Abigail’s Story

We wanted to highlight some of the before and after stories of our amazing families and their beautiful children. At any given time, China has over 3,000 children waiting to be adopted. These children range in age from 36 months to 13 years and all have varying degrees of medical conditions. We need families who are open to adopting these amazing children and can help them meet their full potential!

For more information contact us at:
application@ccaifamily.org
 
This week we are featuring Abigail’s story. Abigail was diagnosed in China with Meningocele. Her mother recently shared with us how their family took the leap of faith to bring their girl home:

“Our journey to our daughter Abigail started long before we ever consciously made the decision to adopt. My husband, Zach and I often talked in theory about adopting a child. Then life happened and we started having babies. The next thing we knew, we had 3 boys and were happy as a family of 5. In our minds we were done having children. We had three wonderful healthy boys and were living a happy life. Then one day we felt God talking to us again. Through prayer, research, and a lot of discussions we felt that God had been talking to us, telling us that yes this is His plan for us. After many discussions with our boys and research we as a family decided to step out in faith to follow God’s leading. In February of 2016 we decided to follow this path of adopting a little girl from China. This was one of the scariest, humbling, faith building experiences that God has ever asked us to do.

 

Adoption had been something Zach and I had talked about, but we never seriously thought that we would be an adoptive family. We did not save thousands of dollars before starting down the adoption path. In fact, we had saved zero dollars, nada, nothing, not one penny was set aside for adoption. We also had never considered adopting a child with special needs. In fact, I distinctly remembered a conversation where my husband said we could not afford to adopt a child with special needs. I believe God got a good chuckle out of that one. Little did we know we would be stepping out in faith that HE would provide in amazing ways both financially but also that we would choose to adopt a child with such a scary diagnosis.

 

Right after we decided to follow God’s path of adoption, I had a dream that we adopted a little 4 year old girl from China. I couldn’t see her face, but I knew it was our daughter. We embarked on the daunting task of raising funds, completing a Medical Condition Check List, the home study, filling out paperwork, and completing the dossier. Our family is an active family. We enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and all three of our boys play lacrosse. Our prayer was that God would bring a child into our family who would be physically able and adventurous enough to join right into our family activities. We were concerned after being cautioned from our social worker that our new child may not like all the activities our family enjoyed. This of course could happen, but we also knew that God would bring us the child we were meant to parent. God doesn’t make mistakes.

 

The Medical Conditions Check List at first was very overwhelming. There were so many special needs we had never even heard of. The first time we completed the MCC we were very restrictive as to what we would accept as a special need. Once we submitted our MCC we continued to research some of the special needs listed that we were unfamiliar with and began talking to other adoptive families that we knew and friends in the medical field. We updated our MCC to be more open a few different times before we were matched with our sweet daughter. One of the conditions that we initially said no to was spina bifida or meningocele. Through talking with a friend who adopted a child with meningocele and who also had a close family member with meningocele we learned that there are different types of spina bifida with a wide range affects. I had worked with my friend’s daughter for years in Sunday School and had no idea she had meningocele. Meningocele cannot be cured but in some cases it can be managed well. Little did we know that in September of 2016 we would be presented a file of a little sweet little 3 1/2 year old girl who had meningocele.

 

Our daughters file was two years old when we received it. It was very basic without very many details at all. She had not had surgery and the file said that she did have a tethered spinal cord, however there was no MRI to definitively even diagnose the spina bifida. There was nothing else in her file to make us believe there were any other underlying issues. We asked for an update and immediately asked our pediatrician to look at her file. Our pediatrician reviewed the file along with the pictures and sent them to a colleague as well to get a specialist opinion. We only had 48 hours to decide if we could accept her file or not. Our biggest hope was that she was physically capable to participate in the activities our family enjoyed. Could she walk unassisted? Would she be able to hike? Could she ever learn to ski? Our house has stairs and stairs and more stairs. We couldn’t afford to move. Will the stairs be a problem? We didn’t have the answer to any of our questions. Neither of the doctors who reviewed her file saw any underlying issues that we weren’t aware of, but they also cautioned that her file was very basic and they didn’t have any scans to look at. We had been presented with a file a few months prior to our daughters file but we felt uneasy from the moment we received the little girls file. Saying no to a file of a child who needed a home was one of the hardest decisions we have had to ever make. In comparison, when we received Abigail’s file even though it was so basic and we had so many unanswered questions, we had a peace that surpasses all understanding. After much prayer we decided that this little girl was our daughter. We were all in love and couldn’t wait to bring our daughter / sister home.

 

In February of 2017 by God’s grace and provision we traveled as a family of 5 to China to become a family of 6. On February 6, 2017 a scared, quiet, shy, Mandarin speaking little almost 4 year old girl was placed in our arms. We were strangers to her and her to us. We were filled with hope, excitement, and a little trepidation as to what our new future and family was going to look like. Over the past 2 ½  year this little girl has flourished into a joy filled, extroverted, affectionate, smiling, dancing, singing, clothes matching, flower in hair, Minnie Mouse loving, craft loving, food loving, adventurous 6 year old. She has embraced our active family lifestyle with camping, skiing, hiking, a multitude of lacrosse games, biking, swimming, and road trips. Abigail has changed before our eyes in so many ways. She is not the same little girl that was placed in our arms 2 ½ years ago. We are so thankful and blessed to have her join our family. We didn’t know for many years that we were missing a piece to our family puzzle, but God knew. He knew that Abigail was our daughter. He knew the journey he would take us on to her. He knew the perfect little one that would complete our family. We have seen our boys pour love, care and kindness into their sister like we never could have imagined. Abigail, we love you to the moon and back.

 

Medically, Abigail is doing amazing. She has no side affects from the spina bifida. We do know that at some point she will most likely start to show symptoms and will need surgery. Currently we see two specialists every 6 months just to make sure everything is still at her base line. One thing we didn’t expect was that she did come home with some hearing issues, which has been corrected with a quick outpatient surgery. I know not everyone’s story will end like ours. Some families find unknown medical issues. For us, we took a leap of faith. We didn’t know what we were walking into when we agreed to adopt Abigail, but if we hadn’t taken that leap of faith, we wouldn’t have the joyful girl filling our lives today.”

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What 2018 Brought Us — CCAI Circle 2018

2018 CCAI Circle newsletter cover page

Our 2018 CCAI Circle Newsletter is finally out!  Read about all that 2018 brought us and learn about some exciting new happenings that 2019 has in store for our community! China’s changing policies, CCAI’s Eastern Europe and Taiwan program updates, amazing family stories, MyTaproot birth family search, our new The Park Adoption Community Center — It’s all here!

https://ccaifamily.org/Newsletter/Circle/Circle2018.pdf

NEWS UPDATE: CCCWA Announcement 12.7.2017

Dear CCAI Families,

Below is a CCCWA announcement that was sent to all agencies yesterday, Thursday, December 7, regarding adoptive families’ donations to orphanages at the time of their adoption finalization in China.  We have some immediate questions and are communicating with CCCWA and local governments for clarification.  We have learned that this announcement has not yet been communicated consistently to every province, so we are working to confirm individually with provinces/orphanages as to when the donation/orphanage fee may still apply.  At this time, we would advise families to still be prepared with the orphanage fee, as it may still apply on a case-by-case basis, and we will absolutely keep you informed as we learn more.

We believe that, overall, this announcement is good news for families, financially, although it may not be as positive for orphanages that rely on the “donation” to improve orphan care quality.  We will notify families as soon as any additional information is received!

Thank you!

Orphanage Donation Announcement

WE DID IT! YOU DID IT!!

CO Gives Day goal reached

WE DID IT! YOU DID IT!!

With your passionate giving, we received an incredible $29,600+ in donations from #ColoradoGivesDay alone, beating last year’s numbers by over $10,000!!!

Thank you, from the bottom of our overwhelmed hearts, for choosing CCAI as one of your charities to support. In this season of giving, we know how tight money can be. Words cannot express our gratitude for such an amazing turn out!

Please continue sharing your CCAI stories with friends and family. As the year wraps up, we hope 2017 continues to shatter records in our passionate mission to support our families and the children still waiting for their own forever families.

Thank you.

Colorado Gives Day is Here!

Colorado Gives Day 2017

Today is the day!

Colorado Gives Day has arrived! No matter where you are in the world, you can participate in Colorado Gives Day and make your donation go further.

We would be honored if you would keep CCAI in mind when making donations through Colorado Gives, today. In our 25 years of service, CCAI has strived to provide a legacy of vital and unique support for orphanages, children, and families in our adoption community and beyond. This has been possible solely due to the generosity and passion of our donors.

Colorado Gives Day is a day that gives back to all the non-profits in Colorado. Every dollar you give goes further on Colorado Gives Day. For every donation, First Bank matches 10 percent up to $1 million!

Last year, you helped us raise an incredible $15,105 on Colorado Gives Day! Visit https://www.coloradogives.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=27901 today and help us make an even bigger impact this year!

So, invite your friends, invite your family, invite that stranger you met at the grocery store…invite everyone! With a little help from our friends, thousands of children’s lives will be changed for the better, forever!

Thank you 🙂

CCAI Reaches Monumental Milestone!

Today, February 28, 2017, CCAI reached the incredibly monumental milestone of 12,000 adoptions!!!

12,000 Adoptions!

From Lily and Josh’s 200-sqft basement in September 1992 and the first child coming home on Easter Sunday 1994, CCAI has been making history one child at a time over the past nearly-25 glorious years.  We give thanks to all our amazing CCAI families who believed and continue to believe in us and entrust us with the incredible blessing to be a part of their families; to the thousands of volunteers across the country who have and continue to faithfully support CCAI’s life-changing mission with time and money; and, most of all, to each and every adopted CCAI child for their unbreakable will to meet life’s toughest challenges and conquer daily adversity with courage, determination and grace.

Do numbers matter?  Absolutely!  Because each number represents a beautiful and precious life, and it symbolizes victory and hope.  Today, we celebrate 12,000 adoptions while keeping those hundreds and thousands of orphans still waiting, in our hearts.  Our mission has just begun and it will not finish until the last orphan in the world has found their forever family!!

CCAI 2016 Year In Review

ccai-year-in-review

With your support, 2016 proved to be a fantastic year for CCAI! Here are some of the most exciting highlights as we usher in the New Year:

• 467 orphans from five countries found their forever families!!!
• CCAI’s orphanage partnerships increased to 40 orphanages from four Chinese provinces
• CCAI’s charity arm, with the help of our trusting and generous donors, launched 60 projects and invested $903,000, touching the lives of 5,085 orphans
• CCAI’s Charity Team undertook 60 trips to 40 orphanages to provide child care training
• CCAI currently operates seven Lily Orphan Care Centers in China (visit www.ccaifamily.org/OrphanCare/Lily-OrphanCare to learn more about CCAI’s charity efforts)
• 47 older children from 9 orphanages participated in summer and winter hosting programs and had a wonderful time experiencing the love of a family
• CCAI was selected as one of four US adoption agencies to assist CCCWA in finding homes for nearly 2,000 extremely hard-to-place orphans. CCAI sent a team of ten professional photographers to China to photograph and film some of these hard-to-place orphans to help raise awareness
• 112 families (389 individuals, including 158 adoptees) participated in four China Heritage tours, including an invitation by the Chinese government to visit the Great Hall for a grand welcome ceremony
• 306 adoptees from 32 states participated in Adopteen‘s many events (Adopteen Camp-Conference and Retreats, Adoptstronauts Retreat, Adopteen and Adoptween Hangouts, and Adoptees Giving Back Orphanage Service Trip – 2017 trip applications open now atwww.adopteen.org)
• Our Joyous Chinese Cultural Center (JCCC) had a strong year with 210 students and welcomed over 2,000 K-12 students from 30 local schools to participate in 28 China Field Trips
• JCCC’s 2016 Chinese New Year Celebration had an attendance of 900+ (Tickets for 2017 CNY Celebration available now at www.joyouscenter.org)
• CCAI added a new Taiwan adoption program!

Season’s Greetings and Thank You from Our LOCC’s

As the year draws to a close with the warmth of the holiday season, our amazing Lily Orphan Care Center children and nannies would like to wish our incredible families and donors a very happy holidays.  They sure know how to get into the holiday spirit!

Thank you for your dedicated support of our LOCC’s and CCAI’s orphan care mission this year and every year!  We are endlessly grateful.  This year, CCAI supported 60 orphan care projects at a cost of $903,000!  If you would like to donate to our Children Charity Fund to help support our continuing orphan care efforts, please visit https://www.ccaifamily.org/Charity/DonationForm.

 

 

World AIDS Awareness Day: Considering HIV-positive orphans

aidsThe climate of international adoption is constantly changing and new challenges seem to continuously arise. Few know this better than our founders, Lily Nie and Joshua Zhong.

They founded CCAI in 1992 after seeing the devastating orphan humanitarian crisis that arose from China’s one-child policy firsthand. Since then, CCAI has grown to become the No. 1 ranked China adoption agency in the world by the CCCWA (China’s adoption authority) and has finalized close to 12,000 adoptions.

China is not the only country CCAI works with, however. Nie and Zhong have held tight to the belief that all orphan’s lives matter and CCAI has remained dedicated to assisting in adoptions in all ways ethically possible. CCAI maintains adoption programs for US citizens through Latvia, Bulgaria and Ukraine, offers home study services, has a robust charity program, and offers post adoption support indefinitely for adoptive families.

On this World AIDS Awareness Day, Dec. 1, 2016, CCAI asks for your consideration of HIV-positive orphans residing in Eastern Europe.

“Orphans in Eastern Europe are generally older children or children with special needs and can be harder to advocate for because their home countries often don’t allow for specific child advocating on social media,” said Allison Miner, CCAI’s Bulgaria, Latvia and Ukraine Program Coordinator. “Beyond these challenges, there is a larger percentage of children from Eastern European countries that have the HIV infection than children in other areas of the world.”

This is true to a staggering degree. Between 2001 and 2009, diagnoses of HIV in the Eastern European/Central Asia region grew by 66 percent, while globally the same measurement decreased by 17 percent, according to an article by the Sofia Echo.

The World Health Organization released a report stating Ukraine leads Europe in rates of infection, with 1.6 percent of the adult population infected with HIV or AIDS.

“Despite the advances in medical treatment since the ‘AIDS epidemic’ in the 1980s, many people are still very hesitant to consider adopting a child that is HIV-positive,” Miner said. “There is a heavy stigma around the infection, but it is important to consider the advances in medical technology and the treatability of the disease due to antiretroviral drugs. More than that, it is important to see these children as just that—children in need of loving families. It is heartbreaking to think that a child may not have a family because they have a disease beyond their control.”

CCAI asks for your support and consideration of HIV-positive orphans in Eastern Europe. If you are interested in learning more about adoption through CCAI’s Eastern European programs, please contact Allison Miner at 404-250-0055 x206.

Shared List buzz

As you may know, the “Shared List” is a CCCWA-maintained electronic and secure listing of adoptable Waiting Children with identified medical conditions, viewable by all China adoption agencies around the world. New files are added to the Shared List all the time, and while many of these children are matched sooner or later, others with more significant conditions or outdated files continue to wait…  and wait… and wait… on the Shared List with little to no chance for a family.

Over the years these “waiting” children’s files have continued to accumulate, reaching upwards of 2,000 files, and most have not been updated since they were originally posted. Recognizing this challenge, the CCCWA has decided to give these children another chance by dividing some of their files among four US agencies (including CCAI) and charging these agencies with the task to obtain updated information and network with other advocacy groups to find forever families for as many children as possible.

CCAI has received over 400 files so far from the provinces of Henan, Jilin, Sichuan, Heilongjiang, Xinjiang, Liaoning, Zhejiang and Shaanxi. Right now we’re working hard to request and process updates as quickly as we can, and we’ll be posting their files on a rolling basis as new information is received. We are more than happy to share these “former shared list” children’s files and updates with any agency or qualified family, and we are absolutely willing to transfer a child’s file to another agency for a committed family.  🙂

We applaud the CCCWA’s diligent efforts to persevere in finding a loving family for these children who have been waiting for so long!