Monday, December 26, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventrue - Art Auction organized for children with cancer in Armenia



This group is connected to the Children’s Hospital of Central California and City of Hope for Children. Recently Billionaire American (and former Fresnan ) Mr. Kirk Kerkorian donated over $5 million to our hospitals foundation. We have had over 5 children from Armenia treated in these hospitals without any cost to the parents. Thank you to Dr. Karine, Dr. Anoush, Dr. Tehrani our special Armenian Medical Angels. The best Pediatricians in the USA.
Children's Hospital Central California received its largest single gift in history as prominent businessman Kirk Kerkorian gave $5 million to support the hospital's implementation of technology infrastructure.
The donation, on behalf of the Lincy Foundation formed in 1989 by Kerkorian, will help the Madera hospital enhance patient care through centrally accessible electronic records, mobile technologies such as handhelds, tablets and workstations and delivering instant patient data to doctors and nurses.
In addition, the donation will also go toward exploring a physicians' fellowship program and increase its research infrastructure.
“This transformational gift will help our pediatric specialty physicians, nurses and staff maintain and improve our unique services," said Gordon Alexander, president and CEO of Children's Hospital, in a press release. "Most importantly, it gives us advanced tools to better care for every family’s most cherished treasures—their children.”
Kerkorian, a Fresno native, is well known for his business activities in Hollywood and Las Vegas and also as president and CEO of private holding company Tracinda Corporation.
Originally formed to help the victims of the devastating 1988 earthquake in Spitak, Armenia, the Lincy Foundation supports numerous charities with funds provided solely by Las Vegas-based Tracinda Corp. Last February, the foundation made a grant of $110,000 to the Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School in Clovis to cover school expenses and scholarships for needy students.
http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/health/8282-kerkorian-gifts-5m-to-childrens-hospital
YEREVAN. - Around AMD 10 million was collected during the auction organized by Armenian Ameria bank for supporting 17 children suffering from cancer and hematological diseases. 30 paintings were presented during the auction which belonged to famous artists.
“For a long time we were trying to decide what gift to present for the Holidays and so we decided to help sick children. We organized such an auction last year and with the collected AMD 19 million we were able to save 6 children. This year we suggested our artist friends to participate in the auction,” the director of Ameria bank’s development department Tigran Jrbashyan stated.
At the end of the auction Jrbashyan announced that Ameria bank will double the collected money
http://news.am/eng/news/87157.html

Armenian Adoption Adventure-US State Department explains decline in International Adoptions




The U.S. State Department this month released its full report on fiscal year 2011 intercountry adoptions -- what most people would call international adoptions. The number dropped to the lowest since 1994.
Read entire article here:

http://blog.oregonlive.com/themombeat/2011/11/adoption_insight_into_the_drop.html

Another Great Article about Steep decline in International Adoptions

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2011/11/18/intercountry-adoption-steep-declines-in-the-us

State issues 9,300 Visas for Adoptions in the USA

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/11/18/State-issues-9300-visas-to-adopted-kids/UPI-79981321651837/?spt=hs&or=tn

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure-Armenia to get more funding for Foster Care



Anahit Bakhshyan, a tireless warrior for Armenian children in Armenia.

http://armenianow.com/social/34071/armenia_orphanages_children
Only 25 children have been placed in foster families in Armenia as part of a state program introduced in 2006. Specialists say the program that sets the goal of reducing the number of children in orphanages also aims at helping overcome psychological barriers. Insufficient funding, however, is mentioned as one of the reasons for its being slow so far.

There are 11 orphanages in Armenia, four of them private, accommodating more than 1,200 children left without parental care.

UNICEF Armenia communication officer Emil Sahakyan says jointly with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs they are working to increase the number of foster families in Armenia. But most current and potential guardians find it difficult to go on a monthly allowance of 70,000 drams (about $200) and an equivalent of a minimum salary (32,500 drams, less than $85). But state funds are not sufficient for a raise in this payment.

“This, however, should not be a reason for the process to slow or be left half-finished, as the state generally should pay attention in every way to needy families so that children do not appear in orphanages,” says Sahakyan.

Opposition Heritage Party MP Anahit Bakhshyan welcomes the current program, but criticizes the government for not increasing budget allocations for paying monthly allowances to foster families in Armenia.

MP Gagik Baghdasaryan, a representative of Orinats Yerkir, one of the three parties in the ruling coalition, says as part of a UNICEF program with a group of other lawmakers, he recently visited Norway to learn how work is organized in this sphere by the country’s child rights protection office.

“I think it would be useful and very important to introduce a similar institution in Armenia, an institution that would deal with issues of interest to all of us – how to reduce the number of children in orphanages, solve housing problems for those who come from orphanages, encourage foster families and so on, so forth,” says the pro-government lawmaker.

Forty apartments have been purchased due to government funds intended for those leaving orphanages since 2003 when another program of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, “State Support for Alumni of Childcare Organizations”, was launched. However, 28 of these apartments remain unlived in. Those living in the remaining 12 apartments have complained about poor conditions.

There has been no state budget allocation in 2011 nor is allocated for 2012 for purchasing apartments for orphanage graduates. (By law, orphans must leave orphanages by age 18. At present, there are 300 such graduates waiting for apartments that they have the right to receive by law. Another 15 young people will turn 18 and will have to leave orphanages in 2012, joining the current 300 former orphanage children waiting for homes from the state.)

In July 2010 the National Assembly’s Audit Chamber said it had revealed abuse by three organizations involved in the realization of the housing program for orphanage alumni. It said the total cost of the misappropriations in the program reached more than 1.2 billion drams (about $3.2 million).

“The program will not be implemented since its funding was misappropriated in 2003-2009. It is also said that the 28 apartments in which former orphanage children have refused to live will be offered to other graduates, but these are apartments where, as they say, even dogs will not live,” claims Bakhshyan.

The money confiscated from offending companies is expected to be used in 2012 by the Ministry of Urban Development for building social houses in Gyumri and Stepanavan.

Gavar orphanage director Nikolai Nalbandyan tells ArmeniaNow that they continue keeping their charges who turn 18 if they have nowhere to go.

“It is a very painful issue. The state should have some intermediate institutions where such children could stay for about four years after leaving orphanages at age 18, so that they become fully fledged adults,” he says.

(The army to where all males in Armenia reaching the age of 18 are drafted for a two-year service on a compulsory basis partly acts as such an intermediate institution. But in reality it only rarely helps orphan alumni get a life after demobilization, while more often than not alumni continue to face the same problems as they had before conscription).

In the case with Gavar’s orphanage the problem is also partly solved thanks to the Our House project in Echmiadzin. Every year the institution accommodates five young people who leave the orphanage in Gavar. According to agreements signed in advance, these former orphanage children spend four years there, during which time they are supposed to graduate from college or university, get an apartment from the state and become able to sustain themselves.

Ani Arakelyan, 26, lives in Our House. She came from the Gavar orphanages. It is already six years that she has been on a waiting list for state housing. Her agreement with Our House expired in November, but the NGO continues to keep her because Ani has nowhere to go.

Two weeks ago, together with several other former orphanage children, Ani met with Labor and Social Affairs Minister Artur Grigoryan. The minister, she says, presented a social housing program to them. “But I don’t think I will go to live in a province, I cannot find a job there, I have no one there,” says Ani, who is a psychologist by training.

Hasmik Gyurjinyan, 26, is in the same situation. Her agreement with Our House has also expired. Hasmik works in one of Echmiadzin’s kindergartens. Both young women are in a difficult situation as they have to leave the NGO by March 1 next year.

Armenian Adoption-Armenian TV Stars visit Orphanage








Hayk is a very special friend of mine and this group has vowed to return, many are applying to adopt the children. They will in the future hold special events for families in Armenia to help decrease the social orphan population .


http://news.am/eng/news/85073.html
VANADZOR. - Armenian movie and theatre stars visited Vanadzor city orphanage on Thursday. The initiative came from the Armenian benefactor living in Italy Arthur Asatryan. With his financial support Armenian actors visited Kharberd’s N 1, Gyumri’s N 3 orphanages and on Thursday they visited Vanadzor’s orphanage.
The actor Gnel Ulikhanyan mentioned that the visit is a volunteer action and the aim of it is to show the children that they are not separated from society. The action will also take place in retirement homes.
Sundukyan theatre actor Hayk Haykazyan called everyone to help the orphanage children; even they do not have money, since just visiting the orphanage is sometimes enough. Vanadzor’s orphanage has 103 children of the ages 0-18. The youngest child is 2 months old.
The orphanage children presented dances and songs for expressing their thanks.
The actors were touched seeing the joy of the children, they promised to visit the orphanage at least once a year.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Armenian volunteers in orphanages spotlight Dr. Kotikian


http://www.lacanadaonline.com/news/tn-vsl-1215-doctor-finds-inspiration-in-armenia,0,4041830.story

By Daniel Siegal, daniel.siegal@latimes.com
December 9, 2011 | 3:15 p.m.
La CaƱada Flintridge resident Armond Kotikian, DDS, MD, used to plying his trade as an oral maxillofacial surgeon in the cushy operation rooms of Glendale Adventist and Glendale Memorial hospitals, got a lesson in improvisation while performing pro bono surgeries in Armenia this past summer.

In his first-person account, “Tools of the Trade Across Borders,” an article published online at hetq.am, Kotikian describes the hospital in the Armenian province of Karabagh in which he performed dozens of surgeries over a five-day period:

“There was no air conditioning in the hospital and the temperature would reach the low 90s at noon. The nurses had special sterile instruments to dab our foreheads so we wouldn’t contaminate the field with our sweat. The hospital water occasionally ran out and the operating nurses had to rinse our arms and hands with small buckets of water after we scrubbed. I was operating with instruments I thought didn't exist anymore. Despite all this, things went as smoothly as they do in our pampered operating rooms in the United States.”

Now back at home, Kotikian said his time in Karabagh was an inspirational experience.

“What I learned was that, regardless of the conditions, if you have the surgical training you’ll get by with whatever they have, to get the best outcome on the patient,” he said.

Kotikian was in Armenia for the Armenian Medical International Congress, an event held every four years that draws Armenian physicians from all over the globe. He said he had been asked to lecture at the congress, and at the time he accepted the invitation he decided to reach out to provide his services to an area in need.

“I’m about two years out of residency, and I’ve been meaning to do this for a very a long time,” he said. “It was a good way to go back, and give back to my country.”

It was especially gratifying, Kotikian said, to work in Karabagh, an area in dire need of oral surgical care.

“It’s close to 130,000 people, and there’s only one individual there who is an oral-maxillofacial surgeon, just like me,” he said.

In addition to working with that surgeon, Dr. Sasun Vahanyan, to repair cleft lips and palates, remove oral and neck tumors and even remove a set of wisdom teeth, Kotikian worked to educated the local professionals in the newest techniques.

“It was a good way of giving back and educating them, and teaching them the American standards,” Kotkian said, “because they’re mostly trained with Russian techniques, which are very old school.”

Technical education wasn’t the only teaching Kotikian did, however. He said that in the more rural parts of Armenia, like Karabagh, there is a stigma attached to children born with cleft palates or lips.

“When these kids are born with cleft lip or palates, or any other facial defect, they think the kid is abnormal,” he said “What they do there, unfortunately, is when these kids are born with these cleft lips they give them up for adoption.”

Kotkian said he worked to teach the local populace that cleft lips and palates were common issues that could be fixed.

“It’s the second most common anomaly after clubfoot, and it could be corrected…it doesn’t mean the patient has any mental issues or anything else,” he said. “It’s a simple defect that can be repaired, and it happens.”

Still, said Kotikian, plenty of work remains, which is why he’s working with the Armenian-American Medical Society, based in Glendale, to establish a bi-yearly mission to the area.

“What I would do is try to spend more time there, No. 1, because the more time there, the greater the opportunities,” he said. “Second of all, I’d want to take my instruments and actually donate them…so they’d actually have them and be able to use them on future patients.”

Ultimately, Kotikian said he’s hoping his efforts manage to touch more than just the people of Karabagh.

“The biggest reason I wrote [the article] was to encourage people to volunteer their time,” he said. “Everyone can make time if they want.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Armenian Adoptions- Armenian Embassy Cable discusses Adoption irregularities


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 YEREVAN 002113 SIPDIS DEPT FOR IIP/G/EUR-KELLISON, LSCHWARTZ; IIP/T/DHR- JJASIK; EUR/PPD-JBASEDOW; CA/ACS/CI-MDERKS E.O. 12958; N/A TAGS: KOCI [Children's Issues], OIIP [International Information Programs], SCUL [Cultural Affairs], KPAO [Public Affairs Office], AM [Armenia], PHUM [Human Rights] SUBJECT: ARMENIAN DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS: CURRENT PROCESS, OFFICIAL OPINIONS, POSSIBLE CHANGES REF: A. YEREVAN 522, B. YEREVAN 2042 ¶1. "It is better for a child to die in Armenia than to be adopted abroad." While international adoptions are legal in Armenia, this pervasive negative attitude makes legislators and government officials nervous, giving rise to a lack of transparency in the process which in turn creates an environment where fraud flourishes. When Emboffs brought cases of apparent fraud to the Justice Ministry and pointed out shortcomings in Armenia's system, Justice Minister David Harutunian asked for help. In response, through the Public Affairs Section's International Speaker program, post hosted U.S. attorney and adoption expert Irene Steffas for a two week series of working sessions with government officials, lawyers, and non-governmental organizations. Steffas presented a range of choices for the GOAM, all which require changes to legislation and a new level of commitment to create an environment in which adoptions can take place without the involvement of intermediaries and unlicensed agencies, which are the main sources of fraud. End Summary. International Adoptions in Armenia ---------------------------------- ¶2. American Citizens adopt approximately 40 Armenian children per year. This is a small number in terms of U.S. foreign adoptions, but a large percentage of Armenian children adopted by foreigners -- usually 70 per year. Until this year, Post felt fairly confident in the Armenian system. Although parents were charged "extra fees" at every step of the process, it was rational and fairly transparent. The Armenian Government at the highest level signed off on all foreign adoptions. ¶3. In early 2005 however, Post discovered that a local adoption facilitator had been using unethical methods to procure very young children for adoption by American Citizens. The facilitator had placed babies in a private orphanage, the primary purpose of which appeared to be to keep the children out of the state-run orphanage system where they would likely be adopted by Armenian families. (See reftel A.) Presenting the Fraud to the MOJ -------------------------------- ¶4. Post brought concerns about unethical facilitators and private orphanages to the Minister of Labor and Social Security (responsible for regulating orphanages) and to the Minister of Justice, chairman of the Adoption Council which oversees adoption in Armenia. Armenian adoption law barely recognizes the existence of facilitators, but the Minister of Justice understood that foreigners need help negotiating the Armenian bureaucracy. He told us he was just beginning to study the best way to regulate facilitators without providing additional avenues for corruption. The Minister asked Post to provide a U.S. adoption expert to explain the adoption process from the U.S. perspective and to lay out different options for legalizing the work of facilitators.

Copy of the cable from the Armenian Embassy

http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=05YEREVAN2113

NOW HERE IS ANOTHER CABLE

To be eligible for adoption in Armenia, a child must be legally abandoned by all living parents through a renunciation of parental rights, or found to be an orphan by the state. Death certificates of both parents, court decisions or police statements (in cases of a foundling child) also may serve as evidence of a child's orphaned status. Orphaned children become the custody of orphanages and the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues maintains the centralized registration and has the list of children available for adoption. For the first three months on this list, a child may be adopted only by Armenians; after three months have elapsed, a child may be adopted by Armenians or foreigners. ¶13. (SBU) Corruption on the part of Armenian government officials, adoption agencies and orphanages is a concern, and due to pervasive document fraud, local birth and identity documents are often not reliable. However, during this reporting period, none of the cases we have seen have included fraudulent documents. In addition to field investigations, post combats adoption fraud by running background checks on all local adoption facilitators, whom post YEREVAN 00000834 003 OF 005 still works with on legacy I-601 adoption cases. ¶14. (SBU) Armenia is officially a signatory to the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoptions, and all adoption cases begun after April 2008 are processed in accordance with the Hague. The Ministry of Justice has been designated at the Central Authority under the Hague Convention for Adoptions and Child Abductions and its Department of Civil Acts Registration is responsible for carrying out day-to-day operations. A new regulation on adoptions has been cleared with all governmental agencies involved in the adoption process (the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues, the Ministry of Health, the MFA, Police, etc.) and is due to be enacted. The new regulation will reportedly bring Armenia into compliance with Hague Convention requirements, and include the implementing regulations for the execution of the Hague Convention's Article 16 and 23 letters. It will replace regulations which currently govern the adoption process in Armenia and will include clear guidance on the operational steps and implementation deadlines for each Armenian Government agency. USE OF DNA TESTING ------------------ ¶15. (U) Until September 2009, when the Department released new worldwide guidance on DNA testing, DNA testing in Yerevan was done remotely with Embassy panel physicians drawing samples at their office and then sending the samples to accredited labs in the U.S. for analysis. A Consular Officer would witness the sampling, maintain chain of custody, and forward it to the U.S. lab. Results were sent directly to the Embassy via DHL, generally within three to four weeks. In the reporting period, post conducted one DNA test in accordance with the former procedure. Since September 2009, post has briefed its panel physicians on the new process for DNA testing, to be done at the Consular Section, and is ready to implement the new procedures.

http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=09YEREVAN834


MORE TO COME................................

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Armenian Adoption - Stop Human Trafficking in Armenia



Although Armenia is still at a Tier 2 in Human Trafficking we have made progress by helping to establish foster care, housing and training to parents and children. Help by establishing education and not throwing money at the orphanages to support a situation that will continue.

Armenian women are still forced into prostitution in Turkey, Dubai and other Islamic countries. Their children are then put into orphanages in Armenia.

Here is our facebook page.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/176204605754627/

Armenian Adoptions Charity concert held in Yerevan for disabled children | Armenia News - NEWS.am

Charity concert held in Yerevan for disabled children | Armenia News - NEWS.am

Many many more programs and support for disabled children of Armenia!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Armenian Adoptions- Orphans of the Genocide (7 minute trailer)






On Friday, December 2, 2011 Director Bared Maronian blessed our school with a screening of Telly Award winning documentary "Orphans of the Genocide". This documentary is also up for an Emmy award and will be telecast on many more PBS channels. This documentary was hit home with the majority of us in Fresno as we are descendants of Armenian orphans and continue to support the orphans of Armenia more than most relief organizations.

Fresno has a very special relationship with Armenian orphanages and their directors. Our sister city Etchmiadzin continues to drive a lot of the policy centered around the care of our children. We must protect them against outside predators who only wish to make money off of them.

By the end of WWI over 150,000 Armenian children were left parentless as a direct result of the Armenian Genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Authorities. Near East Relief commissioned by the US Congress catered to over 132,000 Armenian orphans alone. Orphans of the Genocide is a short film produced by the Armenoid Team. This short documentary includes a feature interview by Maurice Missak Kelechian, whose findings unveiled the secrets of an orphanage in Antoura near Beirut, Lebanon, where 1,000 Armenian Genocide Orphans were being turkified. Mr. Kelechian's research prompted an article by award winning journalist Robert Fisk of The Independent magazine. This short documentary also includes testimonials from children of Armenian Genocide orphans. This 18 minute documentary debuted on April 24, 2010 at the commemoration of the 95th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Hollywood Florida. The one hour version of Orphans of the Genocide will include a feature interview by award winning journalist Robert Fisk. The Armenoid Team is currently working on expanding "Orphans of the Genocide" to a one hour film
MORE ABOUT THE ARMENOID TEAM HERE:

http://www.armenoidteam.com/

The First lady of Armenia has a special team of surgeons to provide surgeries for the children that are abandoned as a result of medical issues too big for their parents. Our funds are establishing education and support for these parents, so they don't feel the old stigma and fear of caring for a special child.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Armenian Adoption-Poor mothers in Armenia forced to give children to the orphanage system





I hear these stories over and over in Armenia and it breaks our hearts for these poor women. A whole generation of children forced into the orphanage system because of lack of food and benefits. No one should feel they are better than these brave mothers or that they have no rights to raise their children!!

GYUMRI. – Family of Arpenik Ghazaryan, 40, mother of two children, is devoid of social benefit for already four months without any reason.
The woman gave her daughter Sona, 14 to an orphanage house and lives with her 1.5 year-old baby in a half-ruined hut.
Arpenik turned to the Gyumri center and asked to visit their home. When the centre representatives arrived, she was alone with her baby. Moreover, she had no electricity as well for several days. Temperature was -10°C outside, while even the oven was not on.
Generally children come back from the orphanage house for the weekend. However, Arpenik could not go to bring her daughter as she had no money for the transport. Both children are out of the list of Gyumri city hall, or any international or philanthropic organizations.


http://news.am/eng/news/83473.html

Friday, November 25, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure, Armenian Relief Mission and Dr. Steve Kashian


Sardarbad Dance Ensemble perform at ARM's Benefit.

Dr. Kashian has been a tireless supporter of Armenian Orphanages and overseeing of many health care projects.

http://www.winnetkacurrent.com/Articles-Story-of-the-Day-c-2011-11-22-232080.114133-Winnetka-benefit-supports-Armenian-Relief-Mission.html#!prettyPhoto



Steve Kashian and his wife Rozik have a vision that can, and will, change the world.

The Winnetka residents' mission is one that has fostered widespread community support, proven by the strong attendance at a benefit for the Kashian's charity organization, Armenian Relief Mission, at The Winnetka Club on Nov. 19.

"[ARM has] grown into something that's really captivated our lives," Steve said.

Steve, a Winnetka physician, was summoned to Armenia in 1992 after he got a phone call from a friend who asked if he could help provide medication to the country's northern Lori region.

The need was just one of many resulting from a massive earthquake that occurred in Spitak in 1988, which killed more than 25,000 Armenians. The earthquake left orphans, limited resources and widespread housing destruction in its wake.

Steve gathered medical supplies and went to Armenia for 10 days, leaving behind the medicine and also a sense of hope for the struggling country.

"He came back a changed man," Rozik said.

Many others worked to provide some sort of relief to Armenia, but Steve made a commitment to keep coming back.

Steve worked to build, staff and establish a medical clinic in the city of Vandzor, which opened in 1995. The clinic provides free diagnostics, care and pharmaceuticals to approximately 6,000 Armenians each year.

Rozik hadn't planned to get involved, but she traveled to Armenia in 1998.

The Kashians were asked to provide duffel bags, which they learned were for orphans who were kicked out of orphanages at the age of 17 or 18.

The boys typically turn to the military, but the girls are left with less attractive choices.

Shortly after, the Kashians officially established ARM.

Just what the doctor ordered

The effort has blossomed to include regular trips and assistance in three cities and five locations, including orphanages and the medical clinic.

"[Steve] donates his own time and goes there on his own. There should be more of us doing these things like him ... think how busy a doctor is. Hats off to him," said Richard Anderson, a Lake Bluff resident who attended the benefit.

Anderson can testify to Steve's kindness, having had him as a doctor for 10 years now. Anderson was recently diagnosed with cancer and was having surgery performed by another doctor.

The week before his surgery, Steve called him to his office so that they could pray together.

"There's a point in our lives when we have to say 'I'm successful, but am I doing something significant?'" Steve said during a speech at the benefit.

For both the Kashians, and many friends in the room, the answer to the question was yes. More than 50 North Shore residents have made the trip to Armenia since ARM was established.

Among those recruits is Jim Baney, of Northfield, who has volunteered to help out in Armenia seven times.

Baney has been active in various efforts, including maintenance of the medical clinic in Vanadzor, food distribution through ARM's winter relief program, visiting the orphanages and building a playground.

The playground sets have been donated by local villages, including Wilmette, Northbrook and Glenview, which were getting new equipment for various reasons.

Jim Hinkler, of Wilmette, has gone to Armenia twice this year, providing medication for hemophiliacs in July and installing a playground set in October.

Although each contributes to a very different cause, both are of unmistakable value.

"When you play on a playground set, you build social skills that are going to be helpful later in life. They never had a playground set ... now they do," Hinkler said.

For Robert Mardirossian, executive director of Family Service of Winnetka-Northfield, the cause is one that "resonates in [his] heart."

Although he has not yet made the trip to Armenia, he and his wife, M. Lavin, have talked about adding it to their bucket list.

Growing needs

The Kashians aimed to raise $100,000 at the benefit.

The funds are earmarked to support the creation of a new facility, a "safe home" where girls will be able to go and learn skills essential to being independent.

The remaining dollars will go toward an ultrasound machine, which will replace a broken machine that is the only one in the region.

For more information about the Armenian Relief Mission, visit armrelief.org.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Vanessa Kachadurian-Armenian Adoption Adventure, Armenia to not allocate housing for orphange graduates




November 07, 2011 | 15:55
YEREVAN. - State Budget of Armenia for 2012 will not allocate any amount for housing of the orphanage graduates, said the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Arthur Grigoryan to a joint sitting of Parliament standing committees on Monday.
The Government ignored this point in the Budget for 2011 as well, however around 300 apartments were provided to orphanage graduates in Armenia in 2003-2010.
‘‘At least 28 apartments do not serve their purpose; they are either desolated or given for rent,’’ said Grigoryan.
According to him the question of the 28 controversial apartments is studied togather with Armenian Relief Society. At least 15 of them will be expropriated and allocated to new people. Around 300 orphanage graduates are on the apartment waiting list
http://news.am/eng/news/80927.html

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Adoption Jihad

Is this destroying the culture of Moroccan children? A side note here is that Morocco is NOT a party to the Hague Convention on trafficking of children.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/05/want-to-adopt-a-child-convert-to-islam.html
There is a very disturbing situation going on with International Adoption in Islamic countries. In order to adopt, you must convert to Islam. This includes the most "moderate" of Muslim countries, like Morocco.
This is supremacist and outrageous.
Moroccan Adoption Guidelines
• In the country of Morocco, which is located in Northern Africa, a child can only be adopted by a married couple or a single female. Children may not be adopted by parents that are single males or who are involved in a same sex marriage.
• There is no age restriction imposed on the adoptive parents as a requirement for adoption.
• The individuals who are adopting must be employed.
• The adoptive parent or parents must be Muslim or they must be willing to convert to the Islam religion. The adoptive parents must provide proof of this conversion.
Conversion to Islam as a requirement for International Adoption in Morocco

By William Thacker

There is a strange and sad adoption program taking place in our American culture among International Adoption Agencies. Four American Adoption agencies are offering adoption services from Morocco and part of the expensive price tag includes a requirement of the Government of Morocco to convert to Islam. Yes you did read this correctly – it is a 2 for the price of 1, you get a new child and new religion for one low price of somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000 (not including travel expenses).

Searching the Internet I found several American Adoption agencies offering adoptions in Morocco under the Kefala law of Islam. Adopt Abroad Adoption Agency was the first to claim they offered Moroccan Adoptions. A quick call to this agency and the information was vague, I was unable to find out just how many adoptions they have finalized under this bizarre adoption law. However with further research I found that on the US State Department’s website, I found that Moroccan Adoptions were growing to the USA: 2008 (12) 2009 (20) and 2010 (32) total of 64 adoptions to the USA from Morocco in 3 years: here A list of sworn translators located throughout Morocco can be obtained by contacting the Immigrant Visa Unit at the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco at ivcasablanca@state.gov. The following is a list of basic documents required for the Kefala procedure:

• Islam Conversion Document for the prospective adoptive parents

• Birth Certificate for each prospective parent

• Marriage certificate for the prospective parents (if applicable)

• Health statement from a doctor practicing in Morocco

• Work and salary statements for each prospective adoptive parent (if applicable)

• Home study completed by a licensed U.S. home study provider

• Photographs (the exact number and size required varies)

• copy of passports of each prospective adoptive parent

The other thing of Interest on the US State Department website, it indicates that Morocco has not signed a Hague Convention agreement with the USA. Which being a party to the Hague Convention a country is stating they have precautions in place to safeguard against human trafficking or selling of children/babies for referrals. But then some people only want a child they care less about conversion to Islam or being ethical. It’s hard to imagine that any self respecting American would stoop to this level just to have a child and submit to Islam. Harder yet the US State Department 2010 report on page 4 indicates http://adoption.state.gov/content/pdf/fy2010_annual_report.pdf that 43 American Children from foster care were adopted OVERSEAS with Canada (19) and the Netherlands (18) being the countries very willing and able to adopt American children. How is it that we as Americans have not provided for our children, yet we have couples willing to spend over $30,000 travel over 6,000 miles and convert to Islam to adopt? Yet couples in Canada and Netherlands are adopting American children.

Moroccan children deserve the right to stay in their country with members of their fellow ethnicity and religion, the same is true for American children retaining their American culture and roots.

Adopt Aboard Adoption Agency states that:
The Moroccan adoption program is open to married couples and single women. It is possible to adopt more than one child in a single adoption process. Morocco is flexible regarding the age of the adoption parents. Families must respect the child's religious heritage.

Hopscotch Adoption Agency states that bluntly you must submit to conversion of Islam:
Our Morocco child adoption service is a pilot program that we're very pleased to announce. In 2009, 20 U.S. Visas were issued to children of all ages—many of these issued to infants. While this is a new program to Hopscotch, we have partnered with a very experienced team in Morocco and expect that this program will be very popular. For our Morocco children and infant adopting, families must be comfortable in the knowledge that we are responding daily to the changes in process as they occur. Additionally, Married couples and single women may adopt from Morocco. The country does not permit same sex marriage, partners or single men to adopt children from Morocco. There is no age restriction on the prospective parents. The prospective parents must be employed and must be Muslim or willing to convert to Islam. All prospective applicants to this program will be required by the Moroccan government and court to submit to conversion of Islam in the presence of a court notary while in the country prior to the court proceedings. The conversion appointment is completed on your first day of arrival. We expect all applicants to take this very seriously and honor the legal codes and culture. Conversion taking place in a manner, time or place other than in Morocco in the presence of a court notary or Imam will not meet the requirements for the purposes of obtaining guardianship, also known as ‘Kafalas’.

Children’s House International Adoption Agency states it more direct:

The culture of Morocco cherishes children. Due to conditions of poverty, some children are abandoned at a young age. Your time spent in Morocco will be culturally rich and will enable you to understand better the country and background of your child’s heritage. The prospective adoptive parent/s will begin the process by taking the following steps. They will file an I 600A with the embassy in their country of residence since Morocco has not signed the Hague as of this time. You will also begin a homestudy with an approved social worker. Please contact our agency before you begin this process to be sure that your social worker is qualified. Prospective adoptive parents of Moroccan children must be Muslim. Those who are not already Muslim can convert to Islam while in Morocco. Conversion does require that you reflect on your decision and make a knowledgeable, certain, sincere and truthful declaration of faith and intent with love, affection, submission and acceptance.

Across the World Adoptions makes it sound more like a romance novel:

Salam and Peace be upon you! Across the World Adoptions (ATWA) is excited to announce its pilot program for adoptions from Morocco. Morocco, located in North Africa, is a short ferry ride from the tip of Spain. It may be best known to many Americans for the romantic invitation to “Come with me to the Casbah.” The Casbah is a walled citadel or fortress woven with alleys and souks (markets). The markets of Morocco are renowned for their splendor, variety and frequent invitations to join the proprietors in a glass of hot mint tea.

Our coordinator for Morocco is very experienced with the adoption process but families should be prepared for unexpected changes or delays in the program as it unfolds. Although we use the term adoption in this description, families should think of the process in Morocco more as a guardianship or legal custody (“Kefala”) in preparation for adoption in the United States.
After reading and researching about this new adoption trend, I was disgusted with the marketing of children and the adoption process. What has become of Americans that we adopt our children to Europeans and Canadians but would travel across the world, convert to Islam for the chance to adopt a child in a country that is not even a party to the Hague Convention? Have we just become victims of some fancy marketing or notion of exotic adventure of adopting a child from an Islamic country? Only time will tell if this latest trend in International Adoptions will pan out or just be another passing fancy done on a whim.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Handbook for International Adoption Medicine



As the majority of the sending countries are exporting children with special needs (correctable and non-correctable) the trend will increase and move away from healthy children. This book is a valuable tool for evaluating whether a child could benefit from adoption and what medical plans to make for your child.

Laurie C. Miller

Download The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers

Amazon.com: The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers (9780195176810): Laurie C. Download Free eBook:The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers – Free chm, pdf ebooks rapidshare download, ebook. Read The Handbook of International. . Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers. Miller; 2005. The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine. Amazon.com: The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers (9780195145304): Laurie C. Download Free eBook:Oxford University Press, USA[share_ebook] The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers by. Oxford University Press, USA [share_ebook] The Handbook of. The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers Book by Laurie C. This book is an invaluable resource for. Bp The Handbook Of International Adoption Medicine A Guide For Physicians Parents And Providers By Laurie C Miller – Scholarly books, journals and articles Bp The. The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for Physicians, Parents, and Providers by Laurie C. Miller M.D.: Books The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for. The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for. The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine: A Guide for. in one place, making the book

Monday, October 31, 2011

Armenia celebrates, it's a BOY!!!!


http://ditord.com/2011/10/31/7-billionth-baby/
Vahram Voskanian was born 20 minutes past midnight in Artik’s Mother and Child Care Center in Northern Armenia. The Armenian office of the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund recognized him as Armenia’s symbolic 7 billionth child.
Artik was chosen as the symbolic location, because that’s were least amount of babies are born compared to other regions of Armenia. Also, the Artik Mother and Child care center is one of the worst equipped.
The child was given a special certificate, UN promised to take care of some of his urgent needs. The UN office in Armenia also presented the hospital with an echoscope.
Little Vahram’s father – Garik Voskanian was not able to see his first-born child today, as he is a migrant worker in Moscow and the little boy was born prematurely – he’s only 7 months old. Relatives have said the father of the 7 billionth child is on his way and will hug his son soon.
Meanwhile, countries around the world marked the world’s population reaching 7 billion today holding ceremonies mark the milestone, with a series of symbolic seventh-billion babies being born.
The United Nations says that by its best estimates, the world population will reach 7 billion somewhere on October 31, but it has said it will not designate a single newborn as the seventh-billion baby.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Armenian Adoption- Former Fresnan Wins Humanitarian Award for Children's Transplant Foundation of Armenia


Way to Go Valerie (Boolootian) McCaffrey

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/26/2591890/ex-fresnan-connecting-armenians.html

Roosevelt High School graduate Valerie McCaffrey has been given The Armenian American Network Humanitarian Award for her work in the World Children's Transplant Fund Armenia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development of pediatric transplantation.
The award came just a few weeks after the producer/filmmaker completed shooting her latest movie, "Lost & Found in Armenia," that was filmed almost entirely in Armenia.
Both the work for the Transplant Fund and shooting the movie have given McCaffrey the opportunity to visit Armenia multiple times. McCaffrey, whose maiden name is Boolootian, turned down other jobs because she was determined to shoot a movie in Armenia as a way of bringing attention to the country and spark more interest in the arts there.
"I'm Armenian and I don't see enough Armenians in the arts," she says. "The Armenian community loves when their children grow up to be doctors or lawyers and all that stuff. I would love to see more opportunities for the Armenian community to get more involved in the media and the arts.
"They talk about the genocide but they are not doing anything to tell the story of it. That's how you communicate ideas to the masses. We are talented people so we need to use that."
Valerie McCaffrey was awarded The Armenian American Network Humanitarian Award.
McCaffrey got a first-hand look at the Armenian people while shooting the movie, which stars Jamie Kennedy and Angela Sarafyan. Most of it was filmed in remote areas of the country where no movie has ever been shot. She was impressed with the generosity the Armenian people showed.
"They had never seen anything like a film crew in their entire life," McCaffrey says. "These people, who I wish I could cast every single one of them because of their character faces, would just sit and watch us work. One villager told me that it was boring after we left."
The locals embraced cast and crew. McCaffrey was always amazed how families – who appeared to have nothing – would put out a spread of food and candy when any member of the cast or crew would visit their homes.
She loves that she got to pay respect to her heritage while creating a product she suspects will bring a lot of attention to the country.
McCaffrey – who graduated from California State University, Long Beach – understands the power of the arts. She has worked in TV and film since 1988 on projects such as "The Gong Show," "Babe," "Hard Candy," "American History X," "Dark City" and "Problem Child."
She currently is putting the finishing touches on a documentary about cancer treatment that she hopes will be shown at the Sundance Film Festival. She also is getting ready to start the feature film "Pure Life."
McCaffrey hasn't forgotten her Fresno roots. When she's not busy with a new film or humanitarian project, she tries to get back home to visit family and friends. And, she would like to film a production here.


TV and movie critic Rick Bentley can be reached at rbentley@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.

Armenian Adoption - 2 sentenced for trafficking stolen baby




http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/24/2589418/guatemala-sentences-2-in-us-adoption.html

GUATEMALA CITY -- A Guatemalan court sentenced two women to 16 and 21 years in prison on Monday for trafficking a stolen baby who was given for adoption to a U.S. family.
Special prosecutor Lorena Maldonado said the sentences handed down to a lawyer and the legal representative of an adoption agency will reinforce the birth mother's bid to get her daughter returned from the United States.
"Even though the criminal proceedings are separate from the adoption process, these sentences help, and confirm the argument of the mother, Loyda Rodriguez, that this girl is her daughter and was stolen from in front of her house, and that there is a criminal structure in Guatemala that steals children," said Maldonado.
The Eighth Penal Tribunal sentenced lawyer Beatriz Valle Flores to 21 years in prison for human trafficking, criminal association and using false documents. She signed papers in the adoption.
A 16-year sentence went to the legal representative of the adoption agency, Enriqueta Noriega Cano, where the girl spent a year before being adopted. The girl left the country on Dec. 9, 2008.
Both women were also ordered to pay 100,000 quetzales ($25,600) apiece to the mother for damages.
Rodriguez, the mother, obtained a Guatemalan court order in July for the return of the seven-year-old, but it is unclear if it can be enforced.
The girl, Anyeli Liseth Hernandez Rodriguez was born Oct. 1, 2004, the second child of Rodriguez, a housewife, and her bricklayer husband, Dayner Orlando Hernandez. The girl disappeared Nov. 3, 2006, as Rodriguez was distracted while opening the door to their house in a working class suburb, San Miguel Petapa. She turned to see a woman whisk the girl, then two, away in a taxi.
If U.S. authorities intervene to return the child as the Guatemalan court has asked, it would be a first for any international adoption case, experts say.
In August, a construction-paper sign taped to the door of the girl's U.S. address, a two-story suburban Kansas City home, read: "Please respect our families (sic) privacy during this difficult and confusing time. We ask that you not trespass on our property for the sake of our children. Thank you."
Guatemala's quick adoptions once made this Central American nation of 13 million people a top source of children for the U.S., leading or ranking second only to China with about 4,000 adoptions a year. But the Guatemalan government suspended adoptions in late 2007 after widespread cases of fraud, including falsified paperwork, fake birth certificates and charges of baby theft - though they still allowed many already in process.
The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, a U.N.-created agency prosecuting organized crime cases in Guatemala, has reviewed more than 3,000 adoptions completed or in process and found nearly 100 grave irregularities.
The U.S. still does not allow adoptions from Guatemala, though the State Department is currently assisting with 397 children whose adoptions were in process at the time of the ban.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Armenian Adoptions, What is the Angel in Adoption Awards?




Many of you have asked what exactly the Angels in Adoption Award is?

There have been over 1,600 receipants of this "award" which is largely selected by a letter writing campaign usually by satisifed adoptive parents to a member of congress.

While it may sound impressive, there is very little vetting for these "awards" (a certificate and a gala) many of the former award winners have closed their agencies. Is this "award" credible? You decide.

http://www.angelsinadoption.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18&Itemid=28

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Armenian Adoption changes are discussed by Joint Council




Government Plans Fresh Changes In Armenian Child Adoption Rules
Posted on September 21, 2011 by Joint Council
The Armenian government is planning to make fresh and potentially far-reaching changes in its rules and procedures for international adoptions of children from Armenia following an RFE/RL report suggesting that they may still be riddled with corruption. To read this article, click here.
http://www.jointcouncil.org/government-plans-fresh-changes-in-armenian-child-adoption-rules/

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Armenia Considers Changing Adoption Procedures Amid Allegations Of Corruption | Spero News

Armenia Considers Changing Adoption Procedures Amid Allegations Of Corruption | Spero News

Several Historians and a Single Orphan PART III | Hetq online

Several Historians and a Single Orphan PART III | Hetq online

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Steve Jobs and his Armenian adoptive parents


Steve Jobs always proud of his Armenian parents

Steve Jobs always fondly referred to his adoptive Armenian parents "as HIS parents" they encouraged his love of technology from an early age.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shirin-sadeghi/steve-jobs-was-an-arab-am_b_997470.html
Abdul Fattah Jandali, a young Syrian Muslim immigrant in Wisconsin, never met his son Steve Jobs. When a baby was born to the 23-year-old Jandali -- now known as John -- and his 23-year-old German-American girlfriend, Joanne Schieble, in 1955, there was no chance he'd be able to grow up with his biological parents.
Joanne, who belonged to a white, conservative Christian family could not convince her parents to marry an Arab, a Muslim, according to Jandali, who called her father "a tyrant" in a New York Post interview in August 2011. In fact, according to Jandali, she secreted off from Wisconsin to liberal San Francisco to sort out the birth and adoption without letting either him or her parents know.
And so it was that a nameless Arab-American baby was adopted by an Armenian-American family. Clara Hagopian and her husband Paul Jobs had been married around seven years and had not been able to conceive. The little bundle that would be Steve was very much wanted in the Jobs household.
Steve Paul Jobs, as they named him, grew up without ever knowing his biological father. It seems he had no interest in knowing him later in life, either. When, in August 2011, the London tabloid The Sun, contacted Jandali, he publicly reached out to Steve saying, "I live in hope that before it is too late he will reach out to me. Even to have just one coffee with him just once would make me a very happy man."
But Steve never replied. Less than two months later, he has passed away.
Jandali says it was his "Syrian pride" that kept him from reaching out to his famous son. In a September 2011 interview with the Reno Gazette -- Reno, Nevada being the city the 80-year-old Jandali lives and where, having never retired, he is the Vice President of a casino. "The Syrian pride in me does not want him ever to think I am after his fortune. I am not. I have my own money. What I don't have is my son...and that saddens me."
One wonders what Jobs knew of his background.
His biological father was no ordinary Syrian. According to an interview he gave to the Al Hayat newspaper in February 2011, he was born in French-mandated Syria in 1931 in the town of Homs to a "self-made millionaire" father with no university education who owned "several entire villages" and a homemaker, traditional mother. He was one of five children -- the only son of a family with 4 daughters.
He left Syria at 18 to study at the American University in Beirut, where he was "a pan-Arab activist", a "supporter of Arab unity and Arab independence" who organized with some of the most famous activists of his time. After university, he moved to the United States, and the rest is history, though he regrets leaving his homeland.
"If I had the chance to go back in time, I wouldn't leave Syria or Lebanon at all. I would stay in my home country my whole life. I don't say that out of emotion but out of common sense," he told Al Hayat. "Of course I miss the social life and wonderful food [in Syria], but the most important thing is the outstanding cultural attributes which in general you don't find in the West," says the non-practicing Muslim, who nonetheless "believe[s] in Islam in doctrine and culture."
His nostalgia aside, millions worldwide would no doubt disagree with Jandali. Surely a Steve Jobs of Apple Computers could only have been possible in America.
The estrangement of a father and son is made even more tragic by the fact that not only did each know of the other, but they shared more than a father-son biological connection. Jandali and Schieble eventually did marry -- just ten months after she gave their baby boy away to adoption, and just a few months after Joanne's father died. And they had another child -- a daughter with whom Steve eventually had a relationship. Mona Jandali -- now Simpson -- is a world reknowned author who was, in her own words, "very close" to her brother Steve once they established a relationship as adults.
According to Jandali, he had no idea until just a few years ago that the baby his then-girlfriend secretly gave birth to in San Francisco was the man the world knew as Steve Jobs. But Steve must have known for decades, through his relationship with Mona.
In the August New York Post interview, Jandali tried to let his son know that he didn't know of Joanne's San Francisco plans. That he was saddened when he learned of it. "I honestly do not know to this day if Steve is aware of the fact that had it been my choice, I would have loved to have kept him," he said.
And unless Jobs's upcoming November authorized biography addresses the issue, Jandali may never know. Instead, with news of Jobs's death, Jandali has refused any further interviews about his long lost son and will always wonder what could have been. In that, he will not be alone.

Follow Shirin Sadeghi on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ShirinSadeghi
More about Steve Jobs Armenian adoptive parents
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/steve-jobs/8811345/Steve-Jobs-adopted-child-who-never-met-his-biological-father.html

His biological parents met as 23-year-old students at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
They were unmarried when his biological mother, Joanne Schieble, fell pregnant in 1954.
His biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali, was a Syrian Muslim immigrant who later married Ms Schieble. He has said they did not want to put their baby up for adoption, but his girlfriend’s parents would not initially allow her to marry an Arab.
Under pressure from her parents and fearing scandal, Ms Schieble travelled to San Francisco to have the baby. Steven Paul, as his adoptive parents named him, was born on February 24, 1955.
“Without telling me, Joanne upped and left to move to San Francisco to have the baby without anyone knowing, including me," Mr Jandali, who never met his son, said in August. He described Ms Schieble’s father as a “tyrant”.
His adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs, were Armenian and unable to have children. Steve was later joined in the family by his adopted sister Patti Jobs, born in 1958. The couple divorced in 1962.
Though Steve did not know until much later, Abdulfattah Jandali later married Joanne Schieble and had another child, Mona, in 1957, whom they kept. Steve Jobs discovered he had a biological sister, the successful novelist Mona Simpson, at the age of 27.
In 1997 he described Ms Simpson as “one of my best friends in the world”.
Nevertheless, he was dismissive of his biological parents. ''They were my parents,'' he said, referring to Paul and Clara Jobs.
Paul Jobs was a machinist for a firm that made lasers in what became Silicon Valley, in Northern California. Steve described him as a “genius with his hands” and said the only he wanted to pass on to his own children was “to try to be as good a father to them as my father was to me”.
But he was also estranged from a child he fathered early in life. In 1978, his high school girlfriend, Chris Ann Brennan, had a daughter. Steve denied he was her father for two years, at one point swearing to a court that he was infertile. He eventually acknowledged Lisa Brennan-Jobs was his daughter, however, and she lived with him as a teenager.
Steve met his wife Laurene Powell while speaking at Stanford University. They married in 1991 in a Buddhist ceremony in Yosemite National

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Birthrate crisis in Armenia creates an aging population


http://armenianow.com/social/health/32216/armenia_demographic_crisis


Armenia, the land that some claim to be the world’s oldest is “ageing” in a way that is not good.

Armenia faces threat of demographic crisis, experts in the field say. Only during the first quarter this year as compared to the same period last year the number of births dropped by 1,126 in what specialists fear is only the beginning of the demographic decline which will last a few decades.

Even though there has been a tendency of birth increases registered since 2006, experts foresee a decline again, conditioned by the fact that people who were born in 1990s are this generation’s new parents and their number is quite low – averagely 35,000 people, reaching even up to 22,000 (annually).

“This is a serious threat for national security and economic development [of Armenia]. In some years we will not only fail to secure national security issues, but also economic growth. The country and its economy will no longer be competitive. Parallel to decline in birth rate, migration and rapid ageing will even deepen the demographic problems,” says Garik Hayrapetyan, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Assistant Representative.

Currently, the birth index in Armenia is 1.5, that is to say, each woman has only one-two children, whereas, in order of have a positive reproduction of a population this index should be at least 2.1 – three-four child in each family.

Ruben Yeganyan, demographer, president of “Armenian Social-Demographic Initiative” NGO, says that “the reproductive behavior of the population has been changed,” and Armenia-based Armenians have passed from two-three children family model to one-two children family model.

“This is a terrible change, which will be very difficult to recover in the future. Now the government must not only encourage birth of a third and more children, but also even the second one,” Yeganyan says.

UNFPA held a research in 2009 to find out the main reasons of the change in reproductive behavior of the population, the results of which proved troubling.

“It was strange enough that the social or housing problem was not in the first place; there is a problem which is even more worrisome and hard to solve – 44 percent of the population does not see their future in this country [Armenia], and they link no faith to the future of this country,” Hayrapetyan says. “This indicates that we deal with a larger-scale problem. The issue cannot be settled only through lump sum payments or having free of charge child-delivery aid. If the social problem is somehow easy to solve, than the solution of this moral-psychological issue needs more fundamental changes.”

According to Hayrapetyan, the Armenian demographic policy mainly settles daily problems, meanwhile, international experience shows that comprehensive programs are needed to stabilize the demographic situation UNFPA is planning to organize a conference of experts in Armenia to develop such programs.

“A conference with participation of world-known demographer-scientists, who have developed a number of demographic programs, will be held on October 19-21, in Yerevan. Their advice will help up understand which are the most effective ways of solving this problem in countries like Armenia. We have no more time to lose,” Hayrapetyan says.

Within the recent months concerns over migration were voiced from the highest tribunes. In 2009, the Government of Armenia adopted the concept paper on Democratic Policy Strategy; however the programs mentioned in it have remained on paper by now; only one of them is mainly working a “Free delivery aid certificate”, which secures free of charge birthing service for women in labour.

“Of course there are many things left to be done; however, the introduction of ‘Free delivery aid certificate’ has seriously promoted birth rate growth. Now the government patronizes health protection of maternity and childhood. Subsidies, assigned from the State Budget to cover delivery aid have increased by three,” says Ara Babloyan, Chairman of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Health Care, Maternity and Childhood.
Experts, however, do not believe that the rise in birth rate is the result of the implemented programs, considering them to be “short-term solutions.”

In 2009, 44,466 children were born in Armenia - eight percent more than in 2008; in 2010, this index was higher as compared to 2009 by about 3,000 children, whereas this year the index essentially fell (by about 1,000 children), even though the free delivery aid still continues.

“Within those years the birth rate has not risen, because one woman continues to have 1.5 children, however the absolute number of births has risen, which is determined by a very clear fact – the generation of the second half of 1980s entered its reproductive age, and it is well-known that it was a period of demographic boom in Armenia, when 81,000-82,000 children were born [annually]. That is to say, only the number of parents has increased, however, they have only one-two children, and that’s it, the growth will stop again,” Hayrapetyan says.

According to UN predictions, if the current pace continues Armenia’s population will drop by about 20 percent in 2050, totaling 2.3-2.5 million people. According the same source, Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s populations will increase by about 35 percent.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Government plans changes in Armenian Child Adoption Rules



http://www.armeniadiaspora.com/news/5133-government-plans-fresh-changes-in-armenian-child-adoption-rules.html


RFE/RL -- The Armenian government is planning to make fresh and potentially far-reaching changes in its rules and procedures for international adoptions of children from Armenia following an RFE/RL report suggesting that they may still be riddled with corruption. Relevant proposals drawn up by Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s office aim to increase the transparency of the process and reduce the role of obscure local middlemen working for Western adoption agencies. They are also meant to make it easier for Armenian families to adopt or bring up orphans.
An April 2011 report by RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) said that U.S. adoption agencies seem to continue to make thousands of dollars in informal payments to Armenian officials dealing with foreign adoptions. In particular, it cited a sample contract signed by one such agency, Hopscotch Adoptions, with Americans wishing to adopt Armenian and Georgian children.
The contract, offered to a potential client in the United States in 2007, explained that almost $5,000 of more than $30,000 charged by Hopscotch for every adoption would be spent on “gifts to foreign service providers and government functionaries performing ministerial tasks as an offer of thanks for prompt service.” It claimed that such gifts are “customary” in Armenia and Georgia and do not violate U.S. law.
“Gifts and gratuities” were also a separate spending category in a sample agreement that was offered by another U.S. agency, Adopt Abroad, at least until last April.
Officials at the Armenian Ministry of Justice as well as anti-corruption campaigners in Yerevan agreed at the time that such payments amount to bribes and are therefore illegal in Armenia.Government sources say Prime Minister Sarkisian took the report very seriously, instructing his senior staff to initiate a major revision of existing adoption rules. They were quick to come up with relevant proposals. Those were submitted in June, along with copies of the Hopscotch contract obtained by RFE/RL, to an inter-agency government commission on adoptions headed by Justice Minister Hrayr Tovmasian.
“The root cause of this problem is a lack of transparency, and we must do something about it,” one senior government official told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Under the existing rules, the Armenian Ministry of Labor and Social Issues draws up and keeps a national registry of children available for domestic and foreign adoption. The list is supposed to be accessible to prospective adoptive parents. U.S. -- A screenshot of the website of the Hopscotch Adoptions agency. But according to a department on social affairs at the prime minister’s office, this has not been the case in reality as even government bodies have trouble accessing information about all children listed on the registry, officially called Manuk (Child) Database.
In a written statement to the government, the Ministry of Labor said that the database comprised a total of 171 children (135 them kept in orphanages) as of May 1, 2011. However, the head of a ministry division handling adoptions, Lala Ghazarian, spoke of only about 90 such orphans when she was interviewed by RFE/RL’s Armenian service in April.In its written proposals discussed by Tovmasian’s commission this summer, the government department said that “in some cases” children’s inclusion in the database has been a mere formality that legalized pre-arranged adoptions fraught with “corruption risks.” It said this is especially true for healthy babies, the most in-demand category of orphans.The department suggested that the entire database be posted on the ministry website and made available to anyone considering an adoption from Armenia. Tovmasian is said to have personally backed the idea, which also envisages the creation of a separate electronic database of adoption applicants. The latter would thus be put in direct online contact with relevant Armenian authorities in the initial stages of the adoption process.
Officials say this would narrow down the scope of shady activities of Armenian “facilitators” receiving lump sums from U.S. and other foreign agencies. Hopscotch paid them $10,500 per child at least until 2007, while Adopt Abroad currently charges a “facilitators fee” of as much as $19,000. Whether a part of this money is also spent on “gifts” is anybody’s guess.
None of the Yerevan-based adoption brokers is known to be registered with tax authorities.
Another major proposal from Prime Minister Sarkisian’s staff would increase from three to six months the minimum period of time, after an orphan’s inclusion on the database, during which he or she cannot be eligible for international adoption. This requirement, meant to facilitate domestic adoptions, appears to have been violated in at least two cases in 2007.In one such example, an American couple living near Washington, DC adopted a little Armenian girl through Hopscotch in May 2008. Sonia Vigilante, the adoptive mother, revealed on her blog that the girl was less than one month old when she and her husband were first shown her pictures and offered to adopt her in October 2007.
Vigilante reacted to the RFE/RL report with a litany of abusive e-mails sent to Ara Manoogian, an Armenian-American activist and blogger who privately interviewed her and several other U.S. adoptive parents and shared their experiences in Armenia with an RFE/RL correspondent. Using a fictitious identity, Manoogian posed as a childless man from Texas interested in adopting an Armenian child.
“The girl is mine mine, mine!!!” Vigilante wrote on May 31. “I win, Armenia loses. Hahahahahahahaha!!!” “I don't give a shit what the Armenian crooks think of me anymore,” she said in a subsequent note. Sarkisian aides want to curb foreign adoptions also by reinvigorating a 2004 government program that pays local families to host and raise the orphans until they come of age. The program has had only a limited success, with only 24 children currently placed with foster care providers.
The government launched the child fostering scheme as part of a broader toughening of adoption rules that followed another, June 2003 RFE/RL report that likewise exposed possible corrupt practices. The number of annual foreign adoptions has not changed significantly since then. According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, 61 Armenian children were adopted by foreigners in 2010.
The ministry informed Justice Minister Tovmasian’s commission in July that it has started drafting amendments to Armenia’s adoption-related laws and regulations. Those amendments have not been submitted to the commission yet.
Whether ministry officials, who have long played a key role in the controversial adoptions, will propose the kind of radical changes that are sought by Sarkisian aides remains to be seen.
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. Original article: http://bit.ly/pxr5GN

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Armenian Dance for Armenian children




Our first year performance a SUCCESS! This is for younger children from our school the Hamazkayins Noor Dance Ensemble.

We have dance troupes for older students, please consider an Armenian dance class for your children.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Gyumri based orphanages are overloaded



As the economy worsens in Armenia, many parents are faced with the hard decision of finding care for their children with serious health problems. No parent should have to give up their children because they fear they will not be able to provide for their children. Armenia needs to create jobs for these families and more training. As it sits as many as 200 people a day migrate out of Armenia to find jobs in Russia, Dubai and Turkey many times having to do jobs no one else will perform. Majority leave their children behind, these children are not parentless they are only in a situation where the government is not fully supporting the Armenian family. The particular vulnerable ones are the people who live in villages which are depopulating at a drastic rate. Those of us that supply aid to orphanages must also support family based projects that keep the families together and supports the foster care program.
http://www.lragir.am/engsrc/society-lrahos22983.html

Gyumri-based orphanages and boarding facilities are overloaded. 129 children with serious health problems live in Children’s Home. 150 children of whom 74 without parental care live in Trchunyan Tun orphanage. 80 children attend Fridtjof Nansen Boarding School N 2 for child care and protection.
It is noteworthy that while a process of deinstitutionalization is underway in the whole world, in Gyumri orphanages are overloaded. Children who have been abandoned by their parents for whatever reason live in these institutions.
This is happening in a country which promotes big families. Hard social conditions force many parents in Gyumri to give their children to others to take care of them.
Paylak Fahradyan, Gyumri

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Armenian Adoption - Bal Jagat "Children's World" to offer Armenian Adoptions







27 year old West Coast Adoption Agency to offer Armenian Adoptions for the HUGE Armenian population in California.

http://baljagat.org/programs/armenia/


Armenia Adoptions
The Armenian adoption program is open to families of Armenian as well as other heritages. Families with Armenian heritage are given preference.
Waiting Armenian Children
The Armenian children that are available for International adoption range in age from three months to 12 years old. For the first three months children are available only for in country Armenian domestic adoption. The Armenian people are quite attractive and tend to have complexions that range from very fair olive skin with a light brown to black hair. The children are very beautiful. The orphans from Armenia are well cared for in state run orphanages. Armenia does not allow photo listings of waiting children.
Adoptive Family Requirements
The Armenian adoption program is open to married couples and single women of any heritage. Twins, siblings, or single children can be adopted, but two unrelated children cannot be adopted during the same adoption process. Adoptive family applicants should have no more than 2-3 children presently in the home. There is no age limit, although this may influence which child is referred to the adoptive family.
Armenian Adoption Process
Adoptive families will create an adoption dossier. Adopt abroad will help assist with your adoption dossier preparation. Once your adoption dossier has been completely authenticated it will be submitted to the Armenian facilitator for review and translation. Your adoption dossier will be hand-delivered to the special committee on adoptions under the government of the Armenian Prime Minister. Your adoption dossier will then be reviewed. The initial approval by the Armenian adoption authorities takes approximately 1-2 months. The adoptive applicants will be notified when their adoption dossier has been approved. After approval your information will be entered into the data bank and the search for a suitable referral can begin. Once they have an orphan referral that meets your requirements, the adoptive family will be notified. The adoptive family will receive brief information regarding the child’s health and photographs.
Travel
Upon receiving your referral information families may travel to Armenia to meet their child and file acceptance papers in Armenia. Once the acceptance paperwork has been filed, the Prime Minister’s office will then issue a final approval notice. Once the final approval notice has been received a court date will be scheduled. It is preferable if both adoptive parents can attend the court hearing, and if this is not possible, the travelling spouse must have power of attorney for the court hearing and adoption process. After the court hearing there is now a 30 day waiting period for the court decree to be enacted. Consular exit interviews are held in Yerevan, Armenia.
Our partnering agency’s Armenian program coordinator will greet you at the airport and escort you to the apartment/hotel, bring you to all official appointments and be available for assistance during your entire stay in Armenia.
This program is in partnership with another Hague accredited International adoption agency. Please contact us for more information.

http://baljagat.org/agency/

Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc. is a Hindi phrase meaning “Children’s World,” which represents our dedication to uniting the children of the world with loving parents in permanent homes in the United States. We are not affiliated with any religious organization. The agency’s moto is “Adoption is a gift of life.” Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc. is a California State licensed private, non-profit inter-country adoption agency. BJCW Inc does not do domestic adoption. Our direct country programs currently include China, and India, and we work with many other countries such as Russia, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Guatemala, Vietnam, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Mexico, and Korea, through partnerships. Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc is also licensed by Romania, and Thailand. BJCW Inc has over 50 partnerships with other homestudy and child placement agencies across the United States.
We provide home study, post placement, and post adoption services in Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties. Bal Jagat has been helping people extend their families through international adoption for over 27 years, since 1983. We have played a successful role in the lives of more than 5000 families who have been rewarded by the joy and love of their international children.
Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc. feels an ethical obligation to help impoverished children around the world in addition to providing adoption services. In order not to rely on donors for our projects, a portion of all agency service fees goes towards humanitarian programs worldwide.
Bal Jagat- Children’s World Inc. is a fully Hague Accredited international adoption agency and complies with all regulations of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 by the Council on Accreditation (COA) as authorized by the United States Department of State. Our Hague Accreditation is valid until July 31, 2012.







Sunday, August 7, 2011

Armenian Adoption- ARF, working hard in Armenia


Over 200 ARF members are in Armenia to serve our communities and make a stronger Armenia.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure-An Armenian Orphan explores his past






Great story from Samuel Armen, the son of Dr. Garo Armen of the COAF (Children of Armenia Fund) More parts to come as his past unfolds where his life started....in Armenia.


Samuel Armen
Part I
On October 12, 1988, a boy who would become I, had the infinite blessing of being born in Gyumri, Armenia – the country’s second largest city.
On December 7, 1988 the ancient land shook violently with a devastating 6.9 magnitude earthquake that collapsed schools and structures to dust, and ended the lives of at least 25,000 men and women – most of which 2nd generation genocide survivors – and children who might have had a brighter future if their school ended five minutes earlier.
25,000 strong Armenians were no longer dancing, singing, speaking, breathing, or living. I was 56 days old, a fragile infant of less than two months of age, presumably incapable of even crawling, yet, I lived.
From that moment to the age of five my life is shrouded in mystery, illuminated only by the details told to me by five individuals. What they told me is a series of miracles that has led me to a blessed journey of life. Surviving the Gyumri-Spitak earthquake was my first miracle.
Just as the earth was created with the aid of the heavenly constellations, my life’s fortunate journey to a family began with Stella.
I heard the name a few times in stories – Stella Grigorian this, Stella Grigorian that. At the age of fourteen I was told she would have answers of my past that no one else could tell me. So through the help of Alice Movsesian – another of my past’s historians – who tracked down Stella, I was able to speak to her. In the order of my known life, she would be the first person I knew to thank. I was fourteen, nervous and in my room clutching the telephone receiver tightly with sweaty hands and a racing heart as the phone rang and rang. “Samvel?” an enthusiastic voice suddenly sang with more than a hint of joyful youth. It was tranquilizing; her calming voice settled my nerves and our conversation began with a chapter of my life too obscure for anyone besides herself to find.
She told me, my last name was originally Darakashvilli, my biological mother is half-Georgian, my father was a mechanic and the name of my orphanage. Stella worked across the street at Lenshintrest – the state construction offices – working for the JDC (Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) working to build the JDC Children’s Rehabilitation Clinic and training local medical professions as physical and occupational therapists. Several times, she would see me outside from her second story window playing in the backyard of the orphanage.
Being one to explore and one who is familiar both with children and children in need, she visited from across the street. She had already known this particular orphanage was for mentally disabled children, but could not understand why I was there. She found soon that my eyes – my cross eyed vision and appearance – was the defect that led to such a mistake. Because I was too young to express my intelligence, and because the medical departments were old and already outdated, I had landed in this particular orphanage for mentally challenged children.
Stella wanted more than anything to adopt me then and there, but she was already pregnant, and was afraid of not being able to provide for two children so quickly. Fortunately, she would soon receive news from Alice Movsesian that I was in good hands.
Between Stella Grigorian, Arthur Halvajian – the Armenian-American philanthropist involved in numerous outreach programs – and Alice Movsesian – who worked under Arthur – I would be brought to America with the excuse of having my eyes corrected. Without Arthur’s approval of going to America to get my eyes fixed, I would not be given a visa, and thus remain in the orphanage. But in the times between any such surgery, they – especially Alice Movsesian – were determined to find me permanent parents. They were also determined to introduce me to America; to have my senses amazed by the sight of the towering Manhattan Skyscrapers, the rushing feel of an elevator rise, the soul-stirring sounds of Jazz, and the taste of biting into a New York City Burger.
It would be in New Jersey at the age of 3 where I would find my first real home.
Digeen Mariam (Ms. Mary-Anne) and Baron Krikor (Mr. Gregory) Saraydarian were my caretakers. But as they say, quoting a four-year old me: “I give you life.” They were the first parents I truly loved and still love. They gave me my first friend, my first family, my first birthday at the age of four, and I nearly gave Digeen Mariam her very first heart attack when she lost me inside of a toy store. Even after my adoption, they would come visit or I would visit them and we would talk about anything for hours. They were the ones who told me about Stella Grigorian, and told me that Alice Movsesian could get a hold of her. They were also related to the first person to make a prediction about me. Baron Krikor’s father, whom I called Babuk George, watched over me for an hour when no one else was in the house. When his son Krikor returned he told him, “That boy is either going to be something spectacular, or end up in a federal prison – watch him.”
(See the picture 1: Samuel smiling with his hero, Sesame Street's Big Bird.)
When I turned four years old, Digeen Mariam and Baron Krikor surprised me with my first birthday party. Baron Krikor had his brother dress up as Big Bird from Sesame Street. When the doorbell rang and Mariam and Krikor asked me to get it, they could hear from any corner of the house the wild delight of a young boy who had come face-to-face with his hero. At some point during this party, Big Bird lifted me in his arms and one destiny-weaving photographer took a picture of me – a young boy with a patch on his eye smiling from ear to ear – which would eventually appear in the Armenian Reporter.
One week later and 25 miles away in Long Island, New York, in a blessed moment in space and time, my third miracle began. A man named Dr. Garo Armen received a call from a family friend that there was a photograph of a boy in the Armenian Reporter up for adoption who sort of looked like his own son, Zachary. After speaking to his wife, Valerie, the two wanted to at least see this boy.
By the time Garo and Valerie began their drive to the Saraydarian house in New Jersey I was four-and-a-half and their daughters Alice Saraydarian and Karen Arslanian, I was sort of an attraction in the Armenian community in New Jersey. Families would ask to borrow me, take care of me, feed me, have me sleep over, and meet their own children. To this day I find it quite strange that I know a family of beautiful Armenian girls whose parents could have adopted me, making all of them my sisters.
No matter who wanted to adopt me, Baron Krikor and especially Digeen Mariam were very strict. The parents had to be good enough for this young boy they had grown to love. And through the nearly-mystical precision of Armenian hospitality and the placement of a blanket, that family would be known.
When the Armen’s first called they were turned down because another family was taking care of me.
It was this one family that came, that seemed alright, and that wanted to adopt ,e. Krikor and Mariam allowed the family (like many other families whom they knew) to take care of me for a week. As they got to know them, Digeen Mariam rose to serve food, and frowned clandestinely when my potential mother did not budge or even offer to help. Nevertheless, they let them take care of me for a week. Before leaving, Digeen Mariam isolated the mother, handed her my favorite blanket, and whispered to her that she should put that on or near the bed I’d sleep on, as it would comfort me.
When Digeen Mariam visited me in my potentially new home, she was infuriated with what she saw: The blanket – my favorite blanket – was tossed aside, collecting dust in some room far from where I slept. After interrogating the mother, Digeen Mariam’s mouth dropped when she stated that “it’s okay – we’re giving him a cleaner blanket.” Needless to say, this family had lost their change of adopting her little boy.
But it was during my stay with that family that the Armen’s called and had to be turned down. After Digeen Mariam excommunicated the family from me (so to speak), the Armen’s were called back.
At the time, my father was in Dublin, Ireland. When he received the message from the other side of the globe, he began calculating, and it wasn’t long before he decided that a 3,187 mile flight and half-hour drive was worth seeing me.
When Digeen Mariam rose to make food, my mom leapt upwards. When she told them about the blanket, they nodded with a sincere countenance. When Digeen Mariam visited, she saw me wrapped comfortably in the blanket and sound asleep.
It was then decided, these would be my new parents.
I was told this news in New Jersey, and began crying instantaneously. I asked to Digeen Mariam and Baron Krikor, “Why can’t you take care of me anymore?” sensing that perhaps I had done something horribly wrong. To this they responded, “We are too old.” I turned lugubriously to Garo and Valerie Armen and asked them “Are you too old?” Fate had it that they were not.

Just as Digeen Mariam and Baron Krikor were the first family to make me feel loved, they were the first family to break my heart. I was convinced, for some reason or intuition, that I would never see them again as I sobbed in the backseat of the Armen’s car. Fortunately, that was definitely not the case. By the age of 5, I was adopted into the family and slowly becoming very close to my English and Armenian speaking brother, Zachary. As we grew older we played, we fought, and most of all, we learned from each other and still from each other today.
Today I love them like family, because family loves, cares, and teaches.
Today brings me to why I am writing this. My life and many of its mysteries can only be found in Gyumri. In less than five weeks I will be going to Gyumri to lift off the veil of my past as much as possible. There are still too many questions I have: Where did I live? Are my parents alive, were they killed during the earthquake, or did they already pass away in the last two decades since they’ve last seen me? Why was I cross-eyed? Why do I have particular phobias? Why do I look the way I look? Why do I have three small scars on me since as long as I can remember? Why do I write? Why do I calculate people so much? Who gave me my eyes, my nose, my voice, my chin, my face? What was I like as a baby? Did I cry and talk too much like I talk too much today? Why is my hearing so sharp and my vision so blurred?
I write this all in Yerevan, and my hands shake at the thought of being somewhere I haven’t been in twenty-one years. When I come back, I will write my experience, detail any and all of the answers I have found, and introduce to the best of my ability the complexity of what it truly feels like to be adopted.

From Hetq
http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2745/

http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2849/


11:42, July 12, 2011
Samuel Armen
The following entries, as I hope you will find, will not only elucidate the events of my days as an AGBU Intern but will also prove to be an all-around guide, explaining:
• Yerevan and Armenia in the eyes of an American – from the northern most part of Lake Sevan to the tip of Karabagh; from the attractions in the busy city of Yerevan to the serene grounds of Garni and Geghard.
• The AGBU YSIP internship program – Who is in it? How many people are there? Who do we meet outside of the internship? What are the jobs like? What are the events like? When do we work? Where do we work? When do we travel? How do we travel? Where do we stay? What do we do? What’s there to see? Where do we go? What do we eat? And how do we feel with all these new questions being answered so quickly?
• The lifestyle – from the culture and fashion to the clubs, lounges, bars and night life
• And much, much more…
Day 1 – Many Introductions
After two delayed-flights – first from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, and second from Charles De Gaulle Airport to the Yerevan Airport – a total of 17 hours, I arrived in my home country, Armenia.
Though I was born in Armenia, the car ride to our house through hills and cobble stones and twists and turns in the middle of the night seemed alien to my American understanding. I was adopted from Gyumri before I was 5 years old, and remained in New York my whole life. On occasion, I would travel to Armenia with my family for a week, but this internship would prove the longest I would stay – the internship alone was forty days and I would stay an extra twenty after.
The car stopped atop a gigantic hill – almost a mountain - with both the stars and the city of Yerevan in clear view. I grabbed my bags and headed towards the house in front of me. I opened the door, beginning the story of my journey with an immediate surprise: Even in the dead of night, and in the drowsiness of long travel and jet-lag, I could see that for the next forty days I would be living in a mansion.
A quarter up the marble-like stairs was an intern who was struggling with her luggage. Noticing she packed enough clothes to last several of her life spans, I helped her carry her bags to her room. She would be on the third floor, which was a vast wooden area with the corners divided into spacious dormitories. She told me to come with her outside, so I followed her back downstairs to the balcony. This is where all the interns were.
As I walked in, they turned to me. I introduced myself to them, saying first that my name is Samuel (Samvel). As the introduction continued, I proved myself to be a good source of new information as I would eventually be able to tell the world what it’s like to live in Armenia as a writer, a vegan, a recent college graduate and one who speaks almost no Armenian.
Then they introduced themselves. Together, our group of 21 interns would be fifteen women and six men. Five of us from New York, six from Los Angeles, two from San Diego, three from Pennsylvania, one from Miami, one from Vancouver, two from Syria and one from Moscow.
It was well-past midnight and deep in our conversations when our two supervisors suggested we get rest, declaring that the following six weeks would require it. I made my way to my room where my room mate was left unidentified, sleeping in the cover of darkness. Only a short moment later, jet-lag pulled me down into a much anticipated slumber.
DAY 2
http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2900/
DAY 3
http://hetq.am/eng/articles/2926/