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