New Haiti Referrals

We’re happy to announce that we’ve received TWO new referrals for families that are adopting from Haiti (a boy and a girl)! A referral means that a child has been selected for a family, and it’s an incredible milestone in the adoption journey. Congratulations to the families and their new kiddos from all of us at GWCA and CAN, as they are one step closer to being united. We are incredibly excited for them, and we look forward to following the rest of their journey home!

Haiti Adoption

CAN’s Haiti adoption program has both a Healthy Track and a Waiting Child program. Our Healthy Track program gives families the opportunity to be matched with a medically healthy child, while the Waiting Child program helps find homes for older children, sibling groups, and children of all ages with special needs!

Each year there are a limited number of spots available in the Healthy Track program, and they typically fill up very quickly. We are now accepting applications for our 2018 program, so now is a great time to get started! If you’re interested in learning how you can be matched with a child through CAN’s Haiti adoption program, visit our website or contact our Haiti Adoption Counselor Hilary at hilary@childrenofallnations.com or 512-323-9595 ext. 3062!

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Vacation for Our Hearts

In December 2017, a group of staff members, adoptive families, and other passionate volunteers traveled together to Haiti to support the orphans there. For our Orphan Care Team, it was a life-changing experience. One of the volunteers shares her experience below:

“The primary reason we chose Children of All Nations to facilitate our international adoption was the representatives’ passion for Haiti. From the very beginning, we always expressed an interest in visiting the country, and our desire to keep our adoptive baby’s culture and heritage was both understood and fostered by CAN. To Children of All Nations, Haiti isn’t just a Hague country providing Americans the opportunity to adopt a child in need: it’s a beautiful, beloved country that will adopt us as a family.

Prior to meeting our CAN specialists, we had researched Haiti and were astounded by the history of the island and its people. Haitians are no strangers to strife and have experienced a tumultuous past, seemingly always struggling to overcome obstacles. It is not an island for the faint of heart. We decided quickly that today’s Haiti cannot be read about in a book; it must be experienced. We wanted to learn. We wanted to see where our child’s history will originate, the sights and sounds our child will first experience, and how we can best serve our child in continuing their growth as Haitian-Americans based on the country’s culture, beliefs and values. We felt it was the very least we could do to begin our journey as a transracial Haitian-American family.

When CAN introduced the organization’s idea to coordinate an orphan care trip to families in process, we applied the first day the program was open. This was the opportunity we’d been waiting for. Visiting Haiti requires organized, tough leadership with thorough knowledge of traveling there: the community, currency, political stability, lodging, direction, even down to the location of the closest market and ‘Haitian Home Depot,’ as we called it. CAN exudes that confidence. Our representatives were dependable, knowledgeable, informed, and connected. Honestly, it was as if they were residents. And they were so courteous and allowed each traveler to experience Haiti and the orphanage in their own way, on their own time. So while we adhered to a loose schedule to keep our days full and productive, we had plenty of time to reflect on just what we were experiencing there in an orphanage that might be our baby’s current home. It was profound. And, having our representatives to rely on for all of the essentials provided us the opportunity to have a vacation for our hearts. Since returning to the United States, that’s exactly how my husband and I have described it to our loved ones.

Haiti is a dramatic land. It’s a place of extremes, certainly. I knew of the heat; I knew of the poverty; I knew of the earthquake; I knew of the hurricanes; and I also knew of its beauty. What I didn’t know; however, was of the children. Truthfully, never in my life have I witnessed such positivity, spirituality, hope, and gratitude in stark contrast to the environment and circumstances. The children are cared for, no doubt, and they are loved, but their existence is, like Haiti, tumultuous and rough. The children taught me so much, but mostly, that they have no time to wallow in what they might not have because there’s so much life to be lived. I can only aspire to achieve the attitude of optimism they possess.

Our orphan care trip with CAN was an indescribable experience that one can only appreciate by visiting. The smells, the sounds, the touch of holding a child’s hand are experiences so unique to the orphanage and the island that they very quickly intensified the love I have for the child we have yet to bring into our family. I cannot tell you how highly I recommend putting your trust in CAN and making this trip a reality, prior to your prospective match. My ONLY reservation is, candidly, if you think you are anxious now about the length of this process prior to homecoming, just wait until you experience the love and gratitude for your visit in each and every child’s eyes. It was a few days for the orphans, but it will last a lifetime for us. It’s an experience that has changed our lives for the better, especially as an adoptive family to one of Haiti’s littlest blessings.”

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Helping Haiti

In December 2017, a group of staff members, adoptive families, and other passionate volunteers traveled together to Haiti to support the orphans there. For our Orphan Care Team, it was a life-changing experience. One of the volunteers shares her experience below:

“When I first heard of this opportunity, I was just so excited to return to Haiti, as I fell in love with the country and the people my first time around. However, I had no idea how rewarding and encouraging this trip would be in relationship to my adoption process.

I was fortunate enough to get to bring my husband this time, and to show him this place in which I’d loved. Meeting our agency rep was especially helpful because we were able to ask several questions during the trip. We were so happy to learn that she was compassionate and fully invested in what was best for our family and our future children. Of course we’d assumed this before based on previous interactions via email, but this was much better.

Perhaps one of the most helpful parts about this trip was getting to talk with other potential adoptive parents. The adoption process in Haiti is so difficult to explain to others who aren’t involved. It was nice to be around people who understood! We’ve made lifelong friendships on this trip!

What I wasn’t anticipating about this trip, was its ability to eradicate some of my worries about adopting from Haiti. I had previously met some children who are not in a currently accredited creche and I was very worried about whether or not I’d be able to welcome into my family, children I hadn’t previously met. That worry was quickly removed upon visiting this new orphanage I hadn’t seen before and seeing all of the beautiful children that I could easily see joining my family someday. My other prior concern was that I would be taking these children from the place they were meant to be and that that would be selfish of me. Haiti is a beautiful country with beautiful people and exquisite culture. I didn’t want to remove that. But after talking to several older children at the orphanage I realized that they truly did want families. They did want to come to America. And I realized that we can continue to take trips to Haiti as a family in order to keep their heritage alive.

It was an incredible experience and I would go back in a heartbeat!! Thank you for the opportunity!”

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5 Steps to Start Your Adoption Journey

1. Connect with Our Matching Specialists

GWCA and CAN’s matching specialists are here to help you find an adoption program that’s right for your family. Contact us today to take advantage of our free adoption consultation offer and speak directly to one of our adoption specialists! You can reach us at 512-323-9595 or info@childrenofallnations.com.

2. Review Your Eligibility

Each country that GWCA and CAN works with has its own set of eligibility requirements. These requirements are set by the countries themselves, and not by GWCA or CAN. If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for a specific country, please contact us today!

Here are links to some of the eligibility requirements for GWCA and CAN’s programs:

3. Consider Your Adoption Parameters

One of the most important steps to beginning your adoption journey is figuring out what you are open to in terms of your adopted child’s age range, gender, and possible special needs. Often, the more open a family is in their adoption parameters, the quicker they’ll receive a match!

4. Learn more about GWCA and CAN’s Waiting Children

If your family is open to adopting an older child, a child with special needs, or a sibling group of two or more, our Waiting Child adoption programs might be right for you. Many of our Waiting Child adoption programs provide families the chance to play a role in the matching process (in reviewing a child’s file), and often you can be matched right away!

Visit GWCA and CAN’s Waiting Child photo listings!

5. Apply Today!

Once you’ve found the program that’s right for you, the next step is to go submit your application!

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Rumblings in Latvia

International adoption laws and legislation are constantly changing and evolving, sometimes leaving agencies, families, and children unaware of how things will end up. It never gets any easier to hear that proposed changes can negatively impact the overall welfare of the children. That unfortunately is the case we are seeing with Latvia currently. The political climate in Latvia has been very tense lately, since the Minister has been getting a significant amount of domestic pressure to prioritize keeping the children with Latvian families in Latvia. As ideal of a situation this is, it is sadly unrealistic, continues to build more barriers, and narrows their chances from finding their forever homes.

On December 8th, the U.S. Department of State issued a notice confirming that the Latvian government has proposed changes in regulations of hosting programs and international adoption (full notice can be found here). To summarize what is being proposed, they would like to limit the hosting program to only children living in orphanages who are 12 years old and up. For adoption, they are seeking to limit intercountry adoption to only children living in the orphanage or those living in foster care with serious medical conditions.

We’ll keep you updated on whether or not the Latvian government passes this legislation on our website blog and Facebook page. Even if these legislative changes go into effect, that does not change our agencies’ goal to help advocate for as many children as possible. If anything, this is a call to action to help be the voices for these children. If your family is ready to make a lifelong impact on one of these children’s lives, please consider hosting during our summer program or beginning your adoption process. Contact me today at katie@childrenofallnations.com for more information!

-Katie, Latvia Hosting Program Coordinator and Latvia Adoption Counselor

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Cake Packages

By sending a cake package to an orphanage, you brighten up the children’s day! Imagine their excitement and happiness when they discover that a special cake was gifted to them to celebrate a birthday or another occasion. Anyone can order a cake package and spread joy to these kids! Our staff in the country will arrange for a cake to be made and delivered to the orphanage. Afterwards, you’ll receive photos of the children enjoying the cake. Read below for more details!

Haiti

You can order a Haiti Cake Package for $99. For more information on how you can order one, please contact our Haiti Adoption Counselor Hilary at 512-323-9595 ext. 3062 or hilary@childrenofallnations.com today!

China

Send a sweet treat to the orphans in China by ordering a Connecting Hearts Cake Package! For pricing and other information, please contact our China Adoption Counselor Mallory at 512-323-9595 ext. 3033 or mallory@gwca.org today!

 

Please note: When making a payment, please select “Adoption fees and services,” select “AMENITIES,” and then choose either “Haiti Cake Package” or “China Cake Package”

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Updates from Haiti

Our Orphan Care Team is headed back to the US after an incredible trip helping the orphans in Haiti! Even though they stayed for just a few days, they left a profound impact on the children there. We want to thank everyone who donated to Haiti Holidays as well! The kids were so excited to receive their gifts from you. Check out highlights from the trip below!

More updates and insights from the Orphan Care Trip will be coming soon! If you’ve been inspired to help the wonderful orphans in Haiti, it’s not too late to make a difference! Our Haiti Holidays Donation Drive runs until January 1st, 2018. Click here to find out how you can make their holidays special!

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Arrival in Haiti

I’m riding in the back of a truck and the smells, busy streets, and constant honking always make me feel at home–as if I have lived a life before this one in Haiti.

But, this experience has been different for me. The group is all leaving today, and I did feel somewhat anxious about how this would all pan out. Do I remember how to get to the guesthouse from the orphanage? Will they like what I have planned? Will the group get along? These thoughts swarmed through my head as I was waiting for everyone to arrive. Day one came and went, and the rest of the days followed. Everyone was enjoying the activities and loving Haiti.

I have never felt more joy than I have this week. I have had the opportunity to share something with an entire group that I am so passionate about and help ignite that fire in them as well.

Haiti is a special place, and in my opinion you can’t even describe it– you have to experience it.

Haiti children

Haiti Child

Orphan Care Team

I will blog more about this week and what all has happened soon!

-Hilary Clemons, Senior Adoption Counselor/Orphan Care Team Leader

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Orphanage Director Q&A

Pierre, director of the Maison des Enfants de Dieu orphanage in Haiti, provides insight into life in the orphanage and how we can support the children. The orphanage is home to over 60 children, most of whom were abandoned since the earthquake in 2010. It serves as an oasis of hope for children without families to care for them.

1) Can you tell us about yourself and your position as Orphanage Director?

“My name is Pierre Alexis, and I’m the manager of the orphanage. I’m married and have 6 girls… 5 girls, plus my wife [laughs]. I live in Haiti, and we have 65 kids under our care in the orphanage. We have been doing this for a long time, since October 2007. It’s a job we love. It’s like a ministry for us, and I feel like we’re investing in the future because kids are the future. Especially the Haitian kids, where they don’t really have a good situation to grow up in. We are so happy to be able to get them forever families that can give them a better future. I’m so excited to work with CAN to find them families!

I am a pastor too. We have a ministry at the orphanage which serves the kids in the orphanage and people in the community. It’s important for us to make sure that the kids grow up in the word of God.”

2) What do you enjoy most about your job?

“Being with the kids and also finding them families. Whenever I’m in America with kids that were at a certain time at the orphanage, it always brings me a lot of joy knowing where they came from and what is waiting for them ahead. I think this is the biggest thing we can do for kids: give them the life they deserve. So I’m thankful for the American families we have here that are doing a good job making sure that these kids are doing well.”

3) What is the biggest challenge working in adoption?

“The biggest challenge is bureaucracy; it’s the process. We don’t have control over part of it, and you have to wait and wait, and you cannot really predict what will happen. That usually causes frustration, but what gives us strength to continue is the result when we know that the kids will have a better life in the end. This encourages us to keep on doing it.”

4) What are the typical reasons why children are admitted to the orphanage?

“First of all, it’s extreme poverty. We have kids in the orphanage whose parents cannot take care of them and used to eat twice a week and used to find food in the trash. We also have street kids who are abandoned by their parents and have to find a way to live by themselves on the streets.

The third type we have is kids from “restavec”, a creole word that means modern slavery. It’s like domestic slavery, where kids work hard doing adult work because their parents cannot take care of them. Their parents send them to an uncle or aunt’s house, where they work as an adult to take care of that person.

The other type of kids we have is abandoned kids that we found in a ravine or by a river. This includes kids from the government that were abandoned on the street or by bushes, so we have them also at the orphanage.”

5) Can you describe the typical day for a child at the orphanage?

“Usually our kids wake up early, like 5:30. The nannies wake up early and clean them, and after that they feed them by 6:30 or 7. And then the little ones go back to bed to take a nap. For the ones that are ready to go to school, they get their uniform on and have their breakfast, and then they have devotion by 8. And after that, by 8:45 they get ready to go to school. And by 10:30 they get a break. By 11, they go back to school until 12. And when they finish, some stay to do homework and some just go play. By 1 they have lunch. After lunch, they go back to do some homework if they have any, and they give them a bath because they get showered 3 times a day.

After that they have time to play! We have a playground. By the end of the day at 5:30, they get their supper. After supper, they get to spend time watching TV, or we set up a movie for them. After that they brush their teeth, do their devotion, and they go to bed. We try to keep them busy and at the same time give them break time to play and be kids.”

6) What is the caregiver to child ratio in the orphanage?

“That’s a good question. We don’t really define that, but we make sure that we have enough nannies for all of our kids, especially our babies. Actually we have more nannies taking care of babies than big kids, since they require more attention and help. We have 30 big kids and 35 babies at the orphanage. We have around 60 people on staff that includes washers, nannies, security guards, teachers, nurses 24/7, groundskeepers, cooks, and housekeepers. We have two shifts (day shift and night shift) just to make sure the kids get attention.”

7) What type of education do the children receive?

“The kids go to school in the orphanage, which makes it easier for them. We follow the Haitian school calendar, so the kids get breaks like summer break whenever we have them.”

8) What type of medical care do the children receive?

“We have nurses, and in the past we used to have a pediatrician in place to take care of them. Right now we have free medical care from a hospital. So whenever they need to see a doctor, we can go there and see a doctor for free, which is a huge blessing for us.”

9) How are the children told about adoption and prepared for transitioning to a family?

“Since we have been doing this a long time and kids that have been in the orphanage see other kids going home, that already gives them an idea about their time at the orphanage. Also we talk to them about that and let them know that they will have a family to adopt them. Actually when they see their friends with families, they always ask, ‘When will I get a family?’ So they are aware of adoption. We also have bonding trips for families, which prepares the kids to come home.”

10) When do children age out of the orphanage? If the children aren’t adopted by then, what happens to them afterwards?

“Children are supposed to age out of the orphanage according to what the law says. The law says if the child is 16 years old, that child cannot be adopted. But praise God, we never had this problem. Our kids go home, except for one child that was going to age out, but there’s a family that adopted the child. They live in Haiti, which is really good.

It’s always hard to send a child back home knowing that child will be back in a hard situation, where he or she can die. So we are so thankful to God that it has never happened to us. I remember in the past a child was about to age out, and we found a family that sponsored the child to come to the States and continue his studies at school. We just want to do whatever we can to prevent the child from going back to the original situation.”

11) Is there anything people can do to support the orphanage? What items do you need the most?

“There are many things! [Laughs] First of all they can give a donation in terms of clothes, diapers, shoes, underwear, and any baby supplies that they can give us. Secondly, they can sponsor a child. They can visit our website www.fhghaiti.org, so they will find information on where to send the money. The third thing is that they can donate money. We always need money there to take care of all these kids and try to feed them 3 times a day.

Also they can adopt a child! CAN will lead and help them to adopt a child in our orphanage. We’ll be so happy. And another thing is they can come visit us! They can come to Haiti, and they will have a better idea of what we are talking about. They will have their own reading of the situation, and I think that they will fall in love with our Haitian cuties. These are ways they can help us.”

12) Is there anything else that you wanted to share with us?

“I think that every child deserves another life. Every child that comes into this world has a mission from the creator. Whatever we can do to help that child fulfill that mission, let’s do it. Even if it is one child, it will be a big difference. Regarding every kid (let’s say in Haiti that needs help), one person cannot support them alone, but I think together we can make a difference in the life of kids. So let’s put our hands together to change a kid’s life.”

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New Referrals from Burundi!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve received three new referrals for families that are adopting from Burundi! A referral means that a child has been selected for a family. Congratulations to the families from all of us at GWCA and CAN! You’re one step closer to bringing your little ones home forever.

Burundi Adoption

Our Burundi adoption program offers families fantastic in-country staff support and the opportunity to be matched with a younger, medically healthy child. We have seen referrals range from age 1.5 to 12! If you’re interested in learning how you can adopt a child from Burundi, contact our CAN matching specialists today!

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