Thursday, April 30, 2015

News From Armenia: Two MORE Hopscotch Families Register With Their Children! Happy Mother's Day!


'Gotcha Day,' Meeting Your Adopted Child by Michael Hicks


By Patrick Hicks

On the eve of his son's adoption from South Korea, one writer looks back on what that night now means


Most parents go to a hospital to meet their child for the first time. My wife and I went to the Omaha airport, and it was there, shortly before midnight, that our internationally-adopted son arrived from South Korea. He was 51 weeks old.

It was a joyful and overwhelming moment for us, but for him, it was obviously terrifying. Who were these people? Where was his foster mother? Why was a stranger holding him and where was he being taken? Everything he knew was gone. Missing. Even now, five years later, if I close my eyes, I can still hear his shrieks of terror.

Read more.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NPR Interview with National Council for Adoption's CEO, Chuck Johnson

NPR Interview with National Council for Adoption's CEO, Chuck Johnson.  Last year the number of foreign children adopted by U.S. parents dropped to the lowest level since 1982, according to figures recently released by the State Department.

For comparison's sake, in 2004, foreign adoptions reached an all time high of 22,884. Last year, the grand total was just 6,441.

Read more.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#PFF15 Adopted Persons Scholarship


Adopted People Scholarship

"What does family mean to you?"

In a short 250-450 word essay, adopted people and foster care alumni are challenged to answer the question above for a chance to win a free registration to our 2015 Putting Family First Conference, held in Washington D.C. on June 21-23 2015.  This scholarship is generously sponsored by Gladney Center for Adoption. The winning essays will also be published on our NCFA blog. Applicants must 18 or older and need to submit their essays by May 8th.  

*Please note that room and travel are not included in this giveaway and must be booked separately.  

Sunday, April 26, 2015

News from Pakistan: Makeshift Carnival in Islamabad

Enjoy this photo collection portraying a makeshift amusement park in Pakistan, taken in Islamabad and Rawalpindi by Muhammed Muheisen, an Associated Press photographer. Pakistani children enjoy a ride at a makeshift entertainment park set up in a Christian neighborhood for the Christmas holiday in Islamabad, Pakistan.

See photos.

Sign Up Reminder: Identity in Adoption Webinar

An Adoption Learning Partners webinar co-sponsored by  Joint Council on International Children's Services

Webinar Reminder: Identity in Adoption

Mirrors and Windows

Thursday, May 7, 2015
7:00 PM Central
Q&A: 8:00 PM

Have you ever wondered just how much nature vs. nurture will play a role in your adopted child's identity formation?

How will they balance these influences as they pull together their own understanding of who they are?

What can you do to help them?

Join moderator Leah Bloom, LMFT, an adopted person who was adopted from Korea, as she leads our panel of adopted persons through a discussion about the intricacies of identity formation in adoption. Our panel - adopted domestically, internationally and from foster care - will reflect back on their own experiences and answer YOUR questions about such things as:

  • What their adoptive parents did that helped them through the journey
  • What they wish their parents had done
  • Additional supportive elements and resources that have helped them mold their identity formation
  • Privacy concerns in sharing their adoption story
  • Feelings of loss related to their adoption what tends to trigger this
  • Curiosity and feelings about biological parents and how much they identify with them


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Update on the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015!

"Last Wednesday, the ATCWG Executive Committee co-hosted a congressional briefing with Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) on the Adoption Tax Credit. Senators Casey and Blunt announced the reintroduction of the bipartisan Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act of 2015 (S. 950). Please contact congressional offices with which you have relationships to share the exciting co-sponsorship opportunity! "

Here are the things you can do to support S.950:

  • Reach out to any relationships you may have asking members to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation
  • Share the Press Release on Facebook
  • Retweet this

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hopscotch Newsletter for April 2015

In This Issue...

Quick Links

Still waiting....

The Waiting Child Program is the fastest growing program that Hopscotch Adoptions offers.  Unlike the typical track, time to placement usually takes less than a year from dossier submission.  Most of these children are Special Needs or older. We strongly urge you to check out these kids, regardless of the path you are taking. You never know who will grab your heart.

For more information on this program, contact Natasha or go to the Waiting Child page and fill out the Privacy Declaration at the bottom of the page.

Welcome Home!

***Armenia Program News***

US Citizens are no longer required to obtain a visa for entry to Armenia! Hopscotch Adoptions' Armenian Travel Guide has been updated to reflect this change. If you have been notified of impending travel prior to April 30, be sure to ask for the updated guide.


Who is excited for a Hopscotch Reunion???

When: August 5-7, 2015
Where: Riverhead, New York
Who can attend: ALL Hopscotch families

Hyatt Place East End (Primary Hotel)
Hilton Garden Inn

**Hyatt and Hilton Hotels have each reserved a block of 40 rooms at a rate of $189.00 for August 5-6 and  $325 for August 7th.

Please book your room NOW to lock in that rate!

Tentative Schedule:

August 5, 2015
Morning: Breakfast together at the hotel
Day: Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center *group rate will be applied
Night: Dinner together

August 6, 2015
Morning: Breakfast together at the hotel
Day: Beach Day!!
Evening: Clambake and Barbecue Picnic

August 7, 2015
Morning: Breakfast together at the hotel
Day: Your choice! Your family can participate in the many activities that Riverhead offers!

Program Spotlight!


Hopscotch's Executive Director, Robin Sizemore, traveled to Guyana in October 2014 where she met with Guyanese officials, US Embassy staff, orphanages and attorneys. She had a very positive experience and is very excited about this new program.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Married or Single Women Applicants
  • Applicants Age: 25-65 years old
  • Trips: 2 trips are required (1st trip: 5-7 days; 2nd trip: 3 weeks)

Children available for adoption are usually between 12 months and 15 years old. There are children that are generally healthy in relation to institutional care. There are also children with minor to non-correctable special needs available for adoption.

If you are interested in learning more about our Guyana program, please contact Natasha Beavers.

Before You Go...

Always consult with your primary doctor well before making a trip abroad and reference the  Center for Disease Control (CDC) for any specific precautions for the destination you'll be traveling too.  Your doctor will make sure you have all of the appropriate vaccinations and medications relevant to your trip and length of time you'll be away.

Be sure to always keep your medications in the prescription bottle at all times during travel and always keep your medications in your travel carry-on.   Sometimes your doctor and your insurance company will allow extra dosages based on your trip length, but ask in advance or during your travel medical appointment.   Keep your personal doctor's contact information, medication lists or letter from your doctor if you need any special accommodations and insurance information in your carry-on luggage.    

Some families utilize the services of an International Medical Travel clinic, but most likely your doctor and the CDC can cover your needs.  You'll want to also check the Visa page for your country destination to be sure you're not caught without proper documentation if required for entry.   You can find the correlating embassy by visiting the country page on the Department of State's Intercountry Adoption website. 

If you  or your child will have any specific medical needs or mobility issues, it's good to communicate with your airline in advance of ticket purchase to be sure you can be accommodated safely.  Some airlines have restrictions on the level of medical fragility they will permit to board.  It's best to check and get it in writing between your doctor and the airline if possible.  Know your passenger rights on inter country flights as well as domestic flights.

Don't forget travel insurance!  Travel insurance, health and life policies.  Are they up to date? Another level of security is your home owners policy.  Be sure to check the policy, because in many cases if you have anything broken or destroyed while traveling, your home owners insurance may cover the loss.   If you have a medical emergency, be sure you call your provider to get authorization in advance.  Call your insurance provider before you leave to be sure you understand the limits of your coverage. 

Before a family travels abroad to bring their child home, they have usually had a consult with an  InternationalĂ‚  Medical Adoption Specialist that assists families in evaluating the child's health and needs.  This doctor will already be familiar with your child's specific needs and may be able to make recommendations for specific medications or care your child may need while abroad or during travel.  Evaluations and consultations can be from $250-$850 and offer an array of amenities that can fit every family's needs or budget.  Look for the doctor that can review your child's information ongoing as you get updates, that will make specific requests for screenings, tests etc to help you better understand your child's developmental progress while waiting, and of course, be available during and after you return home to see your child's medical and developmental  goals are being met.  Some clinics will even Skype with you during your child's medical evaluation while abroad.  The clinics can be a wealth of resources and are worth every penny. 

While you are in country, you can also avail yourself of the embassy panel physician.  You can find the list of embassy approved physicians on the US embassy website for the country you are in.  Again, check with your insurance provider to be sure your visit is covered for reimbursement when you return home.    Save all of your receipts, prescriptions and notes.  Your regular doctor will want to follow up on the treatment.

And of course, always check for travel warnings for the countries you would be traveling or transiting through.   You'll want to be sure to register with the US embassy for emergency events, evacuations or terror threats.  

We always value our families' feedback. Please tell us what you want in the next newsletter! We would love for our families to share their adoption stories! Please contact Michelle Moreau with any feedback or if you would like to write an article for a future newsletter.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Save The Date. AFG Event on June 4 in NYC

Save The Date! June 4

AFG Benefit and Cocktail Reception at the Ukrainian Institute in NYC (located in the historic Fletcher-Sinclair mansion on Fifth Avenue) on June 4, 2014. An extraordinary evening with Georgian wine and hor d'oeuvres, a musical performance and an art auction! Event Tickets will be available online soon and another email will be sent when they are available. Proceeds from this event will benefit AFG's humanitarian aid projects in Georgia.


Where & When

Thursday, June 4, 2015 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Ukrainian Institute of America, 2 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075

This event would not be possible without the support of the Ukrainian Institute of America, Pheasant's Tears Wines, Oda House Restaurant and Dita Naylor-Leyland



If you would like to help sponsor this event, we would welcome your kind generosity.

American Friends of Georgia, Inc. is a U.S. non-profit, non-political 501(c)(3) public charity with tax exempt status.

The organization's mission is to provide practical humanitarian assistance to the peoples of Georgia in order to improve educational, economic, social, medical and environmental conditions.

Thank you for your support !


Marusya Chavchavadze

Monday, April 13, 2015

Book review from our Hopscotch family

SandcastleGirls3 Book review from our Hopscotch family: "Last night I finished reading "The Sandcastle Girls" by Chris Bohjalian. What an excellent, moving book. I wanted to keep reading, yet at the same time, the depictions of the Genocide were so horrific (and sadly, accurate), that I wanted to stop. An Armenian friend of mine made the following comment about this book, "It's really important for people to understand the depth of why Armenians feel so strongly about keeping their heritage alive." —RK

Nappies Collection a Huge Success!

Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR)

1060 First Avenue, Suite 400, King of Prussia, PA 19406
Office: 610.213.3452   Fax: 610.229.5168 
Email:   Web:

Nappies Collection a Resounding Success!

The Nappies for Nork fundraiser, organized and coordinated by Viviane Martini, was a giant success.  In just two weeks, $11,000 was raised to provide diapers for the children at Nork Orphanage.  From giving three dollars to keep a child dry for a single day to four figure donations, so many opened their hearts to make a difference, one clean bottom at a time.

To everyone who contributed (whether cash toward diapers or items for the raffle) and who spread the word, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  When Viviane sat at her desk three weeks ago looking for a way to help, she hoped to raise $1,000.  Now, around 38,000 diapers will be available for these precious children. 

What do 38,000 diapers look like?  Well, a folded Pampers is about 1/2 inch thick, so 38,000 of them stack to approximately 1,500 feet, which is how far you'd walk to get from Yerevan's Cascade Complex to the Opera House.

Details and pictures of the diaper delivery we will available beginning early May.  Given the level of generosity, the diaper distribution will be expanded to Mari Izmirlyan Orphanage.  Viviane's son Rex was adopted from Nork, but some of the children who lived at Nork with Rex have since moved to Mari Izmirlyan, so her love stretches to this orphanage.  Mari Izmirlyan serves many children with medical and developmental special needs, some of whom continue to require diapers well past their sixth birthdays.

Again, thank you to everyone who was inspired by Viviane to help in this special endeavor.  Your generosity and support exceeded our wildest dreams!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

News from Ukraine: Hopscotch welcomes home our families!


Four Birth Mothers, For Mothers


See Video.

When state legislatures discuss bills that would allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates, opposition groups argue that birthmothers were promised privacy. But such groups are not composed of birthmothers (or first mothers, as is the preferred title today). Four mothers speak about their experiences - and feelings - highlighting the powerful and excruciating experience they each survived. Their brief stories reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of birthmothers in this country.

Friday, April 10, 2015

News from Armenia: Two Hopscotch families traveling for court. We are SO excited for you!


Let's Play Adoption


By Susan Tompkins


Playing adoption — whether with Barbies or Legos — can be a great way to help your child explore feelings about the way he joined your family.

I smiled and listened closely as I overheard my daughter, Lillianna, and her friend, Rachael, playing with their dolls the other day. Lilli said, “Let’s play orphanage.”

There was no hesitation. Rachael picked up the theme in a heartbeat and said, “I’ll be a mom coming to take my baby home.” And thus began an hour of play between these two adopted seven-year-olds and their dolls.

We adoptive parents have made it a practice to talk to our children about their adoption story. We retell it, discuss it from time to time, and add facts and information when it seems appropriate. There may also be times when it does not seem right to talk or encourage our children to talk about adoption, as well as times when the pressures of parenting cause us to forget about keeping up the discussion.

Read more.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

What an Adoptee Wants You to Know About Adoption


By Madeleine Melcher

2015-04-06-1428327200-2025719-madeleine Disclaimer: I am but one person with my own experience. Adoptees are human beings, so of course our feelings and experiences vary from black to white to every shade of gray. I cannot and do not speak for everyone, but will always stand up for everyone to have a chance to speak.

When I was a baby, I lived in a car for a time. My birthmother left me behind one day and did not return. I was adopted when I was a little over a year old. Adoption is how I came to be with my family. I know people in supermarkets and school registration lines always seem to have a lot of questions when they see a family that was obviously built through adoption, and I certainly get a lot about mine, so in case you were wondering and because I have shared it with people since I was very young, this is what I want you to know in response to years of questions.

Read more.

Talking With Children About Adoption


By Barbara Russell

Talking about adoption with your child can be daunting. Here, advice on what to say and when to say it.


Catherine Brunson clearly remembers the day she learned she was adopted. “Someone approached my brother in school and said, ‘Oh, you’re the adopted kid,’” says Brunson, a 37-year-old graphic designer in Charlotte, NC, who is the oldest of three adopted siblings. “My brother came home and asked my mom.”

“My mom took both of us by the hand and proceeded to take us in the bedroom and tell us the facts of life,” she says. “While we stood there, she went through the whole thing — the birth process, etc. Then she segued into how this happened to someone else, not to her and Dad.”

“We were looking at each other going, ‘Wow.’”

Misguided? Comical? Potentially harmful? Perhaps, by today’s standards. Effective? Definitely, according to Brunson, who says the incident was key to helping her develop a matter-of-fact attitude about her adoption.

Read more.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Re-Homing Banned in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Louisiana


By Steve Barnes

Re-Homing Banned in Arkansas, Wisconsin and Louisiana.  Florida and Illinois have legislation underway.   No child should ever be moved outside of their family and placed in the care of a family that has not undergone vetting, preparation and a court's approval.  If you agree and believe children deserve to be protected and accounted for, consider contacting your congressional representatives


LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 6 (Reuters) - Spurred by the disclosure that a lawmaker transferred custody of children he had adopted to a family where one of the children was sexually abused, Arkansas' governor on Monday signed legislation barring the practice known as "re-homing."

The new statute signed by Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, forbids parents from assigning custody of children they adopt to another household, except close relatives, without court approval. The crime would be a felony punishable by a prison sentence and fines.

The Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, which tracks such legislation, said Wisconsin and Louisiana have also banned re-homing. Florida and Illinois are weighing legislation to restrict or ban the practice, it said.

Read more.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Moral of the Story: Eat Your Matson!


Check out this TV commercial filmed in Georgia in 1977. It is the first American TV commercial filmed in the Soviet Union. "Moral of the story? Eat your matson!" 

Click here to watch.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fact: Parents Shape A Child's Brain


szalay_ro_1992_izadoroceanbeach.3-xl_wide-717d3b8e62be61749fcff2086ef0f710431a1b69-s800-c85 Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

More than a decade of research on children raised in institutions shows that "neglect is awful for the brain," says Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital. Without someone who is a reliable source of attention, affection and stimulation, he says, "the wiring of the brain goes awry." The result can be long-term mental and emotional problems.

A lot of what scientists know about parental bonding and the brain comes from studies of children who spent time in Romanian orphanages during the 1980s and 1990s. Children like Izidor Ruckel, who wrote a book about his experiences.

Read more.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Hardest Part of Growing Up as a Transracial Teen

I appreciate this article so much. I find myself doing as this young author suggest by publicly making sure I call out or speak to my daughter or son when we get the 'ping ponging eyes' trying to discern our relationship. I know it is a sensitive need to be claimed. it meant a lot to me as a child and I know it means a lot to our kids too. Though sometimes, it can be a source of our own family inside humor too. Me (5'2') admonishing my 6'4" son on ordering coffee and telling him it will stunt his growth. People assume I am some busy body customer and of course it is an absurd comment, given his height. For our family inside jokes are also "claiming" and important - always a lot of fun with our kids.



By Anna Eldridge

2015-02-13-adoption345 I was adopted from China as a baby by white parents in America. I have six great siblings and have loved all the fun that comes from growing up in a big family. I am still firmly in the pro-adoption camp at age 15, but there are definitely things I think parents should understand about growing older as a transracial adoptee.

Like all kids, I love the idea of becoming a young adult. I'll soon be able to drive, go out on dates and one day go to college. But there's one part about growing older that is difficult for me. I have found that as I age, it's harder for the public to acknowledge me as being a part of my family. It's much easier as a transracial adoptee when you are a little kid, because when people see you with your white parents, their brains click to, "Oh, that must be their adopted daughter." But as I grew into my teens and started to become a young woman, that definitely changed.

Read more.