Dear Prospective Adoptive Parents:
Thank you for considering parenting a child with special needs. When you open this page, we feel we know you already - a very special person with a big heart! It takes a lot of courage and many sleepless nights to feel comfortable with the decision to adopt a child with special needs. We hope this page will help you make a final decision.
I have visited many Chinese welfare institutes and met with many children who had special needs. My heart aches when I think of those children who come into this world with physical disadvantages.
There are many children with conditions that can be fixed quite easily. They are left un-adopted because of families' concerns with unclear medical conditions or lack of information. With that said, the China Center of Children's Welfare and Adoption Affairs will not place a child with you if you do not feel comfortable with his or her condition, even if this condition is medically correctable.
The CCCWA has two special needs programs: one we call Common List and the other program is the Special Focus List. The files in the Special Focus List have children with more severe needs and the CCCWA allows families to submit their dossiers within six months after pre-approval. The CCCWA allows agencies to match only for the families whose dossiers are in China already from the Common List, for they consider the children on this list have minor medical needs. Our agency does request that some special focus children be assigned to our agency's individual list but we do so only at the request of our families.
I've never forgotten the children I met in the Chinese welfare institutes. Many times I have looked into their eyes with sorrow in my heart, and every time they have looked quietly back into my eyes with questions and with hope.
Families like yours are the hope for our children. Our agency has placed children with medical needs since 1997 and we placed many waiting children who have had a large range of medical conditions. So far, all of the families who have adopted waiting children have had only positive things to say about their experience. We would love to talk to you and to learn about your feelings and expectations regarding the adoption of a special needs child.
Because the wait for a healthy infant is extremely long, We do receive more inquiries about waiting children program. However, the long wait should not be a reason to consider a waiting child. It is not fair to the child and it is also not fair to you if he or she is not the very best for you. We do not accept applications from families who only want female infant or toddlers with minor medical needs such as cleft lip only, birth mark not on face, heart murmur not heart defects, delayed but not really delayed, etc. And, we do not accept applications that demand to finish the whole adoption process by the end of 2012 for the adoption tax credits while requesting a child with very minor needs.
Yes, we are a small agency and we take great pride with our personable and honest style, with our low fees and with our service quality. Yes, we are a small agency but we do not feel small at all. Each placement is a big project for us and our prospective adoptive parents are the team leaders in this incredible adoption journey. We admire your good heart and endless energy and we grow with our work experience and with the support of the amazing adoption community we are so honored to work in.
- Lillian Zhang, Director
CAWLI's Individual List
These children are labeled as "special focus" but we have received updated information and they are doing quite well. Please contact us to review their complete file with photos.
One girl was born 7-2006 and has "Cerebral Palsy and CHD." There were no abnormal findings in her CT brain scan. When she was found she was two years old and still could not walk or speak. Now, she is doing much better, and attends daycare and receives some schooling. She speaks clearly and communicates with others. Her intelligence is average, and she may be slightly delayed compared to other children her age. She walks and plays like other children.
One boy was born 5-2010 and has postoperative CHD (VSD) and mild estropia of both eyes. He can jump off the floor with both feet, he goes up and down the stairs without help, plays games, and has a ready smile. He is a very active boy.
One boy was born 3-2010 and has "postoperative repair of meningocele on the back, postoperative lysis of tethered cord, and undescended testicle." After surgery he is doing quite well. He can control his urine and bowel movements. He has steady physical development, and his mental development is normal compared to his peers. Currently he attends preschool. He can feed himself, brush his teeth, put on and take off clothes by himself, and go to the bathroom by himself. He likes sports activities such as running, climbing, jumping, etc. He can move quickly and has a lot of energy. He has about 1000 words in his vocabulary and he can speak clearly and fluently. He likes to sing simple songs. He knows his gender and he knows the names of his classmates and teachers. He is cheerful, lively, and lvoes to laugh. He likes to spend time with his friends and is willing to share toys. We have videos of him.
One boy was born 11-2007 and has "underdevleopment of the brain." We are working to get new information, as his physical is outdated.
One boy was born 7-2012 and has postoperative anal atresia. We have videos of him walking around and picking up toys.
One boy was born 11-2012 and has postoperative hydrocephalus, and post operative spinal meningocele. He doesn't crawl yet, but he can roll. We have an updated video of him.
One boy was born 12-2007 and has mild Cerebral Palsy. His update states that his development is very good. He walks and runs without any problem. He is in school and his learning is the same as other children. The orphanage staff says if you do not mention his label, they simply forget that he has CP. He has been in a foster home for about a year, and he gets along very well with his foster parents and siblings.
One boy was born 7-2008 and was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Pasly. His update states that he can walk alone and go upstairs, he speaks short sentences and vocalizes his needs. He feeds himself and showers on his own. It also states that he is loving and playful. He recently moved to a foster home and had no issues bonding with the family.
One boy was born 7-2008 and has a repaired heart condition. We suspect he could have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but seems to be doing well. We have three recent videos of him playing and doing activities.
One older boy was born 7/2002 and is healthy. We have videos of him playing and doing different activities.
If you would like more information about these children please contact us at
Many children in the Waiting Child program may not be physically perfect. Often, they have a special need that can be corrected or medically treated in some fashion. Other than having a special need, some children in this program may be considered an older child (children over 6 years of age). We hope that these children too can be placed in loving homes and have their needs met. A variety of different special needs are commonly seen in the children from China. Below, you will find information to outline what some of these needs are and what they entail. It is important, if you are considering a child with a special need, that you are informed about their condition and feel comfortable with your decision to make them a part of your forever family. Children may be:
- 1 to 13 years old, boys and girls, children with severe medical conditions such as: cleft palate/lip, heart defects, hearing loss, dislocated hips, albinism, orthopedic problems, blindness, severe scars, Hepatitis B, etc.
- Healthy children six years old and above Children with a medical history: heart and other surgeries, etc...
How much time before you travel after you accept a pre-identified child with special needs?
It will depend where you are in the process. If you have not started the home study, the wait will be longer than that of a family whose dossier is ready to go to China or already in China.
The China Center of Children's Welfare and Adoption Affairs prefers married couples under 55 years old. General qualifications are specified on the informational page.
How to Apply to Our Program
- Contact Lillian, our director, about our program for waiting children and the files on our agency's individual list!.
- If you are interested in a specific child in our program, our agency will email you a complete file which you can then show your doctor for evaluation.
- At your request, our agency will order more/new tests and measurements from the Chinese welfare institute through CCCWA.
- Please discuss your intentions to adopt a special needs child with your social worker because your home study needs to approve you to adopt a child with certain special needs.
- We request that you talk to adoptive parents who have adopted waiting children before.
- Fill out the Rehabilitation Plan form for the CCCWA's preliminary approval. After we send your dossier to China, you will get a letter of acceptance (LOA) for you to apply for the I-800 pre-approval that will lead to your final approval in the form of a Travel Notice document from CCCWA.
- Review the agency's "General Information" page to learn how to start the document process.
- Please feel free to contact us at (617)731-0798 or
for a more detailed Informational Package that also reviews the Steps & Fees for the Waiting Program.
Waiting Child Informational Package
In the best interests of our children, and in the best interests of our prospective parents, we have agency guidelines regarding the dissemination of waiting children's files. It is our most sincere hope that we do find families for these children, but we feel the need to do this in a way that is the most respectful:
- We only show one child's profile to one family at a time. Only if there is no match will we then show the child's profile to another potential family.
- We do not post children's photos online.
- You are welcome to give us your contact information about what special needs you are considering without sending in an application. However, please be aware that we approach families already in the process of adoption with CAWLI who have indicated their desire to adopt a special needs child before approaching families who have not yet started the process.