Monday, October 31, 2011
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (559) 441-6355. Read his blog at fresnobeehive.com.
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
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.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Government Plans Fresh Changes In Armenian Child Adoption RulesPosted 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.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
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.
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
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
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.