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The Amazing Amacks

We started talking about adoption early in our marriage. International adoption has always been on our hearts, but life got in the way and faded to the background for a while. My husband and I always assumed we’d have one or two…or maybe even three or four kids, then we’d adopt. When we decided we were ready to start our family, several months turned into several years until we found ourselves in our thirties, celebrating our twelfth wedding anniversary, and unable to get pregnant.

As a couple, we grew in our faith during those challenging years as our friends and family around us kept having babies. We held onto our conviction that God had a plan for our family and that His timing was perfect, even when we couldn’t understand it. After several years of infertility treatment, we were blessed with the birth of our son Lincoln in October of 2018. He brought our family so much joy and answered our and so many other’s prayers. Shortly after he was born, we started talking about adoption once again. We decided we were ready and grew excited to take the leap of faith into what began our adoption journey.

Discovering CCAI’s Bulgaria Adoption Program

After much prayer and research, combined with the advice and recommendations of friends who had adopted before us, we decided to pursue an adoption from Bulgaria through CCAI. We submitted our initial application towards the end of 2020 and planned to pursue adoption via the traditional route and expected to wait years. The two of us could never have imagined that we would be preparing to welcome our son into our family a short 18 months later!

We submitted our dossier to Bulgaria and settled to wait for a match in October 2021. A few weeks later, we received a waiting child file from CCAI. We had been praying that, when we received a match, we would know that this was the child God had for our family. He absolutely answered that prayer in ways we could never have anticipated. We didn’t expect to feel an instant connection to a child. The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw “Sam’s” photo was, “He looks like us!” The little boy in the photo reminded me of our son, Lincoln, and of my brother as a child. After seeing his photo and reading his file, Nevada and I agreed without hesitation that we needed to apply to adopt him.

The process for a waiting child looked different than the “traditional route” we had expected. The both of us scrambled to update our paperwork and complete the application, and read everything we could get our hands on about his medical needs. At the same time, we tried not to get our hopes up. We weren’t the only family applying.

Hurry up and wait

My husband and I found out that we were selected to parent the little boy we’d already started to fall in love with about a month after receiving a welcome call! The next nine months are a bit of a blur, filled with more paperwork, meeting our little one for the first time through early morning zoom calls, and planning for his arrival. The whole time, CCAI’s Bulgaria Adoption Program held our hands!

So many small things happened during that waiting period that confirmed God had been preparing us to be this little boy’s family. We were so thankful for CCAI throughout the process – their evident care and concern for our family, their kindness, professionalism, and expertise have been invaluable. We could not have asked for a better agency to walk through this process with us. Grayson arrived home on August 10.

Finally Home from Bulgaria

Adoption is most certainly one of the most difficult things we have ever done, but equally one of the most rewarding. We have challenging days. Managing Grayson’s medical needs related to his severe hemophilia and the lifestyle modifications his diagnosis requires has been a huge learning experience. But we can hardly remember what life was like without him.

Our boys are just four months apart and have both been slowly adjusting to life as brothers. Grayson has grown and changed so much in the short months he’s been with us. He has endured so many challenges in his short four years, but he continues to amaze us with his strength, resilience, and zest for life. Daily life with two four-year-olds definitely keeps us on our toes, but we wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Grayson brings us so much joy, and we are so grateful to be his family!

To learn more about CCAI’s Bulgaria Adoption Program, visit our Bulgaria Program Page.

Recent posts

GiGi Pleet

Adoption Program Specialist

GiGi Pleet joined CCAI in 2014 as our China Applications Specialist. She rejoined the team in 2022 after taking a few years off to spend time with her family.  GiGi and her husband have adopted three beautiful daughters from China who are the joy and purpose of their lives.  GiGi is passionate about adoption and furthering CCAI’s mission to find loving parents and permanent homes for as many children as possible and to continue reaching out to children left behind.  When she is not working, you can find her spending time with her girls in the beautiful mountains of Colorado or on an adventure to a new, faraway place.
Joined CCAI:  Originally 2014 – 2020, rejoined 2022
Bucket List Item:  To see all Seven Wonders of the World 

Contact Information

(303) 850-9998 ext. 300

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

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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

CO Team Line 1

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