CCAI celebrates achievement of summer intern, China adoptee

Maddie receives a certificate of achievement from Lily and Josh for successfully completing her summer internship with CCAI

Maddie receives a certificate of achievement from Lily and Josh for successfully completing her summer internship with CCAI

Staff Spotlight: Maddie Holland

Position: Post Adoption Intern

 

How did you connect with CCAI?

I really wanted to work for the adoption agency that I was adopted through, but when I started doing research, I found out they had gone out of business. I was really upset, so I asked my adopted friend’s mom what I should do. She told me CCAI was a really good agency. I wrote a letter to their Director of Adoptions, who is a certified social worker. I felt a connection to her because that’s what I’m going to school for. I told her my story and asked if CCAI offered any internships. She wrote me back and told me that I had the job.

What is your story?

I was abandoned as a baby and raised in a foster home. Where I’m from, and in the more rural parts of China, I personally think that a lot of foster parents just foster for the money and don’t really care about the kids. I was abused.  When I was 11, I went to live in the orphanage and was so happy. I made friends there and began to get comfortable. It was the most stable environment I had known, especially because so few adoptions of older kids like me were going through. In attempt to find more of us homes, the orphanage took my peers and I to a CCCWA (the government agency that oversees adoption in China) camp for older kids.  They invited American social workers to come get pictures and video to share with prospective parents. Each child prepared a song or poem to perform and it was recorded. As I was up on stage, I began to cry in the middle of my performance. The pressure was so great because I knew my only shot at finding a family very well might depend on my performance and I feared that no one would want me.  A few months after I turned 13, I started to panic because I knew I was going to age out if they couldn’t find a family for me soon. I was worried, so I wrote another letter. This time I wrote to someone at the CCCWA. I told her to hurry up and find me a family and begged her to do it soon. I also told her that China held no future for me at all. She wrote back and told me she would try, but offered no guarantees. I am so thankful for the reality that I wasn’t aware of at that time; that there were people out there who wanted me. My parents saw the video of that performance and said God spoke to them and told them that I was meant to be theirs. They filed their paperwork as soon as possible and the orphanage told me that I was going to be adopted.

Were you excited?

Yes and no. I knew that this would be my only chance at having a decent life and felt like I should be grateful because my wish for a family finally came true, but I had a lot of anxiety about leaving the orphanage I’d been in for the past two years, especially because all my friends were there. That really was my happiest place from my childhood.

How was the transition to the States?

HARD. My parents were nice, but all I knew how to say in English when I was first adopted was yes and no and a heavily-accented thank you. I didn’t know how to communicate my emotions and needs and honestly, I didn’t even know how to express myself in Chinese either. I became really rebellious, which was my childhood go-to coping mechanism.  My parents were patient with me, even though it was frustrating on both of our ends not knowing how to communicate. We had a lot of arguments and attachment issues, but we survived after years of struggling. I thank God every day for their commitment to provide; I would never be where I am today without them. I now look back and think I made things really difficult for them, but I’m so thankful they were understanding and loved me anyway.

Did you go to public school?

Yes, and that was really difficult. They didn’t even have an ESL (English Second Language) assistant there when I first started so I just sat in classes and didn’t have a clue what was going on around me.

When did it start to click?

The second half of my sophomore year. I finally began to understand entire conversations and that’s when I really started trying in school. I started making friends and things got better from there.

Where do you go to school now?

I’m a junior at the University of Missouri.

What was most rewarding about your internship with CCAI?

Helping other kids who are in the same boat that I once was in. I was able to speak with many older children that were either adopted recently or in the hosting program this summer. Their families didn’t know how to help them and called our Post Adoption department and I was able to speak Chinese to the kids and share my story and hear theirs. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, but it was so rewarding. For the hosting kids, a lot of times they just listened, but their parents said it really helped. For the recent adoptees, it was my privilege to be able to hear their stories and share my stories with them—to let them know this is a long adjusting process and that they are never alone in this.

What are your career goals?

I want to work for an adoption agency–hopefully CCAI–and be a social work mediator between the US and China.

My parents and I standing at my abandonment place, Temple of Heaven, days before we flew to my new home in the States

Maddie standing with her parents at her place of abandonment, Temple of Heaven, days before they flew to her new home in the States

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Shi

Chang Shi Yan Hosting 2 for web

Hello CCAI families! Here is your weekly dose of cute – please meet Shi! He is 9 years old. Shi had the opportunity to participate in our Winter Hosting Program 2015.  He loved living with his host siblings, and would really love to have his own siblings some day! Please share his story to help this sweet boy find his family!

Here is what his host family shared with us:

Chang Shi Yan Hosting 8“Shi is a typical boy – he loves to play basketball and with matchbox cars. The only thing he dislikes is arts and crafts. Currently, he is running around the house with a flashlight hunting for monsters under our beds. He doesn’t let his skull abnormality keep him from participating in games. As the Nerf darts were flying around the house, he went and put on his helmet before I told him to. He is not a picky eater. He will choose healthy foods over sweets. Our dentist praised his teeth brushing habits, and Shi had no cavities. He loves to take bedtime baths. He sleeps well and dresses himself.

Shi is a sponge! He was able to pick up English so quickly! We are a family of 12 and within one week the clever boy knows all our English names.  He is a sweet boy with a good temperament and he really loves hugs! He is sensitive boy with just a pinch of naughtiness added. He is always curious and up for any challenge. He likes to run with the older boys and when they are tired of playing he is content to play with our 6 year old daughter. Shi is so bright! He is able to look at directions and build complicated Lego 1_Shi_web_picture_3figures without any help!

Shi would be a wonderful son and brother in any size of family. He can be a snuggle bunny and we have fallen in love with him!”

Shi’s host family is willing to talk with families that are seriously interested in adopting him! Please ask the Waiting Child Department for more information.

 

Shi is a Special Focus child, meaning he can be matched to a family either with or without a dossier in China and may also be accepted along with another child! He is diagnosed with Head and chest malformation, poor development of right clavicle, and missing parietal bone. Please call 303-850-9998 or email waitingchild@ccaifamily.org for more information about Shi!

Visit http://ccaifamily.org/WaitingChild/Waiting-Child-Profile.aspx to see more children waiting for their forever families.

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Kun/Quinn

 

Dang Yi Kun Hosting - eating 3

It’s time for another Too Cute Tuesday! Meet Kun (you might also recognize her as Quinn from Journey of Hope!) This silly, fun-loving 10-year-old girl always has a smile on her face. Please help us share her story so that she can find her forever family!
Kun likes to sing and dance, and she sure likes to talk too! She has learned to express her needs and takes the initiative to say “hi” to visitors and play games with the younger children. Quinn also comforts other kids when they are sad by sharing her own toys. She can help nannies with chores and loves to help others.

Kun was hosted in the US this last Winter as a part of our Winter Hosting Program! Kun’s host family shared some of their favorite things about her with us:

Dang Yi Kun Hosting - eating“Kun is a cheerful, cuddly girl who loves to giggle and be silly and loves attention.  She is definitely a girly girl and likes having her hair brushed (and to brush others) nailpolish and chapstick, and the prettier the dress the better.  She loves playing with shape puzzles, building toys (like legos and magnetic shapes) and especially play-doh.  She LOVES to sing and could never get enough of swing dancing with one of us in the living room.  She enjoys chores and took it on herself to do things like sweep, wash windows, break down boxes, and fold clothes – she has an amazing work ethic.  She has good self care skills – can bathe (though I stayed with her at bathtime) and dress herself and can go to the bathroom on her own.

Dang Yi Kun Hosting - sledI feel she was very timid and a bit scared when arriving but left fearless.  She was very scared of our two dogs at first – to the point that she couldn’t even look at them (we kept them confined by a baby gate in another room at first).  But halfway through her stay she really warmed up to them, and really seemed to enjoy being around them and feeding them.  Also at mid visit she just took that attitude with everything else – and threw herself into every activity from sledding to sleigh rides to horseback riding.  It was neat to see her petting one of the big draft horses just a week after she was terrified of a dog.”

Please help us find Kun’s forever family!

HOSTING ADVOCACY PROFILE: Wei

Li Shu Wei Hosting 10Wei is a very happy, giggly, and fun-loving 7-year-old boy! He was a part of our Winter 2015 hosting program, and would love to have a family to call his own.

Wei is blind, but during his stay in the US he learned there may be some hope! His host family took him to see eye specialists, and discovered that he may be a good candidate for a cornea transplant. Unfortunately, Wei is running out of time to have this LIFE CHANGING surgery.

“Cornea transplants in cases such as Wei’s are generally not done after age 7, and definitely not after age 8.  As I understand it, after that many years of never having had an image form on the retina, the neurological pathways simply do not develop, and sight cannot be attained,” says his host mother.

Wei had a fun time in the US! His host mom noted that he was very shy and scared at first – he did not understand what was going on and was open about letting out his frustrations. Wei began to adjust and adapt as a couple of days went by. At first he did not want to take a bath and strongly protested, but after he learned what to expect, he jumped right in and swam around like a fish! He even developed a little routine: He knew that after dinner came bath time, and after a bath it was time for bed! He caught on to other household routines, too, and learned to help with some chores. After the first week he even started mimicking some English!

Li Shu Wei Hosting 7Wei’s favorite activity seemed to be sliding. At first it seemed scary and he did not want to try it at all, but after some encouragement and support from his host mother, sliding is the only thing he wanted to do!

His host mom says that Wei is a GREAT eater! He specifically enjoyed cereal, chicken noodle soup, and potato soup. He ate most everything that was put in front of him, but did not like raw carrots or sauteed mushrooms.

Wei prefers more basic, toddler-type toys over Legos or army men. He can only see a tiny bit out of one eye, and has to be holding an object right up to his face, so he loves toys with lights and that make sound. While with his host family he got to go to the dentist. He was such a good patient that he got to pick out a toy after his appointment. Wei of course chose a mini LED flashlight that changes color – he loved it!

Li Shu Wei Hosting 16Wei’s host family says that he is generally a very sweet, happy child who would do wonderfully with lots of individualized attention, structure, and loving boundaries.

If you or someone you know would like more information about adopting WEI, please contact us at waitingchild@ccaifamily.org or call us at and ask to speak with the waiting child department. Please let us know you are inquiring about “WEI FROM WINTER HOSTING”

HOSTING ADVOCACY PROFILE: Huang

**PLEASE NOTE: Huang is the child in the orange t-shirt in the video. The other child is not available for adoption.

3-WuHuangJia (2)Huang is a sweet 12-year-old boy who enjoys painting, coloring, writing, running, soccer, and jump rope. He was a part of our Summer 2015 hosting program, and would love to have a family to call his own! Unfortunately, CCAI does not have much time left with his file. In about 2 weeks, since he has not yet found a family, we will have to return his file to China. Huang turns 13 this month – giving him only 1 year before he “ages out” of his eligibility for international adoption. Please help Huang find his family!

Huang Web Lg 2Huang has post operative cleft lip and palate and ptosis. He says he has a few special friends and likes to play blocks with them. His favorite toys are yo yo’s and remote control cars. Huang is presently in 2nd grade. His favorite subjects are gym and art, and his favorite color is blue. He thinks he’d like to be a policeman when he grows up, and the only thing he’s afraid of is elephants!

His host family says this about him: “He has a gentle spirit and is very helpful around the house. He very smart and learns quickly. His favorite activities include swimming in a lake, tubing, and watching fireworks for the fourth of July. He has learned how to ride a bike and loves it! He enjoys playing outside a lot, climbing trees and digging in the sand. He liked the local library activity where he could create things. He doesn’t enjoy a lot of people or riding in the car very long. He likes to know what the next activities and meals are. Huang was very fun to have as a part of our family this summer.

3-WuHuangJia (5)He loves to figure out how things work and to create new things. He clearly has an artist/engineer’s mind. He does beautiful Chinese calligraphy and notices details in many things. He has an excellent memory for things he has seen (movies, where objects go in the house, etc.)

He was gentle with our four-year-old son, and knew well how to care for him and negotiate sharing/trading toys with him, although (as a typical twelve-year-old) he would get frustrated with the copying and sometimes needed to play with peers. He loved hugs and snuggles from our son, but had a harder time with physical affection from adults.

Huang loves noodles, meat, pickled vegetables, and anything spicy. He doesn’t care for sweets (except for candy), bread or sandwiches. Food is very important to him and he can eat a lot when he likes it. He expressed some interest in learning to cook himself.”

If you or someone you know would like more information about adopting HUANG, please contact us at waitingchild@ccaifamily.org or call us at and ask to speak with the waiting child department. Please let us know you are inquiring about “HUANG FROM SUMMER HOSTING”

HOSTING ADVOCACY PROFILE: Tian

Wu Tian Ge (16)Tian is a curious and fun loving 10-year-old boy. He was a part of our Summer 2015 hosting program, and would love to have a family of his own! CCAI does not have much time left with his file. In just about 3 weeks, since he has yet to find his forever family, his file will have to be returned to the China. Please help us share Tian’s story so that he can find his family!

Tian is a very considerate boy. He has Tian Web Lg 1some deafness on one side, so you need to speak louder for him to be able to hear your instructions from a distance. He is fairly independent for his age with strong self-care abilities. He likes playing with wooden blocks, playingping pong, putting together jigsaw puzzles, looking at picture books, and singing and dancing. His favorite color is red, and he likes to eat fruit and meat (especially ribs!). Turtles are his favorite animal.

His host mother says this about Tian: “Tian may appear shy at first, but don’t let that fool you! He warms up quickly, and becomes an extroverted and enthusiastic boy. Words to describe his personality include: curious, active, conversational, and fun loving. He has many questions about how things work and life in America.He enjoys ping pong, tennis, drawing, painting, and especially building Legos. Although he has significant hearing loss, Wu Tian Ge (15)he enjoys music and singing. Also, he seems mechanically inclined with great interest in put things together, taking them apart, and anything electronic. He likes petting and holding our two cats. Tian is also used to siblings and enjoys spending time with them. As far as food, he loves noodles, meatballs, eggs, white rice, pizza, hamburgers, French fries etc. He is willing to try American foods, but doesn’t like cheese (except for Mac and Cheese!). He has a very healthy appetite and is generally willing to eat cooked veggies and even sliced cucumbers. Like any kid, he adores candy, gum, and ice cream (strawberry is his favorite).” Please help Tian find the family he deserves!