The Tanis Family Adoption Story – From Taiwan to China and Back

In late 2014, our family started our very first adoption process.  All we knew back then was that because we were not yet 30 years old, we had limited countries to choose from since we wanted to adopt internationally.  Because of that, we chose Taiwan.  After speaking with our social worker, she advised us to look into China.  At the time, orphanage partnerships were still in place, so waiting until we were 29.5 to apply and submit our Medical Conditions Checklist AND turn 30 would take less time than a Taiwan adoption.  We chose CCAI as our placement agency because of the sheer number of recommendations we were given, speaking of their integrity and transparency.

In January 2016 we submitted our dossier, and in June 2016 we brought home our son Jordan (or Jet), born with complex congenital heart defects.  As soon as Jet was considered recovered from his heart surgery in April 2017 we knew he needed a sibling (actually we knew before then!).  That led us to adopt our son Judah, again from China, matched in August 2017 and home March 2018.  It was during the adoption process for Judah that China began changing some of their requirements, so we knew that if we “reupped” it would be a much longer wait for our third child.  We desperately wanted to add to our family by adopting again from China, but we weren’t sure how the new policies would affect us.

This past August, after trying to adopt domestically for a year, we knew we were being called back to where our hearts are (international adoption) and so we decided to submit our home study and our third Medical Conditions Checklist to China through CCAI.  We knew the likelihood to keep birth order (both of our boys are born in 2015 and are only a couple months apart in age) would make for a long wait, but we were prepared because we finally felt we were back “home”.   We knew CCAI had a Taiwan program, so we also kept an eye out for kids on the Waiting Child Taiwan page that we felt we would be a good family for—and vice versa—but still assumed we would match through China.

One night, in October, I was scrolling through the waiting children list on the Taiwan page and I saw this little girl who needed a family.  It was like flashing neon lights went off on my screen and we immediately emailed CCAI for more information.  We submitted our intent to adopt her in November 2019 and then waited to hear back.  The Taiwan process is much different than what we are used to with China, but we appreciate their child centric way of matching a family to a child.  We knew if it was meant to be, the orphanage would say yes.  And if not, we would have both a Taiwan AND China home study since we could submit to both programs simultaneously.  This was a major perk for us to be able to do that with CCAI!

On January 6, 2020, the entire Taiwan team at CCAI called via speakerphone to tell me the good (ok, great!) news that we were matched.  We are SO EXCITED—but no one is more excited than our two boys—to announce we are matched with our daughter and “baby sister” Abigail Jade Yen Tanis and can’t wait to welcome her into our family and arms late this summer.  It’s amazing that five years ago, we intended to adopt from Taiwan—but instead have two amazing boys from China.  It’s even more amazing that had we not waited, we would not be matched now with our daughter in Taiwan—back where we started.

I cannot speak highly enough to CCAI’s Taiwan team’s patience, support, and genuine love for our family.  They are so encouraging and answer all of our questions (sometimes the same questions over again).  Because we are still just starting out and have only been matched for about a month, we are so thankful to have an agency knows what they’re doing and cares for our family—all four and soon to be FIVE of us.  If you’re waiting with the China program or considering China, I would highly recommend you consider CCAI’s Taiwan program as well.

You can continue to follow our family’s progress on our blog: www.taniilife.com!

Tanis Family

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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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

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 🙂

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.

 

 

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!

10 days to raise $15K for “Sight for Shu”

Many of you may remember the fundraiser we took part in to help raise money for a cornea transplant surgery for a wonderful little boy named Shu Wei back in May. With many prayers and donations, Shu’s host family was able to secure a right cornea transplant for Shu and the surgery was successful. Shu couldn’t stop smiling when he awoke from the surgery and could see for the first time.

Shu

Shu is now scheduled for his second surgery, Aug. 23, 2016, and needs your help again. His previous host mom Holly writes:

The hospital requires that funds for the surgery be PAID IN FULL by Aug. 16, 2016 and it is critical Shu has this surgery now because pathways from the retina to the brain are fully formed by age 8 (which he will be in November). In other words, without this surgery, Shu will never have sight in his left eye. During the procedure, surgeons also plan to continue construction on Shu’s right cornea, further enhancing his vision and making sure the retina isn’t starting to detach. Any and every donation is greatly appreciated. Shu is so special and such a wonderful child.

Please prayerfully consider how much you are able to give to help this precious child see out of both eyes!

To contribute by credit card, please fill out the donation form at www.ccaifamily.org/Charity/DonationForm.aspx, and type “Sight for Shu” in the ‘specific project’ area.

Checks can be sent directly to CCAI at 6920 S Holly Cir, Centennial, CO 80112 (please write “Sight for Shu” on the memo line).

 

Reaching out to Orphans Left Behind

Lianzhi & Yunzhan and CCAI CO Staff“Adoption service would be meaningless if we do not reach out to the children left behind.”  This has been the fundamental belief of CCAI co-founders Lily and Josh from day one when they launched CCAI in 1992.  From the first truck-load of milk formula twenty-two years ago, to today’s seven Lily Orphan Care Centers and half a million dollar contributions ever year towards child care training, leadership development, foster care expansion, and educational and medical support; Each year, over 1,500 orphans lives are impacted through our charity outreach.

Josh and Lily introducing Lianzhi and Yunzhan

Our successful charity efforts would not be possible without our China Charity Team. Today, our CCAI CO Staff had the joy of finally meeting two of our China Charity staff, Lianzhi Shi and Yunzhan Chen!  Both women joined CCAI in 2000 and have worked tirelessly ever since to bring healing and hope to orphans with special needs.  They are the true life-savers and guardian angels.  We were so honored that they were here to visit us for a short time.  Lianzhi and Yunzhan’s contributions to CCAI and our charity efforts cannot be overstated.  They are incredible!

 

Josh and Lily Paid a Surprise Visit to Families in Beijing

Twelve CCAI families from Group 2326 who landed in Beijing on June 30 and July 31 were not only surprised by a rare blue sky and gorgeous weather, but even more so by a personal welcome from CCAI co-founders Lily and Josh!  After a lot of hugs, pictures, and laughter, Josh gave a short speech of appreciation and welcome, thanking families for their heart and for making the tiring journey to meet their children.  He offered to pray for the group and asked for God’s blessing and protection of each family during the rest of their incredible journey towards uniting with their dreamed child and finalizing their adoption.

Josh and Lily visit with families in Beijing

Whenever possible, Josh and Lily always make concerted efforts during their business and personal trips to visit CCAI families adopting in China.  “This is huge for us,”  Josh says all the time.  “It give us the opportunity to meet our families face to face and thank them personally for their love and support.”

CCAI has been blessed to send a group of adoptive families to China almost every week to unite with their children.  Each working day, CCAI fulfills two orphans’ dreams for a forever family.

Happy Thursday, CCAI Family. 🙂

Happy Reunion

Jilin Province is in the far northeast of China with a relatively small orphan population.  To help older orphans experience the love of family, CCAI invited nine children from Jilin last December to join our hosting program.  Ty and Mindy fell in love with the boy they hosted.  His name was Milo and, with a lot of prayers and guidance, Ty and Mindy made the decision to adopt and become Milo’s forever family.  In record time, they completed their adoption process, traveled to China last week, and finalized their adoption of Milo yesterday!  God is so good!  Milo is the first child to be adopted from Jilin Province through the hosting program.

Seven more families will be on their way soon to bring their hosted children home later this year.Happy Jilin Reunion