#CharityWeek: On the job with our charity director

xia-athenan-orphangae-2016_croppedFour time a year, CCAI’s Charity Director Xia Zhong makes her way to China to check in on our Lily Orphan Care Centers (LOCCs), meet new orphanage directors, build relationships with partner orphanage staff, train CCAI’s LOCC managers and our China charity team, coordinate hosting logistics and… whatever else needs her attention.

These visits may feel very busy, but with each orphanage visit, Xia’s heart swells.

“I feel so privileged that I get to meet so many of the children that CCAI eventually goes on to adopt before they meet their families,” Zhong shared. “I get to see how wonderful they are and my heart aches, wishing I could make their adoptions immediate.”

Aside from working with orphanage staff and encouraging directors to report, create/update children’s files with haste to quicken their adoption, Xia also helps train the children participating in our hosting program, who might have a harder time finding a family through their adoption file on paper alone. Hosting greatly increases a child’s chances of being adopted by making them tangible and helping families understand their personalities. The majority of children hosted through CCAI’s China Host Program have gone on to be adopted by their host families or another family that learned about them through their host family’s advocacy.

“Hosting changes these kids’ lives,” Xia said. “One of the boys I met who was hosted last summer was very disruptive before he went to the US. I met him again on my most recent trip and he was so well behaved! The orphanage director told me he comes to her office three times a day, asking when he will be adopted. Now that he has had a taste of what it is like to be a part of a family, he behaves in hopes that someone will hear that he is a good boy and want him as their son.”

This experience wasn’t the only heart-tugging one Xia experienced on her last trip to China in September.

“Three years ago I met a baby with clubbed hands and feet and a mouth so small that his nannies had to feed him milk with an eye dropper,” Xia explained. “The nannies named him what translates to English as “swimmer” because it was likely he would never walk, so they hoped he would one day swim. There was a low chance he would survive infancy. Even with the best-tending nannies, it was difficult to give him enough food. He was very skinny. It broke my heart.

I had not heard about him in the time that followed that trip, so I assumed the worst. It was to my great surprise when I returned to his orphanage this September that he ran to me on his ankles! He gave me a hug and clung to me as if to say ‘Help me find a family.’ I held him and bawled. He is so special to me. His file is being prepared by his orphanage currently and I hope he will find a family.”

Xia’s next trip is scheduled for January 2017.

If you would like to support CCAI’s charity efforts, you may make a tax-deductible donation at http://ccaifamily.org/Charity/Donation.

Charity coordinator extraordinaire: Xia Zhong!

xia-infographic

Xia wears many hats at here at CCAI. Bilingual and possessing much knowledge of Chinese culture, Xia is vital to our staff. She leverages support to CCAI’s China charity offices and is an important resource for orphanages and officials across China. She is the liaison for CCAI’s charity work and oversees the entirety of the Lily Orphan Care Center operations! Here is an abbreviated summary of Xia’s many hats:

China charity staff supervisor

  • Director of charity offices in Beijing and Hangzhou
  • Direct supervisor of 92 staff members in China

Orphanage liaison

  • Builds and maintains relationships with orphanage staff and provincial officials
  • Encourages orphanages to report children’s files so they become eligible for adoption

China charity program director

Hosting program (REGISTRATION NOW OPEN) China liaison

  • Directs orphanages in preparing paperwork for hosting (arranging for passports, etc.)
  • Coordinates training workshops for chaperones and children in preparation for their hosting trip

We are so grateful to Xia for all that she does here and abroad for CCAI and children in need!

Update on Shu

Shu’s guardian that has been hosting him in the prep and recovery periods of his surgery sent us this update. So glad the Lord has placed Mandie in Shu’s life. She writes:

SURGERY:

The surgery was successful. They revised a few things in his right eye, removed stitches, assessed for possible rejection, and gave him an injection in that eye to halt the beginnings of rejection that were showing there. His vision was also assessed and it is recommended that he begin wearing +3 lenses in his glasses asap. I’m waiting for an appointment to get these ordered and in the meantime he is wearing big grownup reading glasses for school. They are cumbersome, but he’s a good sport and is tolerating them. His left eye surgery was successful as well. Currently he has a lot of stitches in that eye (16, I think) and they said his vision may be blurry. We are seeing him show much more interest in smaller details of drawing and building with Legos. He can also see distance with his right eye (for example when we are driving, he calls out “red light…stop!” or “Green light…go!” appropriately.

He will have a follow-up appointment next week where we will discuss his next glasses, therapies, and recheck his right eye for overgrown vessels (a sign of rejection). In the meantime, the very best thing we can do for him is let him be a kid. He spends hours each day just playing with my kids and learning social skills, jumping on the trampoline, playing with the dog. Every outing is a sensory learning experience for him. He watches English and Chinese cartoons on the iPad and plays several games specially designed to enhance visual acuity. Because we’re with him every day, it can be hard to realize how much he has grown and changed since May, but when I took him to the hospital for surgery, the Child Life Specialist who worked with him last time broke down in tears multiple times because she said she hardly recognized him. He was a “completely different child”. The nurses and doctors could not believe how much he was talking, expressing needs, showing willingness to reason and try new things. That was really encouraging for me to hear.

DEVELOPMENT:

He seems to be developing in English and social/developmental skills at about a preschool level currently. His interest is mostly in baby toys and colors/counting/parroting everything we say. That being said, he impresses us daily with his intelligence and willingness to learn. Many of the autism-like behaviors he was exhibiting back in May have completely disappeared and he is slowly gaining more and more appropriate social skills. He has a very strong will and gets angry when he doesn’t get his way, but is also reasonable and has learned how to ask forgiveness and “make things right” when he has conflict with his “siblings”. We’ve noticed that he likes predictability and routine, so he has a set schedule that he follows at home, regular chores and responsibilities that he loves to complete, and likes knowing what to expect as far as where we are going and whether or not we will eat when we get there. 😉 

His favorite American foods so far are: bananas, yogurt, bread, and ice cream, but he’s a great eater and never turns down a meal – even when it’s something new. He has shown a great ability to form healthy attachments. So far he has not exhibited good skills at interactively playing with other children, but is good at side-by-side play and every day we’re seeing him desire more and more interaction with peers.

SCHOOL:

Our local public school has been such a gift to our family over the last year. They know us well and when I went to them and explained Shu Wei’s situation and needs, they were thrilled to be able to accommodate him. They have a vision specialist on site who is working with him 4 days/week to give him the skills he will need to function in the vision-impaired world. He will begin learning Braille, which seems very wise. Even though his vision will likely continue to improve over the next several years, the fact that his pupils will never be reactive to light means that his eyes may be at higher risk for vision loss as he ages. Because of these surgeries, he will likely always have more vision than he would have had otherwise, but everyone I’ve consulted (including his prospective adoptive family and their local school for the blind) believes that even highly functioning vision impaired individuals should learn Braille, just as people who can hear/lipread still benefit from learning sign language because it connects them to a community in which they can find like-minded friends with similar experiences. There will also be a mobility specialist coming to the school to help him learn to not only navigate the school functionally, but also to teach him skills such as walking and scanning his environment for obstacles. Right now he only looks down at a 45 degree angle when he walks, so he often bumps into things at eye level, so they’ll work with him on those skills and may even teach him to use a cane – something that could help him navigate very bright outdoor environments where he tends to struggle most, relying on the cane to judge the ground so his eyes can focus on what’s ahead of him at eye level, people’s faces, etc.

He absolutely loves school and drives us crazy all weekend asking to go back to school “tomorrow”. When I asked him what his favorite part of school was, he answered in Chinese, “Teacher and friends.” The school loves him and has really come together to work at record speed to accommodate him quickly. They are excited to see his potential and help him grow and develop while he is here. My hope is that beginning in school while he is here will help even more with his next transition.

Thank you for everything you’re doing for this precious boy. We love him dearly.

 

Hosting testimony; Deciding to adopt!

“Having adopted five times through CCAI, we believed we were finished adopting. We then began receiving emails regarding CCAI’s hosting program. Realizing that many of these beautiful children were considered to be “unadoptable,” I knew hosting might be their only opportunity to have a “you matter” moment in their lives. Although we had planned to do other things in the upcoming summer, I found it hard to make plans for anything else as long as I knew these children were out there needing our help.  My heart won over and we applied to host a 12-year-old young man. It was all so surreal to greet him at the airport and simply take him home with us! I am so use to greeting these children via adoption, which takes miles of paperwork before you can call them “yours”!  But yet, at this moment of greeting our host child at the airport, Josh made a quick introduction and then said, “You are free to go!”  Such fun!!!!

Hosting was magical!  Here we were, responsible for this little guy who came from nothing. He was polite, helpful, funny, and a pure joy! Food differences and communication were part of the experience, and just giving him love was enough to break those barriers! To watch this little guy experience “firsts” was amazing.  We tried to expose him to many “fun” things as possible, but it was the little things really… like the time I realized taking him through a car wash would be a treat!  The look on his face as the brightly colored soap devoured the car was priceless!

Hosting was a life changer for us and our little guy!  There were times I wondered if he was homesick or even bored with his experience as we spent life as we typically spend it, which was filled with mundane tasks such as getting kids back and forth to summer school, sports activities and doctor appointments.  However, it was when his China chaperone called him to remind him that he would be returning to China soon, that enlightened me beyond words.  His reaction of pure and raw grief verified just how important this hosting program is. Although it was an extremely heartbreaking moment, I knew that our hearts had met and bonded. I knew this little boy would carry this with him forever… that he was adored, loved and that he was special.

Dave and I had absolutely no intention of adopting again. We did not go into the hosting program to adopt, but once again, to let a little one KNOW he/she is special and to send a message for him/her to never EVER forget how beautiful they are. However, this little boy had such a huge impact on us and through much guidance, thought and prayer, we made the decision to bring him home. His grief as we departed and my grief as he left our home sealed his fate. He will be home forever and ever, and it is my hope that one day he can share his story over and over and perhaps be able to help those left behind.

Thank you CCAI for this wonderful, wonderful experience and for helping these most amazing children!”

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).

 

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 POST: Luo

LUO NEEDS YOUR HELP – PLEASE SHARE HER STORY! This sweet girl is almost 14, and we need to find her a family before she ages out of her eligibility for international adoption in June!

Luo is a beautiful 13 year old girl. She is able to take care of herself very well, and even helps some of the other MinLuoYan (2)children when she can. Luo’s nannies say she is very strong and brave – it doesn’t matter how far she has walked, or how tired she gets, she will continue. When she walks she will sometimes become unsteady and fall over, but she gets up quietly each time. Her nannies say it makes people admire her strength and will power.

Luo had the opportunity to be hosted in the US as part of our Summer 2015 Hosting Program. She had an amazing time here, and for her, the experience confirmed that she DOES want a family and DOES want to be adopted! Luo’s nannies told us that she has been dreaming of finding her forever family ever since she returned home from hosting. She has watched several of her friends be adopted and often asks her nannies “When is it my turn?”

MinLuoYan (3)Luo’s host family loved having her in their home, but was unable to adopt her. They shared some of their favorite things about Luo with us:
“She is so smart, always wanting to read and learn new things. She tried very hard to teach us Chinese, and she was so eager to learn as much English as possible. And my (host Mom) Chinese was the worst, and we would all end up rolling in laughter.

She is a very talented artist. She loves to draw and paint. She loves music and would sit and play our piano and sing. We loved hearing her beautiful, sweet voice flowing through our home. Her spirit just lit up our home and she has deeply touched our hearts.

Luo always helped around the house. She is very organized and tried to keep us organized. She is very independent, and takes care of herself. She takes care of all of her hygiene and grooming needs herself.

Luo has some difficulty walking long distances, but she absolutely loves going and seeing new things. She doesn’t let anything slow her down. She was always ready for the next adventure.”

Please help this brave girl find her forever family!

 

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Yong

Happy Too Cute Tuesday CCAI Families! This week we’d like to introduce you to Yong, a handsome, caring, and adventurous 13 year old boy. PLEASE HELP US SHARE HIS STORY – not only will Yong be “aging out” when he turns 14, but CCAI only has a limited amount of time left with his file!

Yong was hostedWangYongGu (1) in the US as a part of CCAI’s Summer 2015 Hosting Program, and his host family has nothing but amazing things to say about him:

“Yong is a bright and happy 13 year old boy who made a huge impression on our whole family, from my youngest child (also age 13) to my oldest son at 21.

Yong is clever, creativWangYongGu (2)e, fun-loving, brave, helpful, sweet and thoughtful.

He showed great courage to come to a country so far away to live with people he did not know.  He quickly adapted to our customs.  He learned to play our games, taught us his own games, ventured into a swimming pool and loved it, splashed in the ocean, ate many different foods, and was game for any adventure.   Simply put, this child is as stronWangYongGu (4)g and confident as he is sweet and thoughtful. Any family thinking about adoption of a young teen would be very lucky to have Yong in their lives!!”

His nannies in China also think highly of him – they say that he is a good leader, responsible, polite, and sensible. He is like a big brother to the younger children in his orphanage – he loves to play with them, will help push wheelchairs or strollers, help feed them, and will even make paper-cut art for them. His nannies say that “no matter what situation, he will allow his little brothers and sisters to go first; he is very polite child.”

After visiting America, Yong is sure that he wants to be adopted. He often talks to his nannies about his desire to have a mom and dad. Please help Yong find his forever family – he truly deserves it!

Yong’s host family is willing to talk to families who are seriously considering adopting him!

If you or someone you know would like more information about adopting YONG, 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 “YONG FROM SUMMER HOSTING”

If you are unable to adopt Yong, there are other ways to help! Click here to donate toward Yong’s adoption expenses:

https://www.ccaifamily.org/WaitingChild/Child-Profile-Details?ChildId=16428

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”