CCCWA requests photos & videos of children adopted from China

2 08 2011

We hope you will be able to participate in a commemorative book which will soon be published by the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption. This is a unique opportunity to honor the CCCWA’s service to children and to celebrate your own adoption.

This year marks the 15th year of service by the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA). Beginning in 1996, the CCCWA has enabled tens of thousands of Chinese children to find safe, permanent and loving families through intercountry adoption. The work of the CCCWA is a model for the world, utilized the principals of the Hague Convention long before most other countries and conducted all of their efforts in the best interest of children. Under the direction of Director General Zhang Shifeng, in 2006, the CCCWA expanded their vision and programs to serve children not only through intercountry adoption but also through foster-care, domestic adoption, family preservation, and orphan care. Their work has and continues to ensure that a child’s right to a family is not just a concept but a reality.

In honor of this milestone, the China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption’s (CCCWA) 15th Year Anniversary, the CCCWA will be publishing a book commemorating the CCCWA’s dedicated efforts to find families for the children of China. As part of the commemoration, Director General Zhang Shifeng is requesting that adoptive families send pictures and brief stories of their adoption to the CCCWA.

Please consider participating in this unique opportunity by submitting your pictures and stories to the CCCWA or your adoption service provider. The deadline for submissions is August 22, 2011. Pictures can be mailed or scanned and emailed to the CCCWA (see below) or your adoption service provider. If you are sending pictures and stories directly to the CCCWA, please include this release. If you are sending them to your adoption service provider, please contact them for their particular release form.

China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption
Sun Light International Plaza No.16,
Wang Jia Yuan Lane,
Dong Cheng District, Beijing 100027

All of us at Joint Council thank you for providing a loving home to a child in need. We hope you will choose to celebrate your adoption by participating in the commemoration of the CCCWA’s 15th year of service.

Best wishes,



Letters from the CCCWA (.pdf):

CCCWA Letter to Parents and Adoptees

CCCWA Information and Photo Release

300 Lives

14 07 2011

Seven of us walked into an orphanage in rural China, a brightly lit, clean and active place which serves as home for 300 kids. It was, like so many buildings in China, only a few years old. We walked into a building with new cribs (17 to a room), a well-equipped tactile stimulation room and a clean cafeteria with seating for over 200. But what we really walked into was not simply a building. We walked into 300 lives. 300 little lives filled with activities and therapies but void of a mother’s love. Void of their father’s kiss good night. And void of the hope that someday someone would give them a new life, a new reality…a new family.

The orphanage director was rightly proud of the facility, but also clear about the needs that remain – and grow every day. With the birth defect rate jumping over 40% in the past three years, it’s a challenge just to keep up, let alone expand.

And that is why we are here. To help. To partner. To preserve families and create new ones. To connect and to learn. To give a child with a cleft pallet a specially designed bottle that provides life giving nourishment. To share our collective passion. And privately shed our tears To share what we know, give what we can and marshal the resources to fill in the gaps. To give a moment’s love to a child who won’t make it to age 5. To build a sustainable garden and advocate for more. To walk into 300 little lives…and never leave.

By the ninth day of our journey in China, Christina and I will have assessed dozens of children, evaluated eight orphanages housing over 1,200 children and strategized with 22 government officials at central, provincial and city levels. But much like entering the orphanage, what we really did was enter many lives and allowed them to enter ours.

Visiting Orphanages in China

13 07 2011

Today showed the juxtaposition of what is possible with the orphan situation in China.

In the morning our visiting delegation made up of Joint Council, along with NGO, corporate and government partners took breakfast at the hotel before embarking to visit two orphanage sites in Henan province. Henan province is considered by many to be the heart of China – where most of the great civilizations and historical rulers emerged from in times past. A group of American parents (and grandparents) were there relishing the moment of having just adopted – most with cameras out taking photographs of baby’s “first breakfast,” in a few cases with beaming older adopted Chinese siblings looking on, a picture of happiness and joy. The babies appeared to be well adjusted, sitting in their highchairs with smiles for all and clamoring for more cheerios. These kids were clearly ready to embark on a new life with permanent families to care for them.

We then proceeded to visit our first orphanage of the trip. A large complex with an outdoor courtyard, it was built and converted in 2008 to care for children without parental care. Bursting to the seams, it nonetheless was attempting to create a rich environment for the kids that included age-appropriate activities for both fine and gross motor skill development. This included some Montessori materials, arts and crafts, a bubbly therapy tub, sand play and music. For the small two percent of the population that was developing at a normal rate, there was a library and several children were diligently working on their lessons. Yet many of the babies were lying on mats, despite the bustling activity going on in the rest of the building with the older children. On this particular day too they had a number of volunteers – many of whom were a contingency from Joint Council member Half the Sky’s volunteer program, visible by their branded t-shirts. While it is clear that staffing is an issue, when queried, the administration identified the need for specialists – especially therapists, social workers and counselors for their older children. They clearly have a vision to help these children thrive (we watched one boy proudly show us some steps he could not take even 6 months ago) and move on when possible.

The second visit is harder to write about. While, due to the use of foster care, there is a much smaller number of children in the institution (those with less severe disabilities are sent to live with empty nester couples who are paid by the state), the caregiver to child ratio was higher than what we had seen earlier. In several rooms the television served as the babysitter, although the children were not attentive to it. Many children had special needs yet the range of therapy rooms and equipment witnessed previously did not exist. When asked about their needs, it was clear infant kitchens and bathrooms and a space for drying cloth diapers were priorities. The facility also was part of the older state model of care, hosting children and elderly in the same compound. The facility has one shared kitchen preparing meals for all – the children and the elderly. The elderly were sitting in groups in the heat outside looking despondent and morose and, honestly, the parallel between the young and old, behind these walls, is what touched my heart the most.

The abandonment of the majority of these children was most likely due to their being born with medical needs their birth families could not care for. Clearly though the children we saw have been lucky to be found only to be brought to a minimum level of comfort and care. China is experimenting with its first official “safe haven,” endorsed by the Governor of Hebei. It is hoped that a baby, healthy or not, if must be relinquished for whatever reason, will be dropped in a safe and secure place to be evaluated and placed. Clearly this pilot is controversial but the government’s acknowledgment of the abandonment problem is commendable in its forward-thinking. The orphanages expressed a desire to travel abroad and see how care is provided elsewhere – to learn from the outside. This willingness to learn by observation and enhance training is a sign of better practices for both those children who will remain in custodial care and those waiting to join a family of their own, through fostering or adoption.

China Opens Adoption to Single Women

15 03 2011

The China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) has announced that single women may once again adopt in China beginning today, March 15, 2011.

Single adoptions, which once comprised over a quarter of all intercountry adoptions in China, will now be used to find families for Chinese children with special needs.  The new singles program is specific to finding families for children designated as Special Focus.  This designation usually indicates the child has a special need, is pre-school  or school age and has been on the shared waiting list for more than 60-days.  It can also indicate a non-special needs child of school age who has been on the shared waiting list for more than 60-days.

If you or someone you know, are considering an adoption in China, please contact a Joint Council affiliated Adoption Service Provider to learn more about this new program.

Following is the full text of the CCAA announcement.


Government departments and adoption agencies in receiving countries, In order to promote special needs child adoption and guarantee the basic interests of the orphaned and disabled children, CCAA decides to accept the adoption applications from female single applicants to adopt according to the requirements listed in this notice, starting from March 15, 2011:

  • Female single applicants are allowed to adopt special focus children listed on the special Needs System of CCAA.
  • One applicant can only adopt one special focus child at a time, with an interval of at least one year between two adoptions.
  • The applicant shall have reached the age of 30 years and are under 50. For applicants over 50, the age difference between the child to be adopted and the applicant shall be no more than 45 years.
  • The applicant shall provide her civil status certificate. Unmarried applicants shall provide certification for being single and non-homosexual; divorced applicants shall provide the divorce certificate of the last marriage; and widowed applicants shall provide the death certificate of their ex-spouse.
  • The reason of being single and attitude towards marriage. Applicants shall have clear indication of willingness to appoint male figures as role models for the adopted child, and welcome male friends to join family gatherings.
  • Applicants shall have received inter-country adoption training and training specifically for special needs child adoption so as to understand fully the physical and psychological needs of special needs children.
  • Detailed nurturing and rehabilitation plan. Applicants shall be qualified personally and socially for caring special needs children and have wide social and family supporting network which can provide assistance any time.
  • Guardians appointed by the applicants shall provide written statement as consent to act as the guardian of the adopted child. X. If the applicant has a stable relationship and lives with a male partner, t he requirements of couple applicants shall be applied.
  • Applicants shall be healthy both physically and mentally according to the requirements by CCAA for prospective adoptive couples.
  • Applicants shall be law abiding with no criminal records, and have good moral quality and conduct
  • The family annual income shall reach $10,000 per family member, including the prospective adoptee and the family net assets value should reach $100,000.
  • The applicant shall have good medical insurance which can cover the medical expense of the adopted child.
  • Applicants shall be experienced in child caring or be occupied in child-related fields, such as doctor, nurse, teacher, child psychological counselor, etc. It’s best that the applicants have already had successful experience in caring for special needs children.
  • The number of children in the applicant’s family under the age of 18 years shall be no more than two, and the youngest one should have reached the age of 6 years old.
  • Applicants shall be fully prepared for adopting a special focus child.
  • Social workers shall provide the following information fully and timely in the home study reports besides family visit interviews: Adoption motive. The decision to adopt a special focus child shall be well-considered. Applicants shall be capable of caring for a special need child and be responsible for the well-being of the child.

The Answer for Hope

25 11 2010

To learn more about Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Advocacy Campaign-Click Here


By Sandra Moats


The eyes of a troubled eight year old Chinese girl peered from the picture.  From being in China orphanages I knew the look of those eyes well.  We were trying to adopt our first daughter’s best friend when I got a call from our agency.  The woman from the agency said she had both good news and bad news.  I had a referral from China, but it was not the child that I had requested.

I was crushed that we were denied Faith’s best friend whom I knew and loved, but I also knew that God’s hand was in this second adoption for our family.

The next day when our packet arrived, Ralph and I prayed as we held the information about this child’s life in our hands.  She was eight years old and was referred as a healthy child, yet when we viewed her picture we knew she was not healthy.  The hopeless eyes I had seen so many times before in the orphanages seemed multiplied in this little girl.  We knew beyond a doubt she was to be our daughter and we would call her Hope!

A few months later when we were given clearance to travel we met our precious little Hope in person.  Weak from traveling, she was carried to us.  She weighed just twenty-eight pounds.  Her head was covered with a cute hat that I knew meant she might have lice.  Yep, she did!  We all had a head treatment that night.

After we finished signing papers, we left the government buildings we took Hope shopping.  The first request Hope had was for a new pair of shoes.  Her skinny toes hung way over the edge of her well-worn jelly sandals.  Ralph carried her wherever we went as she had no energy and arched herself back while rolling her eyes into the back of her head.

When we went to our hotel room the same actions occurred whenever she needed attention for something.  It seemed to be her way of communicating her need for care.  When our communication barrier was gone we found out that was the way she had learned to communicate her needs when she lived in her orphanage.

After returning to the states we took Hope to the doctor.  She had TB, had suffered severe malnutrition, and had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  She also had short term memory loss.  This made it very difficult to school her as each day she would learn only to forget by the next day.  Her teeth were infected and several were rotted away down into the gums.

Hope slowly began to grow and glow.  The hopeless eyes turned to eyes that sparkled.  She slowly added weight, she was treated for TB, had her teeth fixed, and her short term memory loss slowly healed over the years.

Hope is home schooled.  She is a good student who is bright and funny.  She is now fifteen.  She is a natural chef and delights our family with her gifts of cooking for her eight brothers and sisters whom we later adopted.  She has blossomed into a beautiful young lady who has already brought happiness to many others with her thoughtfulness.

Ralph & Sandra Moats, both ordained Assembly of God pastors, have fourteen children ages eight to forty-six, four are biological and ten are adopted.  The ten adopted Asian children are ages eight to nineteen.  Three of the adopted children were adopted from China directly the others were adopted out of disruption when the original adoptive family felt they could not parent the child any longer.

Today,  the Moats will sit around a table with their family  and  give thanks. Thousands of other children will not. Be The Answer for these children by writing a  small thank you note (or show your appreciation in another way) to a social worker, judge, or anyone else who has had a positive impact in your adoption or somebody else’s  adoption process.

The Answer for Zak

16 11 2010

To learn more about Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Advocacy Campaign-Click Here

The Gift of Treasured Mountain

Our son Zak’s ‘delivery room’ is the concourse of  Terminal C.   He arrived into our family on a United Airlines flight from Beijing to the United States in 2003 as a very small 7 year old with a  little more than the clothes on his back and a name given to him by his birthparent.  This name was Bao Shan.

Zak Bao Shan was born in Beijing, China sometime in the year 1996.  His earliest memories are of poverty, ‘broken’ clothes, and sickness.  He has described how one can catch, cook and eat a rat.  He has described the house he lived in with his biological parents as having no electricity and no running water.  He has described digging with his grandpa in the snow for grub to eat when there was no other food.  Zak has described memories of being very sick for a long period of time as his parents did not have the means to make him healthy.

When he was just five years old, Zak watched his mom ride off on her bike, leaving him on a bench at a busy train station in Beijing with the hopes that someone would find him and heal him in a way she could not.  When Zak was abandoned by his birthmother he was in heart failure and near death.  He was sent to Beijing Children’s Welfare Institute soon after he was found.

In April of 2001 Zak had open-heart surgery where his heart valve was replaced with a mechanical one.  He spent the following 2 1/2  years at BCWI recuperating.  His memories of institutional living are far from fond and to this day he does not talk kindly of his life in a large orphanage in China.

Remarkably, Zak has since discovered an inner beauty that the grey and sorrowful first seven years of his life lacked.

Zak is a constant reminder of what we have to be thankful for in our lives.  On the day he was ‘handed’ to me in Beijing, China, he clutched in his hands all of his worldly possessions, all of his ‘stuff’.  It fit into a bag the size of an ordinary lunch sack, yet he came to me with a smile.  Once again he drew upon something within, an innate gift of strength and spirit given to him by his birthparents to endure the hardships of a difficult young life and an unknown transition to come.

Since that moment several years ago, when we saw Zak’s recognition of beauty and art he has soared with his talents. Simply put, Zak is an artist.  I am at times amazed at Zak’s natural gifts and am saddened to think what could have been if he hadn’t been abandoned.  Truthfully, Zak would be dead if his biological parents had not made the heart wrenching decision to leave him at the train station.  The only way to fix him was to abandon him.  We would not have our son and the world would not know Zak’s gifts.

Chinese tradition dictates that a person’s name is not only an identification but also a way of expressing aspirations and expectations.   When Zak was born 13 years ago his birthparents must have taken so much pride in giving him his name, Bao Shan, translated Treasured Mountain.   They must have expected great things from their first born son.  Sadly the path they expected came to a dramatic end because his heart stopped working properly.  They were left without that all important son so vital to the Chinese culture.  If only they could see their son now, their Bao Shan.  If they could witness how he has lived up to his name beyond his years.   I know they would be proud of the gift they gave to me, the gift of Treasured Mountain.

This was The Answer for Zak, Be The Answer for another child by supporting Love Without Boundaries, which provides medical assistance to orphans in China.  For creative ways to help, please visit their website.

The Answer for Wen

5 11 2010

To learn more about Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Advocacy Campaign-Click Here

Wen (age 7) and I became a family on January 29, 2007, this is also the birth date of my mother who I had lost to cancer 7 years prior.  Wen is from Chongqing, China and was born with Bladder Exstrophy (the bladder is inside out and on the outside of the abdomen); she was abandoned at age 2.5 with her bladder still exposed.  She was cared for in a wonderful orphanage (Chongqing SWI) and with funding through Families Thru International Adoption’s foundation;  Heartland Medical Express, she had two surgeries in China where her bladder was ultimately removed and her ureter’s were connected to her sigmoid colon.

Fast forward 3.5 years, Wen is on target for her grade level at school, actually testing “accelerated” in reading comprehension, has had one major surgery to open a blocked ureter.  This past Spring was the USAG Level 4 State Gymnastics Champion in Ohio for her age group on the Uneven Bars and on Floor, she placed 2nd on Vault.

She is a dynamo, makes friends easily, has a wonderful sense of humor and is the light of my life!  She is a competitor and never gives up once she sets her mind on a goal.

This was The Answer for Wen, Be The Answer for another child by Visiting the National Adoption Month Website to find a local event to attend in your area!

Be The Answer for Song

4 11 2010

Song’s story is one of many for Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Adovocay Campaign. The campaign entitled “I Am The Answer” highlights stories of  children who have been part of the adoption system in some way. Some stories highlight a child finding their forever family while others are not as lucky. We encourage you to take the time to learn more about Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Advocacy Campaign by Clicking Here and then support Being The Answer by completing each task every day in November.


The first time I met an orphaned child who was blind, my heart ached for her.  The orphanage was crowded and loud, and she sat all day on her little chair looking overwhelmed.   I was told that her future would be difficult, as she could not attend public school, and she would most likely never find work.   The orphanage staff told me there was a good chance she would be institutionalized her entire life, simply for being blind.

So when we first learned of baby Song, I knew we had a difficult decision to make.  He had been diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an eye cancer.  Treatment involves removal of the eye, which we quickly did, knowing he could still see with his left eye.  Here he is shortly after that surgery.

Unfortunately, at his next medical exam, we learned that cancer was in his left eye as well.   To save his life, we would have to remove both eyes, leaving Song permanently blind.   This was a very difficult decision, as I knew that without adoption, we could be committing him to life in an institution.  But it was the only option to save his life, and so surgery was done.   Subsequent CT scans have shown that he is cancer free, and for that we are so thankful.  His orphanage agreed to submit him for international adoption, and he is now on China’s shared list.  But sadly, no one has stepped forward to choose him.

In June, I had the honor to meet little Song in person.   Of course I knew from his photos what a beautiful little boy he was, but meeting him face to face took my breath away.   Song is only 2 years old, but he talks like a little adult.  He happily chatted all through lunch, commenting on every dish and asking who everyone was.   Since losing his sight, his other senses have become increasingly sharp, and he could tell immediately when I was near.    His caregivers told us again and again how very smart he is, and they are all hoping that a family will want him as their son.   Without adoption, the reality is that Song’s life has little hope.   But with a family to support and love him, and provide this remarkable and intelligent little boy with an opportunity to go to school,  I know his future can be unlimited!

Amy Eldridge

Executive Director, Love Without Boundaries

(Song currently has an adoption grant towards his adoption expenses through LWB)

Be The Answer for Song  by spreading the word about the challenge and Joint Councils work!  Find our facebook page by clicking here and “like” our page and refer our page to 5 of  your friends!

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