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Adopting a child with Cerebral Palsy

March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month!   

The Saunders family passionately believes that every single child deserves a family. In addition, they are equally convinced that the only genuine “special need” any waiting child has is for a family – a family who will celebrate each victory, advocate for any needs, encourage through every struggle, and love unconditionally – forever. Out of their 11 adopted children, 2 have cerebral palsy. Read more and learn about adopting and raising precious children with medical conditions like cerebral palsy. 

My husband is 68, and I am 64, and we now have eight children left at home (making us “almost” empty-nesting – ha!) So far, our five oldest are married, and we have 18 grandchildren. Six of our 18 grands joined our family through adoption, and a couple have significant needs. It is a joy to know that our kids, in essence, have given their approval on growing up in a large adoptive family that included siblings with medical needs and disabilities.

Since we have been doing this “parenting thing” for 40 years with typical children and children with medical needs, we are convinced that raising all kids is hard. And sometimes the ordinary may just be harder! 

Day to day accommodations become a part of regular life.

The Saunders enjoy the holidays as a large family

Ruby and John both have cerebral palsy and move about in wheelchairs. We have added ramps to our exterior doors and modified bathrooms. Our home has one accessible bathroom, which John uses. 

Ruby has quadriplegia and needs total care 24/7. We have modified our primary bathroom so that the vanity is now a piece of furniture between two sinks which we use as her changing table. It’s wonderful! We also added a clawfoot tub for Ruby. Ruby loves her bath, and the clawfoot allows me to easily lift her out because it is already several inches off the ground.  

We brought John home from China in 2016, just before his 14th birthday. He has adjusted well and loves being part of a large family.  

Over a year ago, John got a job at Home Depot. A Paratransit van picks him up daily and brings him home from work. He also goes to a Mandarin-speaking Chinese church and Bible study. Some days he goes to work out at Ability360 (a sports facility for folks with disabilities). He is thriving! 

John uses his vast wheelchair when he takes the Paratransit van. We have a smaller electric wheelchair that he uses when he is out with us. His small electric chair and Ruby’s manual chair can be lifted into the back of our van when we go somewhere. We had the car dealership install side steps to help John get into the van. We lift Ruby ourselves and put her into her car seat.  

Both of our kids with CP have had multiple surgeries. Ruby has not had any surgeries related to CP. Our son John had extensive surgery due to the CP to stabilize his ankles. He, of course, had several doctor appointments as we prepared for surgery. He has had other surgeries not related to CP. 

Would you consider adopting a child with cerebral palsy?

Our treasured children with medical needs have brought us unending family joy and made us better people. For that reason, we couldn’t imagine our lives without each of them. Ruby is medically fragile – each day with her is a gift. Yet she brings unending joy with her sparkly personality and enthusiasm for life. 

The Saunders family

I call Ruby my “wee-BFF,” – and I am 100% certain I have never done anything good enough to deserve the privilege of being her or any of the others’ mom. I am convinced that because of Ruby, the Lord has been so very kind to me.  

We have found that serving those we love with significant physical or cognitive limitations has helped us be kinder, more patient, more loving, and less selfish. 

Our culture tends to make people believe it’s about “me.” However, I contend that the “me culture” has created a self-absorbed lifestyle that leaves little room for others. And amid the self-absorption, I am not sure anyone is happier! All the while, mental health issues are at an all-time high. Could the secret to true happiness be serving others? 

Our family also knows that we could develop significant limitations at any point. So, we strive to “do to others as you would want them to do to you.” Focusing on the needs of those we love has helped us see life outside ourselves.   

Have you thought about adopting a child with medical needs? My advice is to do it!! Could you do it? Great love overcomes significant obstacles. With great love, the beneficial joy of serving others with needs outweighs perceived “risks.”  

If you want to learn more about adopting a child with medical needs, please email us at

Recent posts

Emily Straut

The Park Administrative Assistant

Emily was adopted through CCAI in 2002!  Having always admired the ways that the organization continued to support families even after adoption, she began working at The Park last year because she wanted to be more involved in the adoption community and according to her, “It’s been a blast so far!”

Emily is majoring in environmental science at MSU Denver and hopes to help mitigate the causes and effects of climate change. In her free time, she like to practice guitar, play video games, watch movies, and spend time with her friends and family. 

Bucket List: Visit every province in China!

Contact Information

(303) 221-6688 ext. 170

Ivy Buchanan

The Park Adoptee Program Coordinator

Ivy has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Production Design for Film and Theater with a minor in Studio Art. She had the opportunity to study abroad in London, England and Florence, Italy. After graduating, while visiting an orphanage in Kathmandu, Nepal she had a moment of realization and knew she wanted to work in the adoption community. After some prior experience in post-adoption and nonprofit management, she came to The Park and is really enjoying focusing on and being involved with offering lifelong support for adoptees and the adoption community.

Ivy was adopted from Kazakhstan at 18-months old and is proud of her adoptee identity and her adoptive family. She is passionate about sharing the stories of the amazing people in the adoption community and helping adoptees celebrate their identities. Her lifelong best friend was adopted from China through CCAI. 

In her free time, she enjoys making art (she is working on a series of sculptural paintings of poached animal species), trying new food, catching up with friends, reading, and being with family. She loves to travel whenever possible.

Joined CCAI: 2023

Top Bucket List Items:

  • A trail ride through “Middle Earth” in New Zealand
  • Volunteering for a few weeks at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
  • Sleeping in a hammock on a beach

Contact Information

(303) 221-6688 ext. 205

Colorado Expenses

ExpenseAmountPmt MethodPay ToDue
Application Fee$250Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAIApplication submission
Child Abuse Record Search$35/FamilyCheckCO Dept of Human ServiceApplication submission
IAAME Monitoring & Oversight Fee$500Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAI (Sent to IAAME)After App Approval
First Program Fee (Includes Home Study)$5,700Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAIAfter App Approval
CBI/FBI Fingerprint Search$39.50 per personMoney OrderColorado Bureau of InvestigationAfter App Approval
USCIS Filing & Fingerprinting$775 plus $85/adultCheck/Money OrderUS Dept. of Homeland SecurityUpon I-800A submission
Dossier PreparationApprox. $450-$900Check/Money OrderSecretary of State(s), Chinese Consulate(s)As preparing Dossier
Second Program Fee$5,050Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAIDossier Submission
CCCWA Fee$1,270Check/ACH WithdrawalCCCWA via CCAIDossier Submission
Third Program Fee$5,500Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAIPrior to receiving child match acceptance letter
CCCWA Post Adoption Translation Fee$300Check/ACH WithdrawalCCCWA via CCAIPrior to receiving child match acceptance letter
Court Validation Deposit$200CheckCCAIPrior to receiving child match acceptance letter
Post Adoption Deposit (Refundable)$450Check/ACH WithdrawalCCAIPrior to receiving child match acceptance letter
Visa to enter China$140 (plus courier fee)Check/Credit CardChinese Consulate via a courier/travel agencyApproximately one month before travel to China
US Domestic & International Airfare$1,000 – $2,000 per traveler (adopted child over 2 requires full ticket)Credit CardA travel agency/airline of your choice

Approximately 7-10 days prior to China departure

In China Travel & AccommodationsApprox. $4,000-$4,400 for two adultsACH WithdrawalCCAI (wired to China)Approximately 7-10 days prior to China departure
Adoption Registration and Notarization$800 – $1,000CashLocal government in ChinaIn China
Orphanage Donation(Voluntary)Cash or WireOrphanageIn China
Child’s Passport$100-$150CashLocal passport agencyIn China
Food$700 – $800 per coupleCash/Credit CardHotel(s), restaurant(s)In China
Child Physical & Photo$130-$150CashClinicIn Guangzhou, China
Child U.S. Entry Visa$325Cash or CheckU.S. ConsulateIn China
Court Validation Fee$167CheckCounty CourtAfter U.S. Return
Child’s Colorado Birth Certificate$37.75CheckColorado Vital Statistics OfficeAfter U.S. Return
Lutheran Family Services$250CheckLutheran Family Services via CCAIWhen Home Study is approved by CCAI