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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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.

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.

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Lai

It’s Tuesday, and we have a little cutie pie that we’d like to introduce! Meet Lai – he is 2 years old and will celebrate his 3rd birthday next month. Please share to help us find this happy, smiley little guy his forever family!

Lai is shy, especially around strangers, but once he warms up he is quite the little charmer! His nannies say that he is “full of wisdom and has his own unique views.” Normally at play time, if a child takes another’s toy, there will be tears and screaming. Lai has his own approach – instead he will walk over and take his nanny’s hand, and will show them what happened.

Compared to other children, Lai’s intelligence is normal. He participates in an early education class and follows his teacher’s instructions very well. Even though Lai has bottom and genital malformations, along with a leg malformation, he can walk independently, go up and down stairs by himself (while holding the hand rail), and can freely change between crawling, sitting, standing, etc. Lai is truly 1 in a million! Please help him find his family so that he can continue to grow!

Lai 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 Tailend Duplication Malformation. Please call 303-850-9998 or email waitingchild@ccaifamily.org for more information about this Lai!

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

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!

TOO CUTE TUESDAY: Jun

Happy Too Cute Tuesday! Please meet Jun – a smart and friendly 8 year old who is looking for his forever family!

ZhangJun  (4)ZhangJun  (3)Jun is currently studying in the special education class and is doing well. His nannies say that he is ahead of some of his classmates in school, and that he is able to express himself very well through language. Jun likes listening to music and playing at the sand table in his classroom. He gets along well with other children and is helpful and polite toward his nannies. Jun can manage most tasks on his own – he can eat alone and go to and from school alone, though his motor development is a bit delayed. Jun has a bright future ahead of him – please help him find his forever family so he can continue to grow!

Jun 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 Club Feet and An Upper Limb Deformity.

Please call 303-850-9998 or email waitingchild@ccaifamily.org for more information about Jun!

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

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

ADVOCACY POST: Qin

 

QIN NEEDS YOUR HELP! She has very little time before she turn 14 and “ages out” of her eligibility for international adoption. Please help us share her story so that she can find her forever family!

Qin is quiet and introverted, but has Qin Web Lga good relationship with the other children in her orphanage. She enjoys listening to music and reading, and is about to enter middle school. She is doing well in school (especially in math and English) and is one of the top students in her class! Her nannies say she is responsible and hard working. Qin is a bit of a “girly-girl.” She likes dressing up and wearing her favorite clothes, and devotes particular attention to her hair – she will comb her hair and tie it into a braid when she wakes up.

Qin’s burns are the result of a tragic house fire. Despite everything she has been through, Qin has a positive outlook onChen Xiao Qin (3) life and remains optimistic that she will find her forever family!

We need to get this sweet girl home quickly! CCAI is looking for any family that has a current dossier in China, or is eligible for Returning Special Focus.

If you or someone you know would like more information about adopting QIN, please contact us at waitingchild@ccaifamily.org or call us at 303-850-9998 and ask to speak with the waiting child department. Please let us know you are inquiring about “QIN from CCAI’s website”