Great Wall Adoption Agency
In the end we made it home
Overall I have no complaints about our process. There were a couple of hiccups along the way, but nothing that wasn't resolved. We were always able to reach Great Wall when we needed to. The in country travel went very well and the process in country was very smooth.
Stay away from GWCA
They are terrible to work with. When my husband and I got denied access into China, we called them for help. All they said was this has never happened before and referred us to the US Consulate with a number that was incorrect. We finally got things worked out on our own. They have never followed up on us since we have been home. I finally had to contact them and remind them about our post adoption home visits. If I had to do it over again, I would run from GWCA. They are overpriced and clearly don't care about their families. Even during the adoption process, they were very unhelpful in finding a child. They definitely don't go out of their way to help you find your child. Stay away from them.
Say NO to GWCA/ Children of All Nations
We adopted our child from the Philippines through GWCA/Children of all Nations. We are so thankful that we have him home now but we had our doubts many times through the process. Note: GWCA/CAN has now lost their accreditation for Philippines adoptions due to not following some procedures. CAN was not a good agency to work with. They provided so little support and only minimal information. 80% of what we needed to know was discovered by asking them questions, sometimes the same question repeatedly before we had the answer. Key information we needed to know, especially regarding how to complete parts of our dossier and how to prepare for travel, I found on my own through info printed by other adoption agencies and asking other families who had adopted from the Philippines. GWCA/CAN is not a faith based agency, which we were concerned about from the beginning. We chose them because they are located in our home state of Texas, which did make some parts of the process simpler. Also, chose them because they offered orphan hosting, which we did not participate in after all. In hindsight, to have had a prayerful agency with integrity and compassion would have been worth all additional work of going through an out of state agency. We experienced what others have described in reviews here, with our biggest issues being the incredibly high turnover and the attitude of the leadership that turnover is of little concern; also sadly, CAN did not guide us correctly in how we should proceed if we wanted to adopt two siblings, which we expressed clearly and emphasized again and again. We were matched with just one child because CAN did not explain (or know) that the track we applied to in the Philippines was highly unlikely to place two children with us. We expressed from the start and emphasized regularly that we were waiting for siblings with the plan to switch to one child if the wait became too long. CAN knew this was our plan but did not help us communicate this correctly to the Philippines in our application. We are beyond thankful to have our son, but one more child could now have a family if CAN had cared enough to support us correctly. Additionally, there are concerns about their nonprofit status and the salary collected by their Director. Our recommendation to you is to find a supportive, communicative, faith based adoption agency. This is a heart wrenching journey and you will need a full partnership with people who honestly care.
We have adopted 2 times (2006 and 2013) and hosted 1 time (2016-17). All 3 experiences were very positive for us. Everything was spelled out and explained for us and the support we received was top notch.
We had our emails and phone questions answered timely and accurately.
Our most recent experience was with the hosting program. Everything went smoothly and as described. The two individuals the we dealt with were readily available to answer questions and were knowledgeable in their areas of responsibility.
I read someone else's comments about their hosting experience that dealt with backup families. I'm not sure I understand their comment about 1 emergency family for 30 children. We were asked to find a back up family just in case and this was done and approved before our host child ever arrived.
I also read another comment blaming the agency on the behavior of the host children. The behaviors of the children are what they are and are a result of the care received in the orphanage. How could the agency be blamed for that?
Smooth and flawless event for us. We will host again very soon.
We adopted from Great Wall's sister agency Children of All Nations but they occupy the same building and employ the same staff. This agency does not care about your family or your children. They only care about money. They do not respond to your calls or emails no matter how urgent the matter may be. On two occasions their lack of timely response (more than a month of repeated phone calls and emails without response) cost us thousands of dollars in renewing expired paperwork. In fact, the only time they do seem to be able to contact you is when you owe them money. Their lack of professionalism, knowledge of our case and, it seemed, the country's adoption process caused many delays and even put our child's safety at risk. There are many great agencies out there. Stay away from this one.
Avoid Great Wall of China at all costs
Great Wall knows how to talk....but they don't deliver and ultimately, it's the children that lose. I went with this agency because it was involved with a local orphan hosting program. They look like they have it all together: until you sign the paperwork to adopt. You are then handed off to a 20-something clueless girl. We would send in our paperwork for her to verify it (as they requested), she would approve it.....only to be told later she "missed something." The children were NOT prepared to come. GW blamed the huge amount of behavioral issues (physical abuse to the host children, destruction of property, etc) on the orphanage's lack of preparing them. Hmmmm....since GW is making the money, wouldn't it be up to THEM to help prepare the children? The orphanages are already taxed thin. We were also told that there would be emergency family back-ups in-place. There was ONE for 30 children. Five children had to be moved within the first week~ didn't work so well with only one-back up family.
Horrible, horrible experience. We are out $18,000 and have no child. After we recover from this horrible experience, we will try again with an agency with a better reputation. Wish I had never engaged this group.
Sadly a disappointment to work with considering higher than average fees---I expected more.
I wish I would have researched more agencies before going with GWCA as it was a disappointment all around to work with. Employees seemed to leave and I was handed off to another person quite regularly during the same phase of the adoption process. When I would ask questions via email or voicemail it would be several days sometimes before I received a reply. I resorted to Google to answer my adoption questions for a quicker response. GWCA gave me the wrong amount for the check for one of the US government agencies and I found the correct amount on a Google search & sent it in. When I reported this to GWCA & asked why they gave me the wrong amount they still defended the incorrect amount saying I could send in an additional check and it would be OK. Really? Then, a typo in my name caused a 6 week delay in my travel date although GWCA quoted me it would only be a 2 week delay. "These things happen" seems to be the mantra of this organization. Nothing seems to ever be in their control or ever their fault. Things don't really add up at this agency. They are higher in price and the quality of employees surprises me as they are located in Austin, Texas, a city that has a higher percentage of college graduates in the US cities! In Guangzhou I met a family who was on their 3rd China adoption and had had a similiar experience. They went with Madison Adoption this time & she said it was fabulous. It is worth a Google to find out about them.... :)
Three adoptions - very positive experience!
We used GWCA for three adoptions. Our first was in 1998 (minor SN infant), our second in 2001 (healthy infant), and our most recent adoption was in 2012 (SN, 7 year old). Our experience was excellent with all three adoptions. Our calls were always returned within a resonable amount of time, and phone calls were never rushed. Email responses were also provided in a timely fashion.
The special needs track can have twists and turns, but we were supported by GWCA throughout our journey. We were presented a child with a heart SN, which turned out to be more than we felt our family was equipped to handle. It was one of the hardest decisions of our lives. We were never pressured to make a decision, and always reassured by the GWCA staff that they were supportive and understanding of our decision to decline. I suppose this is the best example of a great agency...not one that is there for you when things are easy, but those that care enough to be there with you when times are tough. They allowed us the time to grieve that event (no pressure), and were ready to help us find the perfect little girl for our family!
During our trips inside China, we were able to see the different level of care by several agencies. I realize GWCA fees are a little higher than some, but you definitely get more attention. Some agencies dropped their clients off at the hotels and gave them a business card with the address of the government offices and told them what times to meet them there. GWCA picks you up at the airport, delivers you to the hotel, picks you up and escorts you throughout all meetings. This may sound like a small thing, but it relieves so much stress from your family! Did I mention that the guides are awesome? Three trips, multiple guides, all fabulous.
I've read through reviews on GWCA and other agencies. I think it is important to weed through those that are simply upset with normal bumps we should all expect with international adoptions. Many things are beyond the control of any agency.
Adoption is a stressful journey. Every family is different. Find the agency that meets your family needs. For us, that is GWCA, and we are honored that they are part of our forever family stories.
Just for the record, I am not, and have never been employeed by GWCA. This is an official "mommy review". :)
Great Wall China Adoption Exceeds Expectations
We have used GWCA for 6 adoptions now...1 in 2008, 2 in 2009, 2 in 2012 and 1 in 2013. We do not understand the super negative ratings this agency has received. We do not claim they are perfect, but we have watched them meet our needs and more. We have talked by phone with Snow Wu directly concerning our first daughter and the possibility of cochlear implants. We were the first family GWCA had approved for simultaneous adoptions before the rules changed to even allow it and GWCA went to bat for us to get this special exemption.
We have been the first time for several things and have watched wonderful individuals at GWCA step up to the challenge. Yes, the travel fees are a little higher, but they are absolutely worth it both in lack of stress and in terms of what they say will be done is. If a mistake is made, it is corrected...we have experienced this first hand. No we don't like the post adoption deposit fee or some of the travel management tools. That said though, we have gone back again and again and again. The guides in China have been very capable and have even become friends in a sense as we continue to travel back again.
Our adopted children have all been older (6 to 13.5) at the time of their adoption and are all waiting children.
We have never been employed with GWCA at any time.
If you are looking for an agency that communicates with you within a timely manner, cares about a smooth transition for kids and family, is professional and caring, then stop reading this review and start looking elsewhere. I agree with one of the previous postings that one star is waaaaaaaaay too much of a high rating for this pathetic organization. There are so may issues that we had with them that I don't even know where to begin. First of all, when you finally do get to the travel stage of your adoption, you are told that "they" are there for you. That is a total joke. Numerous times, my husband and I had questions and could not get a timely (within a day or two) response from our "travel advisor". Secondly, both my husband and I were teaching full time during the weeks that lead up to our departure to China. We ordered the lovely "Red Backpack" that was supposed to alleviate the stress of figuring out what to pack for our baby and it was supposed to save us time by not having to shop. Well, a big fat HA! to that!!! We got to Beijing and guess what was not there for us? What a joke! So there we were in a foreign country trying to figure out how/where/when we were going to get these items. Do you think we got our $100 back? Not a chance. I have gotten an e-mail saying that they were still "working" on it. It's been 6 months! The list could go on and on, but my blood pressure is going up and up, so I will end for now. Seriously, do yourself a favor and choose another agency. Pick one that has integrity.