A Look Inside Latvia

We work with many different countries for our adoption and Orphan Hosting programs, each with it’s own culture and regulations. While in many ways this is ideal as each program has something new and unique to offer, it also means that each program functions in its own way, often times presenting many unanticipated obstacles. Understandably, these obstacles can be very frustrating for our families, no matter how prepared they are going into the process. For this reason, we have reached out to one of the families who has participated in both our Latvia hosting and adoption programs to ask for their thoughts on the process:

I Just wanted to discuss a few things that seem to be common issues with adoptions from Latvia. It’s no fun to talk about, but I thought it was important that everyone be aware of these in order to have realistic expectations when considering moving forward with adoption, particularly after hosting.

During our adoption process I’ve taken the opportunity to do A LOT of research on Latvia adoptions (like, to the point of obsession y’all). One of the things I have noticed across the board for adoptions from Latvia is the amount of hurtles almost all of them must overcome, many unsuccessfully. Again, none of these are related to the adoption agency, but they often get blamed because people are very emotional and may feel like they were ill-informed going into the situation. This seems to be common with families who have hosted and only have interest in the adoption of one particular child or sibling group. I know it can be discouraging to talk about the negatives with a family who is at the beginning of the adoption process, but setting up realistic expectations can be super important with families who go through stress, anxiety, and many times loss, during the journey. All of these aren’t specific to our experience, but again, I do tons of reading and see these complaints most often. At the bottom are my most used resources for info, mostly Facebook pages because they contain up-to date stuff and real life, unbiased situations.

Possible Challenges:

The Children Decide
The children are asked multiple times during the adoption process if they want to go to America with their potential adoptive family. The Latvian adoption court takes their opinion very seriously (even when the child is young). There may be influence on the child to stay in Latvia by friends, family or orphanages or the child may be too afraid of leaving everything they have ever known. It is common for a child to want to stay in America while here, but change their mind after returning home. If their answer is no, then you will not be allowed to adopt at that time. You may be able to host again (if the child is willing) and then re-approach the courts at a later time, but paperwork and fees may need to be resubmitted depending on the length of time that has passed.

Family
Even though parental rights may have been terminated, it may be, that a member of bio family will fight for their rights back when they are informed about an international adoption. If the child is in a foster family, they may choose to proceed with adoption.  The courts will do what is in the best interest of the child, and many times, they view that as staying in Latvia.

In-Country Delays
Delays in the Orphan Court system are common. As in most Eastern European countries, holidays are taken regularly and the courts shut down. Many other factors influence the pace of an adoption!

Availability of Information
If you are adopting a child you have hosted, they may not be on the international adoption list. If that is the case, you will not get information listing your child’s medical history, family history and potential disabilities until the time of your referral, which is just before the first trip. After receiving the referral, you will give your official answer as to adopt the child(ren) or not.

Schooling Upon Arrival
If you choose to take your child(ren) home after the first trip, they will be traveling on a visa that does not permit enrollment in school. You do have the option to home school, or have them ‘visit’ a school for no more than 18 hours a week for subjects like art, gym, lunch, music ect.

Transition from Hosting to Adoption
If you have hosted before, be prepared for things to be different once the adoption is complete. Hosting is a month long vacation and now it’s for real. People treat acquaintances (even close ones) differently than they do family, and sometimes family gets the worst of us. Remember these kids are coming from a place of fear, instability and trauma (even if you didn’t notice any signs during hosting). That doesn’t just go away…ever!

Positives of Latvia Adoption:

On a happier note, I do think there are SO MANY positives regarding Latvia adoption!

Children Are Cared For
The Latvian orphan courts truly care about the well being of the children in their care. Additionally, the children are well taken care of when in an orphanage setting or in a foster family. Whenever possible, foster families are utilized, making adjustment into a family as setting smooth as possible.

Home After First Trip!
Unlike many adoption programs where families are unable to bring their child home until the final trip, Latvia gives families the opportunity to take their kiddo home with them after the first court hearing on the trip so that they can start bonding!

Option to Host
Many older children are available for hosting, so you can get to know them before deciding to adopt.

Children Learn English
Children are taught English in school. Many are fluent, or quickly learn when in the US.

Positives of Hosting

  • Hosting our kiddo has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives!
  • We had a connection with our host child right away, despite some language barriers.
  • It’s wonderful to see her experience things for the first time.
  • She learns so much each time she visits (we’ve hosted multiple times) and is completely fluent in English now!
  • We bond with her more and more each trip. She has close relationships with us and our families. She also has friends in the US that she looks forward to visiting each time.
  • We get to provide our kiddo with new experiences and skills like theater class and swim lessons.
  • We also send her home with warm clothes. It’s good to know that we can help be comfortable even when we are far away.

Working With CAN

The CAN staff is friendly and helpful! We have come to know many of their staff members like family. The Latvian Lawyer that CAN uses is a hard worker. Many emails to her are answered right a way despite an 8 hour time difference. She has fought hard for our case and seems to have a great report with our judge.
 
List of Resources
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Haiti’s Waiting Children

Haiti Waiting Child Adoption

CAN’s Haiti adoption program, like many others, has both a Healthy Track and a Waiting Child program. Choosing the program that fits your family’s adoption desires is simply a matter of deciding what you’re open to in terms of age range, special needs and sibling groups. For families that feel a younger, medically healthy child would be the best fit, our Healthy Track program is typically the best fit. For families that have a wider age range, are open to medical needs, or would like to adopt a sibling group, however, our Haiti Waiting Child adoption program is a great option!

Below are a few of the Waiting Children from Haiti that we’re currently advocating for. If you would like more information on any of these kiddos, or to find out how you can start your adoption through our Haiti program, contact CAN today!

Meet the Kids!

Emma

Emma is an adorable little girl who just turned six years old! She was brought to the orphanage when she was just one and a half years old, and has been living there ever since.

Emma is an active girl who likes to play outside and is full of life and energy. She enjoys writing and coloring, and blowing kisses to those around her. She likes to be the center of attention, and is often found helping out with the younger children around the orphanage. Her caretakers say that she is very sweet, and she has earned herself the nickname “Ti Manmi,” which means “Little Mommy” in creole. 

Gavin, Grant & Grayson

These three brothers are as close as can be! They have been nicknamed the “G Triplets” because all of their names start with the letter G. These incredible 12 year old brothers told our representatives that they’re all best friends with the same favorite colors, blue and yellow. All three of them hope to become teachers or pastors!

For more information about these amazing brothers, contact our Haiti Waiting Child adoption specialist, or visit our photo listing to request their files!

Wilson

Wilson is an incredibly sweet boy who was brought to the orphanage seven years ago after being found in a ravine close by. One of our Haiti adoption counselors had the chance to visit with Wilson during a trip to Haiti in early 2016, and she said he is the happiest kiddo you’ll ever meet.

Wilson can always be seen with a smile on his face, and he doesn’t let anything get him down. His caretakers said the following about him:

“Wilson does really good walking with his walker, he tries so hard. He is a very happy boy and just lights up a room. He is a favorite with all the teams. He loves to play and be outside with the other kids. He loves school! He eats well and sleeps well to. He has a new nurse that helps him and the other special needs children. She does a great job caring for the children.”

We are so hopeful that Wilson will find his forever family very soon. Contact CAN to learn how you can be matched with him through our Haiti Waiting Child adoption program.

Is your family open to adopting a child with HIV?

One of the creches that Children of All Nations is partnered with recently informed us that they’re looking to place a child who has been diagnosed with HIV. If you’re open to adopting a child with HIV and you’re interested in learning more, contact hilary@childrenofallnations.com for more information.

Haiti Adoption Resources

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A Family Perspective – Haiti Adoption

family

Why Haiti?

There are many factors which families take into consideration when choosing a country to adopt from. For some it’s a matter of where they’ll be able to find a child who fits their desired age range and level of medical needs, while others may be looking for more of a connection to their heritage or cultural beliefs.

The Lobeda family found themselves drawn to adopt from Haiti when they saw the need brought about by poverty and realized that they could make a difference for one child.

Our family is so excited to be adopting a son from Haiti! We feel called to adopt from Haiti because of the significant need. Haiti as a country is so poor and there are so many children in need of homes and a family. We feel we can make the greatest impact in adopting from Haiti and can’t wait to be matched with our son! We’re so excited to give love, family and a home to the child God chooses to bring into our family!

We have known for a long time that international adoption was in our future and we are so excited to finally be starting this journey. We believe that through adoption, we will complete our family with the son God chooses for us. It means we get the opportunity to love, care for and make a world of difference in our future son’s life.

Learn more about the Lobeda family’s journey here!

The Lobeda family is currently in process with our Haiti adoption program and working towards submitting their paperwork. We are so excited to continue following their journey as they get closer and closer to bringing their son into their family!

Haiti Adoption

CAN’s Haiti adoption program has both a Healthy Track and a Waiting Child program, making it a great option for families with varying adoption desires. As such, families in this program are able to be matched with younger healthy children, sibling groups, or children of all ages with some sort of medical need.

Each year CAN has a limited number of spaces available in our Haiti adoption program, and our spots for 2017 are already almost full! If your family is interested in pursuing an adoption from Haiti, visit our website or contact our CAN adoption specialists today to learn how you can begin your journey!

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12-Year-Old Triplets Waiting in Haiti!

Over the past several years, CAN’s matching specialists have advocated for these incredible brothers with the hope of finding them their forever family. They are incredibly sweet boys who we feel would truly thrive with the love and support of a family. If you’re interested in learning how your family can be matched with these boys visit CAN’s Waiting Child photo listing to request their file or contact our matching specialists today!

The Why’s of Adoption – by Hilary (CAN’s Haiti Matching Specialist)

I have a lot of moments during my day where I question why the adoption process is the way it is, who I could potentially connect with to help get our kiddos out and why there is not more urgency to unite children with their forever families. Working with 6 different countries has taught me a lot, and not just about international adoption but the various structures in different countries. Now, of course I realized early on that the structure of Haiti would be more of a no structure situation but with the amount of help stateside I am always hopeful that we can help contribute ideas, develop more structure for adoption, and simply co-exist together in a more beneficial way to create a streamline adoption process on behalf of the children.

When the adoption process has hiccups or delays it means sibling groups like the G-Triplets (Gavin, Grant and Grayson) must wait even longer to find a forever home and family.  I met this amazing 12 year old trio and I can personally say that they are some of the sweetest and well mannered boys that I have ever met. They showed me around their creche, introduced me to their friends, and we even practiced speaking English!

These brothers have been waiting for a long time to be adopted and even after seeing their friends leave the creche year after year they remain hopeful that the planes they see flying above might be bringing their family to them.

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Why CAN Loves Burundi

Each of our GWCA and CAN matching specialists have programs that they hold close to their hearts. For Shelby, one of our CAN matching specialists who works with several of our programs around the world, that program is Burundi. We have been overjoyed to see so much movement with this program lately, as several families have recently been matched with their kiddos and are preparing to travel to meet them. This blog will tell you a little bit about why Burundi holds a special place in Shelby’s heart. If you’re interested in learning if this program is right for your family, contact CAN today!

Being one of CAN’s international adoption counselors is by far one of the most rewarding and unique opportunities I’ve had the privilege to experience. Working with several different countries has truly opened my eyes to the differences in people and cultures all around the world. For almost a year and a half now, I’ve had the pleasure to work with many of our amazing in-country representatives to achieve our common goals of finding forever families for our kiddos.

Although I thoroughly enjoy working with all six of my countries, our Burundi program has always held a special place in my heart. Between our fantastic in-country staff, the simple and straight-forward adoption process, and the beautiful children, it’s no wonder Burundi has remained my favorite program since day one. Once families have submitted their paperwork to country, they can expect to receive a match within 1.5 years. As more and more Burundi orphanages begin to open up to the idea of international adoption, we anticipate the wait times to be matched will decrease. All of the children we have previously matched have been happy and healthy and are so eager to meet their forever families. There is an array of ages available, including very young kiddos under the age of 2 which is not commonly seen in the majority of the programs we work with.

I can honestly say that each one of our in-country staff members is willing to go above and beyond to help advocate and match the available kiddos. The passion and dedication they have for the children is phenomenal. Our representative is in constant communication with CAN as well as the Ministry in country, which makes it incredibly easy for us to get the most accurate and up-to-date information. If I can ever make my dream of visiting Africa into a reality, you can guarantee I will be visiting our rep to give him a huge hug for all of his hard work on behalf of the children!

I’m often asked about the safety of Americans traveling to country – it’s no secret that Burundi is a poverty-stricken country that continues to struggle on and off with political protests. The protesting has not affected the adoption process thus far and has not proved to be a huge impact to any family that has traveled to country. Additionally, our rep acts as a guide and translator throughout the entirety of a family’s visit; families will never find themselves alone while they are in Burundi. Although our family’s safety is CAN’s number one priority when traveling, I also think it’s crucial for families to experience firsthand the country and culture where their child was spent a portion of their childhood.

If you have longed to adopt a child from Africa, are curious to learn more about our Burundi program, or simply don’t know how or where to begin your adoption journey please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always happy to talk your ear off about the ends and outs of the international adoption process.

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#StaffSpotlight: Meet Shelby!

This year, in order to give all of our families the opportunity to learn a little bit more about our devoted staff, we will be featuring different team members in our Staff Spotlight series! Since the majority of our interactions with families take place over the phone or through email, families rarely have the opportunity to put a face to the name they know so well. Our Staff Spotlight series is a great way for each of our families to understand a bit more about who we are, what we do, and why we hold adoption close to our hearts.

For our very first #StaffSpotlight, we’d like you to meet Shelby!

1. What is your job title and description here at GWCA/CAN?
I am an international adoption counselor for the CAN department, which essentially means I wear several different hats! I am a case manager for 6 different CAN programs and work with a revolving caseload of families in the referral department, as well as inquiry families who are just getting started with the adoption process.

2. How long have you been working at GWCA/CAN?
I have been working in the CAN department for just about one and a half years!

3. What do you enjoy most about your job?
Although there are several amazing and rewarding aspects of my job, I have to say the absolute best part of my job is making the phone call to tell my families they have been matched with their kiddo! The genuine reactions to my exciting news never fails to get me all choked up with happy tears!

4. What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Families typically spend the majority of their adoption journey with me in the referral department – waiting. Although this means I get to spend more time building a relationship with my families, the wait to be matched often times becomes very difficult for families. It’s hard for me to see my families struggle and to not be able to simply snap my fingers and have their child’s referral in my hand.

5. Why do you love adoption?
I love adoption (especially international!) because it helps children all over the world find their forever families.

6. Fun facts about you:
– I could live off caffeine and mac ‘n cheese.
– I have a very talkative, very furry orange kitty named Oliver.

Shelby’s current featured adoption programs are Burundi and Latvia! Keep an eye out for the next blog in our Staff Spotlight series to learn a bit more about one of these featured programs. In the meantime, if your family is interested in learning more about adopting a child from Burundi or Latvia, visit our website or contact Shelby today!

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New Waiting Children Added!

Our Bulgaria matching specialists recently received several new children’s files, and we are eager to begin matching them with their Forever Families! Children and sibling groups in this program can be matched with families at any point in the process, meaning if your family reviews a child’s file and wishes to move forward, you could begin submitting your paperwork to be matched right away! Visit CAN’s Waiting Child photo listing to request a child’s file today!

Click here to Visit CAN’s Waiting Child photo listing!

Why does CAN love Bulgaria?

One of the many things that makes our Bulgaria Waiting Child adoption program so unique is the matching process. Unlike many adoption programs where families receive a referral based on the age range, gender and needs that they specify, our Bulgaria Waiting Child program provides them with the chance to play a role in their matching process. This program is also very open to families in terms of eligibility requirements, and offers a relatively quick process from the moment you apply till the day you bring your child home forever!

How does the matching process work?

Every two months, CAN’s in-country representatives attend a distribution meeting where they are able to select files. Throughout this process, they keep any current families’ adoption desires in mind with the hope that they will see a child or sibling group that might be a good fit for them.

Once CAN receives these children’s files we begin to advocate on their behalf, both with current families and with families who request their file from our Waiting Child photo listing. One thing to keep in mind about the matching process for this program is that families can be matched with a child at ANY point in the process. This means even if you find your child before you’ve begun submitting paperwork, we can submit a request for you to be matched with them!

Waiting Children

CAN is currently advocating for several children and sibling groups from Bulgaria with the hope that they will each find a loving family. Visit our Waiting Child photo listing today to view their profiles or request their full medical files!

Resources

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Boys from Burundi Matched!

Burundi AdoptionWe are so happy to announce that one of the families in our Burundi adoption program was recently matched with two boys, age 3 and 12! These kiddos are absolutely beautiful, and we couldn’t be happier that they have a family working hard to bring them home as soon as possible. Congratulations to this incredible family as they take this very exciting step in their adoption, we can’t wait to continue following your journey as you work towards bringing your kiddos home forever!

Children of All Nations’ Burundi adoption program helps match healthy children, Waiting Children and sibling groups with loving forever families. As such, it’s a great program for families who are looking to adopt one or more children age 2 to 15.

It’s so wonderful to see so much movement in this program, as several other families are preparing to travel within the next few months. Check back soon to see updates as families in our Burundi program prepare to welcome their kiddos home.

If your family is interested in adopting a child from Africa and you’d like to learn more about CAN’s Burundi program, visit our website or contact our CAN matching specialists today!

Burundi Adoption Resources:

 

*Note: For privacy purposes, the picture used in this blog post is a stock photo.*

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5 Reasons to Adopt from Poland

Poland 3

For families looking to begin the process of adopting internationally, selecting the right program can seem like a daunting task. In addition to your family’s specific adoption desires (child’s age, needs, etc.), you have to consider what each program has to offer, from the wait time to the travel requirements. Below are five reasons why your family might want to consider adopting from Poland.

We are so excited to share that we will be sending a team from Children of All Nations to Poland this fall to meet with representatives at adoption centers and visit orphanages! These trips not only help us develop and grow our programs, but they provide us with resources that help place more and more children with loving Forever Families. Keep an eye out for program updates coming later this year!

1. Healthy and Waiting Children

Poland’s international adoption program has both a Healthy Track and a Waiting Child program, making it a great fit for families with varying adoption desires. Children in the Healthy Track are generally age 8-15, while children in the Waiting Child track can be as young as 1 year old. The Waiting Child adoption program provides families with the opportunity to be matched with children that are considered more difficult to place based on their age or special needs. Much like the Bulgarian Waiting Child adoption process, families in Poland’s Waiting Child program have the opportunity to play a role in the matching process, as they can request to be matched with a child that their agency is advocating for.

2. Fast Process

While the wait time for many international adoption programs continues to grow, families adopting from Poland’s Healthy Track generally receive their referral within just 12 months of submitting their dossier. Since families in the Waiting Child program are able to request a match earlier on, the process of bringing a Waiting Child home is often even faster! As with any program, however, these wait times may vary based on the age range, gender, and needs that your family is open to.

Poland 13. Siblings

In addition to placing older children and children with special needs, Poland’s Waiting Child program strives to find loving forever families for sibling groups of two or more. Adopting a sibling group is an amazing way to provide a shared future to children who have a shared past. If you are considering adopting a sibling group and would like more information, read our blog post “Six Reasons to Adopt a Sibling Group” or contact our CAN matching specialists today.

4. Eligibility

As each international adoption program has its own set of eligibility requirements, families are often surprised to find out that while they may not qualify for one program, there are others which may welcome them with open arms. Poland’s eligibility requirements are relatively open, allowing families to begin their adoption journey once they are just 25 years old. Visit our Poland adoption page for more information on the program’s eligibility requirements.

5. Single Women Are Welcome

While some international adoption programs are only open to married couples, Poland welcomes single applicants for both the Healthy Track and the Waiting Child adoption program! For more information on adopting as a single parent, contact Children of All Nations today!

Resources
– Learn more about our Poland adoption program
– Contact a CAN matching specialist

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Answering the Call – Another Successful Haiti Holidays

We called, and you answered. Children of All Nations’ 2nd annual Haiti Holidays Donation Drive has officially come to an end, and we have been so amazed by the outpour of support from all of the #OrphanWarriors in our community. In addition to general donations, we’ve received diapers, formula, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, soap, clothing, shoes, blankets, toys, and so much more! All of these donations will be given directly to the orphanages that CAN is partnered with in Haiti, providing them with some of the essentials that they’re desperately in need of.

One shipment of supplies has already made the trek to Haiti, arriving at the orphanage on time for each of the children to receive their very own Christmas gift. For many of these children this gift was the first that they’d ever received, and you can see their joy and excitement shining through in each of the photos and videos.

Often times it’s difficult to put ourselves in the shoes of those who are less fortunate. It’s hard to imagine going a full day without three hot meals, or having to worry about the availability of fresh drinking water. For so many orphans around the world, however, this is the reality that is faced on a daily basis. Although it seems difficult to make a difference in their lives from such a distance, each of the families that contributed to our cause has done just that. Thank you for making our 2nd annual Haiti Holidays donation drive such a great success. While we are no longer accepting donations for this year’s drive, keep an eye out for our 3rd annual Haiti Holidays donation drive, coming fall 2017. If you’re looking for a way to give back in the meantime, there are countless ways to make a difference. Learn about our Fostering Hope child sponsorship program or contact us today for more information!

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