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.
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

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:

Another Great Article about Steep decline in International Adoptions

State issues 9,300 Visas for Adoptions in the USA

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.
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 .
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,0,4041830.story

By Daniel Siegal,
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, 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


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.

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.

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

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

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

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.