Monday, June 30, 2014

Supporting and Understanding the Adoptive Family



Supporting and Understanding the Adoptive Family

About eighteen months ago our family expanded through the adoption of two children. We have learned so much and the family and friends who love and support our family have also learned a lot. Though we had previous parenting experience, this journey has had it's own unique joys and challenges.

Many adoptive families give written advice and suggestions to friends and family prior to the new child's arrival to help ensure a smooth transition. I didn't do this because I felt like it would be too difficult to put my wishes and feelings into words without sounding too harsh or controlling and honestly I did not really even know what to say. However, after being home for almost a year and a half, it is clear that most people have great intentions but that they want and need suggestions for what they can do to help our adopted children integrate into our family and into the community. Here are a few thoughts about supporting an adoptive family. Most pertain to families who have adopted internationally and also to those who have adopted through the domestic route. It was compiled based on our experience and also on the the experiences of a few dozen other adoptive parents who contributed their ideas and suggestions.

Our children are not necessarily grateful to have been adopted.
And we don't expect them to be. It is not that our kids don't notice the stability of a family. It's not that they don't cherish the love that they are receiving or that they don't like their new life. It is because children are programmed to need, want and expect love. When we provide it we are not heroes, we are simply meeting one of their very basic needs. Expecting adopted children to be grateful for being adopted is like expecting our biological children to be grateful for being conceived. It was a choice that we, their parents, made and that they were brought into.

Read more.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chicken Soup with Egg and Lemon (Chikhirtma)


img_4914crop The Georgian palate gravitates toward tart flavors in all sorts of dishes, and soups are no exception. This elegant chicken soup takes its tang from lemon juice (or, alternatively, vinegar). It appears creamy due to the addition of eggs, but it contains no dairy. The hint of cinnamon adds a touch of sweet perfume, but the flavor remains delicately savory.

I like to serve this soup as a first course before a vegetarian entrée, or as a meal in itself with a thick slice of grainy bread and a mixed green salad.

Serves 4-6

1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts at room temperature
7-8 cups water or chicken stock
2 Tbsp. butter or oil
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Juice of one lemon*
2 eggs, beaten
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh herbs to garnish (any mix of cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, mint)

*Tip: Roll the lemon around on the counter, pressing down on it hard with the palm of your hand, before slicing it in half and juicing it. This softens the membranes inside the lemon and will allow you to squeeze more juice out of it.

  1. Place the chicken breasts in a pot and pour the water or stock over them. Bring the liquid to a simmer (not a boil) and maintain it there until the chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve. Reserve the strained broth. Use your fingers to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  2. In the large pot, cook the onion in butter or oil until soft, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the flour, salt, coriander, and cinnamon over the onions, stirring well to combine. Add the strained broth to the onions and bring to a simmer.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the beaten eggs and lemon juice with 1 cup of the warmed broth, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from clumping. Add the egg mixture to the soup, stirring as you pour. Add the chicken pieces back to the soup and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  4. To serve, ladle the soup into shallow bowls, grind a bit of black pepper over each and top with chopped herbs.

Serving suggestion: if you like a garlicky soup or are trying to ward off a cold, add 3-5 cloves of minced garlic to the soup when you add the chicken pieces back in towards the end.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2014


Bulgarian Recipes from the 2014 Potluck

Our reunion potluck is always made extra special by the dishes contributed by our native Bulgarian friends.  One of my favorite parts of the reunion each year is hearing some of our older Bulgarian kiddos get really excited about eating food they used to enjoy in their birth country.  If you want to make these treats for your family throughout the year, here are the recipes shared by Dani G. and Anna G.

Cucumber soup ("Tarator") - serves 8-12 (unless born in Bulgaria, then fewer :)

1 big container of yoghurt (organic varieties & Greek Gods taste more like yoghurt in Bulgaria)

1 long/European cucumber (diced or grated)

1-2 tbs olive or sunflower oil

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (may substitute with garlic powder)

12 oz water (add more if you prefer rarer soup)

1-2 tbs dill (fresh is better)

1 tbs grated walnuts or pecans

salt to taste

Serve chilled.
There is a salad version of the soup with the same ingredients as above minus water, however, the yoghurt is strained in a cheesecloth for a few hours and the cucumber may be substituted for diced pickle ("Snejanka").
Pastry ("Banitsa") - recipe from Anna

1 pack FILO dough 

4 eggs  + 1 1/2 cups of milk mixed

Feta cheese

Layer 2-3 sheets of FILO, sprinkle w crumbled cheese, fold into a roll and place in a pan, then repeat with more FILO, more cheese until FILO is over. Cut in small squares, spill over the milk and eggs mix, bake at 425 for 45min. Alternative fillings are a mix of cheese and spinach/diced leeks or grated pumpkin mixed with sugar. Old Bulgarian women do not use Filo dough but spread the dough, which is made of water, salt and flour with a rolling pin until almost transparent (idea for next year's activities!)

Peppers Burek ("Chushki Byurek")

4 big red peppers grilled well from all sides and peeled

2 cups Bulgarian feta cheese

2 tbs unsalted butter (optional)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 tbs dill

1/4 ts or less black pepper

other spices if desired

3 eggs & 

5 tbs flour 

Mix the cheese, butter, garlic, dill and black pepper. Fill the red peppers with the mix. Cover with the eggs & flour and fry. 

Lazy casserole version (adjust quantities to fit pan) - instead of baking fresh peppers, buy fire Roasted Yellow & Red Baked from Trader Joe's (or another brand that does nor contain vinegar). Layer of eggs/flour, layer of peppers, layer of cheese mix, another layer of peppers and top with eggs/flour. Bake until there is a nice golden crust on top.


1 pack FILLO dough

1 cup melted unsalted butter (or coconut/olive/etc oil)

9 oz walnuts

1 tbs cinnamon

1 1/2 lbs sugar/brown sugar

1 lemon

20 fl oz water

Coat a pan with the butter. Two layout options: 1) layer 2/3 of the FILLO dough in the pan, cover with the walnuts and cinnamon and put the rest of the FILLO dough on top, then cut into 2x2" squares; 2) take several sheets of fillo dough, spread some of the walnuts and cinnamon on top and fold the FILLO dough into a roll, then repeat with the remaining ingredients until the pan is full. Bake on medium heat until golden. Boil the sugar and water for 2 minutes, then add the juice of the lemon. Cover the baked fillo with the sugar syrup. Leave in the fridge for a night.

Friday, June 27, 2014

You don't know when my birthday is?

Webinar Series for Adoptive Families: Talking about adoption

TUESDAY July 8 7:00 PM CT

Tackling Tough Adoption Talks

Talking to your child about adoption can be joyful...and sometimes difficult. Your child has questions you can't always answer, some details you do have may be tough for her to hear, or she just may not want to talk about it. But talking, even about the tough stuff, is an essential part of what adopted kids need from their parents.

Learn from an expert
Join Jayne Schooler, adoptive parent, author and educator, for great tips on how to tackle tough talks when:

· Kids don't want to talk

· Siblings have different stories and different available information

· You're not sure of the answers

Insight from an adopted person
Jayne will be joined by Carmen Knight who was adopted internationally. Carmen will give real life examples of how her parents incorporated adoption into her life - even when it wasn't an easy task.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Goodyear Family & SOAR Make Dreams Come True!

Zipzac%20Chair Thank you to the Goodyear family and SOAR for making dreams come true! The Goodyear family recently returned from visiting their child and saw the need first hand for mobility and took on the personal project to see the children have access to these amazing chairs. SOAR stepped in and will be shipping them in July at no charge - via UAF! We TRULY have the best families and the best kids ever! Thank you!!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CHIFF Momentum is Growing... Watch This Video!

The momentum is building for CHIFF! In the last 24 hours, over 1,500 people have signed the petition and hundreds more have 'Liked' CHIFF on Facebook. Let’s keep sharing the petition and the need for this life changing bill.

Below is a video explaining CHIFF. Feel free to share it as you continue to share with your contacts throughout the week. Together, we can make a huge impact!

Let's keep the momentum going! Keep spreading the word about CHIFF and together we can change the future for children who need our help.

Click here to see video.


The Role of Attachment in Infancy on Later Mental and Physical Health Outcomes

Click here to see video.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Support CHIFF—Children In Families First


The safest place for a child is in the loving arms of a parent. Children without a family are at higher risk for trafficking, forced labor, and abuse. Learn how you can help. Support CHIFF Children In Families First at #SupportCHIFF

Friday, June 20, 2014

Join us for AFG's Trip to Georgia October 2-15, 2014

Dear Friends,

We are very excited about this trip, which was specially arranged for AFG by Ia Tabagari of Living Roots, who is a local expert with years of experience sharing a passion for Georgian culture, wines and cuisine     

Travel with AFG's Executive Directors in Georgia this fall to see a beautiful country firsthand and visit our innovative projects, eat delicious food and taste the finest Georgian wines. We have arranged a tour from October 2 - 15, 2014. Please join us!

For more information click on the link below for a PDF brochure of the trip:

Email Marusya Chavchavadze at to reserve your seat on the trip.

The Itinerary

Oct. 02 Thursday: Depart from USA

Oct. 03 Friday: Arrive in Tbilisi. Full day in Tbilisi

Oct. 04 Saturday: Tbilisi to Sighnaghi

Oct. 05 Sunday: Sighnaghi to Telavi

Oct. 06 Monday: Kakheti area

Oct. 07 Tuesday: Kakheti to Tbilisi

Oct. 08 Wednesday: Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Nikozi - Kutaisi

Oct. 09 Thursday: Kutaisi to Svaneti region

Oct. 10 Friday: Svaneti area

Oct. 11 Saturday: Svaneti area

Oct. 12 Sunday: Svaneti to Tbilisi

Oct. 13 Monday: Tbilisi to Kazbegi

Oct. 14 Tuesday: Kazbegi to Tbilisi

Oct. 15 Wednesday: Departure from Tbilisi

Please consider a gift today to support AFG's successful, life changing projects.

Thank you so much for your generous support of AFG projects that are giving hope to traumatized people facing great difficulty.


Marusya Chavchavadze and Lena Kiladze

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Adoption Tax Credit Grassroots Campaign: Thank You!


Grassroots Advocacy Campaign


Special Thanks to…

You! Recently, the final message was sent in the Adoption Tax Credit Grassroots Advocacy Campaign. We want to give a special thanks to each of you for your participation over the last several weeks.

We’re grateful for your diligent efforts to share stories, messages, and advocacy tools with your communities. Your efforts are making a great difference for children and families. During this campaign, another new Senator and many new Representatives joined S. 1056 and H.R. 2144, thanks to your efforts. There are now a total of 27 Members of Congress that have signed on in support! Further, many more Members and their staff have been educated by their constituents about the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act and how very important the credit is to them and to their loved ones!

What a great start – and it wouldn’t have happened without you. Your voice and the many voices in your community make a big difference! We’re grateful for every voice that spoke out for this important cause. Don’t stop now! We encourage you to keep up the good work and to keep an eye out for more opportunities to engage policymakers on this issue, and with the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group in the future.

Please feel free to reach out to us with questions or ideas anytime at


The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group

The Adoption Tax Credit Working Group’s Executive Committee:

American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Adopt America Network, Christian Alliance for Orphans,

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (Secretariat), Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption,

Donaldson Adoption Institute, Joint Council on International Children’s Services,

National Council For Adoption, North American Council on Adoptable Children,

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, ShowHope, and Voice for Adoption.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Adoption Notice: UAA Transition Case Guidance and Example Cases


UAA Transition Case Guidance and Example Cases


This notice provides a link to new UAA transition case guidance for cases begun before the effective date of the UAA – July 14, 2014 – and completed on or after the effective date. 

Topics include guidance on

  • Cases that are UAA grandfathered;
  • Primary provider requirements in IR-3 cases that are not UAA grandfathered in which no adoption services were provided on or after July 14, 2014;
  • Providing adoption services on or after July 14, 2014, in an IR-3 or IR-4 case that is not UAA grandfathered; and provides
  • Seven UAA transition example cases laying out case scenarios and application of the UAA transition guidance to each case. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NY State Access to Birth Records Status and Directory



For current advocacy activities in New York contact: Joyce Bahr or go to

CURRENT LAW:  Passive registry. Adult adoptees (18) and birth parents can register with the Adoption Information Registry to receive identifying information.  When a match is confirmed, registry will notify the parties and the court where the adoption occurred to request each registrant’s “final consent” to the release of information.  Upon receipt of the final consent, information is released.

The original birth certificate is available only upon order of the court.

American Adoption Congress supports state-by-state legislative efforts to obtain access for adult adoptees to their original birth certificates. AAC prefers unrestricted access to this document for all adult adoptees but will accept compromise legislation if, in the opinion of AAC and local supporters, such a compromise is necessary to obtain the greatest access for the greatest number of adopted persons.

NC State Access to Birth Records Status and Directory


HB1463, signed into law by Governor Beverly Perdue on July 21, 2010, expands the Confidential intermediary program.

HB1463 will allow adoptees age 18 (instead of 21) and older to be able to use the CI program. It will also allow:

  • Adult biological siblings of adult adoptees
  • Adult biological half siblings of adult adoptees
  • Adult family members of deceased adoptees
  • Adult family members of a deceased biological parent to use the Confidential Intermediary program.
    This bill also allows an agency acting as a Confidential Intermediary to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate of the person who is the subject of the search and deliver it to the person who is searching.

For more information please contact Roberta MacDonald  or go to

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Progressives Believe In Child Welfare


2014-05-18-11.16.04-e1400533116556 Have you noticed how there are new progressives in the adoption debate? Traditional liberals like me have begun to call ourselves “Progressives” instead because we are embarrassed by how the most radical and mindless liberals have taken center stage, and liberals who know better have been taken along for the ride.

As Progressives, we reject the idea that nationality should determine which children deserve a family and which do not. Our opponents come in a few categories.

Continue reading.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Real Reason Some Charities Abandon Orphans



An activist who opposes international adoption just wrote a post that is breathtaking in its honesty. She openly confesses her anger toward international adoption because it hinders her organization’s attempts at fundraising.

It is a striking admission because child welfare advocates have long argued that the real reason NGOs like UNICEF and Save The Children oppose international adoption is because of their focus on fundraising. But NGOs never admit that because fighting adoptions means condemning children to early death (or a life in the sex or drug trades at best) and that’s bad for their reputation as child savers, clearly. They usually fight adoption by grossly exaggerating concerns about adoption ethics, so it is refreshing to see anyone admit the real, underlying self-interest so openly.

So the NGOs actively work to keep all the kids in orphanages because they think the money families spend on adoption fees should go to the NGOs instead.

Continue reading.

Friday, June 6, 2014

How To Tackle Tough Adoption Talks

Talking about adoption

TUESDAY July 8: 7:00 PM CT

Tackling Tough Adoption Talks

Talking to your child about adoption can be joyful...and sometimes difficult. You may not have all of the information she wants, some details may be tough to hear, or your child just may not want to talk about it. But talking, even about the tough stuff, is an essential part of what adopted kids need from their parents.

Learn from an expert
Join Jayne Schooler for great tips on how to tackle tough talks when:

· Kids don't want to talk

· Siblings have different stories and different available information

· You're not sure of the answers

Insight from an adopted person
Jayne will be joined by Carmen Knight who was adopted internationally. Carmen will give real life examples of how her parents incorporated adoption into her life - even when it wasn't an easy task.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

News From Georgia: Three Success Stories And A Gift For You!

Dear Friends,

With your support, AFG has been helping Georgians in need for 20 years! Since our founding in 1994, AFG projects in Georgia have provided food, medicine, shelter, education, health care and most of all, Hope, where its needed desperately. We look forward to continuing this help, fostering grass roots projects that provide direct assistance.

Three Success Stories:

Alona, David and Elizbar received care and housing through the Dzegvi Orphanage & Bediani Village Homes project which serves abandoned street children with nowhere else to go. Today they are blossoming professionals getting

ready to contribute to their community's future! Their pictures and stories are below. We are so happy to share this good news and in honor of International Children's Day, on June 1st in Georgia and June 8th in America, we are having a week long celebration.

First Shelter Dzegvi Orphanage in early 1990s

Homes for street children as they grew and became educated were purchased in the village of Bediani


Please join us in celebrating our week of honoring International Children's Day ( ICD) by sending a tax deductible donation to AFG. The first donor to send $100 or more by June 8 will receive a bottle of fine Georgian wine as a gift!

Our Thanks to Mamuka Tsereteli and for donating this beautiful, well-balanced choice from the Kakheti region.



Pictured below is Alona. She lived at Dzegvi Orphanage with her three siblings, one of whom was a twin. She studied painting at the Fine Arts Institute and currently works as an Art and Music teacher at Bediani Public School.


Below is David. In the first photo he is newly arrived at Dzegvi. In the second he has moved to Bediani and in the third, he is studying dentistry at the Mukhadze Medical Institute ( pictured with his friend Elizbar). He is now working as a Dental Technician for Procelain Prosthetics at the Eka-Dent Clinic.


Third is Elizbar. On the left you can see his love for animals in Dzegvi. In the middle, he is in Bediani with his dog and his sister. On the right, he is pictured while studying at the Mukhadze Medical Institute. He also studied at the Georgian Agrarian University. He worked at Zooplaza veterinary clinic and currently runs a family farm with his wife in Kakheti.

Since 1995, AFG has helped Mother Mariam and her lay volunteers raise 120 street children outside of Tbilisi in Dzegvi Orphanage and in Bediani Village. Over the years, 25 of these 120 have been assisted by AFG with scholarship funds and living stipends to continue their post secondary education.

Please consider a gift today to support this successful, life changing project.

For more information and background on this project please visit:

Thank you so much for your generous support of AFG projects that are giving hope to traumatized people facing great difficulty.


Marusya Chavchavadze and Lena Kiladze

Monday, June 2, 2014

Teach your Baby to Sign - 6 Week Series Begins Today at 10:00 am

81f275b8-a9e5-493b-a490-6744e785e9df Few Spots Left for this Monday's Class!

This is a six week series starting June 2 and ending June 30.

Last Chance to Register! Begins this morning at 10:00 am.

Come sign with us! Your baby will be happy you did. Introducing infants and young children to sign language empowers them to be understood and gives you a special time to bond, learn, and communicate with your baby.  Help your baby to replace crying with communication as they learn to share their world with you through sign language.

Register here.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Meet Our Newest Hopscotch Adoptions Board Member Lisa Anne Kazazean

Lisa%20Portrait%20002 Lisa is the very proud single mother to two wonderful boys.  Her first son, Armen was adopted from Armenia 1n 2007 and her second son, Zain was adopted from Morocco in 2010.  Lisa’s father was born in Armenia and was a survivor of the genocide, although he would never speak about his early years,  he continued his Armenian pride and culture throughout his long life.

Lisa, originally from upstate New York, graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition.  

Lisa worked in the field of nutrition until she moved to Michigan in 1991.  At that time, she began working full-time in residential real estate.  After 15 years of a successful real estate career, she relocated to Colorado. She raised her boys in the beautiful resort area in Dillon, Colorado until 2014 when choosing to move closer to family on the east coast.

She is also a contributor and member of Project Discovery, an Armenian archaeological organization and Focus Armenia, an organization to help residents in Gumyri.  She also has donated to SOAR, Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief and served on the board of the Denver chapter.  She sits on the board of a Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, Bennington, VT and contributes time and resources to various other local charities. She has started a local Single Mothers Group to provide support to single mothers of all backgrounds.

Lisa believes her two boys have touched so many lives of people and opened up hearts of family, friends and strangers. She believes adoption is the promise of a future for children and parents alike. Her life has been enriched 100-fold by bringing these two boys into her world.