Monday, March 19, 2012

"Somewhere Between" Sends the Message to Adopt

March 19, 2012 |

NEW DELHI - Hollywood producer and documentary filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton is reaching out to the Indian youth and parents with her documentary, "Somewhere Between" with the message to give a home to abandoned girls.

The movie, part of the Sundance Institute's "Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" programme, a joint initiative by the Mumbai Mantra and the American Center, is trying to promote cultural understanding of global communities in multi-racial societies by highlighting their socio-cultural problems, Knowlton said.

She said that the movie, about four Chinese abandoned girls adopted by American parents, follows the teenage girls across the US, looks at their dilemmas as "Asians being brought up in American homes and their search for their Chinese parentage as they grow older".

"Somewhere Between" that was screened in the capital Monday is travelling to Aligarh Muslim University, Amity University and Jawaharlal Nehru University with its message to adopt throughout the week.

Knowlton is also a mother of a Chinese girl, whose arrival in her household inspired her to make the movie.

"Over 80,000 Chinese girls have been adopted by foster parents in the US since 1992 and more than 175,000 worldwide," she said quoting figures from her own film. "Like in India, China has a gender preference. A son takes care of the parents as in India because China still has an agrarian society in villages," she added.

The filmmaker was inspired by an academic book, "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son" by Kay Johnson in understanding the gender discrimination and mindsets in many countries".

"I would love to release the movie in India commercially because the subject is so relatable in India," Knowlton told IANS. She is raising funds for the theatrical distribution of the movie through that allows an independent filmmaker a 30-day window to source money for a film.

A Satyajit Ray fan, Knowlton has produced "Whale Rider" (an Oscar nominee) and co-produced "Shipping News".

"There should be more movies about adoption of girl child. In India, such movies help raise awareness about the plight of the girl child in the light of the tragedy involving the abandoned child Falak who died a week ago. In China, the problem is acute in villages because of the one-child per family policy. Parents leave the girl children in orphanages," Xeng Li, a Chinese student in the capital, said.

The Sundance Institute wants to return to India with a package of independent movies and workshops to help undeserved culture groups, artists and students access "meaningful cinema", Meredith Lavitt, associate director of the US-based Sundance Institute, said.

"India is such a big country, we hope this is just the beginning. We want to bridge the cultural divide," Levitt added.

The programme has been supported by the Whistling Woods International and the Enlighten Film Society. It is scheduled to go to Morocco, Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Please Join the Harriman Institute for the Presentation of Redjeb Jordania’s Book of Memoirs

All My Georgias
Wednesday, 28 March 2012, 6:15pm
Room 1219, International Affairs Building
420 W 118th St, 12th floor
New York, NY 10027
Tel. (212) 854-6217

"All My Georgias is a book of memoirs structured as a compilation of real life stories that paint a vivid picture of the author's lifelong journey through the hectic 20th century. Redjeb Jordania is the son of the first president of Georgia, Noé Jordania, who along with his entire government, was forced to immigrate to France after the Soviet occupation of Georgia in 1921.  Redjeb was born in Paris, where he grew up among the Georgian émigré colony. He later moved to the United States where he eventually settled in New York and East Hampton.

His very first occasion to visit the country of his ancestors came about in 1990. That fall and the following year he had the privilege of witnessing some of the tumultuous events that led to Georgia's independence, the election of President Gamsakhurdia, and a few months later his ouster by an armed rebellion.

These stories are told in a masterful manner, fascinating, sometimes comical, with historical and cultural insights as background, including:  life in the Georgian émigré colony in Paris, a delirious music lesson under the bombs during WWII, living without citizenship, a New York encounter with the KGB, Georgia's road to independence, and much more. 

Anyone interested in how people adjust to history - or just a good story - will find this book hard to put down."                           

Sandro Kvitashvili, Rector, Tbilisi State University                    

(Available as paperback or E-book from,, Googlebooks, Kindle, Nook,, and other venues)

Georgian Association in the United States
The Georgian Association is a nonpartisan nationwide membership organization of Georgian-Americans and friends of Georgia that advocates for Georgia and Georgian issues in the U.S. It is the oldest organization in the U.S. representing the Georgian-American community.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Becoming A Kybele Monthly Donor

Consider supporting 50@50 Campaign to support the work of Kybele serving women around the world and specifically in Armenia too. Check out the link.  I am so proud to serve on the board and have witnessed firsthand immense changes in how women in labor and delivery have been benefited from training peer physicians in regional anesthesia and infant resuscitation - changing lives and changing women's health care globally.   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Georgian Association Announces Small Grant Program to Establish Georgian Language and Culture Schools Around the Unites States

The Georgian Association of America has been supporting the establishment of a Georgian Language and Culture Program for the Georgian-American community of the Washington, DC area. The program provides weekend instruction to the community's children between 3-12 years of age to help them maintain their language skills and increase awareness of Georgian history and culture. Building on the success and experience of the Washington, DC Program, the Association wishes to support other Georgian-American communities interested starting their own programs and to share the successful experiences of Washington, DC's Georgian community.

The Georgian Association of America is offering modest grants (up to $2,000 per grant, maximum 2 grants per year) to local Georgian-American community organizations seeking to preserve and promote Georgian language and culture among their children. Grants provide start-up funding - primarily to pay the rent for the first couple of month, or/and to compensate teacher to help interested communities to establish their own language and culture programs. In addition, the Association will provide technical support and materials to help local teachers create a curriculum and establish part-time/weekend Georgian language and culture classes.

In order to qualify for funding, recipient communities will be expected to provide a plan describing how they will start and maintain their programs, including such information as identification of a public space for holding classes, number and age range of anticipated students, as well as a scheme for financing the program. The Georgian Association of America is prepared to advise communities in preparing their plans, as needed. In addition, communities should identify at least one teacher candidate who will undertake the following tasks:
  • Provide basic, intermediate, and/or advanced conversational language instruction to children that incorporates Georgian history, culture, and art;
  • Evaluate children's language level and provide academic counseling to parents; 
  • Plan and prepare weekly curriculum for children of different age groups and language abilities; 
  • Research and locate teaching resources and materials; 
  • Interact with families in person and in writing on an on-going basis; 
  • When possible, engage in sharing of experience with other Georgian community teachers.
  • Native Georgian speaker;
  • Experience tutoring/teaching, particularly general knowledge of and strong interest in young children, child development and/or education; 
  • The ideal candidate will have at least three years experience teaching children; 
  • College equivalent degree in Georgian Language/Philology, Education, or related field of study; 
  • A strong passion for teaching Georgian language, history, culture, and art; 
  • Extensive experience preparing and presenting language instruction is a plus; 
  • Must be a nurturing and caring person, who genuinely enjoys working with young children; 
  • Energetic, enthusiastic, and able to plan and work independently; 
  • Detail-oriented and able to produce high-quality work.
To Georgian communities around the USA:

Please, submit your Language Program plans, CV of the teacher and cover letter to the Georgian Association no later than April 1, 2012 to Please, specify "Georgian Language School" in the subject line of your e-mail.

Ia Meurmishvili
Executive Director
Georgian Association in the United States

The Georgian Association is a nonpartisan nationwide membership organization of Georgian-Americans and friends of Georgia that advocates for Georgia and Georgian issues in the U.S. it is the oldest organization in the us representing the Georgian-American community.

Friday, March 9, 2012

News From Armenia

Congrats to our Hopscotch family - another successful registration!!! We are thrilled for you and hope the time goes by quickly to bring your little one home soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to Find Wheelchair Access Around the World

For those with disabilities, traveling around the world is a little more difficult if not downright daunting. To find an accessible local business or service is difficult enough, but in a foreign country it is almost impossible – or at least it used to be.

That is until Raul Krauthausen of Germany, a wheelchair user himself, developed a free iPhone app just for that. Called Wheelmap, the app shows wheelchair access places around the world and rates them on their accessibility.

Click here for more information.

Passport Day 2012: Apply or renew your passport this Saturday

March 8, 2012

, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger  

Here's an excerpt from Clinton's video:

"Bill and I went to London, where we spent hours touring Westminster Abbey, the Tate Gallery, and Parliament. We walked around Stonehenge, visited as many cathedrals as we could, and met people from all different kinds of backgrounds. It opened my eyes to a world of new sights and new experiences."

How could it not? My first passport took me on a high school trip to Greece that did that very thing, too.

To apply or renew, start by going to the State Department's website and read the FAQs so you know what to expect and what you need to bring with you. (It also tells you how to get or renew a passport generally, even if you can't make it Saturday.)

  • First-time passport applicants must have a certified birth certificate or other acceptable ID, a passport photo, a completed DS11 form and $135.
  • Passport holders seeking to renew must bring their most recent (expired) passport, a passport photo, a completed DS-82 form and $110.

Offices open Saturday will offer standard processing, which takes four to six weeks, or expedited processing, which takes two to three weeks and costs an additional $60.

Here are hours and locations for some Southern California sites that will be conducting walk-in passport service (check out all sites in California to find a convenient venue):

  • 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Los Angeles Passport Agency, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1000, Los Angeles 90024
  • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Burbank Main Office, 2140 N. Hollywood, Burbank 91505
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Costa Mesa Library, 1855 Park Ave., Costa Mesa 92627
  • 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fullerton Public Library, 353 W. Commonwealth, Fullerton 92832
  • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Pasadena Main Office, 600 Lincoln, Pasadena 91109
  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Van Nuys Post Office, 15701 Sherman Way, Van Nuys 91409

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

CARA Lifts Temporary Suspension of Acceptance of New Dossiers

 March 7, 2012 |

This is an update to our notice dated October 5, 2011 announcing a temporary suspension on the acceptance of new intercountry adoption cases in India.

CARA has informed the U.S. Central Authority that effective January 20, 2012, it will begin accepting new adoption applications under its new guidelines.

Under the new guidelines dossiers must be forwarded to CARA.  CARA will no longer accept any dossier through a RIPA.

If you have any questions about the details of the guidelines or suspension, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone at 1-888-407-4747 or e-mail us at

Release of Adopted Children from Orphanages

 March 5, 2012 |

Prospective adoptive parents considering adopting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) should be aware that the U.S. Embassy has received reports that a number of legally adopted children, including those with valid immigration visas to the United States, have not been promptly released by the orphanages to their new adoptive U.S. citizen parents or their legal representatives.  In most cases, the orphanages have eventually released the children into the care of their adoptive parents or legal representatives.  Police intervention has been reported in some cases at the request of both orphanages and adoptive parents.

The U.S. Embassy has limited authority to intervene in these situations, but encourages adoptive parents in such a situation to notify the Consular Section.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

News From Armenia

"Dreams Do Come True"... Another Successful Court Decree Granted - congratulations to our Hopscotch family!! 

Adoptees Deported by U.S.

By Kim Sung-soo

Until 2001, when Korean children were sent to the U.S. for overseas adoption, it was their adoptive parents’ responsibility to naturalize them as U.S. citizens.

In addition, adoption agencies both in Korea and the U.S. were responsible for post-adoption services that should monitor adoptees and their adoptive parents until the children are fully integrated into U.S. society. This is a key principle of overseas adoption.

However, the reality is not the same as the principle. The U.S. deports foreign adoptees aged 29 and older who haven’t been naturalized when they commit certain crimes. Washington must stop this practice immediately.

Unlike European governments, the U.S. government did not automatically grant citizenship to overseas adoptees until 2001. The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 came into force on Feb. 27, 2001, allowing all internationally adopted children under 18 on that date, and all those adopted in the future, to become U.S. citizens automatically. However, adoptees 18 or older on that date could not be covered by the act.

Many adoptees discovered, usually when applying for federal student loans or a passport, that they had never been naturalized by their foster parents. I know three Korean adoptees ? Monte, Tim, and Matthew ? who could not benefit from the act.

Monte was born in 1970 in Korea and was sent to the U.S. in 1978. Although he served in the U.S. military, he was deported to Korea in 2009. Monte claims that when he was arrested, he did not know that he had been set up by his truck driving partner to transport drugs. Like most other Korean adoptees sent to the U.S., Monte is culturally American and does not speak Korean.

Tim was born in Korea in 1974, and in 1977 he went to the U.S. as an adoptee. His adoptive parents cut their ties with him after he graduated from high school, so he left his home and wandered throughout the U.S. He became homeless and addicted to drugs for over 15 years. Ultimately he was arrested, imprisoned, and deported to Korea, where he became homeless again in April 2011. He has no trace of his birth family on his adoption records.

Matthew was born in Korea in 1978 and he went to the U.S. at the age of six months, but his parents did not naturalize him. He was not deported, but willingly returned to Korea in February 2011 to be close to his family and experience Korea as a young man.

When the Seoul government discovered that Matthew, technically an “overseas Korean citizen,” was back in the country, he received a compulsory enlistment notice from the Korean military. After a prolonged struggle over paperwork that reflected both his permanent residency in the U.S. and his Korean citizenship, Matthew was finally granted an exemption from military enlistment because he is also technically an “orphan.”

Matthew would like to have dual citizenship, just as other adoptees have that option. But because he received his Green Card only in the past few years, he would be in his 40s by the time he gains U.S. citizenship. In the interim, he would be required to live within the U.S. Meanwhile, adoptees with only U.S. citizenship may live in Korea indefinitely on an F-4 visa.

As the U.S. leads the world in terms of the numbers of children adopted from other countries, it should also lead the world in the humanitarian treatment of them. However, we are now seeing that adoptees from not just Korea, but many other countries, are being deported from the U.S. even on minor charges.

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), amended and expanded by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA) of 1996, non-citizens may apply for “waivers” to deportations, based on factors such as length of residency in the U.S. and potential hardship if deported.

However, no such exceptions are available to “aggravated felons.” Aggravated felonies include crimes such as drug trafficking, but may also include misdemeanor charges. For instance, the IIRAIRA expanded the INA so a person may be treated as an aggravated felon for committing a theft punishable by only one year in prison. This opens up the risk of adoptees to be deported for petty crimes such as shoplifting.

While recognizing that non-adopted people who immigrated as children are also subject to this law, I believe that the U.S. Congress, through passing the Child Citizenship Act of 2000, has already shown its belief that international adoptees should be automatic citizens.

I urge the U.S. government to correct defects in the U.S. legal system by quickly passing an amendment that would allow all overseas adoptees ? even adults like Tim, Matthew, and Monte ? to rightfully receive their U.S. citizenship. This would stop the deportations and also give the benefits and protection of citizenship to all law-abiding international adoptees.

Dr. Kim Sung-soo is the author of a biography of Korean Quaker Ham Sok-hon and executive director of Transparency International-Korea. Reach him at

Monday, March 5, 2012

News From Armenia

Two successful registrations for two amazingly beautiful children!!! So happy for our Hopscotch families and most of all, the children!!

2012 Invitation: Bulgarian Adoptive Families Reunion

WHO: Families who have adopted, are submitted and waiting to adopt, or considering a Bulgarian adoption.

WHEN: June 22-24, 2012

WHERE: Winton Woods near Cincinnati, OH.

  • Bulgarian Cultural Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Water Activities
  • Hiking
  • Bonfires
  • Families sharing their adoption experiences
  • Kids connecting to their heritage
  • Because we have adopted, are considering adoption, or are waiting to adopt an orphan from Bulgaria.
  • Because we will all have adoption experiences to share.
  • Because it will be wonderful to meet and share stories
  • Because it will let our little Bulgarians/Americans hang out and understand that they are not alone in their journey and assimilation into American culture.
  • Because we plan to incorporate Bulgarian culture to keep our children's heritage alive.
  • Because the siblings of our Bulgarian children need to hang out and share their own stories about the adoption of their Bulgarian brother(s)/sister(s).
  • Because it is a great excuse to get away and to just have a... great time!
Please place your family's response in the comment section of this invite or e-mail your family's response and include the following basic information: Click here.
  • Family name
  • Number of adults and children
  • First names, (include age & gender for children)
  • Accommodation Type: deluxe cabin, camper cabin, tent camping, RV camping, hotel or other. (w/site #)
We will be sending a registration form shortly for more information.

******Please provide a status response by Wednesday March 9.********

Do not wait to make your reserations! Campground and cabins are getting booked for the June 22-24 weekend and I do not want anyone to miss festivities! If you are a "maybe" check the local hotels and reserve a room that may have a better cancellation policy than the park.

Click here for more information.

Sunday, March 4, 2012