Noah and Nora Need You Now!

At GWCA/CAN our waiting children deserve as much advocacy and support as possible. We know their forever family is also waiting for them, and our mission is to provide you with as much information on these kiddos as possible! Today, we are highlighting Noah and Nora, a sibling group from our Bulgaria program! Are you their forever family?

**For more information on Noah and Nora, please contact:**

Noah and Nora are siblings that were placed in the care of their local village in 2006 due to negligence and maltreatment. Noah, male, was born in July of 2003. He is healthy and up to date on all of his immunizations. The reports indicate delay in development but with the tendency of improvement. His time in the child center has brought positive changes in his concentration and observation skills and there has been a significant enrichment of his vocabulary. He is very energetic can skateboard and ride a bike. He has adapted to the condition and order in the center and has a
well-established bond with is mentor. He is currently in the third grad and is adapting well in school. Unlike previous years, he has good motivation for learning. Even the smallest success makes him want to try harder! He likes to tell stories and fairytales and to memorize short poems. He participates in different daily activities, shows responsiveness and responsibility. Nora, female, was born in June of 2004. She is healthy and up to date on all of her immunizations. The report indicated delays in neuro-psychical development and suggestions to work with psychologist, speech therapist and resource teacher are recommended. She active and energetic and enjoys participating in different games. Nora’s fine motor skills are delayed, but there are positive changes due to work with the center. The report indicates speech-language development
delays and indicates there is a Phonematic hearing is disturbed but she can handle sound analysis and synthesis. She understands the meaning of simple words but meets difficulties with complicated and abstract concepts. Speech and language therapy are recommended. Nora has a strong personality and prefers to be the leader. The report describes her as “whimsical” She has adapted to conditions at the center but does not always keep the established rules. She is attached and has an established bond with her mentor. She is a 2nd grade student at a new school and has had some difficulty adjusting. There seems to be a little regression in her behavior and relations. The activities with the resource teacher are continued in the new school year. She gladly
participates in singing, but articulation of words causes difficulties. She is expressing her emotions with singing and has stage behavior. There are established some basic daily habits and skills. She learned fast how to serve and clean the table. She shows desire to help after feeding with the vacuum cleaner in the dining room. In such cases she participates with joy and is willing to do the assigned tasks.

**For more information on Noah and Nora, please contact:**

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Legislation to Make Adoption Tax Credit Refundable

Casey Introduces Legislation to Make Adoption Tax Credit Refundable

Making Credit Refundable Would Extend Benefits to More Families

Thursday, May 23, 2013

In 2011 62% of Filers Benefited from Refundable Credit

Washington, DC –Today U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2013 with Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA). The bill would make the Adoption Tax Credit fully refundable. Making the tax credit refundable would extend its benefits to more Americans. According to IRS data, 62% of filers in 2011 benefited from the refundable Adoption Tax Credit. In 2010, Senator Casey championed provisions, which were signed into law, to increase the value of the tax credit and make it permanent for two years.

“Making the Adoption Tax Credit refundable will support and encourage adoption by assisting families with some of the costs,” Senator Casey said. “The Adoption Tax Credit has been a proven success in increasing families’ ability to offer permanent homes to adoptive children. Making the credit refundable will allow more families to experience its benefits.”

The adoption tax credit was made permanent in the American Taxpayer Relief Act in January 2013.  However, that law did not extend the refundability provisions that applied to the adoption tax credit in 2010 and 2011.  The Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act will restore the refundable portion of this critical support for families wishing to adopt.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household income at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.  Despite the common misperception that only wealthy families adopt, nearly 46 percent of families adopting from foster care are at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  Many of these families’ tax burdens are so low that they cannot benefit from the adoption tax credit at all unless it is refundable.

Preliminary 2011 data indicate that nearly 62 percent of families who filed for the adoption tax credit benefited from refundability.  Forty-one percent of families who benefited from refundability (25 percent of all families who took the tax credit) had adjusted gross incomes under $50,000.

These data indicate that a refundable adoption tax credit plays a significant role in lower-income families’ ability to adopt and support a child from foster care.  Older data from a 2006 study cited by HHS demonstrate a significant financial benefit to society, as well: the cost of adoption and permanency is significantly lower than the cost to federal, state and local governments to provide long-term foster care.

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URGENT: Maxwell needs a family!

At GWCA/CAN we know that sometimes waiting kids just need a little bit of extra advocacy and support. We know that their future family is out there, we just haven’t found them yet! That is why sometimes there are special circumstances when we like to highlight a specific kiddo that comes across our desk. Maxwell is one of those cases. This little guy from the Philippines needs a home desperately. Can you help us find one?

Maxwell was abandoned by his birth-mother at the hospital where he was born. The director of the hospital, who is a doctor took care of the child and stayed in the hospital until he reached 5 years old. At the age of 5, Maxwell was transferred to the custody of a distant relative of the doctor until he reached 7 years old. After which, he was then rescued by the social worker of the City Social Welfare Office after a case was filed against the former custodian who allegedly physically abused the child. He was then transferred to an institution for proper child care management and proper intervention.

At the age of 12 years old, Maxwell is very active. He speaks clearly and can express his feelings. He is very friendly and talks with respect to elders. At Grade 6, he performs well in school. He can easily comprehend. He has positive outlook in life. He is responsible and learned to do household chores.

At present, he is 13 years old and 1st year High School. His dream is to become a pilot someday. He is good in abstract reasoning and is looking forward to have his own family. 

For more information on Maxwell and his file please contact Kristy immediately at 

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The STUCK Tour Visits Austin!

This time last week, CAN staff had the great privilege of viewing the STUCK documentary at our home-base in Austin, Texas.  Weeks prior to the showing, we were able to join alongside efforts pioneered by our good friends at Both Ends Burning to advocate for the orphan. Both Ends Burning produced STUCK with a clear vision of changing the landscape of present-day international adoption. We are proud to know and support people like them. The STUCK bus is currently on a 67-city tour across the nation. Check out the site here to see when the movie is coming to a theater near you! We can honestly say that you won’t want to miss it. In the words of their fearless Founder & Producer Craig Juntunen, “GO SEE STUCK BECAUSE IT MATTERS!”

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Reports From the Field: Ghana

At GWCA/Children of All Nations we are always excited to travel to the countries where we have programs. At the beginning of this month our CEO, Snow Wu, and Development and Program Management Specialist, April Wareham, traveled to Ghana to continue developing our program to better serve the children and our adoptive families. Check out what April had to say about their most recent adventure!

From Deep in the Heart of Texas to Deep in the Heart of Ghana

Nothing tells you more about yourself than a bumpy, winding, three-hour trip on dirt roads into the African bush with 5 adults crammed into a car on a 95 degree day. Unless you’re an adventure junkie with a bleeding heart for orphans. That’s what all 5 of us (Ghanians and Americans) were in that car, actually, hence our fervor to help the most unreachable children in the villages of rural Ghana. We spent 4 of our 7 days in Ghana traveling on dirt or pothole-filled roads into small towns and villages, working with local child welfare NGOs to find out how we can help the orphanages most in need, and the kids most often forgotten.

There’s a strange feeling that comes over you when you visit an orphanage where children sleep in mud huts on the ground, or on decaying pieces soiled foam that were supposed to serve as their beds. It’s a combination of humility, sadness, compassion, and ardor that ignites a passion to help and a yearning to take all the kids back to your home to give them soft beds, warm baths and savory meals. It’s quite overwhelming, actually, and sometimes I wonder if the reaction is too strong. But one person once told me that the opposite of love is apathy. And that’s why we are so moved by the children’s plight. It’s in those moments that I realize why I do what I do. Without love for these children, what motivation would we have to come to their aid?

That’s why we trekked across the Ghanaian bush, our clothes soggy with sweat, flies and mosquitoes buzzing around our faces in the blazing sun, and downright forgetting the feel of a cool breeze from our luxurious A/C. It’s a luxury those kids never had. And that’s why the adoptive families do it too. How could one not respond to the call of a child clinging to your legs calling you mamma, especially when you’re there to pick up another child that was referred to you? It’s the word of mouth from other adoptive families that these kids need, so someone else will be moved to come back for that child.

Somehow we all push forward, to other orphanages hoping to find one that has better conditions because we are so bewildered by the last. Though the conditions are better at the next, and the children actually have beds, the kids in this place still have to haul their water in basins and buckets from a stream down the road…on their heads. The well had run dry in Ghana’s dry season. They won’t have running water again until the rainy season in April or May. And the question screaming in my head is, how on earth will I ever convince everyone – adoptive families, friends, family, the people reading this right now – how much need and the near desperation there is here? These kids needs homes, families. They need food, medicine, someone to go to when they cry.

Our mission is to find these kids families, and get them placed into foster homes with better care. Our mission is to support these orphanages so they can give better care to all the children, including those left behind. Of course, you can’t just work at the grassroots level to accomplish your missions in the area of child welfare. You have to go straight to the top as well and advocate for these children. Thus, our other 3 days were spent in wonderfully informative and relationship-building meetings with the Departments of Social Welfare in various regions where we will be working to place children. Our trip was inspirational, humbling, eye-opening and successful. We are renewed in our efforts to place children in Ghana, and we hope any families who were looking to adopt in Ghana will be too. As in many African countries, these kids are depending on us, waiting for their families.

As I flew home I started thinking, how can one go from deep in the heart of Ghana, back home to the heart of Texas? It should take more than 2 days and a few plane rides to get back, because these places seem worlds apart in reality. How are we living on the same planet, but not in the same world? To return from places like this, you have to let Africa drain from you drop by drop, slowly, to readjust to your daily latte (that costs the price of a day’s salary of a rural Ghanian), to your refreshing A/C, and all the other luxuries you didn’t realize you had until you were away from them.

I do know, however, that when we do go back, and when our adoptive families head to Ghana, they will be met by some of the most welcoming and friendly people in the world. Each and every person we met greeted us with “You are welcome” or “Akwaaba” in Twi. The people of Ghana have a heart for hospitality and a heart for their children, they just need our support.

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Come out and join CAN/GWCA staff on March 15th (next Friday night) at 7:00 PM for the Austin premiere of STUCK! We will be supporting our good friends over at Both Ends Burning and we want YOU to join us! Tickets are on sale here, but hurry and get your families’ tickets now because they are going to be sold out fast!

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St. Valentine

By definition today is the day of love. The funny thing is, that it’s a day that we either love to love, or rather we love to hate; a day that can elicit a variety of emotion, but many of us can’t even recall why we celebrate it. The story of St. Valentine is indeed a nebulous one. Historians believe that Valentinus was a martyred Saint sometime around 269 AD in Rome—this much we know. After this, the details become a bit hazy. Was he a priest or was he a bishop? How many St. Valentine’s were there? Did the poet Chaucer invent the day as a fallacy? The bottom line is, we don’t really care.

Over the years we have seen and heard some of the greatest love stories of all time waft through our hallways. They usually involve a loving family who feel like there’s just one more of them out there. Someone they’ve never met, but they know that they love from the deepest parts of their being. And they never stop knowing until they meet.

We maybe a little biased, but to us—that’s true love. So with that, we wish you the happiest of days!

Here are some of our favorite quotes about LOVE:

“My heart is, and always will be, yours.” – Sense and Sensibility

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” – Ali MacGraw, Love Story

“A simple ‘I love you’ means more than money.” – Frank Sinatra

“To be brave is to love unconditionally without expecting anything in return.” – Madonna

“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart, and the senses.” – Lao Tzu

“Where there is love there is life.”-Mahatma Gandhi

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Meet Lizzie Kovach!

We are excited to give our families a little glimpse of the staff here at GWCA and CAN, so that you can see who we are and why we love doing just what we do. Every day we come to work and love to connect with our families, but now we are going to show you whose faces are behind every phone call, letter and E-mail received.

This week we want to introduce you to someone that most of you know, our Adoption Consultant/Outreach and Promotions Manager, Lizzie Kovach! Lizzie is one of the first people that gets to connect with our families and wow, is she perfect for the job… Not only is Lizzie a rockstar, but she is so patient, caring and diligent as she walks with each family through the process of decision-making. There are so many decisions that families must make in the beginning of their journey, like eligibility and adoption desires. Lizzie never misses a step and makes herself available for families to count on 7 days a week. Mostly, we admire how she treats each family as if it were her first—with the utmost sincerity.

So without further ado… Meet Lizzie!


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

I am the Adoption Consultant/Outreach and Promotions Manager at GWCA and CAN!  I help families just beginning their adoption journey by chatting with them about possible adoption options, eligibility and how to get started with our agency. I also make sure all of our literature, programs, and social media are looking great!

2.      How long have you been working at GWCA?

I’ve been with GWCA/CAN for a year and a half.

3.      What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love getting to know why families wish to adopt.  I remember one family telling me adoption was their “first choice,” and they wanted their child to know they chose adoption to grow their family.  This really touched me because I think all children deserve a family.  I like knowing I can help start a family’s journey…in some small way.

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

I wish there were more hours in the day!  I constantly have new families inquiring about adoption and new ideas for improving our services.  I am so passionate about finding more adoption resources and being a trusted resource for my families.

5.      How have you grown personally from working at GWCA and with their families?

I have grown so much from my work at GWCA/CAN.  I have learned people value someone listening and advocating for them.  I might have single-parent families or first-time parents…and they so badly want to adopt.  I am genuinely excited when I help them find a program that fits their adoption desires…and even more excited when their kiddo comes home!

6.      Why do you love adoption?

I love adoption because it gives a child a chance to have a family.  Sometimes, it even gives parents a chance to have a family.  Adoption also allows families to be unique, accepting, and patient.  There is a passion in adoption no one can describe, but it is definitely felt.  I see this passion each day, and I love it!

Fun facts about Lizzie:

  1. I love potatoes. Baked, twice-baked, French fried, mashed, scalloped, tater-tots…I just love potatoes.
  2. A good quote can make my day! Here is one for you to enjoy: “Every adult needs a child to teach; it’s the way adults learn.” Frank A. Clark
  3. My favorite movie is Back to the Future I, II, & III. I count the trilogy as one movie.
  4. I enjoy traveling.  I usually spend my vacation time in NYC visiting my older brother. J
  5. My favorite holiday is New Years Eve because it is a time to reflect on the last year and make goals for the new year.

“Lizzie works tirelessly to make sure we provide families with current information on the country requirements and the adoption process.  She thinks outside of the box and consistently comes up with new and innovative ways to overcome obstacles and problem solve. She is always positive and enthusiastic about her work. Lizzie is truly dedicated to helping families with their adoption journey, and can always be counted on to offer her assistance and support to her coworkers.” –Lizzie’s co-worker

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Big Things a-Brewin’

There are some exciting changes going on here and we wanted to update you on all of them! Over the past couple of months our promotions & web development team have been meeting to discuss how we can better serve our families through our existing website and media. Through these meetings we began to formulate new concepts and ideas that we would eventually share with our GWCA families.

After working diligently, last week we began to launch our new website and logo for Great Wall China Adoption. You will notice several changes, mainly to our website and including any literature that includes our logo.

 Introducing our new GWCA logo and design…

When building this website, it was our desire for it to be as straight-forward as possible for our users. From everything from the tabs to the content pages, we wanted to communicate simplicity.  It is our sincerest hope that you find this to be true and are able to access the GWCA website with ease and clarity.

We do have some other exciting, new features and programs coming up that we will be launching in the coming weeks, so please be checking back here for the newest updates! As always, we thank you for your loyalty and it’s our highest honor to serve as your agency choice.

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Media {almost} Monday.

**Yesterday we were having a few minor server issues and were not able to post. Please excuse the tardiness.**

Well the weekend is officially over and everyone is back to the grind at work! With the next week in sight, what better time to catch up on all of your current adoption news from the past week—including country and domestic updates, relevant articles, book recommendations, interesting websites, even how we are seeing adoption being talked about in movies, television, the media, etc.

At GWCA and CAN we know that you, the parents, are our experts so we are calling for your help. Our desire is to make this as interactive as possible, so if you ever have any suggestions about things to add please comment below or E-mail them to Mary at

This past week in adoption:

  • Shoe Collection

Here is the story of one mom helping another mom in her quest to adopt a special needs child. Covered by the local news station, this story is truly one of kindness and the human spirit!

Photo courtesy of MyFOX Phoenix

Here is the direct link to the adoptive family’s blog.

  • Adoption & The Foster Care System

Coverage on adoption is everywhere. This is a recent segment produced by well-known Washington D.C. radio personality, Kojo Nnamdi. He addresses the trends we’ve seen in recent news about the decline of intercountry adoption, and consequently advocates for the adoption of children in the domestic foster care system.

Click here to listen. 

**If you follow the link there is a button in the top left-hand corner that says “Listen.”**

  • 7 Tips on Reputable Adoption Grant & Loan Organizations

We know that many of our families are always actively pursuing ways to make adoption affordable for their individual family. Grants and loans can be two excellent ways to make that happen, but sometimes those organizations are not legitimate. You are trusting people with your private information so it is important to proceed with caution. Here are 7 tips from Founder and Director, Cherri Walrod, on how to recognize signs and verify that an organization is legitimate. Read more here…

Photo courtesy of

Have a wonderful week and check back with us next Monday for more top coverage on adoption!

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