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