Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Should You Adopt Internationally?

Pros and cons, difficulty, speed
Medical info, race, birthparent rights, orphanages
Because you are dealing with two countries and usually have to travel overseas to go and get the child, international adoptions are by their very nature more complicated than U.S. adoptions. In addition to the fact that U.S. adoptions are usually less complicated, here are some of the reasons some people cite for not wanting to adopt internationally:

They are concerned about the health of a child raised in an orphanage.
They are worried about the high cost of many international adoptions, including the cost associated with foreign travel.
They don't like the idea of traveling to a foreign country and staying for days or weeks in another culture while waiting for the paperwork to be processed.
Other adopters have equally strong views about why international adoptions are preferable:

They believe their waiting time to adopt a child will be very short.
They feel they can't adopt a same-race child in the United States but can do so from another country.
They are opposed to open adoptions involving contact with birthparents (most intercountry adoptions are not open).
They think that birthparents from other countries will be less likely to change their minds about an adoption.
They think children living in overseas orphanages will not have been exposed to abuse and neglect.
Take a look at the number of adoptions in the top 10 countries in the world from 1999 to 2003, based on immigrant visas issued to children adopted by Americans. As you can see, China has been the number-one country from 2000 to 2003.

International Adoption Statistics, Top 10 Countries, Based on Immigrant Visas Issued to Orphans Coming to the United States, FY 1999-2003
2003 2002 2001 2000 1999
6,859 China
5,053 China
4,681 China
5,053 Russia
5,209 Russia
4,939 Russia
4,279 Russia
4,269 China
2,328 Guatemala
2,219 S. Korea
1,870 S. Korea
1,794 S. Korea
S. Korea
1,790 S. Korea
1,779 Guatemala
1,609 Guatemala
1,518 Guatemala
825 Ukraine
1,106 Ukraine
1,246 Romania
1,122 Romania
702 Kazakhstan
819 Romania
782 Vietnam
724 Vietnam
472 Vietnam
766 Vietnam
737 Ukraine
659 India
382 India
466 Kazakhstan
672 India
503 Ukraine
272 Colombia
334 India
543 Cambodia
402 Cambodia
250 Bulgaria
260 Colombia
407 Kazakhstan
399 Colombia
Source: U.S. State Department (http://travel.state.gov/orphan_numbers.html)

In the following sections, I examine whether people's perceptions match the reality.

Are International Adoptions More Difficult?
Adoption Alert
In many countries, the adoption is considered final after a court proceeding in the country the child is from; and as a result, if there are any problems after you leave the country—such as undetected medical problems or other issues—the child is still your legal responsibility. You can't return the child.
Is it easier to adopt a child in the United States than in another country? With a few exceptions, I don't think adoption is easy no matter what, whether your child comes from the United States or anywhere else. Children don't drop into your lap from the sky (which is good—it would be pretty painful if they did!).

In some ways, U.S. adoptions are easier. For example, there's no language barrier with most U.S. adoptions. (You are not allowed to consider a Southern drawl or New England accent as another language!) But language barriers are frequent with international adoptions, in which you must rely on your agency and their interpreters for a lot of information.

U.S. adoptions also seem easier to people who want to avoid the expense and difficulties of foreign travel, which is mandatory in most cases. In some countries, including China, Russia, and many others, you actually adopt the child in the country itself; thus, your presence there is required. In the case of a married couple, sometimes one person can travel; however, it's best if both go and provide moral support to each other. Also, some countries may require that both parents be there prior to the finalization of the adoption. If only one parent travels overseas, then you need to do a readoption, or complete the adoption again in the state in which you live.

Are International Adoptions Faster?
Adoption Alert
If you are considering using an international adoption agency, find out whether the director or any of the staff has ever traveled to the countries with which they arrange adoptions. It's not a good sign if no one in the agency has ever traveled to the country from which they make placements. How do you find out? You ask!
The time it takes to successfully adopt a child in the United States can be measured in months or years, depending on the speed of your adoption agency or your own efforts.

Whether the wait to adopt a child from another country is shorter than adopting a child in the United States depends on a lot of variables: which country you choose to adopt from, the age of the child you want, how fast you can put together your application, and other factors. It might be six months, several years, or longer (which is also true with U.S. adoptions). Or you might apply for a child from a particular country, and then the country decides to put all international adoptions on hold. If that happens, you'll have to wait until your agency gets the word that adoptions may resume again.

Next: Medical info, race, birthparent rights, orphanages >>

Read more on FamilyEducation: http://life.familyeducation.com/adoption/transracial-adoptions/45783.html#ixzz16kjfVcHe

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spartan Sparkles 2008-09

Well our suitcases are packed!

We are ready to go when we get the email! I will be booking those flights as soon as I hear we have a court date! In the meantime..we are packed..just a couple little things to go in yet......

Looking forward to booking the apartment...probably 2 1/2 weeks for me..

Friday, November 26, 2010

Truth Pandemic - Get the facts about HIV/AIDS and Adoption

Just waiting.....

We are still waiting for Interpol clearance....which can take up to 40 days..sheesh!
But it is all good..God knows the timing. We are well into our 40 days so should be sometime when we least expect it..Was hoping soon to miss our Christmas...we planned on having a Eastern Europe Christmas when we got back anyway...Marco is our gift to the family & to him this year until we get back. I recently sent over a box with my son's game boy & some games...kind of outdated but it works well and I think Marco will keep occupied with the 4/5 games and 4 sets of batteries to keep it going. I also sent him his potato chips he likes.. pencils with a globe sharpener so he can see where we are...and a puzzle...USA key chain ...gum...and a few other things I squeezed in the box.

I have Marco's clothes ready and our few clothes ready. All of my hair supplies have been waiting in the orphanage in Vorzel...The ladies might be wondering by now what happened..I said I'd be back in 2 weeks..LOL They may have started without me!

I should be in country for about 2 1/2- 3 weeks. Hubby will only be in country about 3-4 days for court. This will allow me to run around the country doing hair & visiting our boy and friends.

Today the used games are buy 2 get 1 free at Game Stop..so I will be off to get a few more to send Marco in our next letter.. We send a letter every few days so he knows we are still coming & love him very much. Our translator also has been calling to re assure him of this.

We were asked to check on Interpol from our end since Hubby is in law enforcement...most of the checks they do are done through teletype..so looking for the correct phone number to call..Usually only law enforcement can use the lines to communicate..so we'll see what happens..Comes in handy to be married to a Police man..Such a good level headed guy too...

Headed out into the Black Friday world..but not to shop...all shopping is on hold until 2011...I have to wire $ to our facilitator..Almost done!!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Check out Project Hopeful..

Project HOPEFUL was interviewed for People Magazine this year just found out that the issue with Reeces Rainbow article is going to be released next Wednesday. It is going to be a five page article! There are several Reece’s kids listed on the waiting child page of the Project Hopeful website so, hopefully, there will be some extra traffic on the RR site, too.

Latest Info on Moratorium....

"The second hearing for the bill for a moratorium of adoptions with countries which
> don't have an inter-country (bilateral) agreement with Ukraine is set to be
> read on the week of December 14-17 and is "near the end" of the list...
> #4313.
> Yes, we can pray that it doesn't get heard.
> Yes, we can pray that it doesn't get passed.
> I, specifically, will pray that the orphans who will not be adopted by their
> own country will not be left without an avenue for adoption. God knows the
> details.
> Here's a little more info: The idea behind this bill is for Ukraine to be
> able to "better protect" their children and the country is "considering"
> becoming part of the Hague convention. This could, eventually, be a very
> VERY good thing (In my opinion) for ALL of the children AND for the
> parents.
> So, there's the info I have, and here is a link that is in Ukrainian but you
> can google-translate if you'd like. It's wayyyyyyy down:
> http://www.rada.gov.ua/zakon/new/WR/WR301110.htm
> ---------------------------------------------

Thursday, November 18, 2010

3 more on American Soil!!

So happy 3 more little ones are home ..we had the opportunity to meet 2 of them...We spent some time with their new family together on our last trip but it wasn't enough... We had been in contact for a long time through email before meeting..so to get to meet in person was great! I love meeting other families like ours...Large families who are still courageous to keep adding to it! We have made some special bonds with many people who have adopted through Reeces Rainbow and are a lot like us. Laura I miss you guys already...and Marnie I hope you get to go home soon!!
Talk to you all again soon!!

Why Wait to Adopt?

Children are ready to be adopted today
November 01,2010 / Martha Osborne
Somewhere in China, a 3-year-old boy waits for a family. He is healthy, with a mischevious smile and a laugh that would make any parent's heart soar. Born male, he will most likely never know the love and security of a family. Being born a boy is his only special need. Somewhere in China, a 5-year-old girl plays a clapping game with her friend. She has a repaired club foot. She runs, plays, and has memorized 4 poems this year. Because one leg is 1 inch shorter than the other, she is special needs. She is just one of thousands who may never find a family that will look past her very minor special need. These are real children, waiting. China's Special Focus program may bring that wait to an end.

China's Special Focus Initiantive is a unique opportunity for families considering the adoption of a special needs or older child. China still allows the adoption of healthy, young babies, however, these adoptions generally take over 5 years to complete. Through this initiative, children waiting on the CCAA "shared agency list" will be assigned to a specific agency so that s/he will have yet another advocate searching for their her/his permanent family.

Who are the Special Focus Children?
At the time Special Focus Children was introduced (September 2010), over 2,000 children were waiting for families on China's shared agency list. Children with a Special Focus designation are those who have been waiting on the shared list for more than two months; they are generally older (pre-school- and school-aged) or any age (infant through school-aged) who have an identified special need.

What makes this initiative different?
The Special Focus initiative offers several key advantages when searching for a child's family.

More knowledge of the child. The children will be assigned to one adoption agency. This will allow agency staff to give more attention to that child and thoroughly understand the child's needs.
More preparation for the family. The family will be allowed more time to consider a match (roughly two weeks as opposed to the 72 hours that is standard when a child is on the shared agency list) which gives them the benefit of time and reduced pressure so that they can learn more about a child's need before making a decision. The family will also have six months (as opposed to three) to submit their dossier to CCAA after they have been matched with a Special Focus child.
More Flexibility in Family Requirements. Families going through this program can sometimes ask for flexibility on family size or age of parents. The CCAA has frequently granted waivers to larger families or those above the age limit when those families choose to adopt a child through the Special Focus program.
LESS Time: The children who are part of an Agency's Special Focus list are ready to be adopted. Adopting one of these waiting children can be accomplished in as little as 6 months (for those with some adoption paperwork completed) and generally takes less than one year.
What Are You Waitng For?
Many families believe that "special needs" are always life-long disabilities. This simply isn't true. Many thousands of children are born with a specific special need such as cleft lip, extra finger, club foot, a hole in their heart, even a minor form of spina bifida, which are then repaired shortly after birth. However, a child will not be listed as "healthy" even when their condition has been repaired and the child shows little, or absolutely no, effect from the condition. These children are labeled special needs. In other cases, infants needing surgery are on the list. Toddlers who may have once been delayed but are now "on-target" are listed. In other cases, children do have more involved special needs. However, families will be able to work with their agency to find a child that will thrive in their individual situation. So, what are you waiting for? If you're ready to adopt, please consider a child who is also waiting, and ready, to join your family.

Parts of this article were contributed by Children's Home Society and Family Services

Contact Agencies with China Programs

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


We are still waiting on our interpol clearance to be accepted...Then we will receive our court date...Looking forward to getting home with our boy...Hoping to fly under the radar of the moratorium!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'll be home for Christmas!

What a nice present for our family & for Marco....

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I'm inspired by people like Andrea Roberts of Reece's Rainbow. Once upon a time, she was "just a mom" advocating for orphans with Down Syndrome. Today, after finding homes for over 350 children born with DS, she is the light in the darkness for hundreds of waiting children.

November kicks off the Christmas Angel Tree, where families may view, sponsor, or even consider the adoption of a waiting child with DS. "I think the most important thing we want folks to know is that they don't have to adopt to make a difference," Andrea told us, "raising awareness through blogs, Yahoo, Facebook, You Tube, family friends....every one of those efforts can change the course of a child's life. It really is that easy."

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back From Eastern Europe!

Had a great first trip to Eastern Europe! We spent 2 visits with Marco and Ruben got to meet him and was very pleased. He is a great kid. Here we are with him and some jet lag...

We had straight through flights with Aerosvit which was pretty reasonable and we were very satisfied..No complaints at all. Will take them again if it works out, but not sure with our next confusing trip because I will stay longer than hubby and then Marco will join me for the ride home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We love our facilitator & translator..they are very nice people. We had a cute little studio apartment right in the middle of everything and hope to have the same one or close to it again next trip. Marco was so happy to see us and signed the documents to be adopted very quickly! He also was introduced to an Italian family last month but refused. That's my BOY!! He is smart, calm and happy. He is very grateful for little things. I would have loved to bring him a hand held game but right now we need to keep sacrificing to just get him home. This would have occupied him while he waits for us because he mentioned he waited so long.. We explained his country and we must follow the process and rules & it takes time. Now with the Moratorium possibly coming soon we hope & pray it will miss us and we can get him out with no glitches. We are waiting for our interpol clearance to be approved and then our court date..
Looking forward to getting him home & be done traveling and enjoy Christmas. Our kids are very excited to meet him and have also sacrificed in many ways. I am so proud of them and how they have done through all our adoptions.
We got to meet a few families from Reeces Rainbow also adopting. We had a nice time eating and spending time with them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Having recently been named Humanitarian of the Year by the Pocono Mountains Chamber of Commerce, Susan Folk has a modest opinion of the designation.

"It struck me as, 'Well, isn't this the way people are supposed to be?'" said the executive director of Developmental Education Services (DES) of Monroe County.

She was honored with the award during a special Chamber of Commerce celebration last week.

"I think it would be a very difficult award to give, because I know I'm certainly not alone in what I do," she said.

Folk certainly has a lot to be proud of, however.

Her dedication to special-needs individuals has led to more opportunities for them in the Monroe County area.

Since taking on the role of executive director 17 years ago, her achievements include creating a successful community recycling program that provides jobs for those with developmental disabilities, teaming up with the Kiwanis Club of the Stroudsburgs to create a community club and holding a monthly dance for special-needs individuals at the CLU Club in East Stroudsburg.

Developmental Education Services of Monroe County offers day programs to county residents with developmental disabilities. Services include instruction in grooming and hygiene, health and physical fitness, nutrition and cooking, computer learning and social development.

"I'm always thinking, 'What can we do next that's really going to help us be part of the community?'" Folk said.

Working together
She wants people to understand those with disabilities are just like everyone else — a goal she is accomplishing by getting her clients out into their community.

The Aktion Club, a result of her partnership with the Kiwanis Club, is open to anyone who wants to join, but has provided many opportunities for special-needs people.

Earlier this year, the group raised money for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. In 2005, it sent more than 100 care boxes to a developmental disabilities agency in Louisiana.

"I think the community is a better place because of us. I think now the stigma of having a disability is less than it was before," Folk said.

The Community Partners in Recycling program Folk helped start eight years ago has also been successful in getting clients into the community.

The commercial recycling program has bins in several hundred locations throughout Monroe County and provides a confidential shredding service.

Since the program began, several clients were able to move on to other jobs and out of their group homes, Folk said.

Money raised from the recycling program goes toward rent for DES's Lindbergh Avenue location, and will fund renovations to the Avenue C building.

"I just have a knack for seeing the potential in a client. It brings me such joy to see them succeed," Folk said, but it wasn't until after high school and a yearlong stint as a nurse that she realized she would enjoy working with special-needs people.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New project to improve support for people with Down syndrome in Ukraine
Together with the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation and the Nordic IT company EDB Business Partner, Down Syndrome Education International has embarked on a major new project to improve support for people with Down syndrome and their families in Ukraine. This three year project will deliver information resources, advice and education services, and will encourage social and political change to improve the lives of the estimated 10,000 people living with Down syndrome across Ukraine.

Down Syndrome Education International has embarked on a 3-year partnership project with the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation and EDB to improve support for people with Down syndrome and their families in Ukraine.

Few babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in Ukraine return home with their parents. Most are confined to baby hospitals and then orphanages.

The Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation is renovating a building where it will base its services.

This Corporate Social Responsibility partnership project will leverage financial support, volunteering and expertise from EDB and its Ukrainian subsidiary company Infopulse

Down Syndrome Education International will provide expert consulting and training services to support the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation develop education and advice services, and information resources

Down Syndrome Education International has agreed a three year partnership project agreement with the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation and EDB Business Partner to provide expert guidance, information and consulting services in support of a three year project that aims to improve healthcare and education for people with Down syndrome and provide better support for their families living in Ukraine. Few babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in Ukraine return home with their parents, and those who do receive limited support. Most children with Down syndrome are confined to baby hospitals and then orphanages. Many die young.

Supporting the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation
Based in Kyiv, the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation (UDSO) is a small charity that is working to provide better support for people with Down syndrome and their families. EDB Business Partner is a leading Nordic IT company with significant investments in Ukraine. As part of EDB's commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, DownsEd, UDSO and EDB have developed a partnership project that will leverage financial support, volunteering and expertise from EDB and its Ukrainian subsidiary company Infopulse, and expertise from DownsEd, to help UDSO to expand to provide ongoing support and services across Ukraine.

Sergey Kuryanov, President of the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation, commented "As a father, I know how difficult it is to get knowledgeable healthcare, early intervention and education for children with Down syndrome in Ukraine. Families are encouraged to abandon their children when they are diagnosed. We want to change this. We want to ensure that people understand Down syndrome and that better support is provided. We are very excited to have secured this support from EDB and Down Syndrome Education International. We could not have wished for more supportive or better qualified project partners."

Delivering new services in Ukraine
One of the first goals of the project is to launch parent support and early intervention and education services for families in Kyiv, and advice and information services serving families across the country, later this year. Together with funding recently pledged by the International Women's Club of Kyiv, UDSO is renovating a building from where it will base its services. The Ukrainian charity will appoint a Services Director and professional staff to lead these services in the next few months.

Laxmi Akkaraju, Senior Vice President of Global Sourcing, EDB Consulting Group, commented "EDB aims to meet its social responsibilities through initiatives that are tailored to our core operations - IT - and our primary locations - the Nordic countries, India and Ukraine. We are committed to ‘build competence' at all levels of our community involvement. We believe that this is an area in which we can make a positive contribution not only financially, but also through applying our competence and knowledge to the benefit of society. We are delighted to be working closely with the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation and Down Syndrome Education International to deliver lasting and meaningful social change in the communities in which we work."

Bringing corporate expertise and resources
The project will offer opportunities for in-kind support utilising EDB and Infopulse Ukraine core competencies in IT as well as volunteering from EDB and Infopulse staff to work directly with children, adults and their families in Ukraine.

Andrey Anissimov, Managing Director, Infopulse Ukraine, an EDB Business Partner subsidiary, commented "This is an important project that promises to deliver much needed change for people with Down syndrome in Ukraine and for their families. Infopulse is proud to be supporting this work in Kyiv and across the country."

Expert support to build local capacity
Down Syndrome Education International will provide training and support for UDSO's staff to help them deliver effective, evidence-based services. Over the three years of the project, DownsEd will help UDSO build local capacity and establish itself as a key provider of advice, information and services to people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ukraine.

Frank Buckley, CEO of Down Syndrome Education International, commented "We are delighted to be able to support this project. We have worked closely with EDB and families in Ukraine to develop thorough plans to deliver improved services that will meet local needs. The Corporate Social Responsibility approach has worked exceptionally well - not only bringing finance, but also expertise and local knowledge from EDB and Infopulse. This has added tremendous value to the project as a whole."

Infopulse staff provided advice and local expertise throughout the project planning process and Infopulse specialists are now developing a new website for the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation.

As well as helping families who have chosen to look after their children, the project aims to improve healthcare and education for babies, children and adults living in institutions across Ukraine.

September conference and project launch event
On 22 September 2010, the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation will host a one day conference for families, education and healthcare professionals, policymakers and other NGOs to provide information about Down syndrome, effective early intervention, education and healthcare, to introduce the project and to launch the charity's new services.

Speakers at the conference will include Professor Sue Buckley OBE, Chief Scientist at Down Syndrome Education International and Emeritus Professor of Developmental Disability and the University of Portsmouth, UK, and an internationally-recognised expert on development, education and support for young people with Down syndrome. Also presenting will be Dr Phillip Mattheis, a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, USA. Dr Mattheis is a leading authority on healthcare for people with Down syndrome, a long standing member of the US Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group and a founder member of the International Down Syndrome Medical Interest Group.

Announcing Ukrainian Down Syndrome Development Fund
Together with Down Syndrome Education USA, Down Syndrome Education International and Down Syndrome Education USA have also today launched the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Development Fund to receive donations to specifically support the work of the Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation. Donations given to this fund will be directly used to support the development of services to support people with Down syndrome and their families throughout Ukraine. Donors can give online to Down Syndrome Education International or to Down Syndrome Education USA to contribute to this fund. For information about additional ways to give, please contact us.

Further information
The Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation
The Ukrainian Down Syndrome Organisation is a Ukrainian charity. It was founded in Kyiv by parents of children with Down syndrome with the aim of helping people with Down syndrome and other genetic disorders and their families. The charity is working to provide high quality information and services for people with Down syndrome and their families, and to encourage more positive attitudes towards people with disabilities throughout Ukraine.

EDB is one of the largest IT groups in the Nordic countries, with nearly 50 years' experience of serving leading Nordic businesses. The company delivers solutions that cover the entire range of business-critical IT services from application services and industry-specific solutions through to IT operating services and network solutions. EDB's ambition is help its customers create added value both by cutting IT costs and realising the potential that new opportunities offer. EDB has about 6,000 employees working from locations in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Ukraine, Great Britain and India, and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. EDB has a turnover of NOK 8 billion (€1 billion).

Founded in 1992, Infopulse Ukraine is one of the leading Ukrainian software development companies and IT services providers. In 2007 Infopulse became a part of EDB group.

Located in Kyiv, Zhytomir and Luhansk, Infopulse employs more than 600 expert professionals. Infopulse provides the full range of services and solutions for a variety of industry verticals including: banking and finance, telecommunications, government, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, and others. Infopulse is a subsidiary company of EDB Business Partner ASA.

Down Syndrome Education International
Down Syndrome Education International (DownsEd) is the leading global nonprofit serving young people with Down syndrome and their families. The UK-based charity works to ensure successful education for young people with Down syndrome through scientific research and evidence-based information and support services.

For 30 years, the charity has advanced scientific research investigating language, cognition, memory and speech development, literacy, numeracy, and education, developing teaching techniques that improve the lives of many thousands of people living with Down syndrome today.

Today, Down Syndrome Education International works in partnership with Down Syndrome Education USA, a US-based nonprofit organisation, to support families, teachers and therapists, researchers and organisations in over 180 countries, helping more than 100,000 people each year.

Further information
For further information about Down Syndrome Education International's work in Ukraine or about our global initatives to support young people with Down syndrome in low and middle countries