Saturday, June 25, 2011

Armenian National Anthem (Our Fatherland) Mer Hayrenik (Մեր Հայրենիք)

I can hear it a million different ways and it is still beautiful. This is the GREAT Armenians of Canada's St. Mary Apostolic Church. Armenian Canadians have done much for orphanages and the children of Armenia. Sing it proud and teach your children.

Armenia National Anthem Lyrics


Mer hayrenik', Azat, Ankakh,
Vor aprel eh tareh tar,
Yoor vordik'e ard kanchum eh Azat,
Ankakh Hayastan.

Aha', yeghpayr, kez mi drosh,
Vor im dzerkov gortsetsi,
Gishernere yes koon cheghah,
Artasukov lvatsi.

Nayir nran yerek guynov,
Nvirakan mer nshan,
Togh poghpoghi t'shnamu dem,
Togh misht pandsah Hayastan.

Amenayn tegh mah'e mi eh,
Mard mi angam pit merni,
Bayts yerani ovr yur azgi
Azatutyan k'e zohvi.

English Translation
Our fatherland, free and independent,

That lived from century to century

His children are calling

Free independent Armenia.

(repeat previous two lines)

Here brother, for you a flag,

That I made with my hands

Nights I didn't sleep,

With tears I washed it.

(repeat previous two lines)

Look at it, 3 colours

It's our gifted symbol.

Let it shine against the enemy.

Let Armenia always be glorius.

(repeat previous two lines)

Everywhere death is the same

Everyone dies only once

But lucky is the one

Who is sacrificed for his nation.

(repeat previous two lines)

(repeat first verse)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Armenian Adoption- Sponsor a Child to the AYF Camp and win Ipad!!!

Awesome camp, please donate or consider working it.
our Armenian Youth Federation is strong and a fun group to belong to.

Armenian Adoption - Adoption Nation

Excellent book with updates featured in the Wall Street Journal today. I encourage everyone to read this important book.

A new book offers solid information that is often missing from the headlines — including facts about the impact of the Internet on adoption, the decline in international adoptions and the rise in foster-care adoptions.
In an updated edition of “Adoption Nation,” Adam Pertman, executive director of the nonprofit Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and an adoptive father himself, shows how patterns of adoption in the U.S. have turned upside down. Once-hot international adoptions have slowed amid rising nationalism, efforts to keep children with biological parents and fears of corruption, he writes. After peaking at 22,884 adoptions in 2004, U.S. adoptions of children from other countries fell 44% to 12,753 in 2009. Meanwhile, adoptions of foster children rose 53% to 55,000 in 2008 from 36,000 a decade earlier, amid policy changes and increased demand by parents. The website,, is an excellent resource on foster-care adoptions.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Ukraine Adoptions put on hold

This was just sent by friends from PEAR, there are a few parents who have adopted Armenian Ukrainian children.
Sad news for prospective parents waiting in Ukraine. I am told there will be many changes and adoption reforms.

Friday, June 17, 2011
DOS Adoption Alert: Ukraine Family Code Amendments and temporary suspension on adoptions to take effect on July 11, 2011

June 15, 2011
Alert: Ukrainian Family Code Amendments and temporary suspension on adoptions to take effect on July 11, 2011
The Ukrainian State Department on Adoptions (SDA) informed the US Embassy this morning that beginning July 11 SDA will no longer have the authority to process adoption cases. This will likely result in a temporary suspension of adoptions from Ukraine. The Ministry of Social Policy will take over as the new adoption authority in Ukraine, but does not yet have Cabinet approval to create a staff and begin processing cases. The Ministry does not yet know when they will be able to resume adoption processing. The amendments to the Ukrainian Family Code mentioned in the previous adoption alert will also go into effect on July 11.

We will ask the Ukrainian government to resume adoptions as quickly as possible. We will also continue to encourage the Ministry of Social Policy to protect adoptions where U.S. prospective adoptive parents have already been approved by the SDA to adopt a particular child.

According to SDA, there are now 139 U.S. families registered with the SDA, some of them already in-country. We will be following new developments closely to understand how it will affect the families currently in process and will be posting relevant updates. In that respect. we recommend that all American families that are currently in Ukraine or have appointments with SDA during the next few weeks send their contact information to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine’s Adoption Unit at: Families should contact their local adoption service provider for further updates and details.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Questions to ask your Adoption Agency

These agency questions are lengthy and should be asked. You are about to spend a great amount of money and time asking questions before you enter into a business contract is a good idea.

Interview Questions For International Adoption Agencies
•Do not e-mail this list to agencies you are considering. It is the conversation where you will pick up on the personality and philosophy of the agency.

•These interviews take time, and it is only fair that you make an appointment so the agency can have the right person speak with you and that the person will have allocated enough time.

•When you interview an agency, take notes and label them according to the question you are asking.

•When you have finished the interview, take the time right then to analyze if you would enjoy working with this agency. What was their attitude and how helpful were they?

Country specific:

1.How long have you been placing children from the country I am considering?

2.Are you licensed/accredited in the country I am considering? (If you don’t know if required, check the country charts listed under adoption)

3.How many children did you place from this country last year? The year before?

4.How many children of the age and general health I am looking for did you place last year? The year before?

5.How many regions within the country do you work in? Or, how many baby homes or orphanages within the country do you work in. (This question is not applicable to China and some other countries.)

6.Do you have someone on staff that is fluent in the language of the country?

7.How are the children cared for in the country prior to adoption?

8.If foster care, do foster parents receive any training and oversight?

9.What are the conditions in the orphanages? How many children per caregiver?

10.Does someone from your agency personally visit the orphanages from which you place children? (This is not allowed in all countries) If not, how are you informed about the quality of care?

11.If birth mothers are identified, what services are provided to the birth mother? Counseling?

12.Do you have staff in the country I am considering? Do you have subcontractors?

13.Do you use facilitators? What services does the facilitator provide? How often do you communicate with the facilitator? How much supervision do you provide? Is the facilitator paid a fee for services or paid on a contingency basis for child referred or adoption completed? How long have you been using this facilitator? What are the names of the in-country facilitators? (not all agencies reveal the names)

14.What humanitarian services do you provide in this country?

15.How are children identified for adoption?

16.What is the average length of time for a referral of the age, gender and health of the child we are seeking? What is the longest you have experienced within the last year?

17.What happens if we decline a referral that is offered? How soon can we expect to get another referral?

18.What is the average length of time after referral before I would likely travel to pick up my child? What is the longest you have experienced within the last year?

19.If this is a two-trip country, what’s the average length of time between trips? What is the longest you have experienced within the last year?

20.What was the average length of time families were in country last year? What was the longest you have experienced recently?

21.If we decline a referral once we are in the country, what happens? What are the chances of getting another referral while we are in country that meets our requirements? (This only applies to certain countries, see country charts)

22.How often do you send dossiers (collection of documents fulfilling the governmental requirements for adoption) to the country? Once a week? Once a month? (This is only applicable to certain countries, such as China)

23.What has been your experience with placing children from this country with parents who have been treated for depression or alcoholism or who have an arrest record?

24.What is the total estimated cost of adopting from this country? (not just fees paid to the agency, but what is the total out of pocket expenses families have paid at the end of the adoption)

25.If cash payments are required in country, do you have a mechanism for transferring funds to the country rather than have parents carry large amounts of cash?

Agency Specific:

1.What state or states are you licensed in?

2.How long have you been in business?

3.How many full time staff do you have? How many part time staff or subcontractors?

4.How long has the staff been with the agency? Ask specific to the program you will be using.

5.If it is a very small organization, what are the plans if one of the key personnel is unavailable for a period of time?

6.How do you communicate with prospective adoptive parents?

7.What are your office hours?

8.Whom would we contact when we have questions? Will one person be assigned to us? How many cases/clients does this person handle?

9.Do you have a policy to return phone calls within a set period of time? How long should I expect to wait for a reply from an email or phone message?

10.Are you seeking or do you have Hague Treaty accreditation or approval?

11.Do you have restrictions on age, marital status, gender selection, religion, or family size that are not part of the country’s requirements. (Keep in mind that this is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you are excluded because of an agency imposed restriction you want to know that up front so you can choose a different agency or country.)

12.How much medical, social, and psychological information will we receive on the child? Can additional information be obtained? What steps do you usually take to get additional information?

13.Do you encourage families to get an independent review of the medical records and pictures or videos (if available) by a pediatrician or an international adoption medical specialist?

14.How long do we have to decide on a referral? (You need at least a week or until you get a response from an international adoption medicine specialist.)

15.Do you ask clients to sign an Internet Confidentiality Agreement?

16.What is your refund policy at different stages in the process?

17.What is your policy on virtual twinning (adopting two unrelated children at the same time)? (if applicable)

18.What is your policy on continuing infertility treatments while pursuing an adoption? What is your policy if we become pregnant? (If applicable.)

19.Have you ever been disciplined or sanctioned by a government or legal entity?

20.How many of your placements in the last three years have fallen apart either before or after the adoption was finalized? (This statistic is one indication of how well an agency prepares families for adoption.)


1.How much help do you provide with the dossier (paperwork) preparation?

2.What travel arrangements do you make in country? To and from the country?

3.Do your families travel in groups to the country I am considering?

4.Who supports the families when they are in country? Are they employees of the agency? Subcontractors? How long have these people worked for your agency?

5.Do you have pre-adoption and post adoption support groups for parents either in person or online?

6.How many hours of parental education do you require? How is it offered? Do I have to attend classes in person? (Remember, you want an agency that wants to educate you.)

7.What post adoption services do you offer? Counseling for adoption related issues? Heritage camps/programs? Reunions? Parenting classes?

8.What type of support do you offer for families in the first six months home?

Please send:

1.An itemized list of all costs, fees, or expenses and when they are due. Make sure to include estimates for costs that are paid to others outside the agency (e.g. home study, document preparation, etc).

2.The latest audited financial statements and the internal financial report for last year.

3.Contracts, liability waivers, confidentiality agreements, or other paperwork that we will need to sign.

4.References (name, telephone number and email address) of families that adopted from the same country last year and adopted a child similar in age and health to what we are seeking.

Evaluation of Feel:

1.How thorough and honest were their answers?

2.How easy was it to talk with the agency contact?

3.Did I feel rushed?

4.Did I speak with the person I will primarily be working with?

5.How knowledgeable did they seem about adoption in general and adoptions from my country of choice?

6.Did it seem like they were more interested in my understanding what to expect or were they trying to sell me on their program by glossing over potential problems?

7.How clear was information on cost and waiting times? Did I have to dig to get this information?

8.How courteous were all the staff I spoke with?

9.How promptly were materials mailed and phone calls returned?

Armenian Adoption-Establishment of Children's ombudsmen insitutution in Armenia underway

There are many changes taking place with Children's rights issues and adoption of Armenian children. All will be for the good of the children of Armenia and supportive programs in place for all children particularly special needs.

A. Bakhshyan: “Establishment of Children’s ombudsmen institution in Armenia is underway”
“Under the Constitution, our state is limited to basic human and civil rights and freedoms as a directly applicable law. In this context, in 1992 Armenia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child assuming readiness to prioritize child protection issues and to include them into the national projects,” member of the Heritage parliamentary faction Anahit Bakhshyan said at the parliamentary conference of CIS, Central and Eastern Europe states on protection of the rights of vulnerable children.
The conference has been initiated by the National Assembly, UNICEF, jointly with the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Within the upcoming three days, delegates from different countries, deputies, ombudsmen, children’s rights experts and others will discuss everything directly concerning protection of children’s rights in the context of the parliament’s activities.
Mrs. Bakhshyan presented the delegates the development of the field in Armenia. Further, she reminded that in 1996, our country elaborated and adopted Children Rights law which stipulated the implementation of the Convention and our country’s commitments. However, “the lack of a comprehensive mechanism for the exercise of children’s rights in our country, just like in the whole world, was slowing down the process of complete protection of children’s rights. That’s why Armenia, just like the other Member States of the United Nations, elaborated a National Project on Protection of Children’s Rights for 2004-2015. This project aimed to introduce the new reform of the children’s rights protection field to secure the rights stipulated in the Convention,” she noted.

Besides, in 2005, under the order of Armenian Prime Minister, National Commission for Child Protection was established, as a mechanism to secure the state policy of children's rights and interests, immediately followed by opening of children’s ombudsman offices in the regions. In 2010, family, women and children protection offices were established, thus a children’s ombudsman three-level system was introduced in Armenia, including national, regional and communal levels.

"But we should emphasize that the three-level system is formal, and is not efficient, it is not a full mechanism of Children’s Ombudsman, because the system responds to the needs of the child only when the child is already in a difficult situation, while it should act as an early intervention and prevention mechanism. This is the problem and challenge for Armenia. In this respect, the National Assembly and the government as well as the international organizations and others have much to do," the MP said.
According to her, the most important role of the parliament is not only adoption of the laws and ratification of international conventions, but also adoption of mechanisms established by laws, by which the implementation of the laws is conditioned. The Parliament should pursue the establishment of the mechanism of independent monitoring of the Children’s Ombudsman implementation. And in that sense it is important that the creation and establishment of Children’s Ombudsman Institution serve as such mechanism, because: "Only in this case it will be possible to monitor the implementation of the national project of Children’s Ombudsman and to report it to the National Assembly."

By the way, the Children’s Ombudsman institution was expected to be established in Armenia in 2001, but the above mentioned three-level system was created instead, which in fact cannot be an independent mechanism for the implementation of the Convention.
Mrs. Bakhshyan added that today the establishment of this institution is already underway, it must be established within the Ombudsman's Office.
Norway is the country where the first Children's Ombudsman institution was established.
In addition to this, Mrs. Bakhshyan also presented the delegates other mechanisms of children’s ombudsman that operate in Armenia. For example, the mechanism required by the General Education law and ensuring the participation of parents, which is a contract between parents and school headmaster, which exactly stipulates the rights of the child, etc.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Armenia marks World Children Day

June 1st is observed as World Children’s Day. The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland proclaimed June 1 to be International Children's Day in 1925.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Childand opened it for signature on 20 November 1989. It came into force on 2 September 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of nations.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (commonly abbreviated as the CRC, CROC, or UNCRC) is a human rights treaty setting out the civil, political, economic, social, health and cultural rights of children. The Convention generally defines a child as any human being under the age of eighteen, unless an earlier age of majority is recognized by a country's law.

Armenia ratified the Convention in 1992. Besides, it adopted the Law on Children’s Rights in 1996.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Armenian Adoption Adventure- A visit to Gyumri Children's Home

One Day in the Gyumri “Children's Home” Orphanage
The Children's Home is a well-known orphanage throughout the Republic, established in 1924 in Gyumri. The orphanage serves children ages 0-6 years old, who suffer from severe health and development problems. Although, the RA Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Issues, Mr. Filaret Berikyan, assured that we could visit any orphanage without any difficulty or obstacles, the orphanage deputy director Artur Movsisyan, at first, refused to allow us to enter the orphanage and especially to meet with the children. He, only after seeing the member of the National Assembly and member of the Heritage party, Anahit Bakhshyan, gave the permission to enter the orphanage. We should note that unfortunately, the director of the orphanage, Ruzanna Avagyan was in Yerevan. As a result, we have written this article based solely upon what we have personally seen or was partially presented by the nurses and caregivers. The deputy director, A. Movsisyan, would reply to every question related to documentation, information on the children, and even regarding the number of children who had died in 2010, with “I have been here (only) since September. I do not know”.

The orphanage serves 128 children, 69 boys and 59 girls, who are divided by age groups and placed in different sections. Grouping children according to their age alone, is perhaps wrong, because, we noticed for instance, a child who suffers only from a speech disorder, spends the whole day in a room with children suffering from Down’s Syndrome or cerebral palsy. The same situation also applies to a girl with a physical disability, who is stuck in a wheelchair, yet has no other concerns, spends her whole time with children with severe developmental problems. Behind these walls, a number of children also suffer from Microcephaly, heart diseases, blindness, deafness, central nerves system disorders, etc. In a nutshell, it is an indescribable and heartbreaking scene.

While visiting the first section, we were astonished by the fact that they weighed the children like a cat; hanging them on the scale from their clothes. Later on, we learned, that there was special equipment for weighing the children, called a “parachute”. However, we only found out about this when the workers noticed we were going to take pictures.

That section, which was located in the building renovated back in the 1990s, had a strong odor. They justified the strong smell, with the excuse that it was time for changing children’s diapers. However, none of the children were being fitted with diapers, since they stated “If we have diapers, we’ll use them, if not, we won’t”. In the other sections, the absence of diapers was explained by the fact that each child “wears” 4-5 diapers per day, but it is not enough. It is worth mentioning that we visited the orphanage at 10:00 a.m., in other words, when the day had just started.

In fact, they informed us, they mainly receive diapers from benefactors, and the last time they did was through Sister Arousyak's donation from Rome. Annually, the government allocates approximately 2,700,000 AMD for each child, which mainly covers nutrition and medication expenses. However, we did not find out the exact amount allocated by the government in 2010, as the deputy director was not aware of this fact as well.

It is worth mentioning, according to UNICEF’s recently presented research, in 2009 the Children’s Home orphanage received an allocation of U.S. $ 7,600 for each child. However, only 14% is allocated the children’s nutrition and care, while 68% is allocated for salaries, and 18% is being spent for communal (utilities) expenses and building maintenance. We should stress that, the orphanage not only receives annually remarkable financial aid, but also various furnishings and other items from the Diaspora.

According to the children’s daily schedule which was posted on the wall, from 10:00-11:30 a.m., was the time for teaching of the curriculum. However, during that period of time, we only saw junior medical staff members in this section and later on we saw few educators in the other sections; according to the registered staff list, the number of junior medical staff consists of 41 members and 11 educators. Besides the above mentioned staff members, according to the registered staff list, two speech therapists, one social worker, and only two psychologists work with the children. Hence, the deputy director justifiably stated, that they are in great need of specialized professionals, specifically during the night shifts.

Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, the old building of the orphanage is in need of renovation, especially the quarantine section, where the children lay on hard floor mats, or no less hard, uncomfortable chairs for the entire day, while the walls smell foul and are about to fall apart, and here again, the children did not have diapers. And if we do not consider the above mentioned two sections, it is important to note that the entire orphanage was clean; not only the rooms, corridors and beds, but also the children and their clothes. The laundry room is located outside the orphanage and the children’s underwear is daily washed.

However, as A. Bakhshyan emphasized, these types of issues are not as important to the children, as the staff’s interest and care for them. Almost in every section we visited, we were told about the children’s problems. Mrs. A. Bakhshyan was interested to know whether the children attend kindergarten or not. The question, however, would remain and the staff would answer, that the children are “defective”, which consequently greatly aggravated the National Assembly member, and after witnessing her strong reaction, the staff remained silent, after all, what could the staff say when the only one who could answer was the absent director?

Besides all this, we noticed that, one of the blind orphans, who was already seven years old, but had not been transferred to another orphanage at the age of six, was not receiving education. Samvel was singing and reciting in such a way during rehearsal for the Children’s Protection Day, that made us realize, that he could have a normal future outside the orphanage, only if he was given that chance and was not bound to live in the same room like the others, where the “Downies” are cared for, as the doctors of the orphanage themselves said. We also met with shy Elona, who in comparison with the rest, is completely healthy, and even though her parents are aware of this fact, have only taken her home for one day and returned her back to the orphanage, because her appearance did not satisfy the parents. There are even some parents, who do not show up even when they are informed about the death of their child, and some, who only call once or twice a year, consequently, the number of parents visiting the orphanage is declining.

After hearing Samvel’s confident voice singing “Our childhood sun is shining”, we heard another orphan’s voice in the hall, who is blind and suffers from heart disease and a number of nearly incurable illnesses, reciting, “How nice you are my lovely childhood”. From the windows of the room we could see the newly constructed beautiful and colorful playground; however who was it for? What is the point of having it? …When only a few of these children are able to stand on their own two feet, and even then only when the caregiver is ready to extend a helping hand.

Source: 13:35 31/05/2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Armenian Adoption- Bank VTB and ENA organize special event for orphanages of Armenia
Bank VTB and ENA organize special event for several orphanages for International Children’s Day

YEREVAN, June 1, /ARKA /. Russian-owned Bank VTB (Armenia) and the Electrical Networks of Armenia (ENA) organized a special event today for the inmates of several orphanages and children homes in connection with the International Children's Day. Some 35 children from a boarding school in Gavar, 20 - from a children's home in Vanadzor, 10 inmates from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Yerevan, as well as 12 children with leukemia were invited to take part in it.
"The children are our future and we need to invest more and more and do everything possible so that they prosper and live happily and become full citizens, " Valery Ovsyanikov, Bank VTB (Armenia) CEO said. The bank has been running a special program for several years designed for children with special needs in Gavar.
General director of ENA, Evgeny Bibin, said support for orphanages and children with special needs have always been a priority of the company’s social policy.
"We are pleased that we now spend the holiday together with our close and reliable partner. We want to make sure that at least today, the children who are now assembled in this building feel a bit happier, more joyful, because our concern today is aimed at supporting children from socially vulnerable segments," he said.
The event was organized in the Moscow Cinema House in Yerevan. The children participated in various activities and games In addition, an animated film Rio was screened for them in 3D format. -0-