Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Advocating for Orphaned Children

Dear Families; 

Below is a letter from Alexander (Sasha) D'Jamoos, an advocate for orphans. He asks for all of our assistance in helping the Russian government understand the importance of adoption. Please read his words below and consider helping.


Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Alexander (Sasha) D'Jamoos. I was adopted from Russia 5 years ago. Today, I am a student at the University of Texas studying Government and Russian Studies. I have been advocating for orphaned children.

Last January, we created a Facebook page, "Orphans Without Borders". The purpose of the page is to support adoption by sharing wonderful stories of families and their adopted children from around the globe. This page is very important in that it actually reaches the audiences in Russia who may otherwise not be familiar with the joy and happiness that adoption brings to children.

I need more stories in order to continue supporting the children and American families who cannot complete their adoptions in Russia due to the adoption ban. All that is required is a family photo with a small story attached OR a picture of an individual holding a sign "Orphans Without Borders".

I sincerely hope that you can spread this among the families around the globe! Please, support this important mission and ask everyone to send the stories to me at

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Both Ends Burning Campaign

Dear Hopscotch Adoptions Families,

My name is Craig Juntunen, and I am the founder of the Both Ends Burning Campaign, a non-profit foundation dedicated to creating a culture of adoption.  My guess is you are as angry and frustrated as I am with the eight straight years of decline in international adoptions in our country and around the world, especially in light of the available and abundant solution in the form of families who would like to adopt these children.

About Both Ends Burning.

Both Ends Burning is leading a movement to demand change, and we invite you  to join forces with us to create the political and social will to drive real change and ultimately reverse the declining trend line in adoptions.

Our first step in working together is to expose the issue so we can be in a position to promote solutions. We are taking on the monumental task of a 60-city barnstorming tour to form a loud and proactive voice for the children who are currently being ignored. You can influence the outcome of this tour. 

STUCK the documentary premieres in Raleigh and Charlotte.

The centerpiece for the tour is the new, award-winning documentary STUCK.  We will premier the film in Raleigh on March 2 and Charlotte on March 3. In Raleigh the screening will take place at the Grand 16.  The Charlotte premier will be at the Northlake Mall 14 Theater.

To see the trailer for the film, learn more about both the tour and our volunteer needs and to purchase tickets for the premiere in your city, please go to

STUCK is a testament to the power of human love and the undeniable connection between parent and child – even when separated by thousands of miles and seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It is a love story of a different kind that celebrates the human spirit, the loyalty and the devotion that bonds these parents and kids together as families.

Our request to you.

To make the greatest possible impact for the children, it is paramount to increase awareness of the issue. You can help by spreading the word and inviting everyone in your network to join us by sending them this link: STUCK. Urge them to be part of the experience in Raleigh and Charlotte and in other cities during the tour. By doing so, you will help create the necessary momentum and take the first step in changing children’s lives. 

The tour culminates in Washington, D.C. on May 17. That afternoon we will lead the Step Forward for Orphans March when we will deliver the million signatures gathered on the petition to members of Congress. You can sign the petition now by clicking here. Please put this important date on your calendar. I invite you to come to D.C. in May to join us as we march together. There will be a gala that night to celebrate the new beginning the tour has created.

I hope I have inspired you to become involved and join forces with us. The kids we are working for need a team effort and your energy will make a difference. 

Thank you for your support,

Craig Juntunen
Founder, Both Ends Burning
16009 N. 81st St. Suite 130
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Photos from Robin's Trip to Georgia

Best Georgian kitchen ever. Thanks Nana and Ana Elashvili.


Greens with pomegranate garnish. Heavenly!


Potatoes, cabbage, beets, yogurt/mayonnaise, eggs and greens. Name? "Awesome" that is what I call it.


I don't remember the name of this dish. But beef and radishes. Delicious.


Borsch two servings, yes please!


Fabulous Georgian dinner. Thank you Nana.


Baked persimmons with creme and walnuts.


Pastry with creme.


Reese in Tbilisi, Georgia September 2004.


Just in case I find myself wandering about Tbilisi without a phone again.


Birthday Dinner for Giorgi Kiknadze.


Reese in Tbilisi, Georgia September 2004.


Hopscotch Extends Condolences

Hopscotch Adoptions supports the following statement and resolution.  Our deepest condolences are extended to those that loved and cared for this child:

Dear Colleagues,

Joint Council wishes to express our deep sadness regarding the tragic death of a 3-year old Russian adoptee in Texas.  Further, we extend our sympathies to everyone who cared for and loved the little boy.  We encourage the Texas authorities to investigate this matter as quickly and thoroughly as possible and anxiously await the results of the investigation.  Anyone who abuses children should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. 

It is important to note that this tragedy is not the face of intercountry adoption, with over 60,000 successful placements of Russian children with families in the United States.  We, including those in the Russian and US governments, must continually re-evaluate our child welfare and protection systems to ensure that all children live in safe and loving families.

Joint Council does anticipate that the death of the little boy and the media attention surrounding it will effect on-going negotiations between the United States and Russia regarding the current ban on intercountry adoptions to the United States.  Joint Council remains actively involved with U.S Dept of State (DOS), the Russian government, our Partner Organizations, and other NGOs in seeking solutions to the recent ban on intercountry adoptions to the United States and the  effect of the tragic death may have on any in-process cases.  Joint Council will continue to be engaged with all key stakeholders and publish updates as we continue to serve the children of Russia.

Monday, February 18, 2013

POV: 6 Weeks

e0fa2b5fa7ce6a9398641ff8f15bc0bf Six weeks is the period in which parents of newborn babies in Poland may decide to give up a child for adoption. Marcin Janos Krawczyk looks at one child's fate through the eyes of the mother who must make her irreversible decision and the joyful parents who adopt her baby.

Watch the video online

Visit the Six Weeks webpage

Saturday, February 16, 2013

FRUA Academic Scholarship Program for Adopted Children


For the fifth year, FRUA is proud to offer a scholarship program. FRUA will offer two scholarships, each in the amount of $1,000, for the 2013-2014 academic year.

  • ONE scholarship will be awarded to a high school senior who will be pursuing post-secondary education in fall 2013 at an accredited two- or four-year college, trade or technical school. The selected student will receive a $1,000 scholarship.
  • ONE scholarship will be awarded to a returning or continuing post-secondary student. Recognizing that most scholarships are for first-year students but education expenses can continue for several years, we will award $1,000 to a student already enrolled in post-secondary education an accredited two or four-year college, trade or technical school.

"FRUA is delighted to continue its scholarship program," says acting National Board Chair Jan Wondra. "Each year the scholarship committee and National Board are thoroughly impressed by the quality, scholarship, talent, and community-mindedness of the applicants. And we are humbled by the insights these young adults share in their essays. It is such a pleasure to be able to recognize students through our scholarship program."

All applicants must be a FRUA member’s dependent child adopted from Eastern Europe/Eurasia/Caucasus.

Applications must be post-marked by March 23, 2013. The FRUA National Board will announce selected recipients by May 22, 2013.

Click here to apply.

Life in the Village - Republic of Georgia

Should Pre-Adoptive Parents Call Themselves “Expecting” Or “Paper Pregnant”?

I love it when I am forced to think out of my comfortable box, and the topic of this week's blog did just that. Is it offensive or disrespectful to expectant woman who are considering adoption for pre-adoptive parents to refer to themselves as "expecting" or "paper pregnant"?

Often the discussion in the comment section of my blogs are more informative (and interesting) than the blog itself. On a recent blog comment, someone referred to herself as an expectant mom while she is waiting to adopt. Monika, a birth mom who blogs over at Monika’s Musings, responded: “[A]s a birth mom, I don’t like “expecting” from an adoptive mom’s perspective (hoping would be better in my opinion).” Well, we were off to the races then, with lots of thought provoking opinions from all sides.

I had not given much thought to the use of the term “expectant” or “paper pregnant” until this discussion, but afterwards it was all I thought about. Apparently I wasn’t alone. When I contacted Monika to ask if she wanted to participate in a blog discussion about this topic, she said she hadn’t been able to get it off her mind either. We agreed to enter into a dialog here, with neither of us trying to prove the other wrong or change the others mind, but with the spirit of better understanding. ...

Read the full blog here.

Creating a Family Classic Podcast: Raising a Child Exposed to Alcohol or Drugs Prenatally

A common risk factor for domestic and international adoptions is potential exposure to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy. How are children affected and what is the reality of raising a child that has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Our guest is Diane Malbin, a clinical social worker and founders of FASCETS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Consultation, Education and Training Services, Inc.) a non-profit, whose mission is to educate and support people with FASD, parents and professionals.

Highlights :: Listen/Download

Creating a Family Video: Breastfeeding Your Child Born to a Surrogate or Gestational Carrier

Quote of the Day 

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. " ~ Winston Churchill

Friday, February 15, 2013

Joint Council Update - STUCK Trailer

6d63f875f13e6cb7b7fb111f85a5084c TRAILER FOR STUCK NOW ONLINE

If you haven’t already seen it, take a look at the trailer for STUCK.   

And if you would like to volunteer in any of the 60 cities that are part of the STUCK tour, just email Maggie Steiner at

Best Wishes,

Tom DiFilipo

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Future Of Adoption: International And Domestic

APADOPTION1000-500x333 Russia, Guatemala, and more are slamming the door on American adoptions. Is the great age of international adoption behind us?

Americans know international adoption well. Look around. There are families all over with adopted children from China, Korea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Russia.

But the profile of American adoption is changing. International adoption is way down over the last decade. Down by more than half. Sometimes it’s a political change: Russia just threw the brakes on last fall. Guatemala is housecleaning its adoption process. China has decided it needs its girls.

And there are a hundred thousand children in the US foster care system ready for adoption.

This hour, On Point: the changing global profile US adoption.