Although I knew a bit about adoption and orphans in general, my idea of getting from the beginning (wanting to adopt) to the end (bringing your child home) went something like this...
- Choose the country you want to adopt from
- Choose an adorable sweet photo from a magical list of adorably sweet children
- Fill out a stack of papers
- Get on a plane and go meet your child
Of course, now I look back and laugh at my naivety! When we first started seriously looking into adoption over a two years ago, I was overwhelmed at the starting point: choosing an agency. There were so many to choose from and so many factors to consider. Thankfully, I stumbled on “No Hands but Ours,” a special needs China website and read about every blog post they had on choosing an agency (https://www.nohandsbutours.com/category/im-ready-to-adopt/). Then, I found “Mine in China” (https://mineinchina.com/adoption-resources/), which was also a plethora of information. Somehow, I became part of the Facebook group “Rate Your China Adoption Agency,” which was a blessing to hear people’s current experiences with each agency.
Over and over again, it seemed seasoned veteran’s advice was to make a list of your top priorities in an agency. We narrowed it down to:
- A strong China program
This list made our options a little more narrow and the “choosing” a little less overwhelming. During our time of research, only two agencies (CCAI and Holt) were NGO certified in China, meaning that the Chinese government has put their stamp of approval for being ethnical. We believed this was a clear sign for us and since Holt is not a Christian agency, the “choice” was now clear: CCAI (http://ccaifamily.org/)! The fact that they had a Florida office nearby solidified the decision and we asked for an informational packet.
We were so impressed by the information they sent us, but especially by the story of the founders, Josh and Lily, as told through the book “Bound by Love” (https://www.amazon.com/Bound-Love-thousands-forsaken-children/dp/0615347371). I won’t attempt to tell their whole story, however the short of it is that they are a Chinese couple who came to America, realized how God had uniquely gifted them to start an adoption agency, and now see CCAI as a ministry to unite 12,000+ precious children to their forever families (http://ccaifamily.org/AboutUs/Josh-Testimony)!
One aspect about CCAI that we appreciate so much is that they view adoption as a lifetime commitment. They do this in the “normal” agency way, such as post-adoption assistance, but also in ways we did not see in other agencies. They have a “cultural center” in Denver, do Heritage tours in China, “Adopteen” conference and support, plus much more. We are so thankful that they do not look at our adoption as a one time event or as checking off all of the steps they fulfill as an agency, but going above and beyond to make sure we as a family are equipped and sustained through this lifelong journey.
Throughout our journey to bring our son home, CCAI went above and beyond, even when we had some tricky obstacles to over come. They were extremely caring during our trip in China and have followed up with us since we've been back home. We recommend CCAI to everyone we know!
We understand that many of your hearts tug towards adoption, but you don't know where to start. We hope that by pulling back the curtain into our adoption journey will help others take that first daring step of faith to bring their precious "hao bao bao" home!