Monday, December 30, 2013

Last Chance to Help in 2013!

Time is running out...    

There is not much time left to make your donation count in 2013.  Any donation received by December 31, is tax-deductible and 100% of your donation is applied to the Hopscotch Waiting Child and Special Needs Grant Fund. 

Want to donate?  Click here.

Meet a success story... "From barely surviving to thriving!"


A diagnosis of spina bifida hasn't kept this active little girl down.  She's been a fighter from the word "go". Thanks in part to donations from people like you, she joined her family 2011.  











Every little bit helps!

Waiting Child & Special Needs Program

Hopscotch is dedicated to finding permanent and loving homes for children with special needs from Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, and Morocco.

Learn More...








The Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant Fund allows Hopscotch to financially aid families pursuing the adoption of children with special needs.

We can't do it without your support!


Donate Now...

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Adoption Alert: Congolese Authorities Confirm the Suspension on Exit Permit Issuances Continues and Advise of Delays in Processing Grandfathered Cases


December 20, 2013

Adoption Alert

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Congolese Authorities Confirm the Suspension on Exit Permit Issuances Continues and Advise of Delays in Processing Grandfathered Cases

On December 19, the Congolese Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and Security, and the General Direction of Migration (DGM) confirmed to members of the diplomatic corps, including the U.S. Ambassador, that the current suspension on the issuance of exit permits continues.  This announcement confirmed information reported in the Department of State's October 23 adoption alert regarding the suspension of issuance of exit permits to adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents. 

The Ministers announced that even those adoptive families whose cases meet the DGM’s criteria for receiving exit permits during the suspension will experience significant processing delays.  Applications for exit permits for adopted children are facing increased scrutiny following reports of an apparently falsely backdated bordereau letter submitted by a U.S. family.  The DGM reported that a number of additional applications appear to include fraudulently-obtained documentation as well.  The Ministers stressed that adoptive parents “must be patient” as the DGM is reviewing applications thoroughly and cannot predict when exit permits may be issued.

The U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa continues to seek information about why some families whose adoptions were approved by the Ministry of Gender and Family before September 25 have reportedly not been able to submit applications for exit permits.  Adoptive parents are cautioned that the processing delays may impact the DGM’s ability to accept and process additional applications. 

The DGM continues to estimate that the suspension will last a year.  Adoptive families, prospective adoptive families, and adoption service providers are cautioned that the DGM has not committed to processing applications for exit permits within a given timeframe once the suspension ends. 

Reminder of prohibition on adoptions by single parents: 

On December 19, the Minister of Justice, Minister of Interior and Security, and DGM reiterated the October 22 announcement that children adopted by single parents will no longer be eligible for exit permits, unless the adoptions were approved by the Ministry of Gender and Family before September 25.  This prohibition applies to single individuals from all countries and is intended to be permanent.

Please direct questions related to this notice or a specific adoption to the Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.  Email inquiries may be directed to  We will also post new information as it becomes available on

Request of Secretary Kerry to Personally Intervene

voices%20of%20child%20chiff%2012-19-2013 The Children in Families First Working Group Claims U.S. Department of State Arbitrarily Limits International Adoptions Request Secretary Kerry to personally intervene.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - December 19, 2013 - The "Children in Families Working Group," a coalition of nonprofit advocacy organizations seeking change in global policies for children living outside of family care, asked Secretary of State John Kerry to conduct a thorough internal review of U.S. Department of State policies that prohibit orphaned children from certain countries from benefitting from international adoption.

According to a letter sent to the Secretary and signed by nine organizations, the group has concerns with recent actions taken by Office of Children's Issues to block other countries from re-opening their international adoption programs, stating that as a whole, these decisions appear arbitrary and inconsistent. Since U.S. implementation of The Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption in 2008, no U.S. adoptions have occurred from the 13 countries that have become Hague Convention partners. By contrast, in 2004 alone, more than 4,100 children were adopted into US families from these same countries.

Cambodia was cited as a specific example of the types of harms that occur because of these policies, noting that since international adoptions ceased in 2001, tens of thousands of Cambodian children have languished in orphanages, with many of those who "age out" ending up dead, on the streets or trafficked into the sex trade. The Department of State has recently indicated that it will oppose the re-opening of adoptions to the United States until Cambodia has an effective domestic adoption system in place. Elizabeth Bartholet, Professor of Law and Director of the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School, commented, "It's vitally important that the Department of State shift gears. It needs to honor rather than trample child human rights, it needs to help kids get the loving homes they need, rather than lock kids into life-destroying institutions."

Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning stated "Despite the fact that families all over this country are hoping to adopt children, International adoption to the U.S. has declined dramatically, from nearly 23,000 children in 2004 to less than 9,000 in 2012. Unless action is taken that decline will continue. More than 60,000 children would be growing up in the love and care of a family today if adoptions had remained stable at the rate it was in 2004. Instead these children are living compromised lives in orphanages. Scientific research has documented the harm that occurs to children in these circumstances. Their mental and physical development is permanently impacted. We are hopeful that Secretary Kerry will take action to re-establish connections with countries whose children are in dire need."

Kathleen Strottman, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, who took part in a Congressional delegation visit to Cambodia this past February, commented "What is the most frustrating about decisions like the one recently made in Cambodia is that the Government of Cambodia has made significant progress in preventing the abandonment of children and promoting domestic adoption but these advancements don't ever seem to be enough."

The full text of the letter to Secretary Kerry is available here.

Signing organizations include:
American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
Both Ends Burning
Center for Adoption Policy
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program
Joint Council for International Children's Services
National Council For Adoption
Saddleback Church Orphan Care Initiative

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We Have A Winner!!


Your donation can change a life.

Time is running out...

Meet "Reese"

Reese has an irresistible smile and piercing blue eyes. Reese has been diagnosed with strabismus, Spina bifida and hydrocephaly, and received a shunt shortly after birth.  He enjoys books, blocks and singing songs. He is able to feed himself finger foods, such as bread and cookies. His caretakers say he is extremely smart and has an extensive vocabulary for his age. Currently he is completely immobile, but would really like to use a wheelchair like many of his friends.

Reese has been waiting for a family since 2007.




You can help.      

We still have a ways to go to reach our goal of $5,000 for our Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant Fund and less than two weeks left to do it.  Your donation is tax deductible and goes toward families adopting the most vulnerable of the children we advocate for.  

Help kids like Reese find their forever family.

To donate, go to:


Waiting Child & Special Needs Program

Hopscotch is dedicated to finding permanent and loving homes for children with special needs from Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, and Morocco.

Learn More...







The Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant Fund allows Hopscotch to financially aid families pursuing the adoption of children with special needs.

We can't do it without your support!

Donate Now...

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Find us on Pinterest Visit our blog

Neal's Fund

DSC03062 Neal's Fund is a Hopscotch family fundraiser to fund the adoption of Neal when his forever family is found.  The stamps are from 1920's and posted on four different colors to choose from.  Only two orange are left.  Hurry up and order fast!  $10 each, all proceeds benefit Neal's fund.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Take the time to change a child's life forever

Take the time...


The clock is ticking...     

As the holidays draw closer, remember, it only takes a moment to change a waiting child's life forever.  Make a donation to the Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant fund and help us reach our goal of $5,000 by the end of the year.  


Waiting Child & Special Needs Program

Hopscotch is dedicated to finding permanent and loving homes for children with special needs from Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, and Morocco.

Learn More...






The Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant Fund allows Hopscotch to financially aid families pursuing the adoption of children with special needs.

Time is running out!  Make a $10 donation between now and December 17 and you will be entered to win a new iPad Mini.  Select the $10 iPad Mini Raffle button before making your donation. 



Donate Now...

IAC 265 Results December 12, 2013

iacresults113020111_thumb_thumb_thumbThe following referrals were issued in IAC Session 265 which was held on November 13, 2013.

Download PDF

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Funding Your Adoption

Don't forget this resource to fund your adoption:

Click to view the video.


Georgian Association Requests Your Help To Support Ukraine

Dear Friends,

The Georgian Association expresses solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are standing strong for freedom and democracy in the face of Russian pressure. Today, Ukraine is fighting for integration into the EuroAtlantic structures. We encourage our members and friends to join us in supporting Ukraine in these critical times. Should Ukraine cede to Russia's wishes, the neighboring countries - including Georgia - will soon after face the same pressure from Russia.

Here is how you can help:

Contact the White House and your senators and representatives in Washington and urge them to unequivocally condemn all attempts to forcefully breakup the EuroMaidan. It is of paramount 
importance that human rights and the civil liberties of these peaceful protestants are honored.

Email the White House:

Call the President: Comments: 202-456-1111 Switchboard: 202-456-1414

To send an e-mail to your senators and representative in Washington, go to: and

Nino Aduashvili
Executive Director
Georgian Association in the USA, Inc.



Monday, December 9, 2013

If You Know Crazy... I Mean, A Waiting Adoptive Parent ~ Read This.


Excellent Blog Post Regarding The Waiting Adoptive Parent:

Dear friends of waiting adoptive moms: some things to know (also, we’re sorry)

1. Your friend is not crazy. (She is adopting.)

There is, I will admit, a fine line between those two but still it’s good to remember. The international adoption of a child requires enough paperwork to kill a small forest. And more governmental red tape than you can believe. Imagine your longest, most frustrating trip to the DMV. Now quadruple that, add in twelve more governmental agencies in two countries, and remember it’s not a driver’s license you’re waiting for but the final piece of paper that says this family you’re creating can finally, finally be together. Yeah. Not crazy. But close.

Continue Reading

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hopscotch Adoptions Celebrates our Board Diversity in Service

51c58eabfeaea95a878202e482ff8ae7 Hopscotch Adoptions board member, Kristin Dadey, also member of the Phnom Penh Catholic community, comes from a large family which include deaf brothers and a sister. Now residing in Cambodia, she had the idea of producing a video about the Maryknoll Deaf Development Programme, to help promote its work and recruited her friend, Sita Verma, as a partner. Together they developed a project to produce a five-minute DDP video.  Stay tuned!

This Holiday Season, Take the Time to Make a Difference

Take the time...

For a waiting child, a moment is everything.  A moment can make a difference between a hug and a bruise.  A moment can make a difference between a warm meal and starvation.  A moment can make a difference between a home or...

Children without permanent families are at the highest risk for abuse, neglect, and trafficking. The most vulnerable are those with special needs.  Those who are left hanging on a moment.

They need not wait a moment longer.  Right now, families want to bring the most vulnerable of these children into their lives.  They need your help to do so.

Our goal is to reach $5,000 by the end of the year in order to help 10 more children find their forever family and to make their moment of opportunity last a lifetime.

So, do you have a moment?

Waiting Child & Special Needs Program

Hopscotch is dedicated to finding permanent and loving homes for children with special needs from Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, and Morocco.

Learn More...





Waiting Child & Special Need Grant Fund

The Waiting Child & Special Needs Grant Fund allows Hopscotch to financially aid families pursuing the adoption of children with special needs.  To date, over 80 children have benefited from special needs grants.                                 
Donate Now...

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Visit our blog Find us on Pinterest

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Moms Unite for Neal!

b0df003cf1e2231b1e6dcab7ad57700a Nuggets For Neal & Book Sale: Three Hopscotch adoptive moms have come together in support of fundraising for a specific child we call "Neal".   One adoptive mom, Lisa Garcia, believes in Neal and understands that he needs a family.  She has graciously offered to help raise funds through selling a book she has written.  All profits from any sales will go directly to Neal's grant fund.

The book, Tree of Life, is available for $12.00 here or $9.99 as a Kindle edition via Amazon.

"Connect the dots" from Genesis to Revelation!

This book is unique in that it's not just filled with Bible stories, but it is THE story of the Bible--unified, and continuous, in chronological order, from the book of Genesis, through the book of Revelation. Readers will get the big picture of God's plan of salvation for mankind!  This book is a great accompaniment to the Bible, and will help readers gain more insight into the Word of God.

Free audio book download included with purchase!

Also available: The Tree of Life Curriculum Guide:
Download Free Curriculum Guide
Over 500 activities & questions to help readers gain a deeper understanding of the scriptures!
You can purchase the Kindle edition of the book directly from Amazon:
Any questions? Email

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Secretary of State, John Kerry, Remarks on National Adoption Month


Secretary of State, John Kerry, Remarks on National Adoption Month

Washington, DC: November 1, 2013


I have a niece named Iris, who is one of the most extraordinary young women I’ve ever known.  From the day she came into our family, she has filled our lives with love and joy.  And every time I’m with her, I am grateful my sister Peggy was able to adopt her from China years ago.

Every child needs and deserves to grow up, safe and sound, in a loving home.  But sometimes that’s not the kind of environment a child’s biological parents can provide.

When parents or relatives aren’t able to care for children, adoption can help give kids the permanent families they deserve.  And, when adoptive families are not available in the places where these children live, inter-country adoptions can help find them a loving home abroad.

I firmly believe that ethical and transparent inter-country adoption is a critical part of the international children’s welfare system.  It helps ensure that kids receive the love and support they need to grow into healthy and productive adults.  I’ve seen it firsthand.  That’s why I worked hard in the Senate to help families navigate past roadblocks in the international adoption process.  It’s also why I was proud to be a member of Senator Landrieu’s caucus on adoption.

Today the United States is one of 90 countries that are party to the Hague Adoption Convention – a set of internationally supported principles aimed at protecting both birth and adoptive parents and, most importantly, adopted children. 

And thanks to a law President Obama signed this past January, one I co-sponsored when I was a U.S. Senator, today these adoptions are safer than ever.  Every U.S.-accredited inter-country adoption provider – in every country, around the world – must adhere to a set of strong, universal standards that make the well-being of kids the top priority.

The State Department’s adoption website – – is a great resource for anyone who is interested in learning more.  Our Bureau of Consular Affairs keeps this site updated with the latest country information sheets, adoption processes, and developments that may affect inter-country adoption.

Over the past decade, more than 200,000 children – from more than 100 countries – were adopted by American families.  And as we mark National Adoption Month this November, the Department of State commits to doing our part to find loving homes for thousands and thousands more. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Father Captures Autistic Son's Inner World With Incredible Photos



Photo: Timothy Archibald

San Francisco-based photographer Timothy Archibald began taking portraits of his autistic son, Eli, when the boy was 5 years old. “At the time, we weren’t doing a project; we were just being parent and son,” he tells Yahoo Shine. The photos were a way to help him understand his child. “Suddenly, when Eli started school, teachers, other parents — everybody — wanted to know more about him; why was he acting that way, why was he different from other students … If I take a picture, maybe I’ll see what everybody is so freaked out about. ” Archibald and his wife had noticed that Eli could fixate on mechanical objects for hours and get swept up into thunderstorm like tantrums, but had never before identified him as being on the autism spectrum.

From the beginning, Eli didn’t settle for being the subject — the project became collaborative and a way for father and son to communicate. “He didn’t want to be photographed; he wanted to share ideas and work with me,” Archibald says. Eventually, Archibald collected the images in a book, called "Echolilia: Sometimes I Wonder," which is available on his blog and refers to his son's habit of repeating phrases that is typical of children with autism. When the book first came out, in 2010, the photos were controversial, he says. “There is an alarming quality to seeing this frail little boy looking even more frail.” Some people accused Archibald of being exploitative. Over time, attitudes have become more sympathetic, and just in the last couple of weeks, the series have resurfaced and gone viral. What we see is a father exploring the mystery of his son and a son whispering clues to his father.

Sarah B. Weir, Senior Editor, Yahoo Shine

How Stable Families Help Prevent Human Trafficking

A Good, Solid Grounding: How Stable Families Help Prevent Human Trafficking: by Natalie Tarasar, National Council for Adoption Constituent Services Intern

traffick%20stop%20now%202013%20RV I Google-imaged the word "Child"; then I Google-imaged "Adopted Child"; then I Google-imaged "Foster Child."

I figured that a quick search on Google would reflect an interesting social thought or emotion on the issue. The search for Child showed me pictures of innocence and joy; Adopted Child gave me mixed-race families and happiness; but Foster Child showed me both innocence and isolation, smiles and tears, open arms and fetal positions. Why were negative images mixed in with foster care?

Don't get me wrong; I realize that a Google search is one step below Wikipedia on information credibility, but my little social experiment got me thinking about the importance of stable families for children.

The National Council For Adoption has always and will always promote the safe, stable, and loving forever families for every child. Families provide safety, warmth, love, shelter, support, encouragement, and social interaction-things that all children deserve. Our focus on the positive, loving placement of children has been so dominant in my mind every day at work, that I was absolutely floored to learn that trafficking was so common amongst children in foster care and could even occur amongst adopted children if appropriate reviews, supports, and laws weren't available or enforced.

Keep in mind that perspective is important. Recently, the House Ways & Means, Human Resource Subcommittee held a hearing on Preventing and Addressing Sex Trafficking of Youth in Foster Care. Representative Slaughter shared there that most of the 400,000 children in the US foster care system are in loving and safe family settings. Families who have opened their hearts and homes to children who need them. Without diminishing the weight of this issue, remember that we are discussing the outliers.

Trafficking popped up again when NCFA was asked to attend the 43rd Annual Congressional Black Caucus on Modern Day Slavery: Human Trafficking in America presented by Representative Sheila Jackson. A panel of experts spoke about a system that sometimes fails to protect its dependents, though ironically its primary goal is to remove children from unsafe environments.

I was astounded by the statistics we heard there; in New York 85% of trafficked minors have either a social services or foster care background-the national number is close to 60% of trafficked youth. I wondered if it was the foster system itself that provided a segue for children to become victims of trafficking-or vice versa-if trafficked and high-risk youth were put into the foster care system. Which came first?

The answer is an unfortunate combination, which perpetuates the cycle for victims and makes this problem all the more difficult to solve. The entire premise seems to boil down to one descriptor: vulnerability.

Children's dependency makes them highly susceptible to coercion. Add to that traumatic and sometimes indefinite transitions into placement, and the vulnerability increases. At the Preventing and Addressing Sex Trafficking of Youth in Foster Care hearing, Withelma Pettigrew, a previous foster child and trafficked survivor, testified that foster children like herself have difficulty creating meaningful and positive relationships, become accustomed to isolation, and are often not involved in making their own life decisions (location, social workers, schools, activities, friends etc.) A perpetual state of mental and physical transition like this only heightens their vulnerability to manipulative and dangerous exploiters. The foster care system can make it seem normal and acceptable that their lives be unstable and they may accept the dangers of trafficking as one more hard transition - making them far too easy a target. Congressman Paulsen quoted the Chicago Tribune; "Because many girls in foster care feel starved for a sense of family, experts say it is not uncommon for pimps to target group homes."

We're grateful that many dedicated professionals-representatives, judges, lawyers, social workers, agencies, advocates, and others-work tirelessly to reduce the correlation between foster care and human trafficking. Every effort should be made to keep children safe while in foster care, this is essential. We think it's our job at NCFA to remember to also emphasize that these are important, but only interim solutions.

Family is the forever solution. A loving, stable, permanent family and support system are the best protection and the best preventative measure to keep children out of particularly vulnerable environments. NCFA advocates for providing services so that families can be kept together whenever appropriately possible; it supports the reunification of children to their previous families; and of course our work focuses on creating families through adoption when appropriate. We think it's important to review, educate, prepare, and support families to ensure that every child not only has a family, but thrives there. We believe that a permanent, nurturing forever family is the best solution and we don't ever want to lose sight of that.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Together Forever Day 2013

By Viviane Martini

PicMonkey Collage 2Two years ago today, I traveled across Bulgaria, from the capital city of Sofia to the Black Sea coast, to pick up our little girl from the only place she'd ever known, the orphanage in Dobrich. The child I scooped into my arms forever that day was not well: significantly malnourished, severely anemic, scared, confused, and socially and emotionally starved.

Since then Emilia has found trust and love in a family that adores her.  She has become confident, adventurous, loving, and full of joy.  And yes, she has found her tongue and with that her voice (we'll kick you to the curb yet, apraxia), opening a steadily widening window into her mind.

Since that snowy November day, Emilia has found her bright smile and happiness.  In those early weeks with her, we couldn't distinguish Emilia's cry from her laughter because it all sounded the same.  Today, her giggles peal through our home every single day and tears are far and few between.

And Emilia has found her spark, her will to live, her zest for life.  She has gone from frightened, resigned and withdrawn to a cheerfully determined, spunky preschooler who won't be slowed down by her tiny size or her developmental delays.

Happy Together Forever Day, my sweet and wonderful daughter.  You are the sunshine in our universe and we couldn't imagine life without you.  Keep following your own yellow brick road and I know you will bless and be blessed along the way.