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A Family Story: Transition from China to a New Family

Ted & Kristie Shasteen adopted their son, Nathaniel, in September 2015 through the China Waiting Child Program. Many months of paperwork, training and preparation led them to the special day last Fall when they met their son for the first time. As families prepare for that moment and the transition to follow, there are many unknowns about how the initial days and months will unfold as a new normal is established for both the child and his or her new family. The Shasteen family has graciously shared their story and experiences in their first months home and helping Nathaniel navigate the changes and settling in as a part of their family.

We thought it would be helpful to share their family’s insight into just some of the areas a family can expect to work through when coming home with their child. While every situation will be unique, we think it is helpful for a family to have realistic expectations to what those initial months home might include. The Shasteen family shares a great overview of how the months following looked for them as they welcomed their son in into their family.

Seven months have flown by…

September 25th we arrived home from China. The first weeks were difficult. Nights were worse, initially. Each night was a little better and after about a month, night time ceased to be an issue. Daytime was initially better, but brought its own unique challenges in those first weeks. Again, each day was a little better for him and after about a month he really began to settle into the routine of our family and became settled with his place in it.

Nathaniel Family

October was filled with medical/dental appointments, meeting extended family and meeting friends. He was very tentative with new people. Nothing unexpected. We purchased Nathaniel’s wheelchair and began preparing him to start school. Each day he and his brothers would do their school work together after the older boys would return from their regular school day.

Nathaniel Study
In November, Nathaniel started kindergarten. He was a bit behind in his studies, but after the initial adjustment period he began to catch up quickly. He is a smart and capable little guy. He has amazed everyone at the school with how quickly his English has improved and expanded.

December was filled with holiday celebrations and a break from school. We celebrated Christmas at his grandparent’s home. Each day you could see improvements in Nathaniel’s connection with us. His confidence in meeting and talking with new people increased as well.

Nathaniel 3
January and February was back to school and the start of Nathaniel’s medical journey for treatment of his orthopedic needs.

Nathaniel 1
In March, Nathaniel had his first school conference. He had caught up in many of his subject areas. He had made consistent progress in all areas. He really started to develop relationships with the other children in his class at school and at church.

Nathaniel 2
In April, Nathaniel played baseball (t-ball) for the first time. He loved playing with the other kids and getting a chance to play sports.

Nathaniel Baseball
He is just doing so well. We love him so much. The medical part of his journey is just a small part of who he is and we are just so happy to have him as our son.

– The Shasteen Family

Hearing stories, like Nathaniel’s, is a powerful reminder of the transforming work that happens in a child’s life as they are welcomed into a family where love abounds. Maybe you’ve been considering adopting a boy from China, but just haven’t taken that next step? Now is a great time to join our China program and bring home a little boy from China in as little as 10 months! There are many boy files being prepared right now in China that will be arriving in the coming months and we need more families open to boys to join our program and be ready to be matched when these files arrive. Many of these boys have minor or repaired medical needs and there is currently no wait time in our program for families open to boys with needs commonly seen in China’s Waiting Child Program. A large number of the files coming this year are expected to be files that can only be adopted by families with a dossier in China. The need for more families open to boys continues to be great as we expect more boys to arrive than we currently have families for in our program—now is a great time to consider joining AWAA’s China program to be ready for a child match when these files arrive!

Want to learn more?

  • Join Us:  Register for our free China Program Webinar on May 25th. Our China team will share details about our China program as well the amazing things happening in our orphanage partnerships.
  • Connect with Us:  Email our China team with questions at
  • Talk to Us:  Call our China team at 800.429.3369
  • Explore More:  Visit our China pages


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