scar. One of our GWCA staff members met Bella when she visited China earlier this year and she would be happy to speak with any interested family about Bella.

Bella is described by her teachers as being a very smart little girl. She is in a regular school and is in 5th grade. She has very good communication skills, excellent grades and she is even learning a little English.  She is does quite well in math specifically.  Even though the outside of her right ear is scarred, she can hear clearly out of both of her ears.

Bella has been made fun of by other children in the past because of her facial scar, so sometimes she can be a bit shy and she can sometimes find it hard to get along with others. She can also be a little stubborn at times. However Bella gets along well with others once she gets to know them. Bella has a fun, outgoing, creative personality and she seems like she enjoys telling jokes and entertaining others. Our GWCA staff member said that when she met Bella that she seemed like a little girl who might love to do theater and dance in school because she has such a precocious and invigorating spirit.

You can contact the China Home Finding Team at Great Wall if you would like to learn more about adopting Bella. We hope we are able to find Bella her Forever Family soon!

Click Here to Watch Bella’s New Video #1!
Click Here to Watch Bella’s New Video #2!
Click Here to Watch Bella’s New Video #3!


This adorable kiddo’s name is Laney, and she is about a year and a half old! Her file states that she has Turner’s Syndrome, but at this time that diagnosis is unclear. She also has and a congenital heart defect and limb differences of her hands and feet, but that doesn’t slow her down! Her caregivers describe her as a lively, restless, and lovely girl. She is extremely affectionate and loves to be held and hugged by her caregivers. She loves to play with toys and is able to grab on to the toys despite her limb differences. She has developmental delays, but will likely thrive with the affection and care of a forever family. Please reach out to Great Wall if you would like to learn more!


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I Found My Family!

FamilyHooray, this beautiful girl from one of our new orphanage partnerships has a family that is working towards bringing her home Forever! We are so happy for her and her new Forever Family, and we can’t wait to see them come home!

As a younger child with very minor needs her file was considered LID, meaning her family had to have their paperwork logged in before they could be matched with her. Our China LID track is a great program for families that are drawn towards adopting from China, yet feel that a Special Focus child may not be the best fit. Since we receive most of our LID files from our orphanage partnerships, we are looking forward to seeing this program continue to grow as we partner with more and more orphanages across China. If your family is interested in learning how you can begin your journey towards being matched with a child through the LID track, contact our China matching specialists today!


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Mitchell (Feat)

Meant to Be

Every family’s matching experience is unique, we say it every day. Whether you’re matched with a child that you’ve hosted or a child that you find on our Waiting Child photo listing. The one thing that all families have in common, however, is that moment when all of the pieces fall into place and you know it’s meant to be. For this family, that moment of clarity came when their local medical specialists confirmed that they would be able to provide their child with the care they needed once they got home. If your family is interested in being matched through our China Waiting Child adoption program, visit our China Waiting Child photo listing today!

MitchellWe had been in the US process for a year, so we had already met with a social worker and answered some questions about age of child, etc. My husband travels 3-4 weeks per month for his job and I work fairly long hours–occasionally needing to take calls into the evening–so we were advised that an older child that might need therapy or with severe health issues might not be best for us as we are unavailable during the day. This led us to believe that a child under 3 years of age would be best. So as we evaluated the ‘special focus’ needs that we could handle, we knew we needed to look at things that could be corrected with surgery or which would not require a great deal of therapy. This meant needs such as cleft palate were okay but cerebral palsy was not something we felt we could handle. Heart issues and other needs that are more severe were considered on a case by case and would have to be evaluated by a physician before we could make a decision.Based on the age range that we were open to, and knowing that it might take 6-12 months to bring the child home, we looked at children 2 years old or younger so that the child would be less than 3 when we got home.

Generally, I did the first review through the GWCA website looking at the pictures and brief profile. The first review was for the children’s age and basic “correctable condition” analysis. Based on that, I would ask for more information from GWCA. If review of the additional information, photos and videos was positive, I would then ask my husband to review it as well. He usually had more questions. His initial pass on our son was negative based on our need to return the file in 24 hours so that we could look at another file too – the file indicated a possible developmental delay. I had seen a video of our son, however, and did not think he behaved like a child with developmental delays. So I asked a friend with experience in this area to look at the video. The friend agreed with my thoughts, so we decided to have a doctor review his file.

IMG_0238The medical review came back very positive — with a potential diagnosis of a primarily cosmetic birth defect and a recommendation to talk to a specialist in our city. The specialist reviewed our son’s files and concurred with the GWCA doctor’s diagnosis and said that if we brought him to our city he could perform surgery.At this point it seemed that this child met the profile of what we could handle and indeed that with a specialist for his condition in our city that it was “meant to be”! We immediately sent in our LOI and began the paper chase to bring him home.

Since then other families have asked us how to decide which special needs are “OK”. The best advice we can give is that there is no right answer. Each family’s answer is different based on resources (time, money and access to health care specialists in your area and people to assist the parents or give respite care when the parents need a break). If we had lived 10+ hours away from a craniofacial surgical center then we might not have been the best match for our son. I also think it’s a good idea for the parents to agree up front on the criteria and then let one of them do the initial searching/sorting and have the other be a check and balance (i.e. Not look at all the pictures on the website). It’s easy to get caught up in the sad stories of the children and to forget that as a family you’ll have limitations that might not fit their situation. By having my husband as the check/balance man he could reel me back in when my heart overstepped our agreed upon criteria because he had not spent the heart wrenching hours looking at all the children’s profiles. That may sound harsh, but it’s important for one parent to remain a little above the process or detached while you are going through it.


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Paxton is Our Sponsored Star for August!

Paxton - Sponsored StarIntroducing our Sponsored Star for July, Paxton!

Paxton is a sweet and playful 5 year old boy who is in need of a loving Forever Family! He’s a happy little guy who enjoys spending his time singing, looking at picture books, and playing games with his friends. Paxton has great language ability, and can communicate easily with both his peers and his caretakers. His mobility is on target, and he is quick in reaction.

Paxton has a condition known as osteochondroma, which can cause him to develop minor non-cancerous growths on his body. He recently had one minor growth on his finger, which he was able to have surgically removed.

As our Sponsored Star for August, Paxton has a $2,000 grant available towards his adoption fees! If you’re interested in learning more about Paxton, 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!

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