Why You Should Stop Waiting and Switch to the China Special Needs Program

If you have you been waiting for a “healthy” referral from China or are signed up to receive a referral from another country and have been waiting, you may want to consider making a change.  Last year, 2,040 children entered the United States through Intercountry adoption from China.  China remains the largest Intercountry adoption program and the majority of these children are children with special needs.  However, let’s talk about what China considers special needs versus what we here in the US consider special needs.

In the United States, when we hear the term “Special Needs” we usually think of a child in a wheelchair or in a special classroom.  For the sake of adoptions, please know that special needs can certainly encompass those children, but more often than not, these children have a medical condition which made them “undesirable” in China.  First, China does not have a good support system for families who have a child with special needs. Secondly, because of their one-child policy history, most parents desire a “perfect” only child. Any medical condition, even the most minor, will cause the child to be abandoned.  This means children are available for adoption who have repairable heart conditions, cleft lip/palate, club feet, were born premature, have thalassemia, and various other repairable or manageable conditions.

China classifies their children into “Special Focus” and “non-Special Focus”.  Typically, Special Focus children have more moderate to severe special needs and the CCCWA gives us up to 3 months to match those children with families.  The non-Special Focus children are usually younger and have more minor special needs.  The CCCWA only gives us 3 weeks to match these children with families and they can only be matched with families who are logged-in and who have a valid home study and USCIS approval.

__ Pan Xue with pig art June 2011Lately, we have had much success in matching many of our families who are waiting for children with special needs, and because we have expanded our One to One partnerships and are now working with 3 orphanages, we anticipate receiving an increased number of files for children who would be considered non special focus.  These are the children who can only be matched with logged in families who have a valid immigration approval.  We want to encourage those of you waiting in the China traditional program or waiting in another country program with Nightlight to consider the special needs program.  If you are in this position, please contact us to discuss.  Nightlight desires to place waiting children into waiting families and does not desire to see families waiting in other programs.  Because of this, we are willing to credit these NCA transferring families with fees already paid to another NCA program, as much as possible, toward fees due in the China program.

For those of you who have a dossier logged-in through the traditional program, we encourage you to update your home study and apply for a new I-800A USCIS approval so that if we receive files of children with minor special needs, we can at least call you and tell you about them.  As of now, we are prohibited from matching a child with a family if the family does not have the proper government approvals to be matched.   China places this restriction because they want the children to come home to a family as soon as possible.

It can take 3 to 4 months to update your home study and immigration approval for China.  If you are also completing a dossier for China, it will likely take 4 to 6 months to get your dossier logged in so that you are ready to accept a referral.  Don’t delay getting started as soon as possible.

Once you make the decision this is something you will consider, we will have you complete a Medical Conditions Checklist and provide information to help you research various special needs which are commonly seen from China.  You and your family would have an opportunity to review these medical conditions and mark those you would be willing to consider.  When we received the file of a child which meets your preferences, we will call you to discuss and you will have the opportunity to review the file prior to accepting or declining the referral.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of switching to the China Waiting Child program from either the traditional China program or another NCA adoption program, please call or e-mail Stephanie@nightlight.org or Hannah@nightlight.org.

Nightlight Foster Adoption Family Tells Their Foster Adoption Journey

Foster Family- CrainBy Kate Crain, Foster Adoptive Parent with Nightlight Christian Adoptions

We thought raising four boys aged 15-23 gave us a good handle on parenting. With more time on our hands, now seemed like a great time to fulfill our dream of adopting. The Adoption Exchange website brought to life the children who are so often hidden within our society. Our boys vetoed the idea of another brother, so we began our girl search. And that idea of knowing how to parent? My best friend, a therapist in Texas who adopted her three children, convinced me otherwise! “You are awesome parents… but learn as much as you can and call me anytime!”

An 11-year-old girl seemed to speak to us through her video. She was asked what she wants in a fam-ily. “A mom and a dad,” she replied quietly. Nightlight expedited our home study and we became a certified fos-ter home within 6 weeks after training. Our dream was becoming a reality, but we certainly did have so much to learn!

Reading books on traumatized children became our past-time. We interviewed psychiatrists and thera-pists who specialize in the needs of foster children, and evenings were filled with Karyn Purvis videos. Multiple placements during the past five years meant she had endured much change, multiple parenting styles and in-consistencies in life. We quickly learned that more important than knowing all the answers is surrounding your-self with people who can help you find them. Our new therapist Debbie met with us twice in preparation to meet our daughter for the first time, and advice from Nightlight, caseworkers and my best friend proved invaluable.

Our first meeting was heaven! Five weeks later she was placed in our home, and we thought, “This is smooth sailing, we are really good at this!” She was affectionate and loving, though she more readily bonded with me. Even though we saw no oppositional or emotionally challenging behavior, we all saw Debbie weekly for support. The “Honeymoon Phase” is what they call it, and we got a month. How thankful we were for that basis of trust that was built between she, our therapist and us over those first four weeks. And even though our life has become much more difficult in many respects, the love that is blossoming is truly a gift from God.

A friend who is also the father of boys and in the process of adopting a girl told me that others say they don’t “get it.” Why would someone with a seemingly perfect family delve into adopting an older child? And he tells them, “You don’t have to get it, because I do.” If more people “got it” there wouldn’t be any children without families.

She has now been with us three months, and it will take much longer than that to soothe the hurts she has endured. But it is something we will do together. With love, laughter, tears and prayer. I’ve learned not to be so quick to judge, as now we have the child who at a tall age 11 occasionally behaves much younger in public. I bear defiance and anger that I know is subconsciously directed at events long ago. But more importantly, I close my eyes and envision a beautiful, confident young woman, the woman I know God has destined her to be. One who will achieve her dreams with that “mom and dad,” and a bonus four brothers beside her… loving, sup-porting and believing in her. Forever.

To learn more about Nightlight’s Fostering Love for Adoption Program visit Nightlight.org or read our latest Newsletter.

Making the Decision to Adopt a Child with Clubfoot: Part IV

chinese_crawling_boyAfter reading about clubfoot and the treatment and outcome for these children, you may then be considering if you have the resources to adopt a child with clubfoot.  As nearly all of us would answer if we gave birth to a child with clubfoot, we would definitely be prepared to do what it takes to see that our child got the treatment necessary.

In adopting a child, this can-and-will-do attitude is a plus.  But adoption does include choices, and when you are considering adoption,  knowing what will work with your family’s lifestyle  can make the transition of having a new child in the home much easier. After all, children who come from an orphanage or foster home into new adoptive families can have other adjustment issues as well.

When adopting a child with clubfoot, you may plan on taking your child to an orthopedic specialist, but if your child also has more serious  attachment issues, your child may need  much more of your time than you anticipated. The type and level of care may be different than what you first envisioned.

So here are some questions you may want to ask if you are considering adopting a child with clubfoot:
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