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Love, Laughter, & Lottie Lee


Our journey to welcoming Charlotte Lee to our family on 03.03.13

Our Story
The journey to Charlotte Lee 

We have often been asked the question "Why adopt from China?. At first we didn’t know exactly how to explain why, we just felt a pull towards China, and slowly began reading more books and learning about the Chinese culture. Other coincidences occurred that just made us feel that China was the country for us. One in particular, was when we learned of the Chinese belief: an invisible red thread that connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance--a quote we read on a piece of artwork that we purchased and hung in our home. We just felt this immediate connection to China; even though we were worlds apart, to us it just seemed right.  

After a while it became more and more clear why we wanted to adopt from China. After reading several books, we discovered how the one-child policy and deeply embedded cultural beliefs, has played a significant role in why so many little girls and special needs children in China are abandoned on freeways, bus stations, police stations, near orphanages, or they are just left anywhere that is a very public place. Knowing there are so many tiny babies, just needing a family to love, solidified China as the country for our family. In addition, learning all the resources Lottie Lee will have when we bring her home was so reassuring. Groups like Families of Children from China (FCC) and Mandarin Preschools made it possible for us to provide Lottie with all the Chinese cultural background that we could, to raise her in our multicultural family.

Special Need Adoption in China


One Child Policy & Special Needs

China is a country whose culture dates back to the earliest records known to man. At first glance, some of China's beliefs may seem quite different than those we hold in the western world. One example of this is the cultural preference for a male child. There are several reasons why Chinese families might prefer a boy over a girl. In rural provinces, a family's livelihood depends directly on the output of its family members. Because of this, a family with sons would be at a considerable advantage over one with daughters. Historically, it is also the son's honored responsibility to take care of his parents in their old age. A daughter, however, would be expected to care for her husband's parents rather than her own. In this regard, the Chinese believe that having a son is crucial to their livelihood, as well as a form of social security for the parents when they grow older. Although China has done much to change these belief systems in recent years, many families, especially in rural areas, still strongly favor the birth of a male child. This situation is further complicated by China's One-Child Policy, which prohibits families from having more than one child. As a result of this policy, there are potentially thousands of abandoned children throughout China including older and medical needs children.

Yes, as the one-child policy in China has become less restrictive in recent years, fewer families feel compelled to abandon their children. Many families lack the resources to care for children with special medical conditions, however, and will leave their children to the care of others who they hope can meet their unique needs. Consequently, the majority of children waiting for families have medical or developmental special needs. School-age children are also considered to have a “special need” since they typically wait longer to be matched with families. When applying, families determine their openness to age, gender and types of special needs. 


China's International Adoption Process

The China adoption process is divided into three main stages. The first stage involves assembling a collection of documents called a dossier. These documents must go through several levels of certification so that they ultimately can be used as the legal framework for your adoption process. This stage is referred to as the "paper chase," and takes on average 4-6 months to complete. The finished dossier is forwarded to America World where our staff carefully reviews it to ensure accuracy. Once approved, your dossier is forwarded to the China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA) for translation and processing. The CCCWA, or "Center" as it is sometimes called, is the federal agency which oversees all international adoption-related activities in China.


After your dossier is received by the CCCWA, you begin stage two, the waiting stage. This phase may be the most difficult stage for families, as the wait time can be frustrating. The process of matching a family with a child is called a referral. The wait time for a referral varies - please check our blog for the most up-to-date trends. The referral is composed of a medical profile of a child, a brief biography of his or her life and at least two photographs. Once you have accepted your referral, we begin planning the details of our travel, the third and final phase of your adoption process. Families normally leave for China approximately 2-4 months after they receive a referral and stay in China for roughly two weeks. While in China, families complete the adoption paperwork, become united with their child, and tour some of the country’s rich cultural sites.



Cleft Lip & Palate
What is a cleft?

Clefts occur as gaps or openings in the lip, palate, or both. The gaps are a result of incomplete closure when the baby’s facial structures were developing before birth. A cleft lip and/or palatemay be classified as unilateral or bilateral. A unilateral cleft affects one side of the lip and may extend back along one side of the hard or soft palate. A bilateral cleft affects both sides of the mouth and may also comprise only the lip or may extend back into the hard and/or soft palate. Children may have a cleft lip and cleft palate together, an isolated cleft lip, or an isolated cleft palate. Some babies have only a cleft lip. However, most babies with cleft lip have a cleft palate or cleft in the gum line as well. Cleft palate also can occur by itself without cleft lip.


Babies with unrepaired cleft lip and palates may need to use special bottles for feeding, which fill in the gaps in the mouth to prevent milk or formula from dripping out of the mouth or nose. Babies need to be held to take a bottle and will take longer periods of time to feed. They may also need to eat smaller amounts and eat more often. As a result, children with unrepaired clefts in institutional settings are often underweight.


Studies suggest that a number of genes; as well as environmental factors, such as pollution, maternal smoking and drugs such as anti-seizure medications, may contribute to the development of orofacial clefts in babies. Other environmental factors that are suspected of playing a role include infections, maternal alcohol use and deficiency of the B-vitamin folic acid. 


Treatment for Cleft

Treatment for children with cleft lip and palate often requires consultation from multiple specialties to ensure adequate care of the affected areas of the mouth, nose, and face. For instance, a child may need to see a plastic surgeon, dentist, orthodontist, speech therapist,and nutritionist. Many cleft “teams” are available to provide continued care as a child grows.


  • Surgery: Treatment of the cleft lip and/or palate is performed by a surgeon to repair the gap. The amount of surgery required depends on the extent of the child’s condition. Children often need initial surgery to repair the lip, followed by another surgery to repair the palate. At times, a gap may occur after the palate has been repaired, which is called a fistula. Depending on the size, a fistula may need to be surgically corrected to completely close the gap. As the child ages, another palate surgery known as a bone graft may be necessary to provide permanent closure of the palate. The initial surgeries typically take place under the age of 1; however, children living in institutional settings may not have had access to surgical care and may be much older when surgery is done. Depending on the child’s condition and if any complications develop, there are many other types of surgeries that a child with a cleft lip and/or palate may need to undergo as part of correction, including ear tube placement, nose or lip revision, dental extractions, or placement of a prosthesis in the roof of the mouth.

  • Dental Care: Children with cleft lip and palate often need orthodontics to realign the teeth. Some teeth may break easily or be prone to cavities, so regular dental care is important.

  • Speech Therapy: Many children with a cleft lip or palate need speech therapy to develop appropriate sounds and to prevent a nasal quality to speech. Scar tissue may cause difficulties with a child’s abilities to create certain sounds or move the mouth to form words. Additionally, a child with cleft lip and palate should have a hearing evaluation to determine if fluid accumulation may be occurring in the ears or if the cleft somehow affects his ability to hear sounds and produce speech.





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March 4, 2011 - Decide to pursue adoption and research agencies * Due to China’s regulations we need to officially wait until Winn’s 30th birthday

July 31, 2011-Met with Matt & Firas from CoupAide
July 25, 2011 -Applied to Children’s Hope International
August 1, 2011 -Accepted into China Program!
January 22, 2012- 1st homestudy visit! (Both of us)
February 2, 2012- 2nd homestudy visit (Winn’s individual
March 2, 2012- 3rd homestudy visit (home visit)
March 3, 2012- Final homestudy visit! (Scott’s individual)
April 23, 2012-Winn’s 30th Birthday
May 30, 2012-Homestudy complete! 
June 7, 2012- Application to USCIS overnighted
June 21, 2012-USCIS appointment cards arrive!
July 2, 2012-USCIS Fingerprint appointment
July 23, 2012-I 797 Approval Letter
August 13, 2012-DTC Dossier to China
August 27, 2012-LID Login Date
September 20, 2012-Referral baby girl
September 21, 2012-Letter of Intent LOI
October 1, 2012-Pre-Approval PA
December 3, 2012-LOA
December 17, 2012-I800Approval
December 24, 2012-Rec'd at NVC
December 26, 2012-GUZ# & PDF
December 27, 2012-Cabled
December 28, 2012-Article 5 Drop off
January 15, 2012-Article 5 Pick-up
February 1, 2013-Travel Approval TA
March 3, 2013-Gotcha Day
March, 4, 2012-2 years waiting for Lottie Lee
March 11, 2013-Consolate Appointment CA
March 14, 2013-FOREVER home

2010 - present

2010 - present

About China's history

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is the world's most populous country, with a population of over 1.35 billion. The PRC is a single-party state governed by the Communist Party of China, with its seat of government in the capital city of Beijing. 


Covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, China is the world's second-largest country by land area and either the third or fourth-largest by total area, depending on the method of measurement China's landscape is vast and diverse, ranging from forest steppes and the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts in the arid north to subtropical forests in the wetter south. The Himalaya, Karakoram, Pamir and Tian Shan mountain ranges separate China from South and Central Asia. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the third- and sixth-longest in the world, run from the Tibetan Plateau to the densely populated eastern seaboard. China's coastline along the Pacific Ocean is 9,000 miles long, and is bounded by the Bohai, Yellow, East and South China Seas.


China is a cradle of civilization, with its known history beginning with an ancient civilization – one of the world's earliest – that flourished in the fertile basin of the Yellow River in the North China Plain. For millennia, China's political system was based on hereditary monarchies, known as dynasties, beginning with the semi-mythological Xia of the Yellow River basin(c. 2800 BCE)

China had the largest and most complex economy in the world for most of the past two thousand years, during which it has seen cycles of prosperity and decline. Since the introduction of economic reforms in 1978, China has become one of the world'sfastest-growing major economies.

Our Agency
Children's Hope International

A leading  non-profit, Hauge accredited, Christian International Adoption and Aid Organization committed to serving families accross the United States.

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