Intercountry Adoption Changes

Dear Families,

As you may already know, each adoption service provider (ASP) is licensed to process adoptions within their state, as well as accredited by the Department of State (DOS) via an approved accrediting entity. An accrediting entity effectively governs compliance with the Hague Convention rules and regulations, under the supervision of DOS. Since the inception of the Hague Convention, the accrediting entity governing compliance has been the Council on Accreditation (COA). Recently, due to conflicts with DOS centering on how ASPs should be overseen, COA has resigned from its role as an accrediting entity. In its stead, a new agency, Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME), has been approved. The transition of duties is still taking place, but in the meantime new requirements have been announced and we would like to make everyone aware.

Last week, IAAME released its fee schedules for accreditation, monitoring, and oversight, which are applicable to every ASP currently operating. Included in this fee schedule is a “Monitoring & Oversight” fee of $500 per adoptive child that will be assessed on any new adoptive families contracted on or after February 15, 2018. GWCA/CAN (and all other APSs) will be required to report new adoptive families each month, and then pay this fee per family the following month. As this is a fee charged by IAAME (and approved by DOS), this is what we would call a “pass-through fee,” wherein GWCA/CAN is merely a third-party processor. We want to stress this fee is NOT charged by GWCA/CAN, nor does GWCA/CAN have any say in this fee moving forward other than the requirements of reporting and billing. This fee is non-refundable per IAAME.

Beginning February 15, any contracts signed will be assessed this fee. In addition to other fees due with the signing of your contract, you will need to remit payment for one child (or the first child, if intending to adopt multiple children). If you are a family intending to adopt two or more children, please note that you will not be required to pay the additional fees for each child until you accept the referral which will be unique to each family’s case.

We understand that additional fees in an adoption, especially those not expected, can be frustrating. For this reason, we would like to once again stress that this is not the choice GWCA/CAN (or any ASP). GWCA/CAN is following the directions of IAAME, who is operating at the direction of DOS. If you do have any questions, please feel free to contact your application case manager.

Sincerely,

Great Wall China Adoption/Children of All Nations

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Gotcha Day Anniversary

Meet Caroline! She’s a sweet girl with an infectious smile, and we’ve enjoyed following her adoption journey from her matching process to her Gotcha Day to her life since she came home.

One year ago, she was united with her forever family. Since then, she’s grown and learned so much, and her parents are incredibly proud of her. Congratulations to sweet Caroline and her family on their first year Gotcha Day Anniversary! We’re excited to see what’s in store for them in the future. Watch the video below for highlights of Caroline from the past year!

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American Holiday Traditions

It’s the perfect time to enjoy fun winter activities together with your adopted child! They might be new to American winter traditions, so here is a list of 10 ideas to help get you started. Have a blast creating new memories together this season!

1. Cook Traditional Dishes

Make holiday meals from classic family recipes or foods that you ate growing up! You can also cook dishes from your child’s birth culture to celebrate their cultural heritage.

2. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating is a classic winter activity that can be done indoors and outdoors! If you or your child are new to ice skating, you can try taking lessons together.

3. Give Gifts

In America, it’s typical to give gifts to friends and family for the holidays. You can play fun gift games like White Elephant or Secret Santa!

4. Build a Snowman

If it’s snowing in your area, building a snowman is a fun winter tradition! You can decorate your snowman with materials like sticks, vegetables, and more.

5. Have a Snowball Fight

Have a ball battling with each other in a snowball fight using real snowballs or “indoor” snowballs!

6. Drink Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold outside, it’s the perfect time to stay indoors and drink hot chocolate by the fire to stay warm and cozy.

7. Make a Gingerbread House

It’s fun to build a gingerbread house with candy and icing! Be creative with how you assemble and decorate your gingerbread house.

8. Watch Holiday-Themed Shows

Watch a holiday-themed performance like “The Nutcracker” and “A Christmas Carol” or listen to a holiday concert together.

9. Watch Holiday Movies Together

Winter is a great time to watch classic holiday movies like A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and more.

10. Volunteer Together

To give back this holiday season, volunteer together as a family at a local soup kitchen, food bank, or other organization that helps people in need.

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Giving Wishlist

To celebrate the 4th day of Christmas, you can give a gift that supports orphaned children around the world. Your thoughtful gift will have an incredible impact on these kids’ lives! Read below for ways you can bring joy to orphans this holiday season. Stay tuned on our Facebook pageChina adoption blog, and Children of All Nations blog each day for our exciting 12 Days of Christmas!

Haiti Holidays Donation Drive

Our annual Haiti Holidays Donation Drive runs until January 1st, 2018! All of the proceeds directly help the orphanages meet the needs of children under their care. To learn how you can make a donation to benefit these precious kids, contact our Orphan Care Team Leader Hilary at hilary@childrenofallnations.com today!

AmazonSmile

Are you looking for an easy way to give back? When you shop through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases to our orphan care programs! All you have to do is click on this link to select “Great Wall China Adoption” as your charity of choice. Then, shop like normal and know that you’re making a positive impact on the lives of orphans. We appreciate your support!

Gifts of Love

Our organization is committed to improving orphanages and enhancing the lives of children living there. You can support this cause by donating a gift to a child! Click here to learn more about how you can brighten a child’s day this holiday season by sending them a special gift!

Cake Packages

You can send a cake package for any occasion to an orphanage to spread holiday cheer! Imagine the children’s excitement and happiness when they discover that a special cake was gifted to them. Click here to for more details about how you can order a cake package!

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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, ways to give back, and more.

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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