12 Days of Christmas

 

Today we are kicking off the beginning of 12 Days of Christmas at GWCA and CAN! Be on the lookout for adoption tips, holiday traditions, and family fun.

Stay tuned on our Facebook pageChina adoption blog, and Children of All Nations blog each day for our exciting 12 Days of Christmas!

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Special Needs Adoption

Have you considered adopting a child with special needs? Special needs seen in our China program range from mild to moderate to severe. The minor needs can either be surgically correctable, medically managed, or remedied with therapies. They’re typically classified as needs that wouldn’t prohibit a child from living a healthy life. Cleft lip and palate is an example of a minor need.

Most of the children on our Waiting Child photo listing will have more moderate to severe special needs or a combination of special needs. Examples of these needs might include Down syndrome or congenital heart defects.

While the idea of special needs can seem overwhelming, it’s important to realize that many needs fall on a spectrum. It’s possible for children with special needs to live long, happy, and healthy lives! Read below to learn about common conditions and advice from adoptive families on how to prepare for them.

Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft lip and palate are common birth defects which occur during pregnancy. The majority of clefts appear to occur due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. A cleft lip is a separation of the two sides of the lip, which can affect the upper jaw and/or gum. On the other hand, a cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth. It’s possible for a child to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both. Also, a cleft lip and/or palate can occur only on one side (unilateral cleft) or on both sides (bilateral cleft).

If a child is born with a cleft, it can be treated with services like surgery, dental care, and speech therapy. In fact, children with cleft lip and palate generally lead happy and healthy lives, and some children will require less intervention than others.

Tips from Adoptive Families

“If you’re thinking about adopting cleft- pray about it, it is so ‘doable’! As with any minor disability- educate yourself, find physicians in your area that specialize in cleft repair.” –There’s No Place Like Home Blog

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This changes the course of development and causes physical characteristics associated with Down syndrome, including small stature and low muscle tone. However, each person with Down syndrome is unique. They may possess these characteristics to different degrees or not at all.

Most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate. However, this doesn’t indicate their many strengths and talents. Although people with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for certain medical conditions, healthcare and treatment of these conditions allow for most of them to lead long and healthy lives. To learn more about Down syndrome, visit the National Down Syndrome Society!

Tips from Adoptive Families

“My biggest piece of advice is to get involved in your local Down syndrome community. Most cities have organizations to support and celebrate people and families with Down syndrome and it’s easy to join and get involved.” –No Hands But Ours Blog

“Make sure you have videos and good information on the child, such that you understand your child’s mental, emotional and physical condition as much as possible. Be prepared for unexpected things, but also be prepared to embrace the love these kids have to offer.” –No Hands But Ours Blog

Congenital Heart Defects

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. This can compromise the heart’s ability to pump blood to deliver oxygen to the body.

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 necessary treatment. However, we’ve seen countless families open their homes to children with heart conditions, and it’s incredible how quickly we see improvement in a child’s condition once they’re home and receiving the treatment they need.

Tips from Adoptive Families

“Choosing to say yes to adopting a child with a severe medical condition means weighing these risks against what would happen if you said no. It is an important decision to consider carefully and prayerfully.” –Adopting with a Medical Expedite Blog

“Ask for help. Whether reaching out to other adoptive parents, hospital social workers, or mental health professionals, be sure to create a network of care around yourself even if you don’t feel that you need it right in that moment.” –No Hands But Ours Blog

Our China and CAN matching specialists are currently advocating for many kids with special needs. If your family is interested in learning how you can be matched with one of these wonderful kids, visit our Waiting Child photo listings below or contact our matching specialists today!

Visit the GWCA Photo Listing
Visit the CAN Photo Listing

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Meet Alexandra!

1. What is your job title and description here at GWCA/CAN?

I am an International Adoption Counselor for our China Program! I talk with families when they inquire about the adoption process, and I serve as a matching specialist.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

My favorite thing about my job is being a matching specialist and helping families find their son or daughter. Nothing brings me more joy than knowing that I was a helping hand in building a loving family. Adoption is an emotional process for every family, and I love being there as their support through their journey.

3. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?

The most difficult part of my job is not being able to match all the children we advocate for. There are so many children out there without a family to call their own, and its heart-breaking knowing that you can’t help them all. Although, I am very thankful for all the children we do get to help! You just always have to ensure you work very hard to help as many children as you can.

4. Why do you love adoption?

I love adoption because it gives abandoned children a shot at finding their forever family, and it gives families a chance to either start or add to their existing family. If international adoption was not in place, all of these children would be sitting in an orphanage and would never know what it feels like to be part of a loving family, where they are provided with consistent care and opportunities to succeed in the world. GWCA alone has helped over 9,000 children, and we are just one agency… imagine all of the children adopted worldwide. It’s truly mind-blowing and beautiful how many children’s lives have changed by finding a family to call their own. I am honored to be working in this field!

5. Fun facts about Alexandra:

  • Fitness is a hobby of mine. I train at the gym about five times a week.
  • I am working towards becoming fluent in Spanish.
  • The beach is my happy place.
  • When I traveled to Denver, I conquered my fear of spiders and held a tarantula. Eeeeek!
  • I am from a town right outside Chicago and was in Wrigleyville when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series. It was truly a legendary experience!
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Top Questions About Adoption

For National Adoption Month, our adoption counselors share answers to the top questions they receive about the China adoption process. If you would like more information, please contact our adoption counselors today!

What kinds of special needs do we see most often in the China Program?

“Special needs that are seen in the China program range from mild to more moderate and severe needs. The minor needs that are seen can either be surgically correctable, medically managed, or remedied with therapies. The minor needs are typically classified as needs that wouldn’t prohibit a child from living a healthy life. Examples of these needs include cleft lip and palate, clubbed hand, clubbed foot, and minor heart defects.

Most of the children you might see on our Waiting Child photo listing will have more moderate to severe special needs or a combination of special needs. Examples of these needs might include cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, congenital heart defects, hydrocephalus, spina bifida, hearing loss, and vision issues.”

How long is the process?

“The timeline is different for every family. The length of a family’s process is dependent on the family’s adoption parameters (i.e. special needs being considered, gender, age range, etc.). A family who is open to more minor needs typically has about a two year process overall, whereas a family who is open to more special needs might have a process that lasts about a year.”

How much does a typical adoption cost from China?

“The average cost for an adoption is about $35,000. That estimate includes fees for the program through GWCA, fees from the U.S. government, fees from the Chinese government, and travel costs.”

Check out more FAQs here!

Learn about our China Program

Visit our photo listing to meet the available kids!

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The Adoption Tax Credit Is Preserved!

We have fantastic news to share about the Adoption Tax Credit! On November 9th, 2017, both the House and Senate agreed to preserve the tax credit in their tax reform proposals. The Adoption Tax Credit has helped thousands of families afford the cost of adoption. Because of that, we believe that the continuation of the tax credit is vital to ensure as many children as possible find loving families.

Big thanks to everyone who took action to support the tax credit! However, the fight is not over. Beyond maintaining the current credit, improvements can be made. This includes expanding availability, increasing the credit amount, and making the credit refundable. That way, more families can benefit from the credit and welcome a child into their home.

How You Can Help!

You can make a difference by sharing this blog on social media (using the hashtag #SaveTheATC) and sending a message to Members of Congress about improving the tax credit. Visit the “Save the Adoption Tax Credit” website for more ideas about how to take action!

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Halloween Photo Contest 2017 Winners

We are so thankful for all of the families who submitted photos for our Halloween Photo Contest! If you missed the deadline, you can still email your pictures to kim@saeglobal.org to land a spot in the album.

Our staff at GWCA and CAN voted on the winners, and it was a tough decision to make! We loved all of the amazing and adorable costumes. Without further ado, here are the 2017 Halloween Photo Contest Winners!

Honorable Mentions

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National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month! Did you know that 140 million children worldwide are estimated to be orphans? This month, our focus is to spread awareness for the children who are waiting to be adopted. Every child deserves a loving family to call their own and to feel wanted and needed. Together with your help, we can raise awareness about adoption and ensure these kids find their forever families.

Here is a sneak peek of what’s coming this month:

  • Featured Waiting Children
  • Answers to the top questions about adoption
  • Information about the most common special needs in adoption
  • Reasons to adopt an older child
  • Family adoption stories
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • And more!

Stay tuned on our Facebook pageChina adoption blog, and Children of All Nations blog for the latest adoption information!

Resources

– Learn more about our adoption programs
– Visit the China Waiting Child Photo Listing
– Visit the CAN Waiting Child Photo Listing
– Contact an adoption specialist

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Halloween Photo Contest 2017

Fall is in the air, pumpkins are everywhere, and it’s almost time for Halloween! We would love to see how your family celebrates the spookiest time of the year. Our annual GWCA/CAN Halloween Photo Contest starts today and ends Thursday November 2nd. Send photos of your little witches and ghosts to kim@saeglobal.org to participate in our contest! Here are the categories for this year:

Most creative

Spookiest

Cutest

Coolest

Silliest

Best group costume

We’ll share all submissions and announce the winners on November 3rd. Click here to check out previous contest winners. We hope you have a safe and fun Halloween weekend, and we can’t wait to see all of the adorable costumes!

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Fiona Is GWCA’s Sponsored Star For October!

In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, GWCA’s Sponsored Star for October is Fiona, a precious 3-year-old girl who absolutely rocks her extra chromosome!

Fiona seems to be doing well overall! She knows how to walk and is saying some words. Although her speech is slightly delayed, communication does not seem to be an obstacle for her. She understands instructions from her caregivers such as “sit down, stand up,” and she can point the position of “nose, eyes, and ears” on someone’s face. Fiona is described as being cute and affectionate. She will kiss her caretaker’s face when she is happy.

As our Sponsored Star for October, Fiona as a $2,000 grant available towards her adoption fees! If you’re interested in learning more about Fiona, 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 is 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!

Resources

– Learn more about China adoption
– Visit the Waiting Child Photo Listing
– Contact a China adoption specialist

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October Is Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a time when we come together to spread awareness of Down syndrome, to show support for those with the condition, and to celebrate their abilities and accomplishments. Down Syndrome Awareness Month is particularly significant to us in the adoption community because many Waiting Children around the world in need of families have Down syndrome.

What is Down Syndrome?

According to the National Down Syndrome Society, Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition. It occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes physical characteristics associated with Down syndrome, including small stature and low muscle tone. Each person with Down syndrome is a unique individual and may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.

Most people with Down syndrome have cognitive delays that are mild to moderate. However, this is not indicative of their many strengths and talents. Although people with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for certain medical conditions, healthcare and treatment of these conditions allow for most people with Down syndrome to lead healthy lives.

To learn more about Down syndrome, visit the National Down Syndrome Society.

GWCA and CAN’s Waiting Children

Our China and CAN matching specialists are currently advocating for several kids with Down Syndrome. These wonderful children deserve the opportunity to grow up in a loving family. 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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