7 ways to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month as a Family!

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  1. Revisit your child’s adoption story together and have each family member share from their unique perspective or create a book together through Shutterfly or blurb.com.
  2. Watch positive adoption-related movies as a family.
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green
  • ELF
  • Annie (2014 version)
  • Chimpanzee Documentary (Disneynature documentary)
  • Tigger Movie
  • Despicable Me 1 and 2
  • Kung Fu Panda 1, 2 and 3
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins (age 10+)
  • Lion (age 13+)
  • Easy A (age 15+)
  • Instant Family (age 13+)
  • Found documentary on Netflix (age 13+)
  • Dan in Real Life (age 13+)
  1. Read books together that promote the value of adoption.
  • Bringing Asha Home by Uma Krishnaswami
  • Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel
  • Happy Adoption Day! by John McCutcheon
  • We Match on the Inside: A book to help your child answer questions about adoption by Christine Bunkowski
  • I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb
  • Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk (age 12+)
  • A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life (age 13+)
  1. Celebrate your child’s heritage!
  • Make a meal from your child’s birth country or go out to a restaurant featuring food from your child’s country.
  • Watch a movie or documentary about your child’s birth country or heritage.
  • Visit cultural festivals or museum exhibits
  • Incorporate a tradition from your child’s birth country.
  • Learn the language of your child’s birth country.
Varenyky (or Peirogis) is a popular Ukranian dish.
Varenyky (or Peirogis) is a popular Ukranian dish.
  1. Spread the word about CCAI’s Adoption Services and Orphan Care.

  1. Educate yourself and the people around you about adoption and adoptee experiences  through CCAI’s The Park Adoption Community Center
  2. Get your child involved in AdopTween (ages 9-12) or AdopTeen (ages 13+) through virtual and in-person events!
Adopteen Camp Conference Summer 2021

Support CCAI Charity’s One-one-One Education in Honor of World Orphan Day!

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Shan Shan is receiving specialized services at the orphanage through CCAI’s One-on-One Education Program.

One-on-One Education

Twelve-year-old Shan Shan was painfully shy and insecure when we first met her at the Yingtan Orphanage in Jiangxi Province.  Every day her friends went to school while she stayed behind due to her paralysis.  When CCAI’s Charity Team asked for her wish, she said, “I also want to be a student!”

After discussing with her orphanage director, CCAI searched for a private tutor willing to come to the Orphanage every day and teach her math, art, and language.

In just a few months with her tutor, shy and lonely, Shan became a happy, confident, and social young lady. “I just love my teacher, and I have been trying hard to be a good student,” she proudly writes.

Today, generous CCAI donors sponsor 11 kids like Shan Shan to receive one-on-one education for only $600 a month per child.  Many young people like Shan Shan urgently need instruction. 

Would you consider sponsoring or co-sponsoring an orphan’s one-on-one education this year?

Any amount helps a child to reach their full potential.  The gift of an education and future possibilities are priceless! Please click here to change a child’s life. Choose Orphan Care and Sponsorship in the drop down menu and write One-on-One Education in the comments. You can choose to make a one-time donation or monthly, on-going donations.

Spina Bifida Awareness Month

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October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month! Get to know an incredible family that is raising a beautiful daughter with Spina Bifida by reading below.

On this side of things, it’s difficult for us to believe that fear was what once held our family back from discovering some of its greatest treasures. We were afraid of what we did not know or understand and had not yet experienced. Thankfully, a short, grainy video from halfway around the world would dissipate all that fear, shift us from our comfort zone, and pivot our mindset from trepidation to one of expectant, accepting, and purposeful hope.

Kelley’s daughter with Spina Bifida

In the winter of 2012, we pursued adopting a two-year-old Chinese girl diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Though her medical history was admittedly scary to us, we felt confident we could handle her needs with our doctor’s supportive counsel. We were open to the idea of adopting two unrelated children at the same time. Still, when CCAI called us in the Spring of 2013 with the referral of another little girl, age 3, with Spina bifida, we found ourselves overcome with fear of what her diagnosis might mean for our family. How would we handle doctor appointments and daily medical routines for two children with such extensive medical histories? Our initial inclination was to say no to this referral but to request our agency keep searching for the second file of a child whose needs might be less severe. We also believed that “fears are often educated into us, and can also, if we wish, be educated out.” So instead, we decided to research further, learn more about the needs of a child with Spina bifida, and requested a video be sent showing the little girl’s development. Could she walk, talk, or show emotion? Would she be able to feed herself, move about freely, and one day advance from diapers to big-girl underpants? These things seem so wonderfully insignificant now, but they felt infinitely paramount to our ability to consent at that time.       

Gratefully, that video changed everything.  

It indeed showed a little girl walking and talking. Still, even more than that, it transformed her from a scary, abstract concept into a real person-our DAUGHTER-who smiled, laughed, and was worthy of unconditional love and suitable placement into an expectant, adoring family. We said yes without hesitation

Our daughters came home in the winter of 2014, and we began the hard work of acclimating them to a new way of life, family, and culture. The days were some strange mix of exhaustion, mayhem, and delight. We would, through time, learn about catheterization, bowel management programs, daily administered medications that prevent urinary tract infections and bladder spasms, and legs that tire a little more quickly than is typical. We have even more to learn in the future regarding independence, mobility aids, and how a previously unknown secondary diagnosis will impact our daughter into adulthood. But all of these things pale in comparison to the love and joy our daughters have brought us. They are so much more than the sum of their medical conditions. They are a living visualization of fear overcome by love, ever-present witness bearers to the fact that “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find that he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”   

Both Kelley daughters, adopted from China.

They have made us braver than we ever thought we could be. We went on to bring two more children home in January of 2016, both of which have spina bifida! Our hearts have genuinely expanded to engulf our fears, and we have been challenged to rise above what we believed we could not do.  This adoption has helped us see that we can surpass our own perceived and almost always self-limiting capacities. Love always hopes and always perseveres, but above all else, it never fails. And neither will you. 

If you are currently navigating the adoption process, may I have the joy of telling you, “Congratulations, and welcome to the journey of a lifetime!” But secondly, please consider a child with Spina bifida. After all, the very child you’re hoping for maybe waiting for you veiled in a diagnosis you thought you couldn’t handle.  

                            

The Kelley Family

If you would like to view the profiles or our waiting children with Spina Bifida, please click here and request a password if you don’t already have one.

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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! Meet the Romeros! They are raising two beautiful kids with Down syndrome– their son is biological, and their daughter, Liv, is adopted from Ukraine. What is life like raising Liv? Read below to find out!

Liv is enjoying family time at the Lake.

We adopted our adorable 3-year-old daughter Livia from Ukraine in August 2020. Since Livia has Down syndrome, she has developmental delays and some additional medical needs that require a bit more attention. We have a fantastic therapy team that includes a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, and a feeding therapist. Livia is highly motivated and loves the attention that she gets during her therapy sessions. She is now learning to walk, drink from a straw, and total communication, including spoken words and signs/gestures. Since bringing Livia home just 12 months ago, Livia has already met many of her therapy goals and milestones, and we love to celebrate each of her achievements. In terms of medical needs, people with Down syndrome have an increased risk for specific medical conditions, so Livia regularly has health checks, including bloodwork, eye exams, and hearing checks. 

Life with Livia is terrific, and we are so happy to have her in our family. Livia loves to do all of the things that other little girls like to do, including listening to music, playing with baby dolls, swinging outside, and just hanging out with her parents and three big brothers. She is more alike than different, and her diagnosis of Down syndrome doesn’t define her. My advice to anyone considering adopting a child with Down syndrome is to go for it! These children will thrive with love and care, including developmental supports, nutrition, and medical care. Adoption is not easy and will likely include many highs and lows but in the end, giving a beautiful child with Down syndrome a second chance at having a fulfilling life is such a beautiful thing. I think your son or daughter might just be waiting for you to say YES! We cherish our daughter and show her how worthy she is each day. We are so thankful we said YES!

If you are interested in adopting a child with Down Syndrome, please email us at mail@ccaifamily.org. If you are interested in adopting a child from Ukriane, please email us at EEadoption@ccaifamily.org or click here.

ADHD Awareness Month

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Read below to learn about how the McPartland family is thriving through ADHD.

We do timers for meals, repeating 3 step directions, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact, identifying feelings, and learning how to cope with feelings (breaks or Trauma Release Exercises).

Our son was diagnosed with ADHD, among other diagnoses in Taiwan.  We have been home for 14 months and ADHD seems to be the most prevalent diagnosis. When we adopted, he was 6 ½ years old and full of spunk. He still is! Being a special education teacher, I have experienced many children with ADHD in my teaching career. ADHD was not something that I was concerned about when bringing him home. Keeping structure, routines, and predictability are critical. Also, because of the language barrier, I knew we would need to be drawing a lot of visuals. 

Preparing for our trip to Taiwan, I brought a few things with us: a small notebook for our visual schedule, Woody Goes to America travel book (a book I made of the process of the airport for our son), a sign language communication book with English and Mandarin (our family’s primary mode of communication is sign language), a calendar with pictures of when we would leave and lots of stickers. 

After getting custody, we drew out a stick figure schedule so our son knew what would come next. We could not imagine being almost seven years old, being taken away from the only home you know, and leaving with strangers. We needed him to feel comfortable. We used this technique religiously for months, and what we found is he began to trust us because we would keep our word about what would happen next. This schedule was very daunting at first, but we got good at drawing stick figures! We slowly left blank spaces for “unscheduled times” and changes in the schedule. When changes happened, we talked about how things were unexpected in a controlled environment. We no longer use the stick figure schedule every day. We only use it on holiday breaks when we have visitors or are on vacation (I make him a vacation picture book), anything that is out of the ordinary to help him. 

We do timers for meals, repeating 3 step directions, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact, eye contact, identifying feelings, and learning how to cope with feelings (breaks or Trauma Release Exercises). We do so many things daily that we no longer think about because it has just become second nature to our family. We are currently in the process of our second adoption of an older child from Taiwan. This time around, we are not as concerned about special needs. Adopting an older child can come with many fears. But at the end of the day, these sweet “older children” are still babies who need a family.

If you are interested in adopting from Taiwan, please email us at taiwan@ccaifamily.org or click here.

Update on CCAI’s Charities

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 Zhengzhou Lily Orphan Care Center (LOCC)

Three decades ago, when China opened its doors to international adoption, Lily and Josh witnessed the dilapidated conditions of the country’s state-run orphanages and the lack of training that the staff received, particularly in regards to caring for children with special needs.

Realizing that they could make an immediate difference in the lives of these special children, CCAI established the Children’s Formula Fund in 1995 to help ensure that children in the orphanages had access to proper nutrition needed to keep them alive and strong. The impact of this project inspired CCAI to build its first Lily Orphan Care Centers (LOCC), named after Lily Nie, in 2000, as an orphan care training center to influence orphanages around the country to elevate and strengthen their child care practices.

With a deep conviction that caring for the children still waiting in orphanages is a crucial responsibility of a charitable adoption agency, CCAI has provided childcare, foster care, medical funding, educational support, and disaster relief to tens of thousands of orphans since 1994.

Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China

Even amid the pandemic, CCAI’s charity outreach efforts remain active and ongoing. This May, Ganzhou Orphanage in Jiangxi Province requested assistance in improving their resources to better care for 50 children with special needs. CCAI responded readily, sending in daily supplies, rehabilitation therapy equipment, cargo racks, folding flat trailers, and much-needed medical equipment.

If you would like to partner with CCAI to serve China’s precious orphans, please click here for more information.

Too Cute Tuesday!- Checking in with the Robinson Family

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Meet the Robinsons! We introduced this beautiful family in March 2020 when they were waiting to adopt their sweet son Josh from Taiwan. Adoption touches some families in personal ways, and it changes the course of their lives forever. The Robinsons are one of those families. Rachel and Corey, who brought their son home nine months ago, witnessed the miracle of adoption firsthand through the adoption of their sisters and cousins during childhood. This spark set off a spectacular chain of events in their lives that would eventually lead them to their adoption 20 years later. If you’d like to read their pre-adoption story, click here.

Mom says (like any adoption) that “the time home has had its challenges, but Josh fits in perfectly with our family, and we cannot imagine our lives without him.” His English has soared with 90% understanding of what they say. Google Translate has become an app of the past! Thankfully, Josh still enjoys some TV shows and movies in Mandarin. They think it’s pretty remarkable that he can speak and understand two languages (we think so too)!

Rachel and Corey have discovered that Josh is notably athletic! They are thrilled to play soccer and basketball with him in the fall and spend some additional time hitting the slopes this winter. Their family savors being outdoors, fishing, playing games, cooking, and occasionally eating out at Hot Pot and McDonald’s. Josh attended summer school in America for the first time in June and adored it! He’s currently starting 1st grade this fall.

It amazes us to see how much the Robinson family has grown and transformed. This past year brought many adjustments in their lives, but they have transitioned better than expected in many ways. Their faith is more robust, as they have seen God’s hand in the adoption process. The adoption training has come in handy, and Rachel says that their parenting skills have grown as they learn what works best for Josh. Above all, they are thankful to those who showed him love in Taiwan before they could have their new son in their arms forever.

If you would like to learn more about adopting from Taiwan, please click here or email us at taiwan@ccaifamily.org.

World Sight Day 2021

October is World Blindness Awareness Month and today is World Sight Day, designed to bring awareness to the spectrum of visual diversity. Please join CCAI in celebrating our precious adopted and waiting children who have vision differences!  

Read below about the Puls family, who adopted a son named Mo with low vision from Taiwan:

Adopting a child, especially a child with a specific need will change you. We adopted a child with a vision impairment two years ago. When we started the process, I thought the vision issue would be a bigger deal, but it’s not something that worries me anymore. The hardest part is watching my child work harder than his peers or struggle with more manageable tasks for other children. Having a blind or visually impaired child makes you see the world differently and allows you to notice things you may not have noticed otherwise. Communities have many resources, and local schools have assistive technology that can help children. Some great teachers and advocates want to help, so we’re not navigating alone. Our child has low vision, but his daily life isn’t impacted thanks to magnifiers and other technology. 

Adopting has changed our life for the better. Someone else’s story is now part of you, and you’re never the same. The world as you know it is a different place – a more important place, a more nuanced place, a more broken and yet beautiful place. And because of that, the wins and successes are super high. Blindness, low vision, or vision impairment do not equal a lower quality of life – it’s just different. As I watch my kid run on the soccer field, I don’t think about his vision impairment or fear for his future. I think about how my kid is thriving, happy, and healthy. I think about how lucky his teammates and coaches are to know him and how they’re learning tolerance, acceptance, and inclusion. I’m so thankful he is ours. We could have missed this, and instead, we get to live it. What a gift!

Mo is enjoying his new scooter!

If you are interested in adopting a child with a visual condition, please email us at mail@ccaifamily.org. If you would like to learn more about our Taiwan program, please email us at Taiwan@ccaifamily.org or click here.

If you would like to know more about World Sight Day or Blindness Awareness Month, click here.

#CCAIfamily #WorldSightDay #BlindnessAwarenessMonth #LoveYourEyes #WeCouldHaveMissedThis

Post Adoption Resources

Our post adoption team has put together some helpful reminders and resources as you navigate these unusual times with your family.
Canva - Elder sister and brother studying at home
SCHEDULES/ROUTINES – Children, especially those who were previously attending school, tend to thrive on schedules and predictable routine. And, let’s be honest, so do we. Schedules and routines are hard to stick to these days, but it can be very helpful to have each day planned out as best as possible. For parents, tentatively planning your days (or week) may help take away some of the stress associated with trying to come up with activities in the moment. For children, decreased schedule ambiguity may help give a sense of safety when the world feels generally unsafe. Remember, a schedule can be viewed with flexibility and does not need to be minute-by-minute.
  • Try to add in some fun family nights: art nights, movie nights, themed dinners, read aloud, participate in webinars through libraries and museums, etc.
  • Try to be active together: dance, sing, do yoga, throw a frisbee, take walks or bike rides, plant a garden, collect cool rocks, etc.
  • Have your child assist with picking activities (and even meals) for the week. This may help get them more invested in the plans.
TIME TO CONNECT – Although it may not feel like it at times, this can be a great time to connect with your child. Making a point to focus on your child and how this experience may feel like for them will likely support better adjustment.
  • Spend time doing activities that are meaningful to your child.
  • Use feeling words and be sure to hug each other. Touch matters.
  • Mirror your child’s emotions. Reflection helps children experience acceptance and validation which in turn increases their emotional health and self-awareness
PRACTICE KINDNESS – When everything is out of sync, it is easy to let stress build up. This often manifest in anger or frustration towards others, or even yourself.
  • Be kind to yourself, we can only nurture others when we are nurturing ourselves as well
  • Try to focus on the positive aspects of this experience, such as the gift of time with your family
  • Practice random acts of kindness in your household and try find ways to extend this to others, your neighbors, family members, friends, etc.
RELATIONSHIPS & SCHOOL – If you were not a homeschool teacher before this pandemic, then you are not homeschool teacher now. It is challenging with children attending school online. Most of us do not have a background in teaching and many are also having to work from home as well. Be patient with yourself and remember that your relationship with your child and everyone’s adjustment to this experience is ultimately more important than schoolwork.
  • Instead of being a teacher, try to view yourself as supporting your child’s online learning
  • Remember that some days will be better than others and this is not a reflection of you as a parent in general or a reflection of your ability to support your child academically
  • Reach out to teachers and set boundaries. You know your child best. If there is too much work or your child needs extra support, verbalize this.
  • Change how your child learns – many schools are relying on technology for learning and not every child will be successful learning this way. Get outside, learn through play, let children work together – whatever makes sense for your child, you, and your family
KEEP CONNECTIONS STRONG – Isolation can be debilitating. Try to stay in touch with family and friends.
  • Schedule video chats over Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.
  • Bring back the art of letter writing! Ask if your child would like to create art for others and send it snail mail.
  • Schedule social distancing meet-ups with family and friends if you feel this is safe for your family – Have a bring your own pizza party in the yard, do a drive-by parade, or take walks and visit with neighbors in their yards.
SAFETY REMINDERS – Children may be more anxious, more quiet, more angry, or more attention seeking right now.
  • Abnormal news stories (i.r. empty shelves and long lines at grocery stores) can bring up fears from the past and anxieties about the future. Try to do routine inventory checks with your child. Scavenger hunts are a fun way to remind them where they can find everything! If necessary, make lists.
  • The loss of a school routine, teachers, and friends may cause children to feel a sense of abandonment. Try to build in other ways to stay connected with their peers and maintain celebrations of milestones.
  • Please reach out to an adoption competent therapist or CCAI social worker if you need guidance
GIVE YOURSELF GRACE – It is ok if this is hard. We have never experienced anything like this before.
  • Remember that you do not have to be perfect and your experience will look different from that of other people
  • Set boundaries for yourself – stay off social media if you find yourself comparing yourself to others, limit communication with non-supportive individuals, take breaks if possible from being ‘on’
  • Take time at the end of every day to celebrate any successes, no matter how small – You took a shower? Celebrate! Made lunch? Celebrate! Finished a huge project at work? Celebrate! Made it through the day? Celebrate!
  • You are not expected to do it all, every day. Accomplish what you can and set aside what you can’t for another day
  • If your kids are watching more tv or spending more times on screens than usual, it’s okay. Again, these are different times.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – It is important that you continue to get your own needs met as you work to meet the needs of your family.
  • Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches and a lack of focus. Drink lots of water to keep your brain and body in optimal health.
  • Try to find time for physical activity outside of running after your children. Physical activity promotes physical and mental health and helps boost your mood. It’s science! Remember that even a small amount of physical activity is great! Take a short walk (or a long one), try an online exercise class, practice stretching, do some morning stretches…whatever works best for you.
  • Eat well as often as possible – try to regularly eat healthy meals and include high protein snacks throughout the day, especially if you feel like your blood sugar is dropping and feel yourself becoming irritable. But, let’s be honest, sometimes a bowl of ice cream fixes any bad day!
  • Maintain a healthy sleep schedule – Try to get as much sleep as possible and take naps if needed and you are able.
  • Make sure you have someone to talk to about how you are feeling during this time.
  • Take time for you. Do whatever it is that recharges your battery – reading a book, working in the garden, going for a walk, talking with a friend, etc. Remember that self-care does not have to be time consuming. Even a 5 minute shower can be a good reset.
  • Connect with a therapist online if you feel this would be helpful. CCAI can assist in finding referrals if you need additional support.
Beyond these reminders, the most important thing to remember is that you are allowed to ask for help. CCAI is always here and ready to serve you.
Below are some other wonderful online resources worth checking out for your family. There are many great online resources being offered right now!
Take Care and Stay Well!

The Robinson Family Adoption – A Miraculous Chain Reaction

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Rachel and Corey’s extended family
Robinson 1

Some families are touched by adoption, and it forever changes the fabric and story of their lives. The Robinsons are one of those families. Rachel and Corey, who are currently pursuing the adoption of their son from our Taiwan program, witnessed the miracle of adoption firsthand through the adoption of their sisters and cousins during childhood. This spark set off a spectacular chain of events in their lives that would eventually lead them to their adoption 20 years later.

“The story of our adoption really can be traced back to the late 1990s when Rachel’s aunt adopted her first daughter from China. Within the following few years, there were six adoptions between our families, including our sisters. Our family members all chose to use CCAI as their adoption agency and had wonderful experiences, and so it was a “no brainer” for us to complete our adoption through CCAI.  

Though we have known each other since we were in middle school, we didn’t think we would end up married to each other 15 years later. We had both felt like adoption would likely be a part of our stories in the future. Still, when we decided to marry each other, it was undeniable that we were on the same page, and there was no question of whether or not adoption would be a part of how we wanted to grow our family. Because of our families’ adoption experiences and Rachel having taught in China for four years, we knew we were feeling led to adopt from Asia. 

In early 2019, we began researching different options for adoption as we desired to grow our family. We preferred to use CCAI even though we knew that China was not an option due to the age requirements. Rachel noticed that CCAI had a Taiwan adoption program and that we met the criteria to adopt. Rachel began recognizing a lot of Taiwan adoption connections in her own life. She was friends with an adult adoptee from Taiwan and was also friends with a family currently in Taiwan who were adopting. We contacted CCAI and talked with the Taiwan adoption team and were very impressed with the Taiwan adoption process. After several months of prayer, we decided to apply to adopt from Taiwan in July 2019.

In October 2019, we were so excited to be matched with our son! We recently completed our dossier and hoped to be in Taiwan by this summer. We have been amazed at how much information we have received about our son’s birth family and health history. Receiving the amount of information that we have has been a little overwhelming at times, but it is so helpful to be informed, and we believe it will help us provide for our son when he joins our family. 

We have also been impressed with how well the children are informed about their adoptions. Our son seems to understand (as a 6-year-old can) what is about to happen. We have the opportunity to start building a relationship with him through Skype conversations and care packages. We are relieved to see him excited about his adoption in our Skype calls, and we are confident that Cathwel is doing what they can to help prepare him for this transition.

The Taiwan staff at CCAI has been accommodating throughout this entire process. Whenever we have had any questions, they have been quick to respond and have kept us informed of any new updates and information. Between our experience and our families’ experiences with CCAI, we genuinely believe we are working with an agency with a heart for helping bring families together. We cannot imagine what our families would look like without adoption, and CCAI has played a massive role in making that possible. It is incredible to see how God has orchestrated everything in our lives so far to bring us to this point! We are beyond excited to be the parents of our son and hope to have him in our arms soon!”

Rachel and Corey

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Rachel and Corey bonding with their son via Skype