For the fifth day of Christmas, we feature our new Waiting Children! These precious kids are in need of loving forever families. Would you give them a home for the holidays?
Drew is an adorable 5-year-old boy with postoperative CHD. He started kindergarten this year, and he’s been performing very well! He loves to read books by himself and draw pictures. Drew is a kind, obedient boy who has a lot of love to give. To learn more about him, visit our photo listing today!
Elise is a precious 7-year-old girl who is developmentally delayed compared to her peers, but she would thrive in the home with her forever family! She’s self-independent and is currently attending school. Elise loves to dance and play the triangle in music class. To learn more about her, visit our photo listing today!
Liam is an adorable 3-year-old boy with esotropia and possible cerebral palsy, but we are working on obtaining updated medical information. He’s very curious and becomes super affectionate and outgoing once he warms up to someone! He has a great imagination, and his favorite thing to do is listen to stories. To learn more about him, visit our photo listing today!
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 page, China adoption blog, and Children of All Nations blog each day for our exciting 12 Days of Christmas!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org today!
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!
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!
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!Read More
Grant is an adorable 3-year-old boy who has Down Syndrome. Grant is receiving rehabilitation and has greatly improved in his self-care ability and cognitive development. He loves to look at himself in the mirror and make silly faces. Grant is super friendly and is nicknamed “Boss” because everybody always wants to play with him! He’s an active and happy kiddo who laughs easily and will bring joy to his forever family! Visit our photo listing to learn more about Grant!
Michelle is a beautiful 12-year-old girl who has been diagnosed with a disability that affects her lower limbs. However, she is involved in daily rehabilitation therapy and is completely self-independent. She’s an intelligent girl at the top of her class in school and is an extremely hard-worker. Michelle gets along well with everyone and is a talkative, cheerful girl who is extremely helpful around the orphanage. Visit our photo listing to learn more about sweet Michelle!
Tanner is a sweet 9-year-old boy who has Hepatitis B and post-operative spina bifida. Tanner is described as talkative, clever and caring. He loves to help others, solve puzzles, and play with his friends. Sometimes he is a little trickster who plays funny tricks on kiddos! Tanner does a great job at completing some self-care tasks on his own and helping other children do so as well. Visit our photo listing to learn more about him!
Simon is a precious 7-year-old boy who is deaf, but he’s great at understanding facial expressions and uses hand gestures to express his needs. His teachers and caretakers have described Simon as a lovely child. He is a self-independent boy who easily gets along with others. He loves to paint, and his favorite class is art! Request his file today to learn more about him!
Matt is an precious 7-year-old boy who is slightly delayed compared to his peers, but he has made great progress and has been learning a lot! He has great attention skills in school and answers his teacher’s questions quickly. Matt is an outgoing, self-independent, and curious little boy who is very helpful. One thing to know about Matt is that he loves to sing and dance to music! Request his file today to learn more about him!
Owen is an adorable 6-year-old boy who is delayed compared to his peers, but he would thrive with the love, care, and support of his forever family! Overall, he has greatly improved in every aspect. He pays great attention in class and carefully listens to the teacher. Owen is a self-independent boy who is very helpful around the orphanage and loves the attention of others. His favorite thing to do is play games outdoors with his friends! Request his file today to learn more about him!
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.Read More
Grace, a former adoptee through Great Wall China Adoption, shares her story about growing up adopted and reflects on how adoption has shaped her into the person she is today.
“I sit here with so many thoughts in my head not knowing what to write about, so I’ll start off with an introduction. Hi, my name is Grace, and I’m 17 living in Los Angeles, California. I was born in Kunming, China within the Yunnan Province sometime in April of 2000 and adopted when I was 10 months old by my two wonderful parents.
At the time, my parents were living in Buffalo, New York and from what I was told, they started the process of adopting me in 1998. I was told it was always the plan that my mom wanted to adopt. Slowly as I’ve grown up, I’ve learned more and more about my past and where I came from. Being adopted has been one of the best things that has happened to me but at times one of the hardest things that I’ve had to come to terms about. For as long as I could remember, I’ve wondered who I truly am and wondered why I was given up. For years I have visited that question of ‘why was I given up? Why wasn’t I wanted? And was I not good enough?’ Sometimes those type of things get to you, but my dad has been such a supportive factor in my life that has helped me with those questions.
Before I was seven, I started seeing a family therapist. I wasn’t sure why, but I took a liking towards her, and later I discovered it was because my mom had cancer. My mom was battling her second battle with cancer, and on July 12, 2007, heaven gained another angel. Being adopted and losing my mom at such a young age has impacted my life tremendously. I’ve felt lonely and abandoned for so much of my life, but my therapist has helped me with that.
Being adopted is something I always have and will carry with me, but it has led me to meet some of the best people in my life. I know five others who are adopted from China, one of whom I discovered is from the same province as me and another who has become one of my best friends. Recently, I asked my dad if he and my mom knew what they were in for in terms of how it may impact me psychologically, and he replied by saying it was definitely an unknown. People tend to forget that when you bring a child home, it may not be all rainbows and unicorn fuzz. For example, I’ve been told another one of my friends’ little sister reacts in utter rage about being adopted. On the other hand for my best friend and I, it has always affected our self-esteem, or sometimes some of my friends just never talk about it because it upsets them. There is a level of uncertainty that comes with adopting any child, but it is an outcome that I think is worth it, as it can change the entire fate of a child.
I have a lot of positives and great memories about being adopted, some of which occurred in elementary school where my best friend and I would pretend we were long lost sisters, or sometimes I would imagine I was secretly a princess and that my biological parents were really royalty. My creative, childhood mindset has morphed over time to my outlook on the situation and the brainstorming I’ve come up with over time. I have become more mature from an experience that happened to me as a baby, but I wouldn’t trade any part of it for the world.
Everyone asks me, ‘If you could, would you meet my bio parents? Or have you met them? Or do you know why you were given up?’ And at times those thoughts annoy me because growing up with my own questions, of course I’ve thought about all of those, and sometimes that’s all I’ve ever thought of. From time to time I still wonder why everything happened the way it has, but it has made me see the world in a different light. I have decided that I want to dedicate a part of my life and use my voice to become an advocate for child adoptions, bring awareness, and to find ways to help orphans.
I’m very thankful to not only my parents, but the people involved in taking care of me and helping my parents adopt me and become the person I am today.”
We are so happy to announce that this sweet girl has a family that is working towards bringing her home forever! We are incredibly excited for Amelia and her new family, and we can’t wait to follow her journey home. Congratulations from all of us at GWCA and CAN!
Since this precious girl’s file was considered Special Focus, our China matching specialists were able to advocate for her on our Waiting Child photo listing. Once her family reviewed her file, they were able to submit their paperwork to be matched with her right away rather than having to wait until after their dossier had been submitted. All of the kids whose profiles are currently on our photo listing have the same designation of “Special Focus,” meaning families can be matched with them even if they’re just beginning the adoption process.
Lauren is a sweet 6-year-old girl in need of a forever family! She has cerebral palsy and is in daily rehabilitation therapy. Lauren can get around well using her walker, dress herself, wash her hands, and complete other tasks independently. She’s described as a kindhearted, selfless little girl who always puts others first. She enjoys helping care for the younger children in the orphanage.
Also, Lauren is intelligent and is cognitively on track. She can recite poems and have full conversations with adults. She’s a happy girl who loves to sing and laugh. Lauren is always able to brighten up her caretaker’s day. Please reach out to us at GWCA to learn more about this special girl!
Christian is a precious 6-year-old boy with a need related to his fine motor function. He’s in daily rehabilitation and has made great strides with his fine motor development! His caretakers note that he’s very skilled and has improved in small muscle exercises.
Christian can run, kick and pass a ball, and ride a bike. He’s able to express his needs and can speak in simple sentences. He’s a self-independent boy who’s very helpful around the orphanage with cleaning and housework. His favorite thing to do is play games with his friends. He would thrive with the love, care, and support of a forever family. Please reach out to us at GWCA to learn more about him!
Clayton is a precious 2-year-old boy who was born with abnormal development of his skull, hands, and feet. Despite that, Clayton can pick up items with his hands, stand alone, and walk a good distance when holding his caretaker’s hands. He’s in the babbling stage of language development, responds to his name, and can recognize people. Whenever he sees a familiar person, he’ll crawl over to them and reach out for a hug!
Clayton is an outgoing, active, and energetic child who loves to giggle and play games with others. Clayton will bring much joy to his forever family! Please reach out to us at GWCA today to learn more about him!
Patrick is an adorable 3-year-old boy who was born without a right ear. However, it does not affect his ability to hear. Patrick can walk independently, say simple sentences, and understand caretakers’ instructions.
He’s an outgoing and active little boy who’s happiest when playing with toys, eating treats, and singing and dancing to music. Patrick would thrive in the home of a loving forever family. Please contact us at GWCA today to learn more about him!
Kayla can walk independently, express her needs, and follow instructions. She’s very active and enjoys playing with toys and with other kids. Whenever music is playing, you’ll catch her dancing. Kayla would thrive with the love of a family!
As our Sponsored Star for December, she has a $2,000 grant available towards her adoption fees! If you’re interested in learning more about Kayla, visit our photo listing or contact our matching specialists today!
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!
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 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 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 (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!Read More
The following post from a family is intended to shed light on what it is like to decide to adopt a child with severe medical needs and to pursue this adoption with a medical expedite. Adoption, in any of its iterations, is unique to every family. This post reflects their experience adopting a waiting older child from China. It is their hope that it will help families who are considering adopting a child with severe medical needs.
“I do not know what it is like having a child with a severe, life-threatening medical condition.
But I soon will.
The weight of parenting a child with a complex medical need will soon sit firmly on my husband’s and my shoulders. Some parents face this reality in the doctor’s office after an ultrasound—that event so many expectant parents await with nervous-yet-joyful anticipation. Or they hear the news shortly after their child’s birth. Either way, it can be devastating news. Either way, that moment forever alters those parents’ lives. Their lives will already change because they have a new child. However, now they have a child with special or medical needs, and they must learn in a HURRY about the need and how best to care for this precious child.
Adopting a child with medical or special needs is different and backwards. It is a surreal experience looking at a list of medical conditions and determining what conditions you think you could handle or not. In a crude comparison, it is like choosing the features on a new car. It made us feel uncomfortable. That said, it is a crucial exercise because not every adoptive family is prepared for or able to handle every condition. This step in the process requires a lot of soul-searching and reflection. It requires researching a variety of conditions ahead of time in order to understand what each condition will require in terms of medical or therapeutic intervention.
Adopting a child with medical or special needs is also a transformative act of faith and love. It requires considering all the risks involved—the unknowns of the condition, the questions of life expectancy, financial and emotional hardship, long-term medical care needs, surgeries, medication, many sleepless nights, being misunderstood by family or friends, feeling isolated, alone, and afraid—and making a choice. 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.
We were contacted on a Friday about whether we wanted to adopt a five-year-old boy with a severe congenital heart defect. Our agency did not pressure us into adopting him because they knew there were a lot of unknowns about the severity of his condition. One family backed out of his adoption because of the unknowns. Keeping that in mind, we requested his medical records to get as much information as the adoption agency could provide, and we set out to research all the terminology pertaining to his condition. (They had records from his hosting trip to the U.S., which not all waiting children will have.) All I can say is thank goodness for the Internet! Search engines were our friends that weekend because heart experts we are not.
We discovered that his heart condition was quite serious and complicated, which explains the devastation his host family felt after his pediatric cardiologist appointment during the hosting trip. It explains why the other family felt unprepared to pursue his adoption. I will be honest that after researching the different aspects of this child’s condition, we were scared. We doubted not whether we could love him but whether we could risk the heartache of truly knowing him, holding him, celebrating birthdays with him, and raising him up as our son in addition to going through all the doctor’s visits and surgeries only to face the possibility of losing him too soon. That thought is enough to stop anyone in his or her tracks when considering adopting a child like this. Were we strong enough to face such a devastating loss if it happened?
In the midst of this fear and doubt, I did a Google search for ‘adopting a child with severe congenital heart defects.’ I came across a blog post written by an adoptive mother who had adopted not one but four children from China all with severe heart conditions (not all at the same time mind you). She wrote that she questioned whether they should adopt one special little girl whose condition was truly life-threatening. This mother was not sure their family should risk adopting her because it seemed too hard, the risks too big for them. She wrote that she confided her doubts in a friend, and this friend asked one simple yet loaded question that changed everything for this adoptive mother: ‘Doesn’t every child deserve to be mourned?’
After reading that post, we knew unquestionably that we were chosen to adopt our boy. We knew he was meant to be our son, and we already loved him as our own. We resolved that the risks were worth loving him and giving him a forever family. We had faith we would be given the strength to do whatever needed to be done. We heard a whisper of hope that was loud enough to be heard over the shouts of fear, hopelessness, and uncertainty threatening to overwhelm us. We had to ask ourselves whether we would let fear change the decision we felt we were meant to make?
The next day, we contacted the agency to tell them we absolutely wanted to adopt this boy. Our agency would be pursuing a medical expedite for the adoption. A medical expedite adoption means the overall adoption timeline will be shorter in order to bring the child to the U.S. and receive the needed care for his urgent medical needs. How much shorter remains to be seen since we are still waiting to travel to China. Typically, adopting through the waiting child program can take approximately 12-14 months. As I am writing this post, it has been about 8 months since we applied with our adoption agency and began the dossier phase. We hope to be on a plane to China before the end of this year, so that is a shorter timeline than what is typically estimated. In the time remaining before we travel, we have some practical and heart preparations to make.
Even though it is an expedited adoption, not every step in the process can be expedited. We can go only as fast as the adoption systems in the U.S. and China will allow. Certain stages have gone much quicker, while others have gone no faster than a typical adoption. The whole process can feel very hurry-up-and-wait at times. Honestly, it is unbearably hard to wait for the next step in the process when all we want to do is bring our son home to start loving him in person and getting him the medical care he needs! The paperwork can be tedious and redundant. The encouraging thing to know is that adoptive parents seeking to adopt through the waiting child program and especially with a medical expedite will not be alone in the process. We have had an incredibly knowledgeable and compassionate group of people at the adoption agency helping us along the way. They have been honest, realistic, and completely supportive the entire journey, so we have not had to navigate any of this on our own.
Adopting a child with a serious medical condition is especially challenging and is not a decision we took lightly. The fortitude and resolve necessary to go through the process seems super-human at times. Yet, I will ask prospective adoptive parents to think about it this way: some of these children have been waiting for a family for one, two, six, thirteen years… Many of these children will never know the love of a family. They sit. They wait. They die. They age-out at fourteen in China. Considering that overwhelming reality, adoptive parents waiting ten, twelve, twenty-four, or more months is a drop in the bucket compared to the endless years of waiting for a family that may or may not ever come. What would it really take to love these children? Doesn’t every child deserve to be mourned? Doesn’t every child deserve to be LOVED? The truth is that not every adoptive family is a good match for every waiting child. But we would not have known what was possible unless we made ourselves available, step out of our comfort zone, and open our hearts to love.
We were not merely opening our hearts to the love we could give. Adoption requires a supernatural kind of love—a love that cannot be accomplished through sheer human determination. Our hearts and love are too weak to conjure up that kind of love. If we all possessed that type of love, these children would never have been orphaned. There would be no orphan or foster crisis in the world. Many of our world’s problems would not exist if we humans possessed such perfect, beautiful love. But there is a love like that out there. A love that is perfect and so much greater than any form of love we can imagine or demonstrate to others.
It is this love that is being worked out in our adoption process. My husband and I were called to let a power greater than ourselves work through our imperfect, impatient, easily frustrated lives and open our hearts to something so much bigger than ourselves. So much bigger than two people loving one child who has no one else. We were called to be available and to be willing to love someone more than we love ourselves. To love a child more than time, money, sleep, comfort, ease, and control. We have had to risk being misunderstood and looked at like we are crazy when we tell our story, but this kind of love is crazy!
Will it be easy? I seriously doubt it. It is, after all, adoption. Adoption means accepting a stranger into your family and forming trusting, loving relationships (I am referring to the much-dreaded adoption word: attachment). These relationships are not formed from the beauty and tenderness of holding your newborn child moments after he or she is born, though. No, this process begins in utter brokenness and abandonment. In adoption there will be tears, some of which will be joyful. However, mostly they will be tears of fear—the adoptive child’s and the adoptive parents’—born from the uncertainty of the future and the pain of the past.
Our pale, weak love cannot pick up these broken pieces and put them back together. Only the supernatural love of God is capable of that. It is armed with our confidence in this greater love and the miracles it can wield that we said yes to adopting our son. It will take A LOT of time. A LOT of prayer. A LOT of support from our family and friends. But when faced with the question of whether we could or should adopt a child with severe medical needs, we really felt there was no question. Only the answer: yes.”
If you would like to follow their adoption story, it can be found on their blog: www.onfaithandfamily.comRead More