Friday, December 24, 2010

Armenian Reporter: Aida Italian Opera Returns to Armenia

Armenian Reporter:

Armenian Adoptions to the USA- Numbers and additional information

Thank you for the inquires from Jordan, Israel, France and Italy, Armenia is very receptive to these countries and adoption. Israel still has a very strong Armenian community in the Armenian quarter of old Jerusalem. The numbers lately have been more adoptions to France and Italy. Canada has halted their adoption programs because of the issues in Ethiopia, Vietnam but it is looking postive that it may be re opened. Here are the number of adoptions from Armenia to America, up to 2009. 2010 will be about 10 adoptions.

It is very important not to just understand your countries laws on immigrating a child to your country but you must understand Armenia's laws too. The Armenian Embassy in your country can help, I would recommend getting the contact information for the Armenian Embassy in Armenia and your Embassy that will issue your visas.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Armenian Orphanages Mari Izmiryan, Sos and Zatik joined winner of Junior Eurovision Contest.

"Mama" = Mayrig

Congratulations to Vladimar Arzumanyan who is actually from Nargono Karabakh -ARTSAKH for winning the Junior Eurovision Conest 2010. He is very talented!!!

Yesterday 12/21/2010 in the cultural center of the police was organized a meeting with the winner of Junior Eurovision 2010 song contest Vladimir Arzumanyan.
The guests of the cultural center of the police were the children from the orphanage of “Mari Izmiryan”, “Sos” and “Zatik” as well as the children of the police officers. Together with Vladimir Arzumanyan they sang the song “Mama” that brought victory to Armenia and danced with children from the “Nkaragir” (“Description”) dance assembly, the press service of the Police informs.

The head of the RA Police Alik Sargsyan by the initiation of who the event was organized wished success to the young singer who had presented our country with honor and gave him a souvenir.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

For Italian parents (PAPs) Armenian Exhibit in Milan in January 2011

The initiative is part of the “Step Beyond” program, aimed to stimulate transnational collaborations and the mobility of artists and cultural actors. In particular it is focused on cultural exchanges between European countries and their neighbours. Fallowing this the one-day-event in ACCEA/NPAK, screening of works of Armenian video artists will take place in Italy in January 2011, organized in [.BOX] exhibition space in Milan.

Visualcontainer Italian videoart distributor and promotion

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Selecting a Pediatrician

Although your child will have some kind of medical record, in International Adoption it is never certain. In Armenia, your child will have a medical check up before you have your exit visa issued. Ask for additional panel tests, especially for the genetic leukemia test that is prominant in the Armenian genetics. The Armenian Bone Marrow Registry has additional information about this.
Interviewing and securing an International Pediatrician that you feel comfortable with should be a priority while you are in the waiting game. One word of advice, if your child is older like mine, it is advisable to have an Armenian Pediatrician so the child doesn't feel intimidated or frightened, they speak the same language. Or take a translator with you to the first doctors appointment. Try to coordinate your first Pediatrician appointment within 2 weeks after you arrive home with your child(ren).

From the John Hopkins website:
The Pediatrician’s Role in International Adoption
December 15, 2010
A young couple calls you for a consultation regarding their plans to adopt a child from another country. What should they be wary of? What do they need to know? What is your role as a pediatrician in such cases, and can you guide prospective parents considering an international adoption?
Yes, says pediatrician and pediatric anesthesiologist Deborah Schwengel, who recently presented on the issue at Johns Hopkins annual Pediatrics for the Practitioner Update. But the pediatrician’s role is not to judge whether parents should or should not adopt a child, but to inform prospective parents of the health issues, especially any special needs and what those special needs mean for the family.
“Some kids have medical issues, some psychological issues, and families need to be very aware of that as they’re preparing to adopt a child,” says Schwengel. “It’s not always a fairy tale ending.”
Typically in international adoptions, Schwengel explains, parents pick a country and an international adoption agency, meet with a social worker regarding their desires to adopt, submit the paperwork and await the referral of a child. When that arrives, adoption agencies either require or recommend that adopting parents seek the advice of a pediatrician, someone comfortable with reviewing all of the child’s health information. But often this international medical record is brief, Schwengel notes, putting the pediatrician in the position of making educated guesses about the child’s health status and future needs. Lab test results may be incomplete, too, and there’s always the chance of infection between the time the child is tested and the time of adoption.
“If you only get a couple growth points and a minor amount of developmental information, you might be guessing a bit,” says Schwengel. “Sometimes we have a bad measurement, an incomplete assessment, and when you ask the orphanage for a little bit more information you may get another report. More information is always helpful.”
Knowing the reasons for relinquishment of a child – abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, death of a parent, mental illness and poverty – and the health issues common in countries offering children for international adoption are helpful, too. Schwengel cautions pediatricians and parents to not assume the child is well because he appears well in a photograph. Not only may the child come from a country endemic with conditions like hepatitis, HIV and intestinal parasites, but he may have been neglected in his first year or two of life.
“For instance, Ethiopia, an up-and-coming country with a lot of adoptions, has a lot of poverty, HIV, tuberculosis and other disorders that you have to be aware of,” says Schwengel. “Some of those kids are placed in a good orphanage from the start, have good nutrition and are in pretty good shape, but some may have lived with a family barely making it before being left on a doorstep with absolutely no information.”
Some children, Schwengel adds, may suffer from reactive attachment disorder, a condition in which they can’t attach to a new family because they haven’t developed a trusting relationship. If you lived in an orphanage with 20 babies per caregiver and you were never picked up, Schwengel says, you learn not to trust people: “The world can be a threatening place, and in order for humans to thrive, they need food, love and attention. If no one ever shows you that love and attention, it’s easy to build barriers.”
The worst thing for prospective parents to do, Schwengel says, is to fall in love with a photograph of a child. That emotional connection becomes difficult to entangle when the parents learn that the child shows signs or risks of developmental and/or language delays. Then they may feel emotionally torn and guilty about saying “no” to a child.
“They’ll ask, ‘If I say no what’s going to happen to this child? Who will adopt this baby if I don’t,’” Schwengel says. “I feel it’s my job to say, ‘That’s not your concern.’ One of the worst things that can happen is the child arrives here and the family can’t handle the situation, and that kid ends up in foster care. You have to be very thoughtful and realistic about what you can do as a family.”
Pediatricians can consult with parents on their own and also enlist the assistance of pediatricians specializing in international adoption issues, like Schwengel and physician Cecilia Davoli, who run the International Adoption Clinic of the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. They provide the initial assistance, physical exam and lab tests, recommendations regarding specialists, and immunizations to catch up on. The clinic also employs translators, who are especially helpful in screening older children.
“You can’t expect everyone to have expertise in international adoptions,” says Schwengel. “Pediatricians come to us for guidance regarding certain circumstances.”
So, what’s in it for pediatricians?
“Satisfaction, and the ability to follow that patient from the beginning,” says Schwengel. “We see them only at a point in time and recommend how the pediatrician should follow up. They stay with the child until adulthood.”

American Legislation passed for International Adoption of siblings under the age of 18

This is significant, as the majority of the children that are available for adoption in Armenia and other countries do have siblings. Some might be available for adoption or in many sad cases they have been seperated by adoption. This legislation will hopefully help in keeping natural siblings together. The challenging part is often times the siblings end up in another country.

Legislation will allow siblings up to age 18 to remain together in international adoptions
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced this week that her legislation, the International Adoption Simplification Act, has been signed into law by President Obama.

The bipartisan legislation will allow U.S. parents to adopt children who are siblings and help protect children’s health during the adoption process. The bill would restore two exemptions to U.S. immigration law for internationally adopted children that were eliminated when the United States began implementation of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption. “Parents from Minnesota and across the nation don’t have to worry anymore about splitting up families when adopting internationally,” Klobuchar said. “They also don’t have to risk exposing their adoptive children to unsafe immunizations in foreign countries. A child’s health and family stability are critical to ensuring successful adoptions, and this new law will allow families to keep their adopted children together, healthy, and safe.”

The bill allows U.S. parents to adopt children who are siblings, even if one of those children is between the ages of 16 and 18. Under current law, children aged 16 and above are ineligible for international adoption, but this bill would allow families like Tim and Renee Merkouris from Cambridge, Minnesota, to proceed with their adoption of a family of nine orphaned children from the Philippines. With the passage of this bill, the Merkouris family can finally complete the adoption process.

The bill also allows U.S. parents adopting foreign-born children to safely immunize their children in the United States within 30 days of their arrivals, rather than have to subject their children to potentially unsafe immunizations in foreign nations. Previously, parents who adopted internationally were frequently required to immunize their children before bringing them to the United States.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shenoraavor nor dari Yev pari gaghand, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Baba Gaghand (Father Christmas) arrives in Republic Square

Shenoraavor nor dari
Pari gaghand

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

The Armenian Christmas
eve starts on January 5th. The Christmas day Mass and the celebrations start in the morning of January 6th. Yet, the Western Orthodox countries, such as Russia and Greece celebrate the Orthodox Christmas on January 7, which is the same December 25th according to the Julian Calendar. The difference between the Gregorian and Julian calendars currently is 13 days.
On Christmas eve and the morning, Armenians greet each other with Christmas Greetings
. However, Merry Christmas in Armenian is translated as Qristos tsnav eev haitnetsav, Orhneal e haitnutun@ Qristosee. Which means Christ is born and revealed, Blessed is the revelation of Christ.
Armenian Christmas is actually the original date for celebrating the birthday of Jesus. The Roman Catholic church has changed it in the 4th century. The Armenian church did not have the same reasons that made the Catholic Church to change the date of Christmas.
Untill the 4th century Christians around the world used January 6 to celebrate the birth of Jesus. "According to Roman Catholic sources, the date was changed from January 6th to December 25th in order to override a pagan feast dedicated to the birth of the Sun which was celebrated on December 25th. At the time Christians used to continue their observance of these pagan festivities. In order to undermine and subdue this pagan practice, the church hierarchy designated December 25th as the official date of Christmas and January 6th as the feast of Epiphany," according to
Since the Armenians did not have the problem that the Romans and the Orthodox had, the Armenian Christmas is celebrated on January 6 since the 1st century to 2010. Merry Christmas to the Armenians, Russian, Greek and the Orthodox, Catholics once again and all Christians.
The center of the Armenian Apostolic Church is located in the city of Etchmiadzin named after the main Cathedral of the Armenian Church. Holy Etchmiadzin is built in 303 and is like a magnet for millions of Armenians spread around the world. Each year, during Christmas, the head of the Armenian Church, currently Katholikos Karekin the 2nd sends his traditional Christmas message to all the Armenian faithful around the world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Armenian Adoptions for Italians- San Lazzaro Island the ancient Armenian Monastery

San Lazzaro Island off of Venice, Italy home of Armenian Monastery


Friday, December 10, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Reunited after 46 years a beautiful Christmas Story

This story is from the Paradise newspaper. It is a tear jerker.

Reunited after 46 years
By Trevor Warner
Posted: 12/02/2010 01:00:00 AM PST

Click photo to enlargeParadise resident Mary Ellen Reed was recently reunited with her daughter, who... (By Trevor Warner)«1»Known for her work with young people through the Cinderella's Closet program, Paradise resident Mary Ellen Reed is somewhat of a fairy godmother on the Ridge.
Now, 46 years later, Reed has found her fairy goddaughter - who happens to be her real daughter given up at birth for adoption. The first Reed heard from her daughter, April Johnsted, was on Dec. 14 2009.

Reed said she was watching the TV show "Find My Family" and decided to try to locate her long, lost daughter. The story begins when Reed, then living in Hayward, was 17 years-old and engaged.

"I broke off the engagement and then found out I was pregnant," she said. Her fiancé wanted to get married, but Reed was against it. "I knew the marriage wouldn't last. I was too young and too immature."

Reed, 64, said there weren't a lot of options for young pregnant girls in those days. Girls would get an illegal abortion, go to a home for unwed mothers or get married, she said.

"Keeping children in those days was out of the question," she said.

Not wanting to get an abortion or get married, Reed opted for a home for unwed mothers, which was run by the Salvation Army. Reed did not want to admit she was pregnant and was five months along when she entered Booth Memorial Hospital. She became one of about 100 residents at the hospital.

She had turned 18 by then and was considered to be one of the older residents. Residents would do chores and play games to pass the time. And the girls were issued wedding rings for when they were out in public, Reed said. Through the hospital, Reed was put in contact with Children's Home Society, which agreed to find a home for her as yet unnamed newborn.
Reed was able to see her baby girl once after giving birth.

"I just thought, 'Have a wonderful life, honey,'" she said. And that was it. Reed's daughter was gone.

"She was my one and only child and I never stopped loving her," Reed said, adding that she continued looking for her over the years.

Just a couple of years after the adoption, she said she called the Children's Home Society to find information on her daughter, but "they wouldn't tell me anything." And so the years wore on. Reed kept up the search, but was getting nowhere. With the advent of the Internet, Reed entered her information into registries with hopes of contacting her daughter. Still, nothing. After watching the "Find My Family" TV show, Reed was inspired to try again.

This time she was contacted by a woman named Lori Ewart-Sanders who said she found Reed's daughter and had contact information. Reed teared up. She was apprehensive.

"I was afraid to call her," Reed said. "I didn't want to intrude on her life, especially being the person who gave her up."

She asked Ewart-Sanders to call her daughter for her. Johnsten was baking Christmas cookies with her oldest daughter when she got the call from Ewart-Sanders. In an e-mail to Reed, Johnsted said she was in shock after receiving the call. Ironically, she said she just watched about five hours of "The Locator," a TV show that reunites people.

Reed found out Johnsted was adopted by an Armenian couple and was named April Kojoian. Her father was Gabriel Kojoian, a professor at Berkley and a physicist who also worked with Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Unfortunately, her mother died when she was only 3 years-old.

"She never had a mother," Reed said.

April married and adopted the name April Johnsted. She was living in Eau 'Claire, Wis. Reed and Johnsted began trading e-mails, everything from personal information to silly jokes. Finally, on June 28, 2010 - Johnsted's birthday - Reed and Johnsted were reunited when Johnsted and her husband rode out to Paradise on their Goldwing motorcycle.

As an added bonus, Reed tracked down Johnsted's natural father who moved to Chico in the early '70s to work for Enloe Medical Center. Reed did not want to give out his name without his permission.

"He was so happy," she said.

Reed and Johnsted have fostered a tight bond and Reed will be traveling to be with her daughter during the holidays. The experience has been nothing but positive for Reed. "There is no more shame, no more guilt," she said. She enjoys telling her story and has seen positive results in other peoples' lives because of it. Reed told her story to a local woman who was inspired to find her own daughter. Again, Reed did not have permission to use the woman's name. But the good news is the woman's daughter was found two days ago.

"Telling my story creates miracles," she said. "There's a reason I have to tell this story."

As for Ewart-Sanders, Reed is eternally grateful.

"She charges nothing," Reed said. "She does this because she is a fairy godmother."


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Birthright Armenia Volunteer groups


Please consider when your child gets older having them join Birthright Armenia and live the experience of volunteering in Armenia. They are great with children's projects and help in the orphanages, hospitals and other community projects. Most of the kids stay for 4 months and live with a host Armenian family. It is an experience that all Armenian children should have. A chance to lend a hand to the motherland and give back.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure-Armenian Orphans Trailer

Armenian Adoption Adventure- The Waiting Game

Some things to hopefully pass your time while you wait.
The key is to keep busy and don't focus on the computer or phone message waiting for the referral. Mix duties away from your adoption and the time will go by much easier for you.
1) Join a local Book Club
2) Take on more volunteer duties, (church, shelters)
3) Trips to library, they have several small events, get their calender and information. You will want to also look at the children's book section and storytelling.
4) Weekend trips
5) Reconnect with friends from college.
6) Join Netflix and watch 1 movie a week you have not seen.
7) Join a early morning walking club or start one with your neighbors/friends.
8) Check out local schools that you want your child to attend, if you have an Armenian school ask to volunteer.
9) Take a trip to Armenia.
10) Stay away from adoption related information and yahoo groups.
11) Go to the park and feed the ducks your leftover bread. (We freeze the bread heels)
12) Do a spa day
13) Take a cooking class, learn a new Armenian dish.
14) Go to a new restaurant, try a meal you have never had.
15) Try to go 1 week without talking about your adoption
16) Go on a Wine Tasting trip
17) Buy tickets for a concert that you have always wanted to see: Ballet, Symphony
18) Come to Little Armenia in California

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Whew Step 4 more paperwork?

Whew, you have just got over the mounds of paperwork in Step 3 and now you are either: A) Disgusted and don't want to wait 2-3 years B) Want to surrogate adopt c) Adopt domestically, and we have found 2 children in the foster care system that were Armenian (more about that later) 1 a girl has aged out of the system and 1 is a boy who is half-Armenian who has lost both parents.

Next you will compile your paperwork and have it apostilled by the Secretary of the State's office. You can sometimes find a local office like we have here in Fresno and Los Angeles, CA or you can drive to your state's capital and get this process done in 1 day.
The apostille is to insure the notary on your paperwork is authentic, they will issue an apostille for EACH document. When I had mine done it was $10.00 a document. Plan on around $150.00 average.

You have now submitted your home study to your local USCIS who will process the paperwork and it will go to a processing center either in Missouri or stay in your local district. This is for the approval of the 171-h which is the permission to grant an orphan visa for your prospective child.
Plan on this taking anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months, the USCIS will send you an appiointment for your lifescan fingerprints. Keep in contact with the local Orphan Officer they can help monitor the process.

While you are waiting for your 171-H it is a good time to arrange your documents and have 2 or 3 copies of everything!!!! I arranged mine in a fan folder that you can carry with you easily on an airplane. When your 171-H comes through, you submitt your dossier to Armenia. Create a checklist for yourself based on what the Armenian Authorities will want.

I kept in contact with the AAA and the Armenian and American Embassy, this is easy to do and they can help you out.

Note: If you have been PRE-MATCHED with a child this is unlawful according to the Hague Convention. The only time this is acceptable is when the child has special needs. I happened to know the child I adopted and she spent time in America with me and I spent time with her in Armenia. But this was pre- Hague implementation when independant adoptions were acceptable.

Today, you must be matched by the Central Adoption Authority AFTER the AAA - Armenian Adoption Authority has approved you for adoption. Today it can take years, I have heard of many Armenian couples throwing in the towel because there is no healthy babies available. We try to change their expectations to older children,or slight special needs but many are not willing. The attorneys in Armenia are good to deal with but many claim to be attorneys but are not licensed.

So if you have passed through steps 1-4 you are now in a very difficult waiting game of a match. You watch for the statistics every day. You wait for the next family to arrive back from Armenia with their child wait, wait, and wait. It seems like an eternity to some of you but hang in there and dream of the end result.
There are many uncertainities today in Armenia and in International Adoption in general. Keep the faith.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure- What is an Armenian Family?

The Armenian Family (a brief snapshot)

Darn, I paid $50,000 to be an Armenian family...too bad it isn't working.
What is an Armenian Family?
When Argam arrived he was disappointed at the home of the Armenian child. It was obvious they were not an Armenian family but an American mix of no culture. The home was decorated with no Icons or Katchkars from Armenia and no displays of Armenian culture.
The home in upscale suburban section of Washington DC, (Maryland) had no usual Armenian hospitality of excessive food laid out. The traditional basturma, soujuk, fruits was no where to be found or the Armenian aroma of classic traditional Armenian dishes. Argam, was bewildered by the lack of Armenian spoke in the home and no reference to a local Armenian group or Armenian Church that this family was obviously not an associated with.
Upon meeting the family, he was further disappointed to see that the Mother could not speak any Armenian or had no knowledge of Armenian hospitality. The children were typical American children with no knowledge of Hayr Mer or the traditional blessing of food before they ate dinner.
As he left the house of strangers, the taking of pictures to capture the moment and declare some kind of deep friendship was thrust upon Argam and his son. Argam was cordial and agreed to the photos, but is bewildered how a non-Armenian family was able to claim to be Armenian. They don’t pray in Armenian, and have no ties to Armenia except what they pay for.
Argam left and went to an Armenian café where he had the traditional Armenian coffee and desserts.
The hospitality of Armenian people is known all over the world. Each time a happy event occurs people throw a party for relatives, friends, colleagues etc. Drinking and eating is a must; if you refuse you are not among the ones who share the joy. The more often you throw a feast (on any occasion) the more you will get in return, Armenians sincerely believe.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Armenian Concert to Benefit Gyumri Orphanage- December 18, 2010

Armen Movsisyan and Students PRESENT Concert Benefiting Armenian Orphanage

Location Glendale Public Library
222 E Harvard St
Glendale, CA
7:30 pm - 11:00 pm


Created By Nanee Hovsepyan, Hayko Baghdasaryan


More Info Dear Family and Friends,

We have been practicing guitar for some time now and we would like to invite you to join us for our first ever concert organized by Armen Movsisyan!

Concert will include performances by his students, who will be both playing guitar and singing!

The base of the concert is Armenian! All of the songs will be in Armenian, as it is our goal to maintain our Armenian Culture.

Ticket Price is $12 and ALL proceeds will be donated to an Armenian orphanage in Gyumri! We will make a group effort to make sure the total amount donated will reach the children in Armenia and will not get "lost" in the process.

Thank you and hope to see all of you there!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Armenian Orphanages to benefit from Armenian Marathon "Run for Life"

Proceeds from Run for Life to be gifted to orphanages
November 20, 2010 - 13:50 AMT 09:50 GMTPanARMENIAN.Net - Run for Life competition timed to the Thanksgiving Day took place in Vahakni residential community today, November 20.

“All proceeds from this charity campaign dated to the Thanksgiving Day will be gifted to orphanages,” Hovnanian International president, Vahakn Hovnanian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

“The goal of the event is to propagandize sports and healthy lifestyle. Such marathons are annually held in New York and should be held more often in Armenia,” he said.

The event hosted 150 participants and over 100 guests, including U.S. ambassador to Armenia Marie Yovanovitch.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Armenian Adoption Exports- The Numbers 2007-2009

Adoption Exports from Armenia
USA 32
Italy 24
France 19
Germany 1
Canada 9
Spain 1

USA 29
Italy 32
Germany 4
Sweden 1

USA 20
Italy 24
France 15
Germany 5
Netherlands 1

Karine (yerevan)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian - Armenian Adoption Adventure STEP 3

If you have gotten this far you are either A) Ready to adopt B) Have chosen an alternative method of adding to your family C) Have given up on the idea and are discouraged by the red tape and lengthy process of uncertainity.
Regardless,if you choose adoption or surrogacy you will still need the paperwork.

Start gathering the documents needed for a Visa and Home Study:
1) Marriage licenses, birth certificates, divorced people the final decree is needed. (note: Armenia does frown on divorces- but not impossible)
2) Financial information: last 3 years of IRS filings, deed to home/property, bankruptcy filings.
3) Medical appointment for physicials
4) Background scan at a recommended location of your home study agency, if they are competent they will have all of this information. All adults in your household will have to have this done.
5) For Armenians it helps to have your baptismal papers and/or letter from your church with the Armenian Diocese seal.
6) Include all charities and other work you have done with children.
7) write a brief bio of your family to give to the home study person. Make sure you are confident of their abilities and ask "how long they have been doing this" and about their licensing. The majority of LCSW DO NOT work for the agency but free lance by the amount of home studies they complete.
8) Make sure your home study agency has spoked to the ASP (Adoption Service Provider) that you have chosen to have the correct wording in the home study.
9) Passport information, or file for a passport at your local post office if you do not have one.
10) Coordinate with your ASP when to file your application with the USCIS. They have increased their fees tremendously and you can be alerted to file before an increase.

A competent home study agency will have a check sheet but it is best you check with what Armenia requires. The agencies will have had you sign a contract by now, some have gag orders and do not want you talking or blogging about your adoption.
Follow their contract, you are the client.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian-Armenian Orphan Telethon

This is a fantastic event going on 11 years, we loop in with our Armenian Radio station in Fresno and raise enough for 2 shippers of toys, educational supplies for the children that are orphaned.

Here is the info, please donate -

The Armenian American Orphans Christmas Fund on Sunday will host its 11th annual telethon to benefit underprivileged youth living in some of the most impoverished regions of Armenia.

The telethon, which will take place from 4 p.m. to midnight, will be broadcast live from the Armenian Media Group of America television studios in Glendale, and aired on Charter Cable channels 380 and 384.

Glendale resident Ovanes Balayan established the Christmas Fund in 1999 in an effort to provide a holiday celebration for thousands of Armenian orphans. Working alone, he managed to raise about $17,000 the first year.

"I do this for my people, especially the kids," Balayan said. "I am thinking of their future. They don't know what is going on with politics in their country."

Since then, the Christmas Fund has grown steadily. In 2009, the fund gained official nonprofit status. Balayan, 80, now works alongside more than 100 volunteers, among them Glendale-area lawyers, doctors and business leaders.

Last year, the telethon netted about $90,000. This year, organizers are expecting 2,000 families and 75 area businesses to make pledges. And dozens of public officials, including Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian and state Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) have already extended their support.

"Every year, the intention is to make sure we collect at least as much as we collected last year," said volunteer Hovik Gabikian.

The mission and scope of the fund has also expanded. In recent years, money raised in Glendale has helped finance renovations and new construction at schools and orphanages designed to meet the needs of disabled children in the Armenian cities of Spitak and Kharpert.

In 1988, Spitak was the epicenter of a massive earthquake that killed more than 25,000 people, many of them crushed in cheaply constructed apartments and schools. Because of the tensions of the Cold War, the international humanitarian response was muted and the recovery slow.

Balayan visited the region after the disaster, observing the conditions of survivors, many of them children who lost parents and siblings. More than two decades later, there are still people living in shanty towns, he said.

Funds raised during this year's telethon will enable the construction of a dormitory and gym at a school in Spitak, Ovanes said.

Representatives from the Christmas Fund, including Ovanes and other prominent members of the Armenian American community, travel regularly to project sites in Armenia.

Armenian Americans maintain close ties with Armenia, Gabikian said, and have a deep sense of obligation to help whenever possible.

Armenians living and working in the United States often send money overseas to family members and friends. And they traditionally are generous with Armenian charities, especially senior citizens, organizers said.

"It is not the amount that matters as much as the intention," Gabikian said. "There is a sense of being able to participate in doing something for those in need."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian -Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians: STEP 2

Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians: Armenian Adoption Adventure- STEP 2: "This is probably the most important step of all. Your RESEARCH, make sure you are not getting biased information. Many of you have asked a..."

Vanessa Kachadurian Armenian Adoption Adventure- STEP 2

This is probably the most important step of all. Your RESEARCH, make sure you are not getting biased information. Many of you have asked about chat rooms, etc., I found them to be absolete and only a few agencies control what it posted. Do not go on web postings, but pick up the phone and speak to the people. Also MEET your home study and placing agency (ASP) FACE to FACE. Do not rely on the phone or the Internet, this was my mistake. Also if the Executive Director never meets clients this is a red flag, you are about to enter into a business contract with someone when you sign the paperwork....know who it is.

A) The BBB isn't a great way to research, although after the fact I found 3 complaints against a particular agency. The complaints stay and are rotated every 36months, and the BBB does NOTHING except is a reporting agency. Check all over the country and in the county where your agency is in.

B) The JCICS is better now than they were but they are still a trade organization that is supported by dues of adoption agencies. (Joint Council of International Children Services)
JCICS is hurting big time, they have had to disolve 1/2 their staff and moved to smaller quarters. Most Adoption Agencies are moving away from the JCICS to religious based support organizations and foundations.

C) Ethica is a good orgnization

D) PEAR- Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform IS EXCELLENT, I was 1 of the orignial people that put up the money for this group. It is a group of adoptive parents most of who have law degrees that are here to bring the rights of the birth mother and child back into the equation. PEAR is on top of legislation and supporting the rights of the child and families. David Smolin is a law professor and has written several articles about International Adoption. He and his wife Desiree had a terrible situation happen with their 2 beautiful daughters from India. The girls were stolen from their birth mother. Barbara McArtney is also another fantastic adoption attorney. We started just 3 years ago at the October 2007 Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference in Washington DC.

E) Adoption Agency Checklist

F) Joni Fixel Law offices, can do a background check on your agency for a small fee, she is the attorney that has represented adoptive parents in class action lawsuits vs. Main Street, Waiting Angels and more.

Speaking with attorneys is a great idea, but there are a few that are "co-mingling" and have an adoption service for profit as well as Non-profit business as well. We find it is a conflict of interest. You may not get the best fair balance of information from those that have a financial interest.


FAR - Foundation for Armenian Relief -Excellent with offices in Armenia

COAF Children of Armenia Fund
Started by my buddy Dr. Garo Armen without a doubt one of the most successful for the children. We have just started COAF NEXT GENERATIONwhich is young professionals dedicated to helping children in Armenia. We have a Masquerade Ball on 10/29/10 and the HUGE Star studded Gala ball in NYC in December 2010. Last year comedian Martin Short stepped up to MC, his sister in law (ex now) is Armenian Comedian Andrea Martin who is a doll. here is the Masquerade Ball invite and online donation, even if you cannot make it please donate via paypal

ARS - Armenian Relief Society
(the oldest 100 years and WORLDWIDE)

SOAR - Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief

World Vision (Excellent program) WV has an Active Armenian office that works closely with the governmental offices in Armenia for Child, family issues.Sponsor an Armenian Child!!
Taiwan World Vision just sent relief for 2,000 Armenian Children

AYF - Armenian Youth Federation

ARM-Armenian Relief Mission-
EXCELLENT started over 12 years ago by physician Dr. Steve Kashian, they have done many improvements in the orphanages they are about improving the life of the children not about band aids.

Peace Corps Armenia has MANY youth programs.
Here are some blogs and Journals of PC workers in Armenia,am
Over the Years I have met many dedicated people that are non-Armenian who have shown us through their actions how they care. Jack Garvey from Sacramento, CA just finished his assignment in Armenia. I sent him many educational supplies for Diljan. Jack was also responsible for finding a back room of young adults hidden because they had disabilities. Bravo Peace Corps.

Friends of Armenia
Works closely with the peace corp in country, many good children's programs.

UNICEF of Armenia


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure-Adoption and Trafficking discussed in Yerevan


Discussion on adoption and trafficking issuesToday in Yerevan took place a meeting and discussion on “Adoption and Trafficking issues in Armenia”. The discussion was held by the Armenian office of Zech organization “People in Need”.

“It’s wrong to say that there is no children Trafficking in Armenia. There is,” mentioned Tatevik Bezhanyan the coordinator of the “People in Need” Armenian office.

According to him there has been conducted an investigation on being informed about the children’s trafficking, however, according to her, it is difficult to discover all the cases concerning trafficking.”

“I don’t have facts under my hand proving that there have been cases in Armenia of trafficking after the adoption of children, but there are cases like this in the world, ” T. Bezhanyan said.

Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians:-Available Children in Armenia ...

Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians: Vanessa Kachadurian-Available Children in Armenia ...: "From Arka News Agency this morning 10/12/2010. I know Yelena and for the most part she is very honest. 70 Children Offered For Adopt..."

Armenian Adoption Adventure-Available Children in Armenia NOW

From Arka News Agency this morning 10/12/2010. I know Yelena and for the most part she is very honest.

70 Children Offered For Adoption In armenia Now
YEREVAN, October 12. /ARKA/. Some 70 children are offered for adoption in Armenia now, Yelena Hayrapetyan, chief of Armenian Labor and Social Affairs Ministry’s division on family problems, said Tuesday at a seminar focused on human trafficking and child adoption problems in Armenia. The seminar was organized by People in Need Program.

She said that 70% of them are children at age above 10.

“About 200 families in Armenia and as much again foreigners want to adopt children, but only 20 to 30% of them managed to do it…Married couples prefer newborn babies to keep the adoption secret,” Hayrapetyan said.

Hayrapetyan said that abandoned children and orphans can be adopted.

Preference is given to families in Armenia, then Armenians living abroad and foreigners.

Hayrapetyan said that there are only 15 healthy children in the database. Others have physical or mental problems.

Remarkable is that foreigners prefer sick children, but if their health problems are curable.

The ministry’s representative said that 50 decisions were made in the first quarter of this year against 87 in 2009 and 120 in 2008.

She said that the government keeps its eye on adopted children wherever they are through diplomatic offices and consulates.

No cases of violence have ever been reported.

Tatevik Bezhanyan, coordinator of the People in Need Program, who spoke at the seminar as well, said that very often adoptions are kept secret in Armenia. That is why cases of child sale happen here.

“As a rule, people all over the world don’t hide facts of adoption, while Armenians don’t want to do it openly because of national mentality.” –0--

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians: Armenian Adoption via Surrogacy

Armenian Adoption Adventure for Armenians: Armenian Adoption via Surrogacy: "PHOTOS ARE OF THE SHENGAVIT BIRTHING CENTER Another option for those that long for an Armenian baby. Armenia: Flouting Convention, Ch..."

Armenian Adoption via Surrogacy

Another option for those that long for an Armenian baby.

Armenia: Flouting Convention, Childless Couples Opt for SurrogacyMay 5, 2010 - 11:18am, by Marianna Grigoryan
Surrogacy is reportedly becoming a popular option for well-to-do, childless Armenian couples who desire children. But reconciling the practice with Armenia’s relatively conservative social mores is proving a challenge.

As in all South Caucasus countries, Armenian culture places a heavy emphasis on the need for women to marry and to bear children. In the past, couples who could not have children sometimes asked relatives to bear a child whom they would then adopt. But the practice, though generally accepted, meant that the babies did not carry the DNA of either adoptive parent.

Surrogacy, by contrast, lets that bloodline continue, supporters affirm. “I think this is a chance for people who have a big wish to have their own baby,” commented 48-year-old Yerevan homemaker Siranuysh Mamikonian.

The Ministry of Healthcare’s chief specialist on maternal and pediatric health, Gayane Avagian, affirms that surrogate births are increasing in Armenia. Diaspora couples in particular take interest in such procedures, she added. Representatives of Yerevan hospitals note a similar trend. No accurate statistics have yet been compiled on how many children are born to surrogate mothers, however.

Thirty-five-year-old Lilianna Manukian (not her real name) is one of those mothers. To avoid what she terms “traditional Armenian criticism,” Manukian, who will deliver a boy in May, said that she decided to move into another apartment two months ago and stay clear of relatives and neighbors.

Being pregnant without a husband – Manukian is a widow with two children – can invite widespread condemnation. For that reason, surrogate mothers selected by Healthy Mind, the only organization in Yerevan that matches Armenian and Diaspora couples with prospective birth mothers, often opt to live in relative isolation during their pregnancies. Alternative accommodation is offered as part of a package deal with the parents.

“Of course, it’s difficult, but this is my deliberate choice,” Manukian said. “Since I have my own children already, I look on my body as an incubator that can help develop a baby who has nothing to do with me.”

A surrogate mother’s services cost, on average, $25,000 to $30,000; a fee that includes medical exams and services, a monthly “salary” for the surrogate mother, lodging and transportation fees, food, clothing and an “honorarium” once the baby is born, plus legal services.

Healthy Mind’s publicity statements describe surrogacy as “a bit odd, but a purely legal and praiseworthy way of earning money.” Manukian acknowledged the desire to raise money for her children’s education as motivation for her to take on what she termed the “laudable” job of surrogacy.

Candidate surrogate mothers must be between 18 to 35 years old and undergo two months of psychiatric and medical tests. Women who already have children are preferred; women deemed “hysterical” are rejected. Aside from advertisements, candidates are “found via our friends and acquaintances,” said Healthy Mind’s founder, Dr. Davit Mkhitarian.

To reduce the risk of accidents, surrogate mothers must pledge not to use public transportation during their pregnancy; taxis only are permitted. Sexual activity during the pregnancy is similarly barred. “This is a very delicate and responsible area where every detail should be taken into account,” commented Alexander Sirunian, an associate professor of law at Yerevan State University and one of the few Armenian lawyers handling surrogacy issues.

A 2002 reproductive rights law regulates surrogacy, but detailed contracts between parties are required to avoid future problems, he noted.

Unlike in the West, surrogate mothers do not have the option to meet the client parents; contracts with surrogate mothers provide for the child to be transferred immediately to the client parents upon birth, Sirunian said.

While the practice remains relatively new for Armenia, it has already attracted critics. One such opponent is 35-year-old librarian Narine Manasian who says that seeing how nature takes its course is better than opting for surrogacy. “I think there is no need to do something against God,” Manasian said.

Representatives of the Armenian Apostolic Church did not express an official viewpoint on surrogacy to, but Father Vahram Melikian, a spokesperson for the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, suggested that the practice was immoral.

“Irrespective of the child’s origin, a strong spiritual and emotional bond is established between a mother and her fetus,” he said. With surrogacy, “the woman is just playing the role of a vessel or an incubator. This violates the rights of both the woman and the child.”

The Ministry of Healthcare’s maternal and pediatric health chief specialist, Avagian, sees only benefits to the practice. “If the Diaspora supported the creation of a foundation financing in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy, that would not only encourage the birth rate, but also increase the number of happy families,” Avagian said. “Having a child still remains an unattainable dream for many families, both for physiological and, particularly, financial reasons.”

At 12.65 births per 1,000 people, Armenia’s birth rate ranks second for the South Caucasus after Azerbaijan.

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Artificial Insemination

Under Armenian Medical Tourism there is a growing trend of Artificial Insemination in Armenia because there are so few healthy babies available for adoption. Rarely are healthy babies abandoned in Armenia, and because of the new Hague Convention restrictions there is NO independant adoptions direct with the bio/birth mother. Every adoption has to go through the Central Processing in Armenia, no more bypassing. What does this mean?
It means a longer wait, and longer investigation of the child's true status.

In the meantime, a local couple has first pick over a foreigner of the available babies and children. Then Armenian ethnic background is considered for the healthy babies. Armenians in Europe are a priority because their government deal DIRECT with the Armenian governments. Their adoptions are susidized and reimbursed by the government in Italy, France and most of Europe.

Artificial Insemination
Thirty-five babies have been born in Armenia since 2003 through artificial insemination. Another five such babies are expected to by the end of 2006.

The first artificially inseminated baby was born in Armenia in 2002. This infertility treatment is available at the Mother and Child Center. Karen Jinanian, the head of the Center's laboratory diagnosis department, said doctors from the Marseille Center for Reproduction were instrumental in helping their Armenian counterparts to attain success in this area.

The French Center installed state-of-the art equipment in Yerevan Center. Couples from the USA, Holland, Russia and Germany have come to Armenia to get AI treatment.


YEREVAn, MARCH 26, 2007 NOYAN TAPAN. Yerevan's Scientific Research Center on Health Care of Mother and Child is the only one in Armenia where insemination outside the mother's body is done. Karen Jinanian, Head of the Laboratory Diagnostic Unit of the center, told NT correspondent about it. According to him, this field of medical science has been established in Armenia and it is not inferior to those in other countries: 100-200 inseminations outside the mother's body is done in the country annually, with efficency making up 25-40% as throughout the world. K. Jinanian said that two programs on insemination outside the mother's body are currently being implemented at the center. The first program, which has been implemented since 2002, aims to eliminate problems related to fertility of women. By the way, the first 3 babies were born under this program in February 2003. The second program implemented since 2006 aims to overcome men's problems related to fertility. The first baby with the use of this method was born in Armenia recently - on February 8. On the whole, until now over 100 babies have been born in Armenia as a result of insemination outside the mother's body. In the words of K. Jinanian, these children do not differ in anything from other children born in the natural way. He explained that insemination outside the mother's body ensures genetic heredity. "This allows Armenian men to be more confident and bold as no donor sperm is used in this case," the laboratory head said. An insemination outside the mother's body done at the center costs 700-1,000 dollars, whereas, for example, it costs 25 thousand dollars in the US. K. Jinanian pointed out that in addition to Armenian citizens, those from other countries: the US, Russia, Georgia have applied to the center. According to the RA Ministry of Health, no official statistics on sterility of women of reprodictive age exist in Armenia. According to the same source, 3.4% of women examined in 1998 had primary sterility, and about 28.5% - secondary sterility.

This is a GREAT option for Armenians who want a baby with Armenian ethnicity and for those that are childless. Many cannot wait through the uncertain waters of adoption. If you want to increase your chances somewhat, ask for a child from 9 months to 48 months, it could increase your odds. Healthy boys are even more rare as the country needs them for the military. I never wanted a baby as I personally believe the mother should stay home with the baby the first 4-5 years. That is not possible with my work schedule (although I am permitted to work from home on occasion) thank goodness for the company's wireless remote computer, sype, cell phones and more.

I am told this is big in Armenia not just with diaspora Armenians wishing for a baby but for a few local couples. It is not a bad deal you can monitor the process, fly in to visit with the woman carrying your baby and become close with her. Or you can go through the procedure yourself. Please consider an older child to adopt whenever you can, they are sweet kids just looking for a home and family to call theirs. Or consider a special needs child, whatever you can handle.

The medical care is outstanding in Armenia, we have a couple of medical universities. I frequently stay at a flat that houses medical students from India (by way of England) The older children usually have dental issues, but their is a few GREAT dentists that I have taken the kids to. I have even had dental work there and they are cheap, they use the same equipment as my dentist in the USA.

Armenian Adoption Adventure- STEP 1

Start at the State Department web site and DO YOUR RESEARCH. Note the number of children being exported and keep informed of the ever changing laws. The best thing is to take a trip to Armenia and meet everyone that has to do with Adoptions.
1 )Social Ministry Office
2 )Translators office (e mail me I can get you information)
3 )Speak to some of the Orphanage Directors, (difficult but not impossible if they know your family or friends.
4 )If you still want to move forward, find an ASP (Adoption Service Provider) and they will hopefully direct you to a responsible home study agency and the wording you need for Armenia. Be careful here, my first time out I was stuck with an approved home study but it was by a 26 year old with no License for Social Work. She had a MSW and worked under another LCSW's license who ended up leaving that Agency.

Currently there are 4 Adoption Service Providers for Armenia, here they are in alphabetical order:
Adopt Abroad
Adoption Related Services, Inc.
Carolina Adoption Services**
Hopscotch Adoptions

** The oldest operating program in Armenia.

Other web sites to research:
Foreign Ministry office of Armenia
US Embassy in Armenia (purchase Visas)
Ministry of Social Affairs (Armenia)
Women and Children section