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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!

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February Is Heart Month

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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!

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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.

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AprilFEAT

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!

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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!

 

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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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7 New Kids on the Block

asherAsher is an adorable little guy who is 5 years old! He was recently a part of GWCA’s JOY Program in China. An advocate spent some time with Asher and learned all about him! It is our understanding that Asher has a combination of heart needs. He has not yet received surgery for his special need. Our advocate noted that he cannot over-exert himself at this time but his information should be reviewed by a cardiologist to determine what type of treatment is needed. He is described as being introverted, sweet, polite and he gets along very well with others! He can speak in short sentences but his pronunciation is not very clear. Contact GWCA if you’d like to review Asher’s medical file!

kramer**FINANCIAL GRANT AVAILABLE** Kramer is a cute kiddo who is 9 years old! He has post-operative CHD and limb differences of his left arm. Kramer has a fantastic personality and his caretakers note that he’s quite the popular kiddo among his peers because of how kind and thoughtful he is! He is in the second grade and and makes excellent grades. Kramer has been in a foster family since 2010 and has adjusted very well to living in a family environment! He is described as being helpful, talkative, easy-going and well-behaved. Kramer is very independent and likes to complete tasks on his own. He enjoys playing with other children and being active! Contact GWCA today if you’d like to review Kramer’s file!clarissa**MATCHED** Clarissa is a sweet little girl from China that just turned 1 year old. Clarissa has CHD but it appears to be an issue that can be corrected with surgery once Clarissa is adopted. Clarissa is crawling, walking while holding on to the wall, and she is babbling a lot. Clarissa is a generally happy baby that enjoys spending time with other children and her caretakers. Clarissa has already been matched with a family, however, if you are interested in learning about kiddos with similar needs, contact GWCA today!masonMason is a precious little boy from China that just turned 2 years old. Mason has undescended testicles, but this is often something that corrects itself as the child gets older, or a minor procedure can be done to correct it. His file also says that part of his brain is a little wide in one area, but it doesn’t appear to be an issue in terms of his development at this time. Mason is an active, energetic little boy who can crawl and walk while holding on to something.

Mason has been living with a foster family since he was 2 months old, so he has been receiving much better one-on-one care than he would have living in the orphanage. He is very attached to his foster parents. He likes to listen to music and clap his hands with the rhythm. He like to play hide-and-seek and play with toy bicycles. He likes bath time so much that he doesn’t want to get out of the bath, so sometimes he gets upset when bath time is over. Mason has good imitating behavior and will copy the words he hears his foster parents saying. He knows the difference between big and small, he can build towers out of blocks, and when asked he can point to his nose, mouth, ears, eyes, etc.

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

brandonThis sweet 8-year old boy’s name is Brandon! Brandon has an extra finger on his right hand and his left ear is slightly deformed, but there doesn’t appear to be any hearing impairment. He also has severe scoliosis, but he is able to walk without assistance! Brandon is a kind, shy kiddo who is hoping to have a forever family soon. He was hosted by a family in the United States and had a amazing time! Brandon transitioned incredibly well with his host family and brought them a lot of joy and happiness. He has a hearty, infectious laugh that his host family loved! They describe him as a sweet, inquisitive, and helpful, saying that he has a very gentle spirit. Please reach out to Great Wall if you’d like to learn more!

Check out my NEW video!

peterMeet Peter! Peter is an 11-year old boy who was born with a cleft lip. Peter had surgery to repair his lip in April of 2008 and has been doing great since then! His caregivers say that he is a great learner, and that he has a very active and sunny disposition. His file states that he had some difficulties with language delays, but it is unclear if that was a result of his unrepaired cleft lip. Since his surgery, it sounds like his language development has become stronger. His caregivers love him very much and are eager for him to have a family to call his own. Please reach out to Great Wall if you would like to learn more!alecMeet Alec! Alec is an adorable 1 1/2 year old boy in need of a forever home! He has Down Syndrome and an atrial septal defect. He is currently living with a foster family and is described by his foster parents as being very affectionate and cuddly. He is not able to stand yet, but he is able to prop himself up and sit without assistance for short periods. He is also not speaking yet, but he is very expressive and is making babbling sounds. He loves to listen to music and will kick his feet along with the rhythm! He’s a sweet kiddo who would thrive with the consistent care of a forever family. Please reach out to Great Wall if you would like to learn more! Read More
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Kramer is Waiting – Grant Available

kramer-ccKramer is a sweet 9-year-old boy from China who has truly touched the lives of all those who surround him. GWCA’s matching specialists have heard from other advocates, families, and caretakers alike that he is an incredible kiddo, a great student, and a wonderful friend to other children. Recently, one of the families that feels a strong connection to Kramer provided him with a substantial financial grant. This grant is available to any family that would like to welcome Kramer into their home, and will be applied directly towards his adoption fees!

Kramer’s caretakers say that he has a fantastic personality, and that he’s quite popular among his peers because he is very kind and thoughtful. He is described as being a helpful kiddo who is talkative, easy-going and well behaved. He loves spending his time playing with other children and being active.

Kramer has post-operative CHD and limb difference of his left arm, but he doesn’t let that hold him back. He’s a very independent boy who likes to complete tasks on his own. He is in the second grade and and makes excellent grades.

Kramer has been in a foster family since 2010 and has adjusted very well to living in a family environment. November is National Adoption Month, and we are so hopeful that before the month is over Kramer will find a Forever Family of his own. Please help us advocate for him by sharing his story.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Kramer or if you would like more information about his grant, contact our China matching specialists today!

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GWCA Has a New Look!

gwcaIn the midst of National Adoption Month, we are so excited to announce the launch of our NEW website design! This change has been underway for the past few months, and we are so happy to share that each site (GWCA, CAN, Orphan Hosting and Student Ambassador Exchange) has now made the transition.

What’s new?

The Appearance

The site has a new clean cut appearance, but don’t worry, the content is all still there! So whether you’re looking for information on one of our programs, reading our latest blog posts, or visiting our photo listing to request a child’s file, love the speed and convenience of the new layout!

Browse On-The-Go!

It’s now easier than ever to browse our websites on your cell phone or tablet! The new layout adjusts to the size of your screen so you don’t have to worry about zooming in or out to find the right tab.

Sign up for our newsletter! 

If you’re interested in receiving emails from GWCA, CAN, Orphan Hosting and SAE, you can now sign up by simply scrolling to the bottom of one of our home pages and entering your email address!

While our newsletters are a great way to stay in the loop with our adoption programs, we encourage any families that are ready to begin their journey to contact our matching specialists directly. You can do this by filling out a contact form, emailing info@gwca.org, or calling us at (512)323-9595.

Take a look around:

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I Found My Family

Hooray! We’re so delighted to announce that one of the families in our China adoption program has begun submitting their paperwork to bring this little guy home FOREVER! We are so excited for him and his new family, and we can’t wait to see them come home!

Despite the fact that he is only one year old, this little guy’s file was considered Special Focus, meaning his family was able to review his information prior to logging their dossier in.

All of the kiddos that are on our photo listing are in need of loving Forever Families, and you can be matched with them right away! If your family is interested in learning more about any of the Waiting Children in our China adoption program, contact one of our China matching specialists or visit our photo listing today!

– Visit the Waiting Child Photo Listing to learn about kids in need of Forever Families!
– Contact our China Matching Specialists to learn how you can start your adoption journey!

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