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Archive for the ‘Waiting Children’ Category

5/30/08 Update:  This family now has their new referral, and it looks like things are beginning to smooth out for them.  Pictures of their daughter can be seen on their family website at http://chinacaboose.blogspot.com/ .  Please take time today to join me in praising Jesus Christ for His mighty work!  This will be my last update on this story.

5/29/08 Update:  I am reading great news about this family’s situation on the Yahoo group where I learned about it!  I will post another update as soon as there is official information.  In the mean time, please keep praying for this family.  Their time frame is pretty tight, and they still need God’s direct guidance.

There is a dear family in China  right now that I am in contact with that is experiencing a similar adoption situation that we experienced in 2006.  I would really ask you to pray for them–this is really a difficult time for them, and they are waiting to see what direction their journey will take.  The website where that family is posting updates is at http://chinacaboose.blogspot.com/ .

As a result of this situation, I have noticed that several people are searching The Prairie Family Chronicles for Kara’s story because our journey was so similar.  That happened back in 2006, so it is many pages back in this journal.  To find those entries easier, type “September 2006” into the search engine of The Prairie Family Chronicles, and it will bring up a listing of the entries made on those dates.  The main entries of interest are at the following links:

https://colbylobrien.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/hard-decisions-and-changes-september-19-2006/

https://colbylobrien.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/our-new-referral-kara-joy-mincui-obrien-september-20-2006/

https://colbylobrien.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/we-have-met-kara-joy-september-21-2006/

https://colbylobrien.wordpress.com/2007/09/13/kara-is-officially-ours-september-22-2006/

If you are looking for this information, I hope this helps.  Please take time to pray for the family in China–they really need the encouragement and direction from God that we so generously received in 2006.  Their current situation reminds me just how blessed we are to have Kara in our family.

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5/28/08 Update:  A family just contacted me about another agency offering the Xing Fu program. The agency is Hand in Hand out of Arizona.  They are assigned to the Nanjing orphanage in Jiangsu Province.  The family providing the information has just signed on with Hand in Hand and are very pleased with the agency and process so far.  Hand in Hand appears to call their program United in Hope for the Special Needs Children of Nanjing, China, and more information can be seen at their website  http://www.hihiadopt.org/ .  Thanks to the family that provided this information.  I am glad that there is at least one more agency with this special program!

 

Even though we are not currently pursuing further international adoptions, I do try to keep current with adoption processes and trends because I get asked about it on a fairly regular basis.  It is constantly changing, so it’s kind of hard to keep up with it all.

Today I got an email from an agency that summarized some of the changes involved with Chinese adoption, particularly the special needs process.  I wanted to summarize some of that information here for my readers who may be considering this.

The first interesting point was about non-special needs adoption.  The email emphasized the continued lengthening of the process by stating that the China Center for Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has only matched 72 days worth of log-in dates in the last 12 months.  The wait times for non special needs kids continue to increase, and this agency (along with many others) does not expect that to change any time soon.

Because of this dramatic wait-time increase, many families have opened up to adopting special needs kids.  Unfortunately, there are many changes in the special needs process from China as well.  First of all, photolistings are nearly non-existant or are difficult to access.  Although I understand the need to protect children’s identities, seeing those pictures has helped parents in the past to “connect” with a particular child.  It is harder to find that connection with generic, non-specific listing of gender, age, and broad description of special need.  This has also made advocating for these kids very difficult at best, and impossible in reality.

The next big change for SN adoptions is that the CCAA has transitioned everything to an online system through their website.  Previously, each agency that had a special needs program received paper files.  The agencies that now have access to the CCAA’s SN files have a special computerized “key” to access that information.  Again, this promotes privacy, but it also complicates parents being able to be matched with a child.  I will explain that more in the following paragraphs.

The CCAA now has several SN programs including the individual agency lists, the XingFu program (which I will describe later), and the Shared Agency List.  The individual lists given to agencies are quite limited and small, and the XingFu program is only available from one or two USA agencies, so by far the largest program is the Shared Agency List.  The Shared Agency Program is just that, a list of available children that is shared by many, many agencies.  Although this program does offer the files to the largest number of potential families, this can complicate matching for those families.  The competition for these kids is unbelievable.  For example, this particular agency has its staff member with the shared agency “key” in China, so she can monitor the shared list in Chinese time.  Here in America, most of the files are added during the night, while it is daytime in China.  The kids that have “minor” special needs are literally placed on hold within minutes of being listed on the CCAA’s shared list, so by the time American agencies open the next morning, most of those files are already on hold.

The CCAA also has new time-frame requirements, and there are pro’s and con’s.  They really want these kids placed quickly, which is great.  Unfortunately, it also causes difficulties for the adoptive families.  First of all, if a family is able to get a child placed on hold off of the shared list, they only have 48 hours to submit a Letter of Intent along with several other documents or the child’s file will be returned to the list.  Again the time difference between China and the USA really limits this time frame to 24 hours.  So, basically a family must really have an understanding of the requested special need and its treatments because there will be no time during the referral process to consult with physicians or other professionals.

There are also time limitations on submitting a complete dossier (including the homestudy and immigration approval) when pursuing one of these Shared Agency List children.  Using this program, a family has to submit the completed dossier within one month of accepting a referral.  If the child happens to be on an agency’s individual list, there is a three-month time frame to work with.  So, basically a family has to be pretty far along with the paperwork to be matched with a waiting child.  Again, this expedites the process of placing the children, so I guess that part is good.

This agency is suggesting that families be open to a variety of special needs.  The kids with the most requested special needs are put on hold very quickly, so being open to a variety of conditions opens up more possibilities.  Just a personal thought, though:  don’t jump at a special need that you are not prepared for just to end the wait.  I highly recommend careful thought and a lot of research, which, of course, has to be done in advance because of the new processes.

Finally, I do want to mention the XingFu program.  This, I think would be the program that I would pursue if we were going to start over again.  Currently the only agency that I am aware of here in the USA that has this program is Homeland Adoption Services.  Their website is http://www.hometown.aol.com/brightinfo/ .  This really is a neat program that I would love to see expanded.   The best way to explain this program is the description on their homepage that says the following:

We invite you to explore the possibility of adopting a wonderful waiting child through our XingFu Program! Through agreements with CCAA, Civil Affairs, and orphanage officials in Jiangsu Province, we are currently placing all the waiting children from Wuxi, and Changzhou. The children range in age from under a year up to 12.  There are boys and girls, and most have correctable medical needs. Call us at 845-727-0500 or email:homelandadoption@aol.com.

I have read that there are currently more kids available through this program than there are families waiting.  There are other advantages to this program as well.  The Homeland staff have direct access to these kids and can often provide detailed medical reports, photos, and even videos. Even more information can often be requested if needed.  Families are able to exclusively review files and have more time to carefully consider children and get advice from professionals.  The process is expedited, and families often travel in groups similar to other programs.  Although I have had no personal contact with Homeland Adoption Services, I am a member of their Xing Fu program discussion group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/homeland_xingfu , and it seems that the families there cannot say enough good about the agency and this special program.  So, like I said earlier, I think this would be the route that we would take if we were to begin another adoption.

I would defintely advise any family considering SN adoption to be in close contact with their agencies.  The process seems to be continually changing.  Although this new process is definitely more difficult than what we had when we adopted Kara, if God has layed SN Chinese adoption on your heart, I would not be discouraged.  He will show you the way and will move the world to bring your child home when it is in His will.  We personally experienced this when we brought home Kara.  So trust Him, and procede in faith.

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It has been amazing to me to observe the changes in international adoption since 2006 when we brought Kara home from China.  On a fairly regular basis, people ask me about adoption, what the process is like, what countries I recommend, etc., so I try to keep current about such topics, but international adoption is changing so quickly, that it is hard to keep up with it all.

Today I received the May 2008 Rainbow Kids newsletter, and in it there was a link to an excellent article written by Martha Osborne about the current situations of international adoption.  She is much more knowledgeable about this than I am, so I asked her if I could reprint her article on this site, and she graciously agreed.  I hope this information is helpful.  Her original article can be seen at http://rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=590

Adoption Panic or Paranoia?
Adoption Nation: How The Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America
May 05,2008 / Martha Osborne
 

In the past 15 years, Intercountry adoption has grown exponentially from just 7,000 children in 1990, to just over 23,000 in 2004. Though there has been a recorded decrease in intercountry adoption in the past few years, the total number of children being adopted by US citizens has held steady. The big picture demands that families turn away from exploitive media stories, and focus on the changing trends in adoption.

“Everything’s not closing down, but there’s no question there’s a constriction happening with international placements,” said Adam Pertman, author of “Adoption Nation: How The Adoption Revolution Is Transforming America” and executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a research organization.

Vietnam is the most recent country to pull back on adoptions, announcing last week that it will close it doors to U.S. adopters once an agreement with Washington expires on Sept. 1. Vietnam shut down temporarily in 2003, after allegations of corruption and baby selling plagued its program, then reopened in 2005 to a rush of new adoptions.

Vietnam’s announcement came after the U.S. embassy in Hanoi released a report detailing new corruption allegations, and citing a suspiciously high number of children listed as abandoned, which makes it impossible to prove they were truly orphaned or that their parents knowingly agreed to relinquish them. The Vietnamese government strongly denied the accusations, saying it will shut down rather than deal with what it described as disrespectful U.S. officials. The two countries remain at an impasse

Tom DeFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, which represents international adoption agencies, stated “This is a transformational period for international adoption,” DeFilipo said, “there’s no question about it.”

Guatemala, also a popular county for U.S. adoptions, said on Tuesday that it would suspend the adoptions of 2,300 children by U.S. citizens for at least a month to investigate whether they were handled legitimately. Other countries are changing their policies for different reasons. In recent years China has moved to limit the type of families who can adopt, excluding from its program single parents and people who are obese or take anti-depressants, and most recently the country of Ukraine has implemented a couples-only requirement.

While it is true that many country programs have changing policies or requirements for adoptive parents, this is actually nothing new. South Korea, with the longest standing child-placement agreement with the USA, once was open to singles and parents of all ages. As the popularity of the program grew, the South Korean placing agencies became more restrictive in requirements, placing children only with couples and implementing family-size and age requirements.

While it’s true that international adoption is now at a turning point. The next phase of the adoption revolution, will be smaller countries with fewer children opening up to adoptions, such as Ethiopia. In addition to international adoptions, more adoptions domestically of children in foster care are likely to occur.

The scrutiny, Pertman explains, is a natural part of the growth of international adoption and the process of moving to its next phase. “We want to get adoption to the point where it’s as ethical, as thoughtful, as humane and as efficient as we can make it,” he said. “We want to make sure that adoptions are done right, and done for the right reasons, because kids need homes. We want to see that adoption is done not because demand drives the process, but because the need drives the process.”

The changing nature of international adoption can be for the good, as agencies open programs in countries where they haven’t been before. Ethiopia has grown in popularity as an adoption source, and other countries in Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia are considering programs. There is even talk of the Eastern European country, Bulgaria, opening its doors to child-placement. But the world still has 143 million orphans, and the fact that so few are available for adoption “is a tragedy for the kids,” Pertman said.

DeFilipo’s group and other adoption advocates has launched a campaign to pressure the State Department to settle its dispute with Vietnam and restart adoptions. He pointed out that Washington said last December, prior to the embassy report, that it planned to end the adoption agreement with Vietnam. Then it turned around last week and leaked the report about corruption to the press.

He and other advocates contend the State Department is bullying Vietnam and shutting down all adoptions, when it could work instead to end the abuses while allowing legitimate adoptions to continue. Vietnam remains open for adoptions from other countries.

Thomas Atwood, president of the National Council for Adoption, an advocacy group, contended that frequent turnover among State Department staffers assigned to adoptions is behind some of the problems.

In Vietnam, staff come and go every two to three years, and officials don’t understand the psychology and culture of adoptions, he said. A woman might list her child as abandoned on paperwork out of shame, not because the adoption is tainted. “They’ll go through the paperwork and find something nefarious there when it’s not,” Atwood said. The State Department has said it stands by its findings. Steve Royster, spokesman for consular affairs, said it’s just not true that the U.S. government opposes adoption in Vietnam, or that it opposes international adoption in general.

The U.S. is working closely with countries to comply with the Hague Convention , an international adoption treaty aimed at reforming adoptions and ending abuses. Royster said the Hague agreement will put all countries “on the same page” when it comes to adoption rules and regulations, making the whole process more uniform and less vulnerable to exploitation.

“We’re fully committed to international adoption when it’s the best way to get families for these kids,” he said. The fight over adoption in Vietnam is likely to be mirrored elsewhere, as more countries work to comply with the Hague agreement and as U.S. adoption agencies begin operating in countries establishing international adoption programs for the first time. As Atwood pointed out, “America is not exactly at the height of its popularity right now,” ensuring that longstanding charges of bullying and “American imperialism” when it comes to adoptions in other countries will persist.

Even as international adoption moves to a new phase, old controversies will no doubt follow along. And that leaves the fate of the world’s orphans as unclear as ever.

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1/10/08 Update:  This little girl has been matched again, and her new family can’t wait to bring her home!  Praise God!

1/9/08 Update:  This girl is still available.  The agency has posted video of her taken in December 2007 for interested families at  http://bringinghopetochildren.org/children/china.html at the bottom of the page below the pictures of the children that they are raising sponsors for.  She is so sweet!

1/7/08 Update:  This little girl is listed as being available again.

12/24/07 Update:  Praise God!  I just got word that this little girl has already been matched with another family!  What great, great news!

Original Post dated 12/23/07:  I just received sad news. A little girl who holds a special place in my heart is again in need of a family. Let me explain:

When I was in China, the CCAA granted our request for a new referral. They were very gracious and within a few hours they had not one, but TWO girls to choose from! We didn’t have pictures, only names, ages, and brief descriptions of each girl’s special needs. One of the referrals was obviously Kara. The other girl was younger and had a special need described as “one leg fatter than the other.” God definitely led us to Kara, but the other girl weighed heavily on my heart as well.

Within only a few days of our return to the USA, I saw the other girl’s file listed with IAAP. I was so happy when another family quickly snatched her up! Today, though, I found out that the family who was working on her adoption decided not to travel to complete it. Now she is relisted with IAAP, and they want to find her a new family quickly before they would need to return her file to China.

I can’t tell you how cute this sweet girl is! She will be three years old in January. If anyone is interested in this sweet girl, please contact IAAP at info@iaapadoption.com or call the agency at 423-886-6986
right away.

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12/17/07 Update:  It is with complete JOY and THANKSGIVING to our great God that I can say that ASAY HAS BEEN MATCHED!!!!  Yes, it is true!  God answered so many prayers and brought him a family today!  What a great and mighty God we have!

12/17/07 Update:  This same lady has decided to increase her grant offering for Asay from $3000 to $10,000, bringing his total grant to $15,000!!!  This would cover nearly all of his adoption expenses.  Lord, please help his Mommy and Daddy to find him–even today. 

12/15/07 Update:  A wonderful member of my clubfootadoption Yahoo group has generously offered an additional $3000 grant toward’s Asay’s adoption bringing his total grants to $8000!  Asay has been listed with different agencies for a year and a half, and if he is not placed with this final agency, he may never again have an opportunity for a family.  There is a picture of Asay at http://www.raisinghopeintl.org/yangdong.htm . He is the sweet boy in the red shirt riding on the yellow toy horse.  There are still more pictures and information about Asay available at http://public.fotki.com/CHIWaitingkids/group-19/asay/asay/ . It is my sincere prayer that God will bless the generosity of this donor by matching him with his family for Christmas.  His file is due to be returned to China in January if it is not matched, and that is just too heartbreaking for me to even think about.

11/28/07 Update:  I just saw on Asay’s listing that he now has an additional grant of $4000 through Brittany’s Hope Foundation, so now he has a total of $5000 grants!  He is so precious–Lord, please help his family to find him soon.

One of the cutest little boys that has been on my heart for a long time now has a grant towards his adoption! He is on Children House Adoption’s waiting child list from China.  Their website is at http://www.adopting.com/chi/ .  CHI is well-known for their special needs programs.  They are strong advocates for their waiting children, and they usually place all of the kids with families for whom they receive files.

 When their most recent list came out, my heart was immediately drawn to the little boy identified as Asay.  He is 4 years old, and has one of the most precious little faces that I have seen!  His special needs are described as left foot polydactyly, left lower leg shortened, bulge on the sacrum (a mass of fat).  Basically that means that he has extra toes on his left foot, and his left leg is signifcantly shorter than his other leg.  The bulge on his back is a fatty mass.  His latest update describes a happy, active boy who loves to run and play.  He really likes to kick balls.  All of this is great information because of his special need–he must really be an overcomer! 

Pictures and further information about Asay can be seen at http://public.fotki.com/CHIWaitingkids/group-19/asay/asay/ . 

I am not a medical professional, and have no idea what kind of treatment Asay would need for his foot and leg.  But, I can say that it is an orthopedic issue.  I don’t know how many times I have heard that orthopedic issues can be managed from the people at Children’s Hospital in Denver.  Yes, it may require surgery, casts, etc., but these kids are so normal in every other way and can be helped!  I am sure that this is true with Asay.  His future as an orphan is pretty bleak, but with a loving family, he would blossom!  Even if his leg required amputation, so what?  People get along very well with artificial limbs!

My heart is heavy for Asay.  He is such a beautiful child.  I have been told that Asay has been on several waiting child lists, and this may be his last chance for a family.  I am praying that God will bring him that family soon.

Lois

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There are millions of orphans around the world that need homes.  Adoption is not easy.  On the contrary, it is very, very difficult, but it is life changing.  Life changing for the child, and life changing for the adoptive family.  Bringing Kara into our family is by far the best thing that we have ever done.  It has caused us to grow in so many ways.  It is my prayer that God will lead many Christians to bring home His children.

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This week’s Blogger Friend School Assignment is entitled “Praying for Needs.”  We are to visit others’ blogs, and spend time praying for each one’s needs individually.  This will be a privilege and blessing to do! We are also supposed to share requests that our fellow blogger friends can pray for us.  I have four petitions items that I would appreciate having lifted before God’s throne:

1.  That I, personally, will be strong in my faith and that God’s Spirit would control my life.  

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”  Philippians 3:10

2. That my family would follow Christ and remain true to His Holy Word.  I pray regularly that each of my kids will be true disciples, and that each of them will commit their entire lives to His service.

3.  That God will bring many orphans home to loving Christian families.  Our own adopted daughter has been such a blessing, and it brings me such joy to see others open their homes and lives to these beautiful children.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

4. Our small, country church is currently looking for a full-time pastor.   Please pray that God will bring  just the right man to us–one that will boldly proclaim the Word of God.  We are so thankful for the wonderful interim preacher that He has provided.  It gives us confidence that in His time, God will also provide a permanent pastor for us as well.

To my Blogger Friends–I will be lifting you up in prayer!

Lois

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