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About Us

Founder's Story

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Lily Nie, CCAI’s CEO and Co-Founder, was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame  in 2008. In 2024, The Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame created a documentary about Lily’s extraordinary achievements in helping orphans worldwide. 

Founder's Stories

A Legacy of Love

In 1992, China changed the law to allow foreigners to adopt Chinese children. Lily Nie and Joshua Zhong founded the Chinese Children Adoption International Agency (now Cherish Children Adoption International) and changed the fate of many abandoned Chinese children, most of them girls and children with medical conditions. CCAI became the largest adoption agency for Chinese children in the world. Today, under their passionate leadership CCAI has found loving homes for over 13,270 children from seven countries.

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A Faithful Journey

Joshua Zhong, CCAI President and Co-Founder, discusses how finding his faith took him on a journey from China, all the way to Denver, and ultimately to the founding of CCAI.

Heart to Heart

By Joshua Zhong

On September 15, 1992, we decided to open an adoption agency. I joked with my wife, Lily, that we needed to be prepared to take ten or twenty children into our own home if some of the adoptions didn’t work out.

Thank God that has never happened!

However, Lily and I and our twins, Art and Amy, always wanted to expand our family through adoption. Time went by.

In April 2004, information for thirty children with medical and developmental needs arrived in our Waiting Child Department. Immediately upon noticing a picture of a girl, I burst out, “She is so beautiful!” 

“Don’t you think she would fit into your family beautifully?” asked one of our staff.

“She asked me the same question. So what do you think?” Lily asked.
I responded with a tentative, “Why not?”

By the end of the day, a file was placed on Lily’s desk. It included the beautiful little girl’s information and photos.

I was not able to go to sleep that night. The little girl’s face was stuck in my mind. I closed my eyes and prayed… When I opened my eyes, tears were pouring out uncontrollably.

God had spoken to me: “She is yours to love. Take her.”

Pictured: The Zhong Family at Anna's Wedding

The following day, I gathered my family. Holding the girl’s photo, I asked, “What would you think if we brought this nine-year-old girl into our home?”

“Nine?!!!” Art and Amy looked at each other with eyes wide and then at her picture. “I guess,” they said simultaneously. (This is teenager-speak for “yes.”) I turned to Lily. Before I opened my mouth, she said, “Why not?! I was just waiting on all of you.”

Like every adoptive family, we had to go through the long and frustrating process of dossier compilation, fingerprinting, completing a home study, parenting training, etc.  The process gave us a new perspective and appreciation for the challenges our adoptive families have to endure to fulfill their dream for a child.

This was what we knew about her: Her name was Gao Jie, and she had a congenital heart condition called Tetralogy of Fallot. In 2002, the orphanage decided to send her file to the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA), hoping to find an international adoptive family for her. Unfortunately, due to her age and heart condition, no agency could find a family for her until her file arrived at CCAI two years later. 

Through it all, there was no doubt that God was preparing her for our family and us for her.

We went to China and hugged Gao Jie for the first time on October 25, 2004, our forever family day. She came to us with a big smile. Her new name is Anna Jie Zhong.

Not every moment of our adoption journey has been easy. We sincerely appreciate other families’ challenges when adopting older children. Still, we would not change one thing about our Anna.

We want to thank our staff who supported us during this emotional process. We thank all the families who have been praying for us. We thank Anna’s birth mom, foster parents, orphanage caretakers, and doctors. Above all, we thank God for His wonderful gift of life and love.

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

emily@theparkcommunity.org

(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

ivy@theparkcommunity.org

(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