Staff Spotlight: July Anniversaries

ALLISONALLISON MINER – BULGARIA, LATVIA, UKRAINE PROGRAM COORDINATOR

As the mother of 2 adopted children, I have been a huge advocate of adoption for many years. It has always been my belief if God puts adoption in your heart, then He has a child for you! After working over 30 years in the corporate world, I was fortunate enough to begin working for another adoption agency with the hopes of being able to work in infant adoption. However I was asked take over the Latvia/ Ukraine programs, and since then my passion and my commitment has been for older children adoption!

A year ago, the agency I worked for closed, and I got a call from CCAI – “Would I be willing to join the CCAI family, and continue the Latvia/Ukraine Programs here?”

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since I joined the CCAI team; it’s gone by so fast! So many incredible things have happened – the adoption programs in both Latvia and Ukraine have continued to grow and we opened the Bulgaria program in January 2015. I have been given the opportunity to travel to Latvia and Ukraine, and meet the teams in place over there. We have matched several waiting children in our Bulgaria Program. I have met wonderful families through our partnership with Project 143. I have discovered that every single CCAI staff person has the heart and passion to serve our adoptive families in their journey to be a “Forever Family”!

I am grateful to Josh and Lily for letting me be a part of this organization. In the past year we have almost 110 “older children” in the Bulgaria/Latvia/Ukraine programs be in the process of coming home soon, or have already come home to their forever families. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings!


NANCYNANCY BYINGTON – ACCOUNTING MANAGER

I joined CCAI as the Accounting Manager, at the end of July of 2012. I believe that Family is the most precious asset a person can have and all deserve; so to work in this atmosphere every day is just something that can’t be beat.

My biggest contributions to CCAI over the years was to streamline the payment process for our families, by initiating an on-line payment system and working with Thomas He (IT Director) to create links for our Charitable donations, the Joyous Chinese Cultural Center and for all adoptive families to log-on to our website and make a payment and/or donation at any time day or night!


AMANDA PALMER – CHINA SPECIALIST

I joined the CCAI family last year because after majoring in Chinese and Economics, traveling to China several times and working at an environmental NGO in Yunnan province, my love for China has continued to grow! My passion for China adoption also stems from both my love of Chinese culture and language, and my previous years of experience working with families and children as a teacher.

I truly have enjoyed working with each child’s file and learning about the personalities and characteristics of these unique children. CCAI offered me the perfect opportunity to mix my passion for children and my love for China. Every day I look forward to working with our loving adoptive families and passionate staff here at CCAI. I am so thankful to Josh and Lily for having faith in me to do this amazing job!

One of the most memorable moments I’ve had with CCAI by far was my first match call and creating a new forever family! It’s things like making match calls as well as getting to work with our wonderful families, getting to see all of our adorable children, and working with the amazing women of the Waiting Child Program that make this the best job I could ever ask for!

Staff Spotlight: June Anniversaries

JaimeI had been working for CCAI for about a week when I first heard the Chinese Proverb about the invisible red thread:

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.”

I remember thinking that it was a really sweet thing to say about adoption. I had no idea that 10 years later, this proverb would affect me so profoundly time and time again. What started as a nice sentiment has grown into a daily exercise in faith, hope, motivation and perseverance. In ten years, I have been blessed to witness many amazing adoption stories, but the ones that have always stood out to me are the little details that ultimately had profound reverberations. The twists and knots that may have seemed like the end of the road, that ultimately connected so perfectly, the people that needed each other the most at that time.

I’ve witnessed this thread connect people that turned grief to peace, confusion to clarity, isolation to inclusion, and a shortage of resources to an abundance of knowledge.

The miracle that is this thread is a daily reminder of the significance each one of us plays in another’s story. Making a positive difference in the world isn’t a bad way to spend your day and for that, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization and to our families for trusting me to care for and sometimes untangle the thread wrapped around me.

Sincerely,
Jaime Chmielewski
CCAI Georgia Director
ccaiga@ccaifamily.org


 

HANNAH-ANNIVERSARYI am so thankful to have been able to celebrate my 3rd anniversary at CCAI on June 1st!

The last 3 years, for me, have been filled with moving stories and character-building circumstances. Most importantly, I have found a continual growing conviction in my spirit that every child in this world deserves to know the love of a family.

Prior to joining CCAI, my professional, academic, and personal experiences had instilled in me a deep appreciation for world cultures and advocacy. It has been at CCAI that this appreciation has increased and developed into something much greater. Every year, I am more thoroughly convinced of the necessity for bold voices in this world to speak on behalf of children that have been overlooked and devalued. I am proud that at CCAI, we are one of these resolute voices and resilient advocates!

Thank you to my co-workers at CCAI; Your commitment is incredible! Thank you to Josh and Lily; Your determination is inspiring! Thank you to each of our CCAI families; You will never know the immense effect of your love and commitment! I am honored to be able to be a part of each of your stories.

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa

Hannah Curry
CCAI Travel Specialist

travel2@ccaifamily.org

World Leader In China Adoption Celebrates 21st Annual National Family Reunion In Centennial

CCAI celebrates 22 years of serving the children of the world and the more than 11,500 children already given the hope of a brighter future with their forever families.

CENTENNIAL ­– On Saturday, June 27, 2015, beginning at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Centennial Center Park, CCAI (Chinese Children Adoption International) will be hosting their 21st Annual National Family Reunion to once again bring together the amazing families of CCAI and provide the opportunity to learn more about CCAI and their incredible adoption & family support programs! Throughout the day there will be games and activities for families to participate in, as well as chances to meet with the CCAI US staff, China representatives, and orphanage staff.

CCAI has been a constant leader in international adoption since its founding in 1992. Holding true to the philosophy that adoption and orphan care extends beyond simply coming home, the National Reunion event brings hundreds of families together from all around the country and showcases the best of what CCAI has to offer to their families. Hundreds of families have come together every June to meet their BIG family and have some good old-fashioned fun! Field games, arts and crafts, traditional Chinese dance performances from the JCCC (Joyous Chinese Cultural Center), the Lion Dance Troupe from Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu, martial arts demos by the Korean Academy of Tae Kwon Do, and South Metro Fire Rescue Station 35 will also be adding to the festivities!

CCAI’s staff from the Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Kentucky offices will be on hand to answer questions and meet with families, as well as CCAI Representatives from China – the dedicated people who take families through the final stages of the adoption process and help them bridge the cultural gaps – and staff members from several orphanages in Henan province and Hubei province. CCAI Co-Founders Joshua Zhong and Lily Nie will also be in attendance!

“Our reunion is the perfect opportunity for our family to come back together and reunite with one another. We love to see how our families and children have blossomed since coming home,” says CCAI President and co-founder Joshua Zhong. “Any families who are interested in international adoption are invited to attend to gain an understanding for what adoption looks like and witness the joy each child adds to their family.”

CCAI has been the leader for China Adoption for the past 22 years, giving hope to orphaned children by helping them find their forever families in the United States (and with US citizens worldwide). To date, CCAI has placed more than 11,500 children with loving families and has since expanded into Haiti, Bulgaria, Latvia and Ukraine. In 2011, the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), China’s highest authority for international adoption, named CCAI the No. 1 agency overall among 178 agencies who place children from China.

“It’s really going to be such an exciting day getting to see all our families again, giving them the opportunity to reconnect and even see some of the staff from the US and China they haven’t seen since they went through their adoptions!” says CCAI Applications Manager Hillary Karsten. “Giving back to the adoption community has always been a very important part of CCAI. We’ll also have many booths set up for people to learn about our outreach and charity projects to see how CCAI gives back to the adoptee community and the orphans in China.”

For more information on CCAI and the 21st Annual National Family Reunion, contact Social Media Specialist, John Springli or visit https://www.ccaifamily.org/CCAINews/Reunion-Register.aspx.


 

JOHN SPRINGLI
CCAI – SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST720-484-9703
socialmedia@ccaifamily.org
6920 S. Holly Circle
Centennial, CO 80112

Volunteers Assist Orphanage Staff In Child Assessments

China-2015-551This year, I had the privilege of working alongside CCAI with some amazing people, helping to love on some amazing kids! My name is Autumn Shetley and I am a nurse. My job this year was working at Luohe Lily Orphan Care Center in Henan, China – a trip that was made possible by a ministry called Christy’s Legacy of Hope, started by Karen DePriest in honor of her daughter’s love for orphans around the world.

We were honored to have the opportunity to travel to three different orphanages over about a two-week span. Our team consisted of my mom, myself, and Dr. Cricket (a wonderful pediatrician!). Our mission was to love on the children while performing head-to-toe physical assessments for all the children waiting to be adopted by loving families.

With the help of so many wonderful people, the trip was a success! Our team was very tired and worked hard to see as many children as we could while there. I am proud to say that we saw a good number, but you never forget those that you leave behind. We will always remember the bonds made with the CCAI staff, the orphanage care takers, and, most importantly, the children’s lives we had the privilege to be a part of. Their little faces touched each one of us personally and I pray they each find loving homes!

Thank you to CCAI, Christy’s Legacy of Hope, and our Father God for allowing this trip to be a reality. We couldn’t have done this without them!

CCAI Charity Projects Update

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The children, orphanage staff and volunteers of the Luohe LOCC.

Throughout the end of April, CCAI Charity Director Xia Zhong spent 2 weeks traveling through China, visiting many different orphanages, and speaking with staff and children alike to give hands-on training to keep up LOCC’s high standard of care, as well as to prepare those traveling to the United States for the Orphan Hosting Program this summer.

HOSTING PROGRAM UPDATE

Over the course of her trip, Xia was able to visit several of the orphanages in Hubei and Henan that have children visiting the United States as a part of the Orphan Hosting Program later this summer. During her time at the orphanages, she met with chaperones and children, preparing them on what to expect once they meet their host families and the many cultural differences between China and the United States.
As many of the children have never had the opportunity to be surrounded by so many western gadgets, some of the staples of American life that Xia had to explain to the children included: the difference in American versus Chinese cuisine; how to use objects like the refrigerator, television, microwave and Western toilets; and the difference between a wild animal and a pet.
With a few more follow-up training sessions scheduled before the children arrive, all the participating Hosting Program children are very excited to meet their host families and experience the American family lifestyle! “All of these kids are so sweet and deserve a loving home. Even though it will be a little bit of a culture shock for everyone in the program, I hope that everyone is prepared for the immense amount of joy and inspiration that comes from the program,” says Xia.

MORE HENAN ORPHANAGES OPENING

20While in Henan, Xia was able to meet with orphanage directors and discuss six additional county orphanages that will be opening up in Henan within the next several years and what supplies they will need to care for the children they can house. We are so excited to provide the support they will need through our Children Charity Fund to help ensure their success!
“Once the orphanages open, they will need donations of all the basic necessities: bottles, formula, clothing, appliances like washing machines, dryers, refrigerators, and much more! When people donate to Chinese Children Charities, we will make sure that that money can go directly to the orphanages to help the children who have not yet found their families,” says Xia. Any money donated can be directed to specific items or given to the orphanages to help with general care and maintenance or even foster care for children who can be placed with a foster family in China.

LILY ORPHAN CARE CENTER

14An exciting update from the LOCC program is that our facility in Zhengzhou province has renewed their contract with CCAI! This means we will be able to continue providing loving support with our dedicated and highly trained staff of more than 22 nannies who care for more than 30 orphans at a time, waiting for their families.
It was a very successful trip. 2015 has brought many blessings to Chinese Children Charities!

For more information on Chinese Children Charities please contact Xia Zhong at charity@ccaifamily.org or call us at 303-850-9998. To donate please go to http://ccaifamily.org/Charity/Donation.aspx

CCAI Board Honors Legacy Member

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CCAI Board of Directors and Co-founders Joshua Zhong and Lily Nie award Susan Hendee with the Legacy Award.

CCAI’s above-the-crowd success is in no small part thanks to CCAI’s Executive Board of Directors. On May 13, 2015, CCAI celebrated Executive Board Vice President Susan Hendee’s more than 18 years of faithful and steadfast service to CCAI as she stepped down from her role on the Board and was honored with the Legacy Award by CCAI co-founders Lily and Josh and her fellow board members.

“Susan’s incredible passion for homeless children around the world and her passionate leadership has played a crucial role in the unprecedented success of CCAI in the past eighteen years.’ Praised CCAI Co-founder and President Joshua Zhong.

CCAI Chairman of the Board Paul Rady presented Susan with the Legacy Award on behalf of the entire organization. “Susan is the best example of what a great non-profit board member should be – giving, wise, and tireless. We will miss her service enormously.”

Susan, who has adopted two daughters through CCAI, thanked the Board, President Joshua Zhong, CEO Lily Nie, as well as the CCAI staff for continuing to promote CCAI’s message of love and for helping all the children through the last two decades of family-building.

“There hasn’t been a year that has gone by that someone doesn’t tell me how thankful they are to know my daughters. They have effected so many lives they wouldn’t have had the chance to if it weren’t for CCAI and all the work the amazing staff does every day!”

Our deepest gratitude to this amazing woman who has guided and supported CCAI with her talent, time and passion from the beginning.

Staff Anniversaries in May

This month, we’re celebrating Kimberly Elstun who manages the Dossier Department, Kathi Sundrup who oversees “Other Country Adoptions,” and Cathi Velez who is the CCAI Florida Office Case Manager. Each of these outstanding ladies are celebrating their anniversary with CCAI and have each written a little about themselves and their time here!

Kathi and Kim

OCA Program Coordinator Kathi Sundrup and Dossier Department Manager Kim Elstun.

Kimberly Elstun
This month, I am proud to celebrate my ELEVENTH year at CCAI—can you believe it?! As I completed my undergraduate studies in Sociology with emphasis in Peace & Justice Studies at Regis University, I felt a calling to explore beyond my own backyard and traveled to several countries on the other side of the globe. Of all the amazing countries I visited, China stole my heart.

After an internship in the adoption field and several personal experiences with China adoption in particular, I found myself at CCAI. As a nerd at heart, supporting families through the ups and downs of the dossier paper chase is something I find not only intellectually stimulating, but emotionally satisfying as well. Each family has their own unique story and I am truly blessed to play a part!

I am very grateful to Josh and Lily for giving me the opportunity to pursue my passion with such a wonderful organization, to my amazing coworkers who make each day at the office one of great love and spirit, and all the families who have allowed me to support them in this incredible journey—you each fill my heart and have made the last 11 years so memorable!


 

Kathi Sundrup
I have been with CCAI for 14 wonderful years and currently work with “Other Country Adoption” families. I have two beautiful daughters of my own who are from China and were adopted through CCAI.

Besides working with my families and helping them through their adoption process, one of my favorite things to do is to help the Waiting Child Department, making calls to waiting families about a child who needs a family. It is the highlight of my day when a “match” is made!

In the time that I have been at CCAI, one of my favorite memories is helping a special family bring home their critically ill “little miracle” daughter from Uganda. It was probably the best example of how well the adoption process can work when everyone has the same goal; good-hearted people bringing a child to her family as fast as possible. It is experiences like this that let me look forward to coming in to work every day, knowing that I have a part in helping children and their families through their adoption journey!


Cathi Velez

CCAI Florida Office Case Manager Cathi Velez.

Cathi Velez
I have been with CCAI for one year, as of May 30th. I have a passion for adoption (all three of my children are adopted and I grew up with foster siblings) and was taking a three year break from my career to spend time with my three children. My youngest was starting kindergarten so I was looking for a part time job, when a friend in Colorado (one of my CCAI travel group- all of whom I love dearly!) mentioned a part time job at CCAI in Wesley Chapel.

Since I am a CCAI parent that had a great experience, I applied. And I’m sticking around! I love helping families adopt and seeing children find their forever families.

My favorite memories are talking to and meeting so many of the families and rejoicing with them when they find their child. I have also loved promoting CCAI at various events and sharing what we do. I look forward to meeting so many of the children that I have prayed for along the way and I am excited to meet all the rest of the CCAI crew at the reunion in June!


 

We all want to thank each of these incredible women for their years of dedicated service to all of our families at CCAI. We are so grateful for and blessed with all they do!

Help us celebrate them! Leave your well wishes and happy messages for these wonderful ladies below!

CCAI Interns Say Good-bye

Interns

(from left) Jordan, Elyse, Mari and Reyn.

Every day, CCAI works passionately and diligently to make sure your adoption process is as smooth and worry-free as possible. With the number of families we get to work with and all of the great events and projects happening in our office and around the world, we are always so grateful for our fantastic team of intern volunteers! Unfortunately for us, their time with us this year has come to an end.

Each of our interns have come from different backgrounds; however, it was their shared love for adoption that brought them to intern at CCAI. “Adoption is one of the least talked about, but one of the most important aspects of parenting and [we] wanted to gain a more robust understanding of the entire process,” said Metro State Master’s Candidate Mari.

During their time here, the interns experienced all of the ins and outs of CCAI, helping with everything from Waiting Child Program to Post Adoption and AdopTween to website development! Each one said they learned so much from the CCAI team. “[We] were so excited to come to work every day at a place where there wasn’t a single person who didn’t love their job and came to work with a smile on their face, working to fulfill the mission of CCAI,” said Metro State senior Elyse. “CCAI has taught me how to communicate effectively as a team to meet a larger goal to make a difference in the world.”

We would like thank each of the interns: Elyse, Mari, Jordan, and Reyn for their great work this year and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors! Please come back to say hello, soon!

If you or someone you know would like to inquire about interning or volunteering with CCAI, please call us at 303-850-9998 or email us at mail@ccaifamily.org.

Our Cultural Center Director Receives High Award

YuLiAward

Chinese Consulate General Zhao Weiping from Chicago presents JCCC Director Yu Li with the award for her Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Culture Promotion.

We are very excited to announce that our own JCCC Director, Yu Li, was honored during a luncheon with the Chinese Consulate General, Zhao Weiping, last Thursday in recognition of her Outstanding Contribution to Chinese Culture Promotion!

Yu Li is a 19-year veteran of the Joyous Chinese Cultural Center (www.joyouscenter.org) and has been one of the key players in helping to build JCCC from a single room at the original CCAI office in Littleton, CO to now one of the only Chinese cultural center in the country with its own building! She has taught everything from cooking, games, dances, and language to recording tapes for language lessons and music for Chinese songs.

“I knew from the beginning that our school started out right. We were the only school specifically organized for adopted Chinese children. Our kids have grown up more confident and with role models and friends who look like them. Our school is where kids really discover their roots,” says Yu Li.

#TooCuteTuesday: Yan needs a family!

Happy #TooCuteTuesday CCAI Family! We have a special little girl to share with you today. Yan needs the love and care of a family desperately!

Yan FB
Yan is a very loving and peaceful little 3 year old girl. She is well behaved and obedient. She loves to be smiled at and you can find her smiling all day long! Yan is an introverted little girl who has made much progress since she was diagnosed with epilepsy. It is uncertain when she will have an episode. She takes epilepsy medication and eats a ketogenic diet. The results have been great! Her foster family has not seen her have any seizures recently. Her general limb movements and abilities are all very good. Her cognition and comprehension abilities are also good, but her language abilities are below average. Currently, she is still unable to speak clearly. She is undergoing exercises for standing independently and walking. Now, she can stand using a wall and when her hands are pulled, she can walk. Her progress has been remarkable, because in August of 2014, her condition was extremely serious and she was hospitalized. When she was discharged, she was only able to lie on the mats and eating was very difficult. Yan is truly wonderful and her progress is great, she just needs patient and attentive care. She is a determined little fighter and we know she would bless a family greatly! We hope she will find a home quickly where she can receive great care and the love of a forever family!

Yan is a Special Focus child, meaning she may be matched to a family either with or without a dossier in China and may also be accepted along with another child! Yan is diagnosed with epilepsy, impaired intelligence and impaired motor skills.

Please call 303-850-9998 or email waitingchild2@ccaifamily.org for more information about Yan.

Yan needs YOU to help her find a family! Please share and advocate for this precious and remarkable little girl! Be the voice for Yan!

~Did you know that we have many other waiting children in need of families? Visithttps://www.ccaifamily.org/WaitingChild/WaitingChildProfile.aspx to see more children waiting for their forever families!