Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Armenian Adoption Adventure, Armenia through the eyes of a child


Every evening, Melanie, Margaret, Sevana and I sit down and plan what to do with our Advanced English students the next day. We had already talked about family, school and hygiene with them, and were starting to run out of ideas when Sevana suggested we ask the students what they would change and what they would keep the same if they were president of Armenia. We were worried about whether or not we could help them with political terms or if they would even be interested at all, but the responses we got helped us see the changes needed in Armenia through a child’s eyes and the simplicity of most of their suggested changes showed some of the roots of the troubles Armenia faces.

Many of our students had worries that we would have expected to hear from adults. These children are so much more aware of their surroundings than we had expected. They share the household stress with their parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Hasmik Hovasepyan says, “If I were president of Armenia, I would create more jobs because I want to help people. I shall create more buildings because I want people to have homes.”

Hasmik is 12 years old and has worries that I have never seen in an American preteen, who would have been more worried about the latest video game or trendy outfit.

Trash has never been a problem for us in the two weeks we’ve been in Gyumri because there is a dumpster located about two blocks away from our temporary home and we produce very little trash since we don’t cook our own food and don’t clean much, but our students showed us that trash is a huge problem for Gyumri’s smallest citizens. 13 year old Jenya Hovhannisyan says, “I would create a law forbidding trash cans in the streets.”

While Jenya wanted fewer trash cans, 14 year old Gor Hovhanisyan “would eliminate trash.”

We had seen trash on the streets of Gyumri, but began noticing it more after reading our students’ responses. As Unger Gevorg explained to us, there are no laws about trash on the streets, and people do not care to find a trash can, instead choosing to dump whatever trash they have on the streets.

The innocence of the children really showed in some of their responses. 13 year old Angela Apriyan would “build parks for children and… give money and clothes to orphanages… and establish flowers and trees in streets.”

12 year old Alina Mkhoyan wants to “eliminate criminals” and “have world peace.”

11 year old Marian Nahapetyan would “eliminate money because people commit crimes for money and it is not needed.”

14 year old Andranick Khachatryan “would buy wonderful footballers for our country because today football is not good in Armenia.”

But some of the most memorable responses were the most serious ones. 14 year old Gor Hovhanisyan wants “to help for women and and laws that prevent parents from hitting their children.”

Hearing that from Gor, who is usually bouncing off the walls in our classroom was incredible. It just emphasized the fact that we learn something new about our students every day. I personally had always underestimated him and am sorry it took so long to realize his true colors. 11 year old Roza Simonyan wants “Ararat to be ours again,” but she had trouble explaining how she would reach that goal if she were president.

12 year old Arpi Antanyan “would build skyscrapers and change every building [and] keep the same only the natural beauty of Armenia.”

Like Hasmik and Arpi, many of our students wanted better, newer buildings in Gyumri, which brought to light that over two decades after the 1988 earthquake, there are still buildings that need to be rebuilt and the ones that survived the earthquake are deteriorating over time. Arpi also wants to “create a law about not smoking”

because she wants people to be healthy. In a country where smoking is accepted in almost every location, Arpi’s response gave me hope that there are still those who care about the health and wellness of the people. The final sentence of Arpi’s response was most memorable: “I would beautify my country so well that nobody would want to leave.”

As children of Armenian emigrants, we know that the conditions in Armenia are unbearable for many people, but it was beautiful to see that there are still those who believe that Armenians should stay in Armenia.

At the end of it all, Andranick said it best, “my country Armenia is the best in the world.” It is these children with their big ideas and innocent outlooks on life who will grow up to be the changes that Armenia needs in order to live up to its full potential. I’m so proud that we were able to see the beginnings of it.

With much love and hope,


 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Armenian Adoptions, Children of Armenia Fund to have reception in New York, December 13, 2013

The most progressive of Children's funds in Armenia, is hosting their Winter reception in New York on December 13, 2013 at the Ciprini nightclub.  Hollywood Actress Andrea Martin and Actor Victor Garber will host the event.  Please support Children of Armenia fund, it is the only fund that promotes the economy in Armenia and the entire village with building of schools, hospitals, etc., 



Club Cipriani will be the venue for the 10th annual Children of Armenia fund.
The best Children's fund to support the future of Armenia


Children of Armenia Fund Tenth Annual Holiday Gala

Please join the Children of Armenia Fund as we celebrate ten years of accomplishments on Friday, December 13, 2013 at Cipriani 42nd Street. Cocktails & auction start at 7pm, followed by dinner, honors, and performances at 8pm, and a night of dancing at 10pm.

This unforgettable night will feature special guests and talented youth from our community-led programs in Armenia.

Master of Ceremonies Andrea Martin, Emmy & Tony Award Winning Actress.

Please visit www.coafkids.org for more information and to purchase tickets.

Categories: Fundraising & Charity


The Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that uses community-led approaches to reduce rural poverty, with a particular focus on children. Since the inception of its programs in 2004, COAF has funded and implemented education, health, social, and economic development programs serving more than 25,000 people in rural villages of Armenia. Each person impacted represents one of the more than one billion people living in poverty, and the methods used in Armenia can be replicated in other communities, where children are most vulnerable. - See more at: http://www.coafkids.org/#sthash.iI3XO3J3.dpuf


 
 

Armenian Adoptions, award winning "Orphans of the Genocide" to air on PBS Miami December 12, 2013



Award winning "Orphans of the Genocide" to show on PBS - WPBT Channel 2 in Miami. 

The awards keep on comming!  Congratulations to director Bared Maronian

This film has made its way to France, Canada, USA and we are working on South America (Argentina and Uruguay version) as well as a huge presentation in Armenia. 

ABREK !!!!



 
 

Watch more video from the Top Picks channel on Frequency

Armenian Adoptions, review of the book "Child Catchers"

This saddens all Armenians what is happening especially to our brothers in Ethiopia.  Ethiopians share over 2 centuries of closeness culturally, religiously and even their alphabet was written by the same man "Mashdots" 
The King of Ethiopia in 1923 adopted 40 Armenian Orphans of the Genocide out of Jerusalem.  However, now the tables are turned and Ethiopia is losing their future generation to corruption, it remains open to Americans but Ethiopian adoptions have closed to Canadians and other countries because of corrupt practices in the country. 

In 2009, a van from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, carrying seven young children and babies, was stopped as it drove outside the rural, central Ethiopian town of Shashemene. The children in the van were wards of Better Future Adoption Services (BFAS), a U.S. adoption agency, and had been declared abandoned—their families unknown—in the capital city of Addis Ababa. Police outside Shashemene arrested seven adults riding in the van, including five BFAS employees. The staff, it appeared to some, had sought to process children who had living family as though they had been abandoned in another region of the country, so that their adoptions to the U.S. could proceed more quickly.

At the time, Ethiopia was in the midst of a dramatic international adoption boom, with the number of adoptions to U.S. parents rising from a few hundred per year in 2004 to more than 2,000 five years later, and around 4,000 worldwide.The boom had brought substantial revenue into the country, as agencies and adoptive parents supported newly-established orphanages that became an attractive child care option for poor families; some agencies paid fees to “child finders” locating adoptable children; and the influx of Western adoption tourism brought money that trickled down to hotels, restaurants, taxi-drivers and other service industries.

Also with the boom came early warning signs of adoption fraud and corruption. Before the van was stopped near Shashemene, there had been a glut of abandonment adoptions being processed in Addis Ababa. The number of adoption cases where the parents were said to be unknown had caught the attention of Ethiopia’s First Instance Court, the body responsible for approving international adoptions. The court announced a temporary suspension on processing abandonment cases that originated in the capital until it could investigate further. For some agencies, the news was likely a blow, forecasting long wait times to process adoptions and frustrated clients in the U.S. But there was a way around: the court would continue to hear cases for children abandoned in other parts of Ethiopia.

One of the children transported in the van would later be adopted by a Christian couple just outside Nashville: 31-year-old Jessie Hawkins, a health and wellness author, and her 38-year-old husband, Matthew, a marketing executive. The Hawkinses had chosen BFAS as a protection against corrupt adoptions, assuming that because an Ethiopian woman living in the United States, Agitu Wodajo, ran it, the agency would operate more ethically than those lacking a local connection. Wodajo’s public professions of Christian faith reassured them as well.

Before the children were moved, BFAS notified Hawkins and the adoptive families they were taking the children to a cleaner and safer orphanage. Wodajo later claimed to me that the children were moved not to change their paperwork but because a colleague of a BFAS staffer who wanted to establish his own orphanage had asked to “borrow” some BFAS children to pose as his wards so he could obtain a license. The U.S. families didn’t learn until much later that the party had actually been arrested.

But there were earlier indications that the children’s paperwork at BFAS was a fluid matter. An e-mail from BFAS to U.S. adoptive families that July said that the agency was trying to locate children’s birth families in case the court decree didn’t allow them to be processed as abandoned. “If [the birth families] are willing, your children will be filed for court as a family member relinquishment and not as an abandonment,” the letter read. “So, BFAS is waiting for one of two things. 1) For the court to open their doors to new abandonment cases or 2) For birth families to relinquish the children so we can file immediately.” It seemed like an acknowledgement that the agency would pursue whatever avenue was quickest.

Hawkins herself was told different stories about the daughter she had committed to adopt, a four-year-old girl who had been declared abandoned and whose mother BFAS now said they were trying to find. “This is when I started to get suspicious,” Hawkins told me. “I thought, if you’re so confident she was abandoned, why are you trying to find her birth mother now?” But, she continued, “You get attached to this child and you’re basically at [the agency’s] mercy at this point. You believe these children are abandoned, orphaned, and you’re willing to do whatever or you’ll lose this child and they’ll live there forever.”

In the weeks that passed, while the children were said to be on the road, Hawkins and the other families grew close, comparing stories of what they’d been told. Some parents heard that nannies working at BFAS were in fact the mothers of some children being relinquished for adoption. In emails Wodajo sent to prospective clients, she wrote that they might be able to adopt infants as young as two months old because they were working with pregnant girls. But as rumors spread that their adoptions would be terminated or libel lawsuits filed if they pushed too hard, a hush fell over the group.

When Hawkins was finally called to Ethiopia to finalize her adoption, the BFAS staff there reassured her that her daughter had indeed been abandoned. But after the girl came to the United States she began acting out, behaving violently toward a set of baby dolls she had gotten for Christmas and systematically shattering glasses she found in the kitchen. A few months later, when she had learned some English, the daughter pointed to a picture of the orphanage that Hawkins had taped to her bedroom wall and told her, “When I lived there, I missed my mom.”

Hawkins responded, “‘Honey, that’s nice of you, but you didn’t know me then.’ And then she kind of looks at me like she’s afraid she was going to be in trouble, and you could see her really choosing her words with the little bit of English she had. And she said, ‘You know, I have another mom.’”

“I can’t even begin to put into words what that feels like,” Hawkins told me. “Finding out that you have someone else’s child simply because you happen to have been born in a country where you’re more privileged than they are? You want to throw up, you don’t know what to do.”

When Hawkins called BFAS to present this information, she reached Agitu Wodajo directly. Despite the many reassurances Hawkins had received in the past that the girl was abandoned, she said Wodajo replied without hesitation that yes, she had met the girl’s mother herself.


 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Armenian Adoption and Children of Armenia Fund presents their winter soiree

The most powerful charity for children in Armenia is the COAF (Children of Armenia Fund) which works at the village level promoting jobs and building the economy for families.  COAF builds schools, clinics and foundations for children in Armenia so their parents are not put in economic situations of leaving their children with orphanages for food and shelter.  They have many big name celebrities that come to fundraisers, the east coast NY one is held at the Met and has included such notables as Jane Fonda, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Ken Davitian and more.  Here is the upcomming fundraiser with Michael Aram Designs, we have had several with Jewelry Giant Alex and Ani as well.  Lets support the future generation of Armenia and build their education and economy. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Armenian Adoption Adventure, Every Child Needs a Family UNICEF Director talks about Armenian Orphans


Armenian Adoptions for Armenians, updated numbers



ARMENIAN ADOPTIONS to the USA
 
YEAR      NUMBER TO AMEICA
2012
    19
2011
    22
2010
    18
2009
    20
2008
    29
2007
    32
2006
    46
2005
    20
2004
    31
2003
    40
2002
    27
2001
    27
2000
    9
1999
    14

            
Hague Adoption Convention Partner? YES

1999 - 2012 Total Adoptions 14 years
354

 

Compared to International Adoptions as a whole

Yearly Adoptions

2012
 8668
2011
 9319
2010
 11058
2009
 12744
2008
 17456
2007
 19608
2006
 20680
2005
 22734
2004
 22991
2003
 21654
2002
 21467
2001
 19647
2000
 18857
1999
 15719
From 2006
To 2012    62% drop
2013 is estimated to be 2,000 less because of Russia and other countries closing (6,680)

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Armenian Adoption and NY Times Article on Evangelical Adoption Ministries



The Evangelical Orphan Boom


By KATHRYN JOYCE

IF you attend an evangelical church these days, there’s a good chance you’ll hear about the “orphan crisis” affecting millions of children around the world.

These Christian advocates of transnational adoption will often say that some 150 million children need homes — though that figure, derived from a Unicef report, includes not only parentless children, but also those who have lost only one parent, and orphans who live with relatives.

Evangelical adoptions picked up in earnest in the middle of the last decade, when a wave of prominent Christians, including the megachurch pastor Rick Warren and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, began to promote adoption as a special imperative for believers. Adoption mirrored the Christian salvation experience, they argued, likening the adoption of orphans to Christ’s adoption of the faithful. Adoption also embodied a more holistic “pro-life” message — caring for children outside the womb as well as within — and an emphasis on good deeds, not just belief, that some evangelicals felt had been ceded to mainline Protestant denominations.

Believers rose to the challenge. The Christian Alliance for Orphans estimates that hundreds of thousands of people worldwide participate in its annual Orphan Sunday (this year’s is Nov. 3). Evangelicals from the Bible Belt to Southern California don wristbands or T-shirts reading “orphan addict” or “serial adopter.” Ministries have emerged to raise money and award grants to help Christians pay the fees (some $30,000 on average, plus travel) associated with transnational adoption.

However well intended, this enthusiasm has exacerbated what has become a boom-and-bust market for children that leaps from country to country. In many cases, the influx of money has created incentives to establish or expand orphanages — and identify children to fill them.

In some cases, agencies may hire “child finders” to recruit children of the age and gender that prospective adoptive parents prefer, sometimes from impoverished but intact families. Even nonprofit agencies with good reputations may turn to such local recruiters in countries where they don’t already have established partners — or where the demand for children exceeds the supply.

The potential for fraud and abuse is high. Orphanages tend to be filled by kids whose parents want better opportunities for them, while the root problem — extreme poverty — goes unaddressed, a Unicef worker in Ethiopia told me. Worse, some families in places with different cultural norms and legal systems relinquish their kids believing that it is a temporary guardianship arrangement, rather than an irrevocable severance of family ties.

In 2006, the family of three sisters adopted from Sodo, Ethiopia, said they were told that adoption would give the children a chance at an American education and that they would later return. The adoptive parents, then living in New Mexico, said they’d been falsely assured by an evangelical agency, Christian World Adoption, that they were saving destitute children orphaned by AIDS, who might otherwise have become sex workers.

When the children arrived and were told the adoption was permanent, they were distraught. And when the adoptive family complained, the agency maintained that the adoption was justified under Ethiopian law and counseled the parents to trust in God’s plan. When the adoptive family complained to the Better Business Bureau in North Carolina, where the agency was based, it threatened to report the family to child protective services in New Mexico. (The agency has since gone bankrupt.)

Though most are not as nightmarish, adoption complications are common. Some adoptive parents have even hired private investigators to try to verify the stories they were told about their kids.

When scandals emerge, governments lumber into action. But then the demand just shifts to another country, and the problems start all over again. In the early 1990s, Romania saw an adoption boom after shocking images of orphanages — housing young victims of Nicolae Ceausescu’s compulsory birth policies — became public. But over time, stories of other Romanian kids’ being coerced into adoption or bought from their families surfaced. Romania halted international adoptions in 2001.

Also in the 1990s, the number of adoptions from Vietnam soared, but the outrageous fees paid to child finders — sometimes more than $10,000 — caused the government in 2003 to press pause to reform the system. (But when the adoptions resumed in 2005, so did the problems.)

At the height of Guatemala’s adoption boom in the middle of the last decade, nearly 1 percent of babies were sent to the United States, before stories of child buying and even kidnapping prompted a shutdown in 2008. Then the boom shifted to Ethiopia and, now, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Of course, adoption problems aren’t limited to Christian agencies, and they don’t originate with them, but some movement insiders say that evangelicals — whether driven by zeal or naïveté — have had a disproportionate impact on the international adoption system. Groups like Unicef and Save the Children have made clear that millions of “orphans” are, in fact, not eligible for transnational adoption, but advocates often disregard these warnings as signs of ideological opposition to adoption — a charge Unicef has denied.

After some high-profile adoption horror stories, the number of transnational adoptions to the United States fell to fewer than 9,000 last year, from a high of nearly 23,000 in 2004. Last year, only China and Ethiopia sent more than 1,000 adoptees to America, and only South Korea and Russia topped 500. (Russia this year banned adoptions by American parents.)

This boom-and-bust, musical-chairs cycle does little to improve child-welfare systems in developing countries and has perpetuated a culture of aid-based orphanage construction — the reverse of the trend in wealthy countries, which have phased out institutions in favor of foster care.

The United States must improve regulation. There are no specific limits to what agencies can spend in other countries and little oversight in the system, which relies on peer reviews from other adoption agencies. And often there is little political will to investigate agency wrongdoing. While the United States abides by the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption — a set of standards promulgated in 1993 to prevent abuses — American agencies can often dodge responsibility for abuses by blaming local partners. Moreover, many foreign children brought into America come from countries that have not signed the convention.

Policy reforms, domestic and international, won’t be enough without a change in thinking, particularly among American evangelicals. Some Christian groups have begun to heed the call to do good works overseas, by focusing on aid that keeps families intact or improves local foster care and adoption. Some churches have backed programs overseas that provide emergency foster parents, or day care programs for widowed mothers. But many churches still preach the simplistic message that there are more Christians in the world than orphans, and that every adoption means a child saved.

For too long, well-meaning Americans have brought their advocacy and money to bear on an adoption industry that revolves around Western demand. Adoption can be wonderful when it’s about finding the right family for a child who is truly in need, but it can also be tragic and unjust if it involves deception, removes children from their home countries when other options are available, or is used as a substitute for addressing the underlying problems of poverty and inequality. We can no longer be blind to the collateral damage that good intentions bring.

Kathryn Joyce is the author of “The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.”


 

 

Armenian Adoption Adventure and Armenian Festivals

This is the kids favorite!!  September 28,2013  Buses are available from Los Angeles. 
At the Armenian Cultural Center.

Last year my friend made Orange, Blue, and Red Ballet TuTus, it sold out.  Here are some highlights, bring our kids they love it.  Bounce houses and more


world wide known Oud Master Richard Hagobian
They are tu tu much, there is also a bounce house and many other fun children's events


 





Sunday, August 4, 2013

Armenian Adoption Adventure, "Baby Sellers" world premire on Lifetime August 17,2013

This made for TV film is a factual account of many adoption agencies and mosaic of several different incidences that have happened in International Adoption.  Many psuedo writers contributed to this film and actual court cases have been compiled.  I had a chance to review the film, and it is excellent.  Kirstie Alley was a great choice to play the cunning adoption agency owner who is sugar sweet religious on the outside and on the inside a ruthless business owner.  Kirstie, herself is an adoptive mother of 2 American children.  She is very attractive, with emerald green eyes, and a whacko sense of humor.  We enjoyed meeting her at the sneak preview in Los Angeles. 

Please watch this film on Lifetime August 17, 2013.  A synopsis written by my friend:

Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Kirstie Alley and three-time Daytime Emmy® Award winner Jennifer Finnigan star in the Lifetime Original Movie “Baby Sellers.” The provocative film, from prolific and multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning Robert Halmi, Sr. (“Human Trafficking”, “Tin Man”), is a chilling account of the brutal and horrific realities behind the global illicit trade of selling children, many kidnapped from their homes, under the guise of seemingly regulated adoption.

Exposing the dark international crime enterprise of infant trafficking, "Baby Sellers" stars Alley as Carla Huxley, a well-respected, influential owner of a major U.S.-based adoption agency that helps prospective parents fulfill their dream of having a family. While presenting an innocent veneer of kindness and good intentions to her trusting clients, behind-the-scenes Huxley functions as a ruthless international kingpin, controlling an expansive syndicate spanning the world and manned by subordinates authorized to use any means necessary to procure children for her business. Jennifer Finnigan ("Close to Home", "The Bold and the Beautiful") stars as Nic Morrison, the dedicated, tough-as-nails Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who believes Huxley is fueling a global business that stops at nothing to find the right child for the right owner – at the right price – and goes undercover to bring her sordid operation down.

Shot in India, Brazil and Vancouver, the two-hour film is produced by Reunion Pictures. Halmi, Sr. and Matthew O’Connor (“Continuum”, “Alice”, “Tin Man”) are executive producers, which is directed by Nick Willing (“Neverland”, “Alice in Wonderland”) from a screenplay written by Humanitas Prize winner Suzette Couture (“The Last Templar”, “Jesus”) and William Gray.

 
 
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Armenian Adoptions, expert on Armenian Adoptions Carolina Adoption Services speaks out, 3 spots open for Healthy Infant Armenian program

Carolina Adoption Services, has had the longest Armenian Adoption program than any other Agency. One of their coordinators (a former Hopscotch employee) speaks out on their Armenian Adoption program.

From: Jeanne Sobie To: "armenian-adoption-interest@yahoogroups.com"
Sent: Friday, 28 June 2013, 10:15
Subject: [armenian-adoption-interest] Carolina Adoption Services

Hello, I wanted to pass along to the group that we have (3) openings in our healthy infant program! This program should have expected dossier to referral time of 24-36 months. At least one parent must be able to demonstrate Armenian heritage. Non Armenian Families are accepted into the Special Needs/Waiting Children (including infants) program, there are many Armenian children with needs looking for their forever families.

Please feel free to contact me on my direct line at 440-773-0533

Jeanne Sobie
Family Coordinator
CAROLINA ADOPTION SERVICESCelebrating 20 Years
1-800-632-9312 / 440.773.0533 (direct) / 336.273.9804 (fax)
www.carolinaadoption.org

Orphans of the Genocide makes it's way to all 50 states and around the world


The last 2.6 months have been filled with busy tours for the film maker and friend of "Orphans of the Genocide" it has been shown in MA, NY, FL, AZ, and now makes it way to our brothers in Paris, France on July 12th. It will be shown in Southern California at a PBS affiliate in October 2013 with a big huge party beforehand, details to follow. Here is the information on the France showing. We have about 45 more states to go (except skip the NC one) and to our brothers in Argentina, Urguay and other spanish speaking nations.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Arianna Rising, Armenian Adoption Adventure

We followed this story last year about the Paros Foundation and their generous support to the Nork Orphanage in Armenia. Arianna was from that orphanage and now it has beautiful new plants, benches instead of weeds. (pictures forthcomming)

By Kristin Agostoni Staff Writer kristin.agostoni@dailybreeze.com
@kagostoni on Twitter Posted: 06/14/2013 06:36:47 PM PDT
Updated: 06/14/2013 08:23:15 PM PDT

Preschooler Arianna Spiglanin was adopted from an Armenian orphanage by Lauren and Tom Spiglanin of Rancho Palos Verdes. The couple later learned she has cerebral palsy and is committed to a combination of therapies to help with her development. The Daily Breeze profiled Arianna and her mother, Lauren, a year ago. She has since made improvements with her mobility. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer) Related: Arianna’s journey: Rancho Palos Verdes couple faces adopted child’s tragedy with courage The last time Lauren Mahakian Spiglanin visited Yerevan, Armenia, she and her husband, Tom, had just become parents of a nearly 9-month-old baby girl they had adopted from the state-run Nork orphanage. During visits, they’d take their baby, Arianna Rose, outside to a weed-filled yard with construction debris lying around – the only outdoor spot for prospective parents to interact with children at the center. Today, that same space has been transformed because the couple raised their own funds to build a new playground. After they brought Arianna home to Rancho Palos Verdes, the Spiglanins drummed up more than $10,000 in contributions – just about $2,700 short of their goal – that have bought the orphanage benches, flowers and a wading pool and water play area to help the children weather the country’s hot summers. And since adopting Arianna in August 2009, their lives have been transformed as well. They’re now the parents of a 4 1/2-year-old preschooler who loves Dora the Explorer, visits to the Long Beach aquarium and dinners out at The Red Onion. But it hasn’t been an easy journey for the family, which was profiled last March in a front-page Daily Breeze story.

After Advertisement the adoption was complete but before they left the country, the Spiglanins learned their baby girl’s complicated medical history had apparently been concealed by the facilitator who assisted them. Lauren Spiglanin said they initially were told that Arianna was born a month premature and that her birth mother had died of a brain aneurysm. But there was more to the story. She said the facilitator waited until their last night to leave an envelope at the hotel. Inside were medical records indicating the birth mother’s placenta had become detached, affecting Arianna’s supply of oxygen. The papers said the baby – the couple later learned she was born more than two months’ premature – had heavy asphyxia and acute breath insufficiency. “Basically,” her mother explained, “they’re saying that it’s cerebral palsy.” A pediatrician they visited after bringing Arianna home told them her condition was caused by a midbrain injury – one requiring countless doctors’ visits and therapy sessions to help their little girl learn sit up on her own, strengthen her abdominal and neck muscles and, they hope, eventually talk more clearly and walk. They’re now working to achieve the latter goal – getting Arianna How to help Anyone wanting to contribute toward the Nork orphanage playground project can do so through the Paros Foundation. The website is http://bit.ly/10j8PrS/. out of her purple walker – by the end of the year, Spiglanin said. “Hopefully, by November we can burn the thing,” she joked. “The main thing is just strengthening her spine and her neck.” In a little over a year, Arianna has made strides in her physical development, her mother said.

In March 2012, she was proud her little girl could briefly sit unassisted. Now, Spiglanin challenges her to do that – she can go for as long as six to seven minutes, she said – and also lift her head up on her own. “She can maneuver herself off of a chair,” she said. “She’s fallen off her bed. It’s like she thinks she can get up and walk on her own.” And Arianna doesn’t like being stuck in the stroller, which is an Work continues on the new playground being built at the Armenian orphanage from which the Spiglanins adopted Arianna. (Submitted photo) indication that she wants to do more for herself. Frustration can come in the form of temper tantrums. And although Arianna says just a few words clearly, she talks and babbles often. Thanks to Dora the Explorer and her travel adventures, the couple recently “did the happy dance” when Arianna added the word backpack to her vocabulary, her mother said.

At Valmonte Early Learning Academy in Palos Verdes Estates, the preschool Arianna attends from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, she receives physical, occupational and speech therapy. “They have my blessing,” Spiglanin said. “Work her hard.” And school has also helped Arianna make friends, said Coryanne Sennett, who works as a substitute class Preschooler Arianna Spiglanin with her mother Lauren Spiglanin. Lauren and her husband Tom adopted Arianna from an Armenian orphanage. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer) aide at the preschool and also serves as the girl’s caretaker, bringing Arianna home from school when her parents are working. “I just had an almost immediate connection with Ari,” said Sennett, 24. “The other kids love her. She’s a little flirt.” And the help she gets at school comes on top of weekly speech and physical therapy sessions at Torrance Memorial Medical Center and visits to Lotus Wellness Center in Orange. There, Mala Moosad, an acupuncturist and registered nurse who specializes in alternative medicine, said she focuses on stimulating acupuncture points on Arianna’s back – a technique meant to evoke a response from her brain and send signals to the nervous system. “We do something called energy balancing, kind of like reprograming the brain,” said Moosad, a doctor in her native India. “She started improving pretty fast. She’s doing much better … Ari is a sweet girl. I’m hoping that she will walk and talk.” In fact, it was Moosad who told Spiglanin that she believes her little girl will be able to walk by her 5th birthday, which will come on Nov. 28. In the meantime, they’ll continue to see Moosad, whom Arianna apparently enjoys visiting. “When I do the treatment on her back,” Moosad said, “she doesn’t want to get up from the table.” Spiglanin credits the “combinations of therapies” Arianna has been receiving with helping her development. And had it not been for her accepting a full-time job as the store manager of Torrance’s Remedy Pharm – a compounding pharmacy on Hawthorne Boulevard that offers homeopathic and eco-friendly products, nutritional services and more, including intuitive readings – she would have never found the center in Orange, she said. Spiglanin was referred to Moosad by the Remedy Pharm’s owner, Nilesh Bhakta.

They make the drive every Friday, she said, adding one more appointment to Arianna’s already busy schedule. But come October or maybe May 2014, they’re hoping to get a vacation of sorts. Spiglanin, Arianna and Sennett are planning a trip to Armenia to visit the orphanage and see the new playground built with the support of the Paros Foundation. The nonprofit based in Berkeley works to raise awareness about the Armenian culture and partners with groups in the country involved in the arts, children and people with disabilities. The foundation sent volunteers from the United States to the orphanage to help with the project, cutting down on labor costs. It’s now complete, although Spiglanin said she’s hoping for some finishing touches, such as more flowers. Last year, taking Arianna back to Armenia wasn’t even in the plans; among her mother’s worries was how her daughter would get around on cobblestone streets with her walker. But now she’s ready and believes her little girl is, too. Said Spiglanin: “I’m anxious to go and I want to see the progress. I think Ari will be up to it.” http://www.armenianlife.com/2013/06/27/arianna-rising/

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Armenian Adoption is it for you? an email from someone researching

Copy of e mail and response:

Hi;
We have been researching adoptions and have learned that it is a slow and hard process that changes without notice. Our options are few, we have very few countries open to us for small babies or children under the age of 3. Ghana is closed, Morocco is closed, Russia is closed and more slowing down or under scrutiny.
Is Armenia a viable program for us since we are not Armenian and so few adoptions are conducted to the USA out of that country?

Thank you
Jennifer and Curt Martin Illinois.

Dear Mr. and Mrs Martin;
It is difficult to answer that as you say there are so few children available from Armenia. You didn't mention if you wanted a healthy infant or would consider a special needs children. Many are mild to moderate but fixable like the clef babies, but they are actively conducting the surgeries most of the infants come from small villages with these minor fixes. As it sits there is under 22 adopted to the USA, with over 60% being special needs.

There is around 65 every year adopted internationally, with about 1/3rd going to America and the remaining going to: Germany, Sweden, Italy, France. Bare in mind the country has a list of residents that are looking to adopt as well and they would take first precedence as the country is trying to retain the roots, culture of their children it is important to have Armenian surnames for these children.

There is 3 adoption agencies that deal with Armenia, 2 of these agencies discourage those that are non-Armenian and make no promises. The third one will state that it is 3-4 years and $50,000 for a healthy infant. Beware of any promises and check into the other countries that remain open and are newer programs seem to have a faster program: Columbia, Uganda, Bulgaria (was under scrutiny but now open) Good luck!

Armenian Adoption Adventure- Children of Armenia Fund Summer Soiree

Only 7 days left to purchase your discount tickets for the 3rd Annual Summer Soiree at https://21617.thankyou4caring.org/2013coafsoiree Don't miss the opportunity to celebrate with your friends while helping to restore water to the villages of Artini and Aragatsavan. We'll see you in two weeks!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Vanessa Kachadurian a Fun Reception at PBS Studios

Hey a shout out to all the medical, legal community of Fresno. We all have each others backside It was a success and the largest viewer participation in the history of ValleyPBS Thanks Bared, Ken and Vanessa Also thanks to my little nugget that is posting this while I am on a plane.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Armenian Adoption - Orphans of the Genocide, interview with ME TV and actor Ken Davitian

We had over 12 media interviews with Actor Ken Davitian and film maker Bared Maronian for the debut of the documentary "Orphans of the Genocide" This was a success we have requests from PBS stations throughout the USA to air this well documented and researched film. Having worked on this for over 13 months it was a personal success for me as well. I want to thank the medical and Armenian community of Fresno for supporting this story of our families. Next it will show at WMHT out of Troy, NY on June 6th at 8:00 pm. Many people have made mention of a certain Adoption Agency or orphan group that is claiming they had sponsored or had something to do with this. Disclaimer: The documentary, was never promoted by this group, nor did this have anything to do with this adoption agency in any way shape or form. The Los Angeles Showing was sponsored by the Western Prevalcy of Los Angeles Armenian Church. Not sure why particular individuals want to take credit or exploit a horrible time in history for any personal gain. It is misleading to misinform people of the facts. Having personally worked hard on this for over a year and then have an Adoption Agency who unsuccessfully try to sue me for ??? (how do you sue truth) try to claim credit is very low but telling about the ethics and truthfulness. Interesting that I am hearing one of her past supporters (and employees) is now working for her competitor and former employer Carolina Adoption Services. We in fact all support this orphan group as well as the other 20 groups that sponsor orphanages and families of Armenia Thank you everyone that has been writing, calling and skyping. We move forward to promote this documentary worldwide. (P.S. Thanks for my boss for being understanding of my time away from other projects, I am working 24/7 to play catch up)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

On the set of Orphans of the Genocide an Emmy award winning film

On the set, Actor Ken Davitian's open statement and Vahagni seranading us with Armenian Lullabies Sound check with technicians, look at all the great give aways for donations to ValleyPBS They can still be purchased here: http://valleypbs.mybigcommerce.com/orphans-of-the-genocide/

Vanessa Kachadurian a debut at Fresno ValleyPBS and kick off party

Receiving an award from Bared Maronian the film maker was a big honor. Myself and actor Ken Davitian worked tiredlessly on this project for over 1 year. Within the media connections in the USA and Armenia we are getting the story out of 150,000 orphans left over from the remains of the Ottoman sword. Many of these orphans that survived ended up arriving in the USA and to Fresno. Most of us are related to orphans (my grandparents) this is what drives us to support and adopt orphans of Armenia today. Orphans of the Genocide

Monday, April 15, 2013

Vanessa Kachadurian, Valley PBS Fresno to Air Debut of Orphans of the Genocide with host Ken Davitian

Vanessa Kachadurian, presenting the best documentary about Armenian Orphans

This took 1 year to convince ValleyPBS to Air the DEBUT of this documentary by friend Filmmaker Bared Maronian. When they agreed it was extra exciting to see that Actor Ken Davitian agreed (didn't have to twist his arm) to host the documentary. There will also be a special appearance from my friend Flamenco Guitarist Vahagni. Watch Actor Ken Davitian’s Public Service Announcement http://www.valleypbs.org/events/orphans_genocide.php You may order copies of the Documentary under "thank you gifts" and it is a donation tax deductible status.