Austin >Community & Social Services > Great Wall China Adoption
248 Addie Roy Rd Ste A102, Austin, TX | Directions 7874630.310426 -97.843356
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 a part of our forever family stories.
Just for the record, I am not, and have never been a GWCA employee. This is an official "mommy review". :)
WE RECOMMEND GWCA!!!
We have adopted with GWCA 6 times (2008-2013).
Has everything been perfect? Nope...but when we had an issue it was resolved quickly.
Was it more expensive? A little..but absolutely worth it for the lack of stress and difficulties in China
Do we work with/for GWCA? No...never even meet them in person, only on the phone and computer
Types of Adoptions? single waiting child and simultaneous waiting children in different provinces (ages 6-13.5)
Have they met our expectations? Yes, and exceeded them significantly on three different occasions...direct call with Snow Wu, advocating for a special exemption and getting it and getting the orphanage donation waived on one of our aging our boys
Have we considered other agencies? Absolutely, and we always end up back at GWCA after asking questions, comparing costs and talking with other agency users.
Would we use them again? Certainly if we adopt another child from China
Quality of guides? Excellent
Paperwork Guidance? It's all laid out for you and all you have to do is follow the directions...very well prepared for the adopting family to use
Here's a fun story:
On the surface, GWC appears to be a healthy nonprofit adoption agency. 98% of revenue spent on services, solid balance sheet, etc. Until you dig a little deeper and see the real picture.
Their CEO, Snow Wu, takes home $150k plus benefits. Her salary alone is 615% above the average salary of their employees. She works incredibly hard to squeeze as many families into her overworked staff as possible, usually leaving each case worker with a load of 800-900 families (not even exaggerating). This leads to adoption wait times of roughly 6+ years on average. All the while profits get funneled up.
I have a close family friend who tried adopting with GWC (emphasis on "tried"). Things eventually fell through after multiple instances of missing files, miss communication, and complete lack of transparency from the agency. That starts to make a little more sense when you realize their poor staffers can barely keep up with Ms. Snow's profit-driven demands.
Since 2011 the organization has actually CUT staff dramatically, all the while upper management salaries have been steadily growing. Keep in mind this isn't some magical insider information, this is all clearly evident from looking at their Form 990 in detail.
I'm still unsure how this agency has managed to hold on to their nonprofit status. It's basically a giant revenue funnel for one woman's bank account.
RUN, Don' walk, RUN!!!!I have used Great Wall twice. The second adoption we knew things had changed. It was all about the money. They would only return calls and emails when convenient for them (very unprofessional). I think although some people say they had a great experience that is not usually the case. I also think their staff goes on to these sites and writes positive things. If you haven't signed with them don't. If you have SWITCH agencies. If you don't you will be writing one of these warnings to others.
T H A N K...Y O U...G W C A !!!
We are forever grateful for Great Wall China Adoption in helping us build a family.
G enuine in keeping prospective parents informed
W illingness to go the extra miles in helping prospective parents build a family through adoption
C aring in answering questions and following up throughout the adoption process
A ttentiveness in getting things done
GWCA has definitely exceeded our expectations in the overall international adoption process, travel phase, and post-adoption process. From the beginning to the completion of our first adoption journey, we truly appreciate the GWCA Team's dedication, attention to details, and experience in international adoption. Occasionally, We've received emails late in the evening or on a weekend and even received a phone call after work hours to help address urgent matters. When we traveled to meet our child, we had awesome caring GWCA Travel Guides who helped us through the maze of finalizing the adoption, translated for us at international government agencies, hotels, stores, and restaurants, loaded and unloaded strollers on the bus, set up the strollers, provided umbrellas when it was rainy, consoled a crying child, celebrated a child's birthday with a cake, arranged tours, talked about the country's history and culture, and also offered tips on bonding. Being newbies to a foreign country, we would have been totally lost without the guides' help and understanding. We are currently using GWCA for our second adoption and are waiting for our child.
Excellent recommendations! – WOW!
We are adoptive parents in which we use twice GW agency. Our experience is completely different from what I read from some of you.
First NOBODY but absolutely nobody even our lord can give 100 percent assurance of a child. Healthy or unhealthy. So unfortunately that happens with adoption, without international adoption or domestic adoption.
When I read the comments about staff and the president Snow Wu quickly realized that you do not have an idea who they are, never met them. The staff in the dossier preparation, the department of waiting child enjoyed the work they do. They are excellent human beings.
We had an excellent process. Both adoptions run smoothly. The social workers were awesome.
The personal attention of helping us to complete the documents for the dossier, monitoring after having our DTC (now is LID) was more than excellent.
I know families from the FCC here in Texas who asked me how I know in what part of the process I am. We never can say we were lost, emails were coming everyday! The staff in the Travel department was more than excellent. They will mention a travel agency which you can use or not use it. But DO NOT say you necessarily have to use it.
We have some friends adopting in China and living in Florida who the agency that they are using charged them monthly while waiting for their referral. The agency received the referral but do not give them the referral.
I think the comments before about this agency and staff is unfair.
My personal opinion and with all the respect you deserve I do not think you have to blame the agency unfairly. Ask the Lord when and how you will receive your child adopted or not.
Not Pleased With This Agency – Be careful. I did not have a pleasant experience with this agency. They hire- and defend- social workers who are disorganized and give clients the runaround. I would not recommend this agency to prospective clients.
Response to RimRobert – Hi
I have a completely different opinion about GWCA than you. We have used them on 2 different occations for adopting and have found them to be very accomodating! All of their staff are very caring and helpful and they have an excellent relationship with China. I have not found this in other agencies. Also I think that it speaks highly of them that they have not shut thier doors like some other adoption agencies have in the last couple of years. In addition they are involved in a lot of humanitarian work in China! They cannot help it that the wait time is so long! I would strongly encourage people to use GWCA for their adoptions! Again I am disappointed that RimRobert has so much anger against GWCA and is taking it out on them! GWCA ROCKS!
A leading International Adoption Agcency for a reason! – Our family is being formed by an adoption using Great Wall China Adoption Agency.
After a great deal of research we chose Great Wall China Adoption because of their outstanding professionalism, commitment to children, and the ongoing support and educational opportunities that they make available to their families. International Adoption has become extremely challenging in the last several years and GWCA has been able to adapt and continue to stay child focused--and this is their focus. The forming of Forever Families is the outgrowth of their devotion to and assistance for orphaned children.
The pricing is competitive for the quality of service provided. I know several other families who have used GWCA/CAN and also families who haven't. I have not met a well informed and educated family who has not been pleased with this agency. And professionals nationally and internationally have spoken at their educational conferences. If the purported comments about this Not for Profit, Hague Approved Adoption Agency were substantive, then these conferences would not be so well regarded by professionals within the Int'l Adoption field.
As to the comments about the age of their staff, perhaps this is why age discrimination is illegal in the US. We have been involved in this process for so long that we are on our 3rd Home Study Social Worker. Our first Social Worker was the youngest and has proven to be the most knowledgeable and professional of those with whom we've worked. Her age was not a deficit--and I haven't found the age of the staff at GWCA to be a deficit whether the person is in their 20's or 50's or somewhere between.
As to the management style of Snow Wu, high expectations for the staff are clearly articulated by the management of this company and we've found them to be met. I don't find a desire for excellence to be a negative, but I know that in my management experience it's not unusual for employees who are focused on just being adequate do find that it is a challenge to work where the best is expected for the clients. are on our 2nd Home Study agency because our original agency, as is the case with many in the US, weren't as well managed fiscally and functionally as GWCA. Therefore they weren't prepared for the changes in Int'l Adoption trends and policies. Many agencies were not able to remain viable and servicing their families, as has GWCA/CAN. Snow Wu has provided such outstanding leadership and compassion in the field of Adoption that she was recognized nationally with the Angel in Adoption Award in 2003.
Finally, as to the cost of using the a professional travel planner with whom GWCA works to arrange travel in China, I want to have this dealt with seamlessly! I travel quite a bit for business and want to leave this part of the trip to someone who knows what they're doing so that I may focus on my new child and our trip to China. I do know several people in China, but if there were to be a really serious like the snowstorms, flooding and earthquake of the last several years I don't want to call my friends except to make sure that they are safe and well. I want to call a professional who is focused on this aspect of the adoption and who can work to solve any problem. If I were to not work with GWCA's travel people I would work with another company and their focus would be on typical sightseeing and tourism; I want to work with a group whose focus is the same as ours, travel for the purpose of completing our adoption!
My personality is to be value driven and detail oriented and I've found the value of working with GWCA to be even more than I had hoped for and expected. If you're thinking of pursuing International Adoption, don't hesitate to call this agency.
Great Wall China Adoption – great wall was a great agency to adopt from. We adopted an older child from China understanding the frustrations of the length of time adoptions were taking. We were supported all of the way. Yes we did have to ensure that our paper work was current, but they provided repeat home visits AT NO COST to assist in that process.
Travel Costs: You may be surprised but using a travel agent does not ensure the lowest price. It does ensure a worry free connection process in the USA and in China. Yes I could have booked my China Southern flights for less in China. But in the USA you can not simply give your credit card number over the phone to a booking agent in China.
Hotels: Again you can book your own hotels direct, but again getting payment to China.... One person commented about paying late check out, we paid nothing we just left with our check out stub and Great Wall payed it all.
Support: Having an experienced guide in China taking care of the payments was very comforting. Michael, our guide, was well versed in a province that rarely adopts children. There were three other agencies picking up children at the same time, he helped theses persons as well.
Agency: You may have words with Snow and wish to slander her, but she is committed to helping the adoptive families. Does she make money, yes as well she should. I make money caring for the sick as a nurse, maybe that is wrong.
Costs: Chinese agency costs are set by the CCAF a governmental agency in China. These unlike other contries are published and rather concrete. Agency costs, if you check the many online adoption services are much the same.
I have attended several conferences put on by Great Wall and have spoken to most all of the employees. Most have adopted. Many have Masters degrees, some have moved to other positions away from Austin.
I live in San Antonio and am not on the payroll or have any reason to "speak up" Great Wall other than the quality service they provided my family.
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