Medical Monday – Levstik Family

Deciding to adopt my son, Jax, was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.  Jax was 2 years, 7 months old on our Gotchya Day, and we’ve been a forever family for just over a year.  After carefully researching each medical condition on CCAI’s medical conditions checklist (MCC,) I was ultimately open to a variety of conditions.  My main goals were ensuring that my child would be able to run and play, and that his/her intellectual capabilities would be unhindered (to the extent you can guestimate that).  Considering a child with cleft lip and palate was a natural fit for me.

Jax

Jax’s initial palate and lip repair surgeries were performed in China during his first year of life.  His LID-only file said he could only say “mama,” and while that scared me, I was told that is not uncommon for children born with this condition.  Before accepting the referral, I shared his file with a pediatrician, an international adoption doctor, and three ENTs.  With as many reassurances as I could get, in the end, it still required a leap of faith to say yes.  Needless to say, I’m so glad that I did!

Jax has adjusted amazingly well to his new life.  He smiles constantly and loves to laugh.  Jax has a personality that sparkles and he draws people to him.  He’s a natural leader.  Jax is a whiz at puzzles, loves to swim and go to the zoo, and loves to read.  His ability to attach and bond has been incredibly strong and positive.

Jax_4

To treat his medical conditions, I found that proactively lining up a great medical support team was very important.  Within a month of coming home, Jax began working weekly with a private speech therapist that specializes in cleft lip and palate, and he also began working weekly with a separate speech therapist at his preschool, which is paid for by the state (we live in Colorado).  We also spent a day at the Cleft Lip and Palate Clinic at Children’s Hospital Colorado, where Jax was evaluated by multiple specialists and a plan was developed by their team for ongoing treatment.  We will go back once a year for an evaluation day like that until he’s 18.

We have a wonderful ENT surgeon, and Jax underwent a soft palate revision surgery last month to lengthen the palate and better align the palate muscles.  He also got ear tubes.  The surgery required one overnight hospital stay, and the two weeks of liquid diet that followed was tough, but we can already tell a vast improvement in the quality of his speech.  Jax will need weekly speech therapy through at least the first grade, another surgery when he is 8 or 9, and extensive orthodontia.

Jax_3

The hardest part about this condition is not understanding everything my son is trying to communicate.  I understand about 80 percent now, but strangers get only about 40 percent.  Fortunately, I know this will improve dramatically as a result of our recent surgery and ongoing speech therapy.  A great thing about the condition is that when people look at Jax, they have no idea he has a medical issue because his scarring is minimal, and he’s whip smart, very coordinated and physically active.

Jax_2

I’ve just completed my second dossier to adopt a little girl through CCAI.  I have specifically requested a child with cleft lip and palate, and am open to minor hearing loss as well.  This is a totally manageable condition, so much so that I’m signing up to do it again!

I’m happy to speak to anyone who would like more information or details.  You can reach me directly at: tlevstik@hotmail.com.  Thank you for considering opening your heart and your home to one of these amazing children.

Tracy Levstik

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.

 

 

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!

 

2016 Summer Hosting Kids Are Here

2016 Summer Hosting Kids Are Here!

The wait is finally over!  Host Children in ChicagoAfter more than 16 hours of exhausting flights, 23 precious children from four orphanages have finally united with their anxious and exciting host families.

For all of the kids, this was their first flight and  they hand led it like pros!  The children will spend three weeks with their host families and will have the best summer vacation of their lives!Host families wait eagerly

The goal of Orphan Hosting is to share love with so-called “hard-to-place” older orphans so that they will also have the opportunity to experience family love and have incredible adventures.  For more information on how you can host an orphan in the summer or winter, please contact us at hosting@ccaifamily.org.

Host Children in Denver

Heart Connection Team in Zhengzhou

IMG_1126

What is better than spending a week serving and loving orphans in China?  That is exactly what is going on in Zhengzhou Orphanage this week, where a team of seven CCAI Heart Connection volunteers (adults and children) are spending their week with a group of orphans with special needs!

Heart Connection is a new ministry opportunity with the aim of connecting hard-to-place orphans with caring families to help advocate for their adoption.  We are thrilled for this first group of volunteers and cannot wait to witness the beautiful journeys that Heart Connection will surely bring to the children and volunteers alike!

IMG_1127 IMG_1128 IMG_1129

 

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

Celebrating Birthday with “Mom”

Jiaming was one of the 29 orphanage children who came to the USA through CCAI’s hosting program in December 2015.  Jiaming’s host parents, Susan and Ron, fell in love with him and decided to bring him home permanently.  Sadly, the adoption process takes time.  Not wanting to wait, Susan and her daughter Cara took a volunteer trip  last week to visit Jiaming and celebrate his 10th birthday!  Jiaming smiled from ear to ear and felt like a super star!

Birthday with Mom

When Susan and Cara visited Jiaming’s classroom, his teacher asked everyone, “Who is your best friend?”

Each kid raised their hands and shouted out the names of their best friends.  When it was Jiaming’s turn, Jiaming walked over to Susan and gave her a great big hug. “My mom is my best friend.”

We are changing lives, one orphan at a time. <3

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Cai

 


Cai needs your help! He is aging out of his eligibility for international adoption in JANUARY 2017!

Cai is an outgoing, charming, happy, friendly, and adventurous young man! He had the opportunity to be hosted in the US as a part of our Winter 2015 China Hosting Program. His host family has been absolutely amazing in advocating for him! They were able to take him to doctors appointments, to the zoo, and even gave Cai his first birthday party ever! Please be sure to watch the video they made of Cai’s adventures. His host family is also willing to talk with families who are seriously considering adopting him!

From Cai’s Host Family:

“Cai is awesome! The naughtiest thing he did was he kept going up to bowling lanes and going over the line to hear the foul buzz. It was the only time he didn’t really listen and it was hard when we were laughing with him:) Seriously, he is a smiling bundle of joy.

Cai likes to play, is extremely happy, and has little fear. He would be a great addition to a home with younger children because he cares for them and giggles while he plays. I would say from our experience he is very intelligent and age appropriate. He is a bit immature compared to other American 13 year olds but would fit in a 4th grade classroom with great ease. His strengths are his ability to overcome his disability with ease. He is very independent and friendly. He is accommodating and pleasant to all around him.

We believe Cai needs a family. There is not a certain criteria that a family needs to meet- he is so adaptable and will find his place no matter how big or small. He deserves to keep smiling and learning. In regards to his disability, he overcomes it every step of the way.

Cai is curious because there are so many things he has not experienced due to his time in the orphanage, however he does not act like an institutionalized child. We never saw attachment issues, inappropriate behaviors, or learning disabilities present themselves. He is helpful with other kids, yet he knows how to be a kid himself.

There is a twinkle in his eye and so much love in his heart

His future has no limits; all he needs is a family to cheer him on and accept his love.”

SongWangCai (5)

2016 Henan Annual Adoption Training a Huge Success

2016 Henan Training

More than 160 civil affairs officials and orphanage directors and managers from the entire Henan Province joined the two-day domestic and international adoption training conference, April 6th – 7th.  The important 2016 Henan Annual Adoption Training focused on the well-being and permanency of orphaned children living in the orphanages and other care facilities.  CCAI Co-Founders Lily and Joshua, as well as CCAI’s China Charity Director Xia, and three wonderful CCAI parents Suzanne, Rich, and Blair had the opportunity to provide in-depth training in child care, adoption procedure, and post adoption, as well as share the beautiful lives the children and families are living around the world, and express our appreciation for Henan’s partnership in saving lives.

Henan’s officials are all greatly moved by the incredible adoption stories shared by our families and truly appreciate the love that adoptive families shower upon all the children.  It was a beautiful conference.