Be The Voice!

BE THE VOICE
Written by Kelli Wild

When I think back about our journey to adoption, I was definitely impacted by those who had walked before me.  I remember watching others and wondering if our family could truly meet the needs of another child.  I had questions and fears about how we might finance an adoption, about the realities of medical conditions, and if we were getting “too old” to grow our family through adoption. 

I am convinced that we don’t always know the impact we might have — on the lives of families or on the lives of the children waiting, because we don’t always know when someone is quietly “considering adoption”.

One adoptive couple in our home town made more of an impact on our decision, and our lives, than they might realize.We watched their family grow, sometimes from afar, as they brought their 7 year old daughter home from China (she was child #5 and they were in their 50’s!).  They answered our questions by sharing their story and we were so uplifted.  I will never forget that moment. 

They were a part of the “Red Thread” that led us to our daughter, and I remain grateful to them, forever.

November is National Adoption Month, and many of us have a story to tell.

Will you join us in using your voice to advocate for the children in China and Haiti who are still waiting for their forever families?

As a Be the Voice team member, there are so many ways to “use your voice” in your circle of influence:

Three generations stand together to use their voice at a local event

  • Host an information meeting at your church, local library, school, or workplace.
  • Host a dessert party at your house and share with people about your adoption.
  • Read Bound by Love, a story about Lily, with your book club.
  • Represent CCAI at a local adoption conference by manning a CCAI display booth.
  • Write about your adoption and post about our upcoming Adoption Info Meetings­­ on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
  • Any other creative ways you can come up with to spread the word!

In turn, CCAI will:

  • Provide whatever training you need.  But honestly, your personal story is the most powerful tool and you can always refer people to us for the technical stuff!
  • Provide you with a Promotional Kit (A power point/slideshow DVD, brochures, info packets, a BTV T-shirt, and table display items)
  • Reimburse you for your gathering costs, such as space rental (of course, free space is best!) and refreshments.
  • Whatever other support you need to be a powerful voice for the waiting children!
There are so many creative possibilities that would allow each of us to share our story in our own unique way.

Will you join the campaign?  Your efforts, big or small, can change the life of a child.

For more information on how you can make a difference and Be The Voice, please email us at ccai@ccaifamily.org.

Who or what would you say most impacted your decision to adopt?  We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s: CCAI invited to the KRKS Pastor Appreciation Breakfast

This morning, CCAI had the privilege of grabbing a tasty breakfast with some of Colorado’s most appreciated pastors!  Everyone here at CCAI is a big fan of breakfast and couldn’t pass up such an opportunity.   We’re also big fans of pastors.

With full stomachs and such an important audience, we made sure our CCAI family was standing, bold and beautiful for all to see.  It was an incredible opportunity to share our passion and love with equally passionate people — so many of whom had never heard of us before!  This is always a hard thing to hear and emphatically reminds us that we still have a lot of important work ahead.  We need to be the voice for the voiceless and its opportunities like this that allow us to show everyone else how many precious lives are still waiting for their forever families.

Look at all those incredible children!  Over 10,000 of those adorable faces running around the world and we couldn’t be more grateful.  And, as a sidenote, who knew we were going to be giving so many portrait photographers so much happiness, too?  We are blessed.

We had orange juice served to us in wine glasses.  I’m telling you, I’ve never been to Tiffany’s, but I bet Tiffany’s doesn’t even serve orange juice in wine glasses.  Take that, Holly Golightly.

The Pastor Appreciation Breakfast was hosted by KRKS radio station — the very same one that interviewed Josh on Tuesday.  The room was buzzing with energy and we were glad to have the opportunity to share our fantastic CCAI Family with all of them.  Thank you to KRKS for their kind invitation.

Be a voice for the children left behind.  

Here’s to family!

10 Steps to A Successful Adoption Yard Sale Fundraiser

Set up your station: Get ready to get your fundraising on!

Many of our CCAI families are busy fundraising to be prepared for upcoming adoption expenses.  Recently, one of our Florida families raised almost $2,000 with a huge Adoption Garage Sale!Here are some tips they learned from their experience:

1. Put together a team of friends and family to help you. The day of your sale you will also need an early morning “set up team” and an afternoon “clean up team.”

2. Designate each team member a different job (advertising, making signs, labeling items, set up/clean up, bake sale, etc.). Clean up is a big job!

3. If you don’t have enough storage at your home, you may need to find a space (perhaps a friend will let you use their garage, or a local storage company may donate a unit).

4. Begin to spread the word to friends and family (facebook, email, give folks a call, etc.) and ask them to set items aside for your Adoption Garage Sale.  Offer to pick the items up if they cannot deliver them.

5.  Price items as you receive them.  If you’ve never held a garage sale before, you can google information; but on average, items sell for about 10 – 30 percent of retail value.

Make it pop: Make sure everyone knows you’re here for all their shopping needs!

6. If you are given an option, take more baby and children’s clothing items, as they are easier to sell.  All clothing should be one price (for example, $1.00 a piece).  This is much simpler than labeling individual items. You can then hang a sign that says $1.00 an item.  It is best to mark books one price, as well.

7.  If someone asks you to pick items up, take a moment to ask them what they have.  For example, depending on the distance, you may not want to spend the gas money it would cost just to pick up a bag of clothes.  Also, do not feel obligated to take items that aren’t in good condition, or you’ll get stuck hauling them to the dump.

8. Location, location, location!  This rule applies to real estate and to a good adoption fundraising sale.  Our CCAI family held their sale in the parking lot of a place of business (with permission, of course) on a major highway.

Make your presence known: You’ve put too much energy and time into this to let a measly sign stop you! Write BIG and PROUD! Destination: Happiness.

9. Advertise, advertise, advertise!  When you are in the planning stage, it is encouraged that you create a facebook event, as well as flyers to distribute.  Remind people regularly of your upcoming sale.  Place your sale in any free print advertising you can find.  Invite everyone you know and ask your friends to invite their friends, hang flyers, and spread the
word.  The morning of the sale, plaster it on facebook, Craiglist, and any other means you have.   Also, clear signage is key. Your signs should be bright, and have arrows (not just an address). Place signs strategically at major intersections all the way to your sale.

10. The day of your event, make sure you have lots of change. You may also want to consider selling water, sodas, and hot dogs or donuts. Finally, include a donations jar.

For those of you fundraising, we hope this helps!

What else have you discovered to be a successful fundraiser? Let us know!  You could be featured in our next blog post!

 

CCAI Families Celebrate CCAI’s 20th Anniversary in Grand Style

CCAI celebrates Two Decades and 10,000 Lives with 600+ parents and children on the Disney Dream cruise ship!

Over six hundred children and parents embarked on a three-day Disney Cruise (Oct. 11-14) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CCAI – Two decades and 10,000 Lives.

The luxury accommodations of the Disney Dream boasted an abundant around-the-clock feast, live Disney shows, kid friendly activities, and endless fun at the private beach.  We all enjoyed the stateroom door decoration competition, the gathering of pen-pals, dressing up like pirates and princesses, and much much more.

Though the ocean was beautiful, Lily and I were mostly in awe of the sea of children’s faces.  Children of all ages, boys and girls, were excited and happy, making new friends and embracing the waves of blessings.  You could feel the impact of their parents’ love on their lives.

One very special part of the cruise was the memory made at the Grand Opening Ceremony, celebrating CCAI’s anniversary.  The ceremony was held in the ship’s beautiful 2,000 seat auditorium.  This beautiful gathering allowed CCAI families to meet and celebrate together as one big family – enjoying children’s performances and the beautiful celebration theme song, The Greatest Gift, composed and performed by CCAI mom, Jill Neville.  We truly enjoyed our moment to share memories of what the past 20 years have meant to us personally and were so happy for the opportunity to thank all the children and parents for their love and support.

For all of us, our family included, it was truly a dream vacation. Over and over again we heard, “We are having a blast!” Our sentiments exactly! We were over the moon.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of this special memory.  It truly felt like a huge family reunion.  We valued our time with each family and dearly missed those who could not be with us.

Lily and I have returned to Colorado refreshed, energized, and looking forward to another 20 years of family building and dream fulfilling.

Huge thank you to Amii Rasmussen and the entire volunteer committee for your time and efforts spent on putting together such an inspiring and successful celebration!

 

CCAI in Ft. Worth, Texas

TBRI Conference with Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross

As part of a Show Hope Grant, CCAI sent two staff members to Texas Christian University’s Institute of Child Development for a weeklong training under Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross.  Judy Winger, CCAI’s Director of Adoptions, Heather Diaz, CCAI’s Post Adoption Specialist, and Cheri Van Winkle, a CCAI social worker, received over 100 hours of training in Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®).  TBRI® is a trauma informed intervention that has come out of over 15 years of research on foster and adopted children and the struggles they face with attachment and healing.  We are excited to begin to implement these strategies to help our families and adopted children!

For more information on TBRI®, check out TCU’s website at http://www.child.tcu.edu/, or The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross.

China’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

 The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival will fall on September 30th.  The Chinese Moon Festival is considered one of the most important holidays in China and is what some refer to as the “Chinese Thanksgiving”.  It is a time when Chinese families get together and celebrate the great summer harvest they have just received.  It is also to revel in the glory of the full moon and the myth of the immortal moon goddess names “Chang’e”.

There are many traditions associated with the Chinese Moon Festival.  Just like the traditional American festivities of Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Chinese Moon Festival is filled with lots of special foods, stories, and events around the city.  The Moon Cake is one of the more traditional foods to make consisting of red bean with a duck egg on top to symbolize the roundness of the full moon.  This delicacy is supposed to be eaten at night when the moon is high.  At the end of this article, there will be a recipe for you to make Moon Cakes for your very own Moon Festival celebration.

The holiday also takes on a romantic feel between couples.  It is tradition for couples both young and old to sit outside with a glass of wine under a clear night sky and gaze up at the full moon.  It is also a time for couples who are not able to be together that night to sit outside alone and gaze up at the moon knowing that their lover is gazing at that same moon at that very moment, helping to bring them closer together.

A traditional activity that Chinese families do for the moon festival is lighting lanterns with candles inside.  Not only are the lanterns visually appealing, but they also represent the fullness of the moon.  They come in all different shapes and sizes and are carried in processions at night.

So this season, help celebrate your child’s birth heritage by reuniting friends and family for this year’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and enjoy those delicious Moon Cakes!

Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le! 祝你生日快乐!

 

Mooncake recipe –

A recipe for mooncakes, the Chinese snack traditionally served during the Moon or Mid-Autumn Festival.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Filling:
  • 1 pound red azuki beans
  • water
  • 3/4 cup lard or oil
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • Water-Shortening Dough:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • 10 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Flaky Dough:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 tablespoons lard
  • red food coloring for design

Preparation:

Filling Instructions: Soak red beans in water to cover 2 hours. Drain and discard the water. Cover with 8 cups fresh water and bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat 1-1/2 hours or until skins open. Strain the beans and discard the skins. Place the strained beans in several layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out any excess water.
Place in a saucepan with the lard or oil and the sugar. Cook, stirring continuously, until almost all the moisture has evaporated. Let cool.

Dough Instructions: You will need 2 cups of filling for the mooncakes. Divide this into 20 portions and shape into balls.Mix ingredients for the water-shortening dough and the flaky dough separately until smooth. Divide each dough into 20 equal portions.
Wrap one portion of flaky dough inside each portion of water-shortening dough. Roll out each piece of dough, then fold in thirds to form three layers. Roll out again, and once more fold in thirds to form three layers.
Flatten each piece of dough with the palm of your hand to form a 3″ circle. Place one portion of filling in the center. Gather the edges to enclose the filling and pinch to seal. Place the filled packet in the mold, gently pressing to fit. Invert and remove the mold.
Dilute red food coloring with water and pour onto a damp paper towel on a plate. Take some food coloring onto the cookie-design stamp, then press on top of the mooncake.
Repeat process for remaining mooncakes. Arrange mooncakes on a baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool before serving.

References:

http://chinesefood.about.com/od/foodfestivals/r/mooncakes.htm

http://www.moonfestival.org/

http://chineseculture.about.com/library/weekly/aa093097.htm

http://www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/html/en/Traditions98bye394.html