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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Call Me "Miss Adorable" if you must!


It's Okay To Talk To The Kid In The Wheelchair (really... it is!)

Tell us about your experiences, good or bad and if you have recommendations to share. 



YUBA CITY, CA - It was a strange idea by a River Valley High School senior, but one that had an entire school excited.

Nick Handlos, born with spina bifida, asked classmates to spend a week in a wheelchair to get a small glimpse into his life.

"They don't know what I'm capable of. They just think that because I'm in a wheelchair that means that I can't do a lot of things," Handlos said. "I can do basically every single thing they can do, just a whole lot differently."

Read more

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Ups & Downs of Adoption: It's All Worth It!


If you are pregnant, have you considered making an adoption plan if you're unsure about being ready to parent? 


Video: More than two million families are looking to adopt, a process that can be filled with background checks, high costs and paperwork. But for Rick and Therese Meyer, the years of waiting and thousands spent before they finally began raising their son, Michael, was all worth it. NBC News’ Kate Snow reports.

When a couple struggles with infertility, their well-meaning friends and family might say to them, “Why don’t you just adopt?”

If only it were that simple. More than two million families are actively trying to adopt, according to government statistics. This morning, one family outside of Chicago shared their adoption story with TODAY’s Kate Snow.

Rick and Therese Meyer both grew up in big families and they knew they wanted children of their own. Shortly after getting married, they even started a college fund for the kid they already knew they wanted. But they had trouble getting pregnant, even after trying expensive rounds of in vitro fertilization, and so they decided to adopt.

Read more

Friday, November 8, 2013

'With all the love we have': Couple meet adopted baby on TODAY SHOW


Many Americans are unaware that children are adopted to families out side of the US.  What are your thoughts? 


Video: Watch as a Dutch parents Priscilla and Richard, who have already adopted a boy from the states, meet their new daughter, also born in America, live on TODAY.

International adoption is common in the United States, although parents in other countries are just as eager to adopt.

Meet Priscilla Devries and Richard Dros, who live in the Netherlands and wanted to have biological kids, “but it was medically not meant to be,” they said.

So they turned to adoption, but finding a child born in their native country is virtually impossible, as only one or two babies are put up for adoption each year, the couple said. Next stop: the United States, where a woman who gave birth to a girl last month chose the couple to be the baby’s parents.

Read more

Tatyana McFadden Champion Adopted From Russia

01cac9dc92400ddc9c70b608a33ee032 In case you missed the story of Tatyana McFadden who completed a marathon Grand Slam this past weekend by winning the women’s wheelchair division of the NYC Marathon in the same year she won the London, Boston and Chicago marathons.  Tatyana is the daughter of Debbie McFadden, former Executive Director of International Children’s Alliance and former board member of Joint Council.   

Tatyana, was adopted by Debbie in Yekaterinburg, Russia, is an amazing young woman.  I’ll let this short video and her voice bring you the story of her glorious achievement.

Congrats to Tatyana!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

NBC Adoptions Statistics 2013

Updated FY2013 NBC Adoptions Summary report through September 30, 2013:

  • Pending I-800A’s= 605
  • Pending I-600A’s= 426


Like” CHIFF on Facebook.  Contact your Members of Congress.

Your Opportunity to Participate in a Comparative Study About Intercountry Adoptions

Request for adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents for scientific research interviews in the United States of America

Dear adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents:

My name is Christian Tribowski and I am social scientist at the Columbia University in the City of New York and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. Currently, I am conducting a comparative study about intercountry adoptions in the United States and Germany. This study addresses how prospective adoptive parents deal with moral tensions and challenges posed during the intercountry adoption process. More specifically, this study seeks to understand how adoption agencies, authorities, families, and friends influence the overall process and support prospective adoptive parents while coping with arising problems.

For this study, I am seeking for either adoptive parents, who have already adopted a child from abroad, or prospective adoptive parents, who are still in the intercountry adoption process. I would like to conduct interviews with them to discuss their positive and negative experiences, as well as moral tensions, difficulties and uncertainties during the adoption process. The study should led to a better understanding of the factors and strategies that help to cope with tensions and challenges that arise during an intercountry adoption process.

The duration of the interviews will be approximately 60 minutes. All information´s shared during the interviews will be treated as highly confidential and anonymous. The interview can take place at a location of your preference.

If you are interested or have further questions please call 1-646-255-3878 or send an email to or

Kind regards,

Christian Tribowski

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Dark Matter of Love Debute in NYC

Dear Friends,

The Dark Matter of Love is playing on BBC4 in the UK tonight & making its US premiere in New York on the 17th of November.

Our BBC broadcast is Pick of the Day in The Sunday Times, The Independent, Radio Times & just about every newspaper and Time Out gave us a four star review.

  • BBC4 10pm Tonight

  • Time Out Four Star Review

We make our US premiere at Doc NYC on the 17th of November & tickets will sell out fast so if you know anyone in New York you think might like to see the film please send them the below link so they don't miss out.

  • Click here for tickets to our NYC Premiere 17th November

  • Meet & Greet with Director Sarah McCarthy in New York

We have 20 tickets to an exclusive meet and greet with director Sarah McCarthy after our New York premiere to give away. The first 20 people to buy a ticket to our Doc NYC screening and email with the subject - SEE YOU AT MISS LILY'S - will be put on the guest list for the after party.

The Dark Matter Team at our Toronto Film Festival Premiere

If you know people in New York please post our Doc NYC link to your Facebook page, tag your NYC buddies and let them know about our after party competition.

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Website

Monday, November 4, 2013

A New Era for Both Ends Burning Stakeholder Call - YES you are invited!


for our November Stakeholder call

THIS TUESDAY • November 5 • 1:00 PM EST

Phone number: 1-866-576-7975
Access code: 366574

I will introduce new additions to our leadership team to transform and grow our campaign, and discuss:

  • My reaction to Nightline (if you missed it, the video is on our website)
  • A CHIFF update
  • The STUCK House Party program
  • The private license opportunity for your organization
  • The membership program
  • And more!
    You will also hear introductory comments from our new leaders and have a chance to ask them your questions.

Every month our stakeholder call grows as more people join the conversation about something that really matters. Because of your interest and energy, kids and family are becoming more of a social priority.

We hope you will join us this Tuesday afternoon!

Craig Juntunen
Founder, Both Ends Burning 

10 Tips on Nutrition to Help Your Child Catch Up and Thrive

The Scoop on Nutrition and The Adopted Child

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
7:00 PM Central Time

After welcoming a child home, adoptive parents often struggle to make up for nutritional deficiencies.  

What You Need to Know to Help Your Child 

Dr. Dana Johnson, renowned international adoption physician, gives parents his top 10 tips to help children catch up and thrive! He will also explain the impact of nutritional deficiencies and how to recognize warning signs.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Great Laura Ingraham Interview with Craig Juntunen

Such a great interview with Craig Juntunen from May 2013! 

AUDIO ONLY: Craig Juntunen on the Laura Ingraham Show


"Spot" On Adorable!

spot on adorable 2013

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall


Waiting Child Notification

Waiting Child Program

Great Wall China Adoption 

Not Every Story begins with "When you were a baby..."

Your donation is the beginning of a waiting child's story...They're counting on you!

Hi! I am 4 yrs. old.  When I was younger I had a big surgery that corrected my VSD and ASD and now my heart beats normally. I am not as big as the other kids my age but wonderful things come in small packages.  I am not as far along as my class mates but I am trying really hard to be a better speaker.  I still talk with short sentences, but I am ready to start using bigger ones.  My legs can be very stiff but I got to a special doctor where we practice using my legs so they can get better. I like to think I am very smart and I love pleasing my caretakers.

Hi! I am 6 yrs. old.  I was brought to the orphanage when I was just a few days old.  I think my parents knew that I would be taken care of there.  My right wrist doesn't look like all of my friends, but I have no problem keeping up with them.  I can do almost everything all by myself.  I can use my right hand to grab things and can even use my left hand to draw and hold my chopsticks!  I can be introverted at times but I still enjoy playing around with the other kids. I like to play with toys, especially trucks.

Hi! I am 9 yrs. old.  The doctor's say that I have Hemophilia, but I don't let that stop me.  Even though I can't run fast because of my condition, I love to watch my remote control cars go fast.  Toy cars are my favorite, but I really enjoy going to the zoo.  I know I am very smart so that is a place where I get to learn more and share what I learn with my friends.  I talk a lot with my friends and especially love it when we get to go to the carnival!

Hi! I am 8 yrs. old. My doctor says that I have cerebral palsy and I have to go to therapy every day so that I can get stronger.  Since my speech is a little behind my friends I typically stay quiet but I am learning to speak better. I really enjoy helping my teachers and they help me study. I can walk by myself but I fall down a lot.  I don't let anything keep me down, I always get right back up and keep pushing! School is my favorite place to go, I like to learn.  I have been learning to speak better and I can now sing songs and folk rhymes.  I especially love happy songs and sharing them with my friends.

Hi! I am 7 yrs. old. My doctor diagnosed me with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI).  Because of this I have trouble walking by myself so I get to use a wheel chair, which is so much fun! I live with a foster family where we listen to lots of music and they have taught me to sing. I have lots of friends and we have so much fun together. I talk a lot with my friends and they even let me sing to them, which really makes me smile!

For access to

Hopscotch Adoption's password protected waiting child page, please complete the attached Privacy Declaration and fax it to 888-837-3824.  You can also scan the completed form to Heather or Megan.  We'll get right back to you with your unique password.


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