Friday, August 18, 2017

Registration Is Open for the National Permanency Conference – Special Parent Rate!

1

Please share this news with those parenting children with histories of abuse, neglect or trauma.  The National Permanency Conference has released a special Parent/Caregiver rate for the conference, allowing families to gain professional-level knowledge and insight from world renowned experts. To register or get more information about the conference, please visit this link.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Attention to All 2017 Summer Host Families for Ukraine – Big News!

Ukraine App Fee Waived 08-04-2017Dear Summer 2017 Host Families:
Hopscotch Adoptions will be waiving our $250 application fee for any summer 2017 host families!!  If you would like to complete your adoption through Hopscotch, please indicate you are a Summer 2017 host family on the application and we’ll waive the application fee!

Want learn more about adopting from Ukraine?

Monday, Aug 7, 2017    7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
 
Please join our meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/634854341 
 
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (224) 501-3412
Access Code: 634-854-341 

**Please be sure to keep your phones/computer speakers on “mute” during the call so that everyone can hear clearly.

We hope that you can join us!  If you are unable to attend the webinar and would like to contact me directly, or request an information packet, please reach out to me at (770) 309-4239 or ukraine@hopscotchadoptions.org.  

PS: Pease note Hopscotch conducts home study reports for families located in North Carolina and New York. If you reside in Georgia or Tennessee, we can refer you to our preferred agency partners!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Two Adoptees’ Stories: Two Perspectives on Growing Up Adopted

Source: http://www.rainbowkids.com

By Katie and Jacob

Meet Katie

feat_smMy name is Katelyn, and my family and friends call me Katie. I am a junior in high school in North Carolina, where I am at the top of my class academically (with a 4.4 GPA). I am also a competitive gymnast and have committed to a full Division I scholarship at a wonderful university in my state. What people don’t know about me is that I was adopted – adopted from Novosibirsk, Russia.

I often wonder, “When people hear that, what do they think of?” Lately I am afraid that too many negative things, worries, and concerns run through people’s minds. I’ve learned that many people, including me, have heard many negative stories about adoption, and not enough success stories.

This is why I am here to share mine.

Continue reading.

Monday, July 31, 2017

9-Year-Old With Down Syndrome Belts Out Whitney Houston Song in Viral Video

Source: www.yahoo.com

By Maya Chung


42900e58a04a2d8b1386b4323f70598b

A 9-year-old boy with Down syndrome has gone viral after his heartwarming version of one of Whitney Houston’s hit songs was posted online.

Dane Miller, of Texas, belted out Houston’s “I Have Nothing” while riding in the car with his dad on Monday, but his mother, Danna Miller, said it’s something her son does often.

“He’s been musical since around 2 years old,” Miller told InsideEdition.com. “He’s been playing the drums. He sings. He loves music. He puts his whole heart into everything he does.”

See video.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Compassion in Action: A Beautiful Intervention On Behalf of a Child With Special Needs

Source: http://www.charlotteobserver.com

By Bruce Henderson

groner4She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.
Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.

By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half- hour before I would say something,” she says.

But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.

“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”

Read more here.

Notice: The Form N-565 – Request a Replacement Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate Has Been Updated

uscis-signatureInterested in obtaining a Replacement for your Naturalization or Citizenship Certificate? USCIS has recently updated the form to be used: The new edition dated 06/13/17. Starting 09/22/2017, we will only accept the 06/13/17 edition. Until then, you can use the 12/23/16 edition.

Learn more.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Join Us This Thursday: All About The Birth Family Search

Birth Family Search | Adoption Learning Partners

Register Now

Open records, DNA testing, family tree websites, social media, Google, orphanage searches by other families, even a birth relative doing a reverse search to find information on your child; all can lead quite quickly to an unscheduled, and unprepared for, reunion.

The question is no longer IF your child will one day (sooner rather than later) be able to locate a birth relative, but when. For most domestic adoptees, it is now just a matter of time. For international adoptees, the search is becoming easier and easier.

Join Martha Osborne, adoptee, adoptive mother, and founder of RainbowKids.com, as she shares the realities of birth family search today and provides tips and tools to make informed choices, including:
  1. Talking to your pre-teen and teen about searching
  2. Gauging if your child is emotionally ready to conduct a search
  3. How to handle a birth relative reaching out directly through social media or email
  4. Identifying safety risks and how to avoid them
  5. The tools available today both for search and for obtaining a medical profile on an adoptee without allowing DNA information to be released
Click here to learn more and register >

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Guide to Selecting An Adoption Or Foster Therapist

Source: https://creatingafamily.org/

Guest post by Carol Lozier, Forever-Families

A-Guide-to-Selecting-An-Adoption-Or-compressed
Image credit: adesigna


Families experience great joy as they welcome newly adopted or foster children into their lives. When a child comes home, parents might start counseling right away or the need may not arise until a later time, such as adolescence. Identifying the right therapist can be a challenging task, especially if a parent is not familiar with the counseling field. This article gives parents direction on choosing the right adoption counselor for their child. There are many factors to consider, from insurance and office location, to the therapist’s degree and training. Any reputable therapist will be happy to answer questions about themselves and their practice. Some questions to ask the prospective therapist include:

Do you have a masters’ degree (or greater) in a counseling related field? Counseling related fields include: psychology, social work, psychiatry, and marriage and family therapy.

Do you have a license to practice independently? Each state and degree have different requirements, but a license indicates the therapist passed state boards showing competency in their degree.

When did you finish your counseling degree? It is preferable for the therapist to have completed their degree more than five years ago. Of course, more experience is desirable.

Do you take my insurance? If the therapist is in-network with your insurance, call the company to request benefit information and an authorization (if needed). If the therapist is out-of- network, call the company to determine your benefits. You will want to ask about your deductible, co-pays, co-insurance, and requirement for authorization.

How many years have you worked with foster and adopted children? An effective counselor will have at least two to three years expertise in the area of foster care or adoptions. And ideally, 30% to 50% of the therapist’s practice should be with foster or adopted children.

What is the location of your practice? Ask about location as it can make a difference in your choice.

As the parent, will I stay in the room during my child’s sessions? Typically, an adoption therapist keeps parents in the therapy session with the child. The parent remains in the room for information and attachment opportunities.

How were you trained to work in this area? There are many acceptable treatment models, including: Theraplay, Narrative therapy, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), and Dyadic Developmental therapy. Research whichever model the therapist uses so that you are familiar with the process and know what to expect in sessions.

What additional training do you have that augments your chosen model? It is suggested that therapists have additional training in: individual therapy with children and adults, family therapy, child development, trauma work, and cognitive and behavior therapy.

Will we meet alone with you in the first session or do we bring our child? A general rule of thumb is parents attend the first session alone unless the child is an adolescent, then the child may accompany the parents.

These last questions are for the family to ask themselves after the first visit or two: Do we feel this therapist is a positive and comfortable fit for our family? Is the counselor open to our questions about the therapy process? You want to be able to answer “Yes” to both of these questions, as the therapeutic relationship is interactive and built on trust and respect.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Building the Bonds of Attachment with Adopted Children

Source: https://creatingafamily.org

By Dawn Davenport


378130990_a0cc8dd4f4_z-1

Attachment is vital to emotional development. What can adoptive parents do to build the bonds of attachment with their adopted children? Join guest Dr. Dan Hughes, a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children with attachment issues. He is the author of five books including Building the Bonds of Attachment and Attachment-Focused Parenting.

Highlights of the show
  • How much of an issue is attachment in different types of adoption (domestic, international, older child, etc.)?
  • How does the inter-uterine environment affect a child?
  • How does fetal alcohol syndrome affect attachment?
  • Tips on building attachment with young children
  • How can parents transition an adopted child to a daycare program without ruining attachment bonds?
  • How can parents help their children work through attachment issues?
  • How important is it for parents to make sure they are taking care of themselves?
  • What can parents do when they feel like they do not love their adopted child as much as their biological child?
  • How long is normal before parents feel attached to their children?
  • Why do some children have an easy attachment process and other children have a difficult attachment process?
  • Attachment issues in biological children.
  • Unevenness in attachment
  • Can attachment issues appear later in life?
  • How can parents find a good attachment councilor for their children?
  • Attachment issues with trans-racial adoptions

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Setting Limits with Adopted Teens-If the Answer is No, Say No

Source: https://creatingafamily.org/

By Dawn Davenport

Setting-Limits

I’ve noticed a trend in the last several year–parents afraid to discipline their adopted kids or unable to say “no” for fear of damaging their attachment or ego. At times I wonder if we’ve created a monster by all our emphasis on attachment, but I firmly believe that adopted children, actually all children, desperately need us to say no and set limits. Doing so is not in contradiction to creating attachment–in fact, setting limits supports attachment!

I recently read a book that I absolutely loved: Parenting in the Eye of the Storm: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years by Katie Naftzger, an adoption therapist and adult adoptee. This book would be the perfect read for all adoptive parents with kids 8+.

I interviewed Ms.  Naftzger on a Creating a Family Radio show titled Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Navigating the Teen Years. She was preaching to the choir with me. So much so that I invited her to do this guest blog post.

~~~~~~~~~~~

I just want her to be happy. 

If I could make life easier for him, why wouldn’t I do that? 

I don’t want him to feel abandoned. How could I say no? 

She’s already been through so much! 

Do any of these statements sound familiar? For adoptive parents of teens, setting limits is often complicated. Your teen has already been through a lot. At one point in time, their basic needs were probably compromised. Of course, a part of you would want to give them everything they needed and more, but there’s a cost.

Setting limits helps your teen to feel more prepared for young adulthood. It teaches responsibility and helps develop much-needed coping skills. It also helps them to trust you more. They want to know that you’ll do what’s right, even if it means standing up to them.

Here’s a work example:

I was sitting with an adoptive mom and 12 y/o daughter, finishing up our family therapy session. The daughter asked, “Mom, can we go and get a cupcake across the street?”

The mom grimaced. “Oh, sweetie, I don’t know. I don’t want you to be late for gymnastics. There might be a lot of traffic. Plus, you already had ice cream when we got home from school…” Her mom looked around the room and she trailed off.

Her daughter’s voice became shriller. “Mom, we’ll have of time to get there, I promise. I’m not going to be late! Seriously! And, I just had one popsicle after school. Those things are so small! I don’t think that should even count. Come on, Mom, please? Please!”

I said to the mom, quietly, “If the answer is no, just say no.”

At that point, her mom made direct eye contact with her daughter and said, “The answer is no.”

How did the daughter react? She let it go, immediately. And, she was fine. Surprising, isn’t it, given that her daughter was so bent on it just a second ago!

Tips for Setting Limits with Adopted Teens

 

1. Don’t backtrack or apologize.

 

Imagine if the mom had said “Oh sweetie, the answer is no…but maybe we can get a cupcake next time we’re here! I’m sorry, sweetie!” 

 

2. Don’t negotiate.

 

It can be painful for adoptees to feel like they’re begging for something, particularly if they’re struggling with feelings of low self-worth and feelings of abandonment.

 

3. Don’t send mixed messages.

 

If the mom had said no but continued to look all around the room, it would have sent mixed messages. Her words would have said no but her body language would have said, I’m not sure.

 

4. Convey guidelines and consequences ahead of time.

 

This mom knew her daughter pretty well. She could probably have predicted that her daughter would ask her for a cupcake. The simplest way to go would be to make an overarching decision – always or never.

 

5. Improve your savvy.

 

It can be challenging for adoptive parents when their teen gets into stuff that is outside of their experience, such as drugs, alcohol, aggressive behavior, etc. It’s good to learn to think like your teen. When your teen perceives you as naive or oblivious, they tend to lose respect for you. Trust your intuition. If you think something’s going on, it’s usually true. Your aim isn’t to control them. It’s to help them to make informed decisions.


When parenting teens it is important to remember that they don’t have to agree with you. There are certain decisions that are collaborative and others that are solely yours. And, if you’re not sure where to begin, start with the cupcake.

Education SALE from Heart of the Matter



Take $35 off

Your Next Purchase of International or Domestic adoption education. (Purchase total must be $184 or greater.)

Go to www.heartofthemattereducation.com to use coupon code  SSHOME17 for a $35 savings on a purchase of $184 or more.

OFFER DETAILS:

Choose any course or combination of courses that total $184 or more and use the coupon code  SSHOME17 at checkout for the $35 savings.. Offer valid through July 31, 2017.

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Most Awesome Proposal Ever!

New Rules For Adoptions From China Announced

feat_smUPDATE #1:  We are receiving numerous questions about "What exactly has changed?"  To clarify, at this early-stage of review, it appears that the following changes have taken place:
  • Youngest child in the home must be 3-years-old before a family may log-in their dossier
  • Single females may still adopt, but may have only 2 children living at home. Youngest child must be 3 years of age (formerly it was 6 years). Singles may  now be up to 50 years older than child (formerly 45)
  • Married couples may have up to 5 children in the home
  • Families must wait one full year after an adoption is complete before applying to adopt another child
  • Only one child may be adopted at a time  (unless a twin or sibling)
Continue reading.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Advocating for the Child’s Human Right to Family

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org/

By: Elizabeth Bartholet

Important legislation has recently been introduced in Congress designed to transform the understanding of the rights of unparented children and relatedly of international adoption. This legislation amends the law governing the U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) annual reports on human rights violations. It requires that DOS consider for inclusion in future reports the violation of unparented children’s rights involved in shutting down international adoption and thus condemning children to ongoing institutionalization. For more information about this legislation, see http://cap.law.harvard.edu/current-legislation/.

All those who believe in children’s rights to family, all those who decry the restrictions on international adoption that have denied many tens of thousands of children the nurturing parents they need, should devote their best efforts to supporting this proposed legislation. It represents an extraordinary opportunity to transform the understanding of child rights in ways that are essential to transforming policy – policy that has been enormously destructive of child rights and interests.

Continue reading.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Deportation a ‘Death Sentence’ to Adoptees After a Lifetime in the U.S. by Choe Sang-Hun

Source: https://www.nytimes.com

By Choe Sang-Hun

xxadoptee-1-master768

Remember to protect your children’s rights to citizenship if your child was adopted prior to 2000.  The consequences are devastating if you have not obtained your child’s US citizenship.
 
SEOUL, South Korea — Phillip Clay was adopted at 8 into an American family in Philadelphia.
Twenty-nine years later, in 2012, after numerous arrests and a struggle with drug addiction, he was deported back to his birth country, South Korea. He could not speak the local language, did not know a single person and did not receive appropriate care for mental health problems, which included bipolar disorder and alcohol and substance abuse.

On May 21, Mr. Clay ended his life, jumping from the 14th floor of an apartment building north of Seoul. He was 42.

To advocates of the rights of international adoptees, the suicide was a wrenching reminder of a problem the United States urgently needed to address: adoptees from abroad who never obtained American citizenship. The Adoptee Rights Campaign, an advocacy group, estimates that 35,000 adult adoptees in the United States may lack citizenship, which was not granted automatically in the adoption process before 2000.

Mr. Clay is believed to be just one of dozens of people, legally adopted as children into American families, who either have been deported to the birth countries they left decades ago or face deportation after being convicted of crimes as adults. Some did not even know they were not American citizens until they were ordered to leave.

Continue reading.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Need Your Help With Research On Transracial Adoption & Bullying: Take The Survey Today!

Lonely Sad Girl by Dock and Water

Hello Families!

We encourage you to take advantage of the below opportunity to participate in this Northeastern State University research study regarding transracial adoption and bullying.  Consider sharing it with your social networks. As we all know, research on adoption is beneficial to understanding and serving children and families better.

Thanks!

“Dear Parents and Students,

I am conducting a research study to better understand the scope and effects of bullying on children (ages ranging from 9 to 16 years old) adopted into transracial families.  As a social work faculty member at Northeastern State University, I am interested in understanding this topic so that we can develop effective supports and interventions for children/adoptees who experience school bullying based on racial or ethnic differences.  I am requesting your participation because it will help us to do this.

Your participation is voluntary and your responses are anonymous.  If you will take about 30-40 minutes to complete our online survey, you will make an important contribution to this project that may lead to creating effective help for trans-racial adoptees who are facing school bullying.

Click here for the survey link.

If you wish to discuss the information above or concern you may have with this project, please do not hesitate to contact me, Eun-Jun Bang, Ph.D., MSW, at (918) 449-6564.  For questions about your rights while participating in this study, you may contact the Institutional Review Board at Northeastern State University at (918) 456-5511 ext 2965. Thank you so much for your attention and time.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Join Us!!!!! Hopscotch Adoptions Family Reunion 2017

It’s time for… Hopscotch’s 2017 Family Reunion!



Hi, Everyone,

The 2017 Hopscotch Reunion is less than seven weeks away.  Now’s the time to register.  Your registration form is attached and due, along with the per person reunion fee, on June 25, 2017.

The fee will cover a pizza party and dessert on Friday night, a catered al fresco breakfast at the park on Saturday morning, the rental of a canopy tent/tables and chairs to keep us shaded and comfortable at the reunion hub, as well as arts/crafts/activities for the children.  Depending on the number of attendees and final costs, the fee may stretch to cover a Sunday morning breakfast as well.

Hopscotch has generously sponsored a catered dinner at the park for Saturday evening.

Additional activities, such as a visit to the water playground at the park, boat/bike rentals, and a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo or other local attractions will be paid by individual families as they go.  If there’s interest to form a group for a Sunday outing, please let me know and I will gladly assist with the planning.

If you are flying to Cincinnati to attend the reunion, your closest airport is CVG.  You can also fly into DAY, SDF or IND.

Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions,
Viviane

Viviane Martini, Family Coordinator and Advocate
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc
Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ghana, Guyana, Morocco, Serbia and Ukraine
Pre & Post-Adoption Services available to NY and NC residents
Ph: 336.899.0068

This year’s reunion will be hosted at Winton Woods, Cincinnati, Ohio!

A blog about camping at Winton Woods

2017 Family Reunion Registration Form – Register Now (Word Doc)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

3 Reasons Traditional Parenting Doesn’t Work with Kids from Trauma by Mike Berry

Source: http://www.rainbowkids.com

The following article was graciously shared, with permission, by Mike Berry from the blog Confessions of an Adoptive Parent

feat_smIf you’ve parented a child from a traumatic past for any length of time, you already know that traditional parenting techniques do not work. But, have you ever stopped to consider why, or what you could do differently?

Kristin and I both grew up in traditional households, with parents who used traditional techniques in raising us both. There were rules and restrictions, guidelines and boundaries. And if said rules, restrictions, guidelines and boundaries were crossed, BAM, consequences were enforced. No questions asked. From all accounts, these techniques worked. We both grew up to be responsible adults who knew the difference between right and wrong. But, we also never endured significant trauma as children.

Continue reading.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Post Adoption Depression: Causes and Prevention


$20.00 ********FREE TO HOPSCOTCH PLACING CLIENTS!!!!!
Post adoption depression and parent attachment disorder are surprisingly common and seldom talked about. After all, since you’ve tried so hard to become a parent, many adoptive parents are ashamed to admit that they are struggling.

REGISTER NOW

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Books on Toddler and Older Child Adoption for Adoptive Parents

Graphic-3

Source: https://creatingafamily.org


Toddler Adoption
Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins-Best. Great information. The author was interviewed on the Creating a Family radio show.


adopting-older-children
Adopting Older Children: A Practical Guide to Adopting and Parenting Children Over Age Four by Stephanie Bosco-Ruggiero, MA; Gloria Russo Wassell, MS, LMHC; and Victor Groza, PhD. – This is a wonderful resource full of practical and hopeful tips for parents who have adopted a child over age four from foster care or through international adoption. The adoption therapist authors do not gloss over potential problems, but they don’t exaggerate them either. Listen to our interview with them on the Creating a Family Radio Show- Parenting Older Adopted Kids: A Practical Guide.


Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care
Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care: Traumatic Separations and Honored Connections by Deborah N. Silverstein and Susan Livingston Smith – This book is a comprehensive resource on issues facing siblings during foster care or adoption – both biological and adopted.


Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child
Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child by Trish Maskew


Adopting the Older Child
Adopting the Older Child by Claudia L. Jewett- Written in 1979 but still relevant.


Adopting a Toddler: What Size Shoe Does She Wear?
Adopting a Toddler: What Size Shoes Does She Wear? by Denise Harris Hoppenhauer – Offers great insight and practical advice for those preparing to adopt a toddler.


Nurturing Adoptions
Nurturing Adoptions – Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma by Deborah Gray – Anything by Deborah Gray is great. On our show she said this book was primarily written for adoption professionals, but I think adoptive parents will find a lot of useful information as well.


The Connected Child
The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Purvis, David R. Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine


Parenting Your Adopted Older Child
Parenting Your Adopted Older Child By Brenda McCreight – Good overview!


Another Place at the Table
Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison – I loved this book. It is the true life tale of one foster family and is very well written. I couldn’t put it down.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

5 Tips for Parenting Harder to Parent Adopted Kids

Source: https://creatingafamily.org
By Dawn Davenport

5-parenting-tips-harder-to-parent-kids

Sometimes parenting feels like we are soaring. Everything is clicking—we get the kids out the door in the morning without a major tantrum and we’re no more than 10 minutes late, we are eating semi-nutritious meals most days, and the little darlings are in bed with a minimum of fuss and teeth more or less brushed most nights.

Then there are times when it feels like we are slugging it out in the trenches. Often it is one particular child that puts us there. Perhaps this child was adopted at an older age after experiencing trauma, or maybe she has brain damage  caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol or drugs, or maybe this child’s temperament is a really poor match for yours. Whatever the reason, some kids are simply more challenging to parent.

When you are in the trenches it’s hard to see a way out. It’s at those times that you need some “quick” tips and tricks to help you cope. Read over these tips every week until you start to climb your way out of the parenting depths.

Read more.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


74a4eb2f-1f47-424a-af53-a3e0ccf1297a

The Georgian Association in the United States
Requests the Pleasure of Your Company at Its Annual Reception
On Monday, June 12, 2017, at 5:30 – 7:30
At
Baker McKenzie
815 Connecticut Avenue, 20006
Washington, DC
Please RSVP to  georgianassociation@gmail.com
Georgian wines will be provided by Georgian Wine House

Friday, June 2, 2017

STONEWARE WITH THE CHARM OF THINGS IMPERFECT AND SIMPLE by Christian Royal

Source: https://www.christianroyalpottery.com

home_welcome_image_grandeTHE POTTERY – Christian Royal Pottery is high-fired stoneware that is handmade using slab-building techniques. The stoneware incorporates the natural splendor of leaves or the artistry of beautiful laces, which are shaped into flowing designs and functional forms. The making of stoneware involves numerous steps over several days. Each piece involves Christian and his assistants in a collaborative effort, following many sequential steps. While some of the pieces may be similar, none are identical due to the process. Handcrafting produces variations in size, shape, color saturation, depth of impression, and minor imperfections that give each piece part of its appeal. Thus, the studio adage: Stoneware With The Charm of Things Imperfect and Simple

THE POTTER – Christian Royal is a young man with Down syndrome who struggles with single words and has yet to grasp basic addition or time.  However, since his teen years, Christian has shown an interest in, and aptitude for, working with clay. Christian was unable to “do” school as other students did and began making pottery as part of his homeschooling program.  Since his first lesson with Kris Neal of Fire And Earth Pottery, pottery has increasingly become the  focus of his life.  Over the years, through many providential happenings, kind-hearted people have offered their expertise and help at just the right time for each step of what is now Christian Royal Pottery. Foremost are John and Jan Myers, professional potters, who inexplicably offered to teach Christian the methods and techniques they had developed over thirty years. They made this offer the first time we ever met them. A week later we had unpacked our bags in their home and were sitting in their studio as John began to instruct Christian.  John and Jan’s teaching of Christian enabled him to produce a style of pottery that captures simplicity and charm in its essence.

Continue reading.

Model With Down Syndrome Challenges Beauty Stereotypes: BORN DIFFERENT

Source: https://www.yahoo.com

0a34ff67cd197e2074102a2419fe3d4b

THE first model with Down Syndrome to front a beauty campaign is hoping to shake up the industry and prove that “beauty belongs to everybody.” Katie Meade is the first to admit that people with Down Syndrome, as well as other disabilities, are largely absent from the beauty and fashion industries – and she’s determined to change it. The 33-year-old made history last year when she became the first ever model with Down Syndrome to be the face of a beauty brand and her career – both as a model and as an ambassador for people with learning disabilities – continues to grow.

See video.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Christianity Today Reports on Tragic Guatemalan Orphanage Fire


76170

Christianity Today – March 2017 reported the following:
Earlier this month, a fire at an orphanage outside of Guatemala’s capital caught international attention. Forty children died of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns; the tragic event drew worldwide condemnation.

But the aftermath of the fire has given hope to those who work with the Central American country’s orphans. As the government turns to evangelicals for help, it seems the tragedy may spark the breakthrough many have been praying for.

In some ways, the tragic blaze—set intentionally by children locked in the overcrowded facility—was not unexpected by evangelical experts. In 2006, Orphan Outreach founder Mike Douris told the Guatemalan government that the orphanage’s design wasn’t a good idea.

The government went ahead and built it anyway—another link in a chain of wrong moves. For decades, Guatemala has had some of the worst child welfare practices on the planet.

In 2015, the country had the second-highest rate of child murders in the world. Of the crimes against children that get reported—including murder, rape, kidnapping—most go unpunished (88%). An estimated 2 in 5 children are malnourished. Among indigenous children, that rises to 4 in 5. Tales of overcrowding, abuse, and malnutrition leak out of orphanages like the one near the nation’s capital, Guatemala City, where dozens died in the recent fire.

The infamous orphanage, the Virgen de la AsunciĆ³n, was built for 400 children but housed about 750. Inside, orphans were physically and sexually abused by staff and by other children. There were complaints about water leaks and poor food quality. Only 3 of the 64 security cameras in the building were working.

The conditions resemble fellow public orphanages, which house about 1,200 children in Guatemala. At least three times as many live in private orphanages (about 4,000), but that’s still a small fraction of the 370,000 orphans that UNICEF estimates live in the country. Since Guatemala has no foster care system and very few domestic adoptions, virtually every child removed from a neglectful or abusive situation is sent to an orphanage. Many more live on the streets.

KEEP THE PROMISE 2017!

The Office of Children’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State has declared May 15th Post-Adoption Report Day. It’s an opportunity to highlight the importance that parents who have adopted through intercountry adoption keep their promises and submit post-adoption reports as they committed to during the adoption process.

bea594211897675

Here are 3 simple reasons NCFA believes Post-Adoption Reporting matters!
  1. You promised!
    As a part of the adoption process, you were entrusted with the care of your child and promised to share about their future experiences. While it is easy to forget about extra paperwork in the important work of caring for your children, we think keeping your promise to report back on the wellbeing of your child is critically important. 
  2. It’s a great opportunity for reflection.
    Post-adoption reports are a good time to do some reflection and assessment. Consider your reporting dates an opportunity, not an obligation.  You can review and celebrate progress and milestones. Take a moment to consider what types of support might help your child (and you!) to grow and thrive. And consider what your goals are for your child and your family between now and the next reporting date. It’s also a terrific time to touch base with your adoption agency or other adoption professionals if you need any support. For some countries, you’re required to connect with your agency at this time anyway. It’s a natural and convenient time to touch base about any questions, concerns, or supports your family might find valuable.
  3. You’re helping to support future adoptions.
    Post-adoption reports are one of the ways countries assess whether children are healthy, safe, and loved as a result of intercountry adoption. This information can be critical to deciding whether future children will have the option to join families through intercountry adoption or might otherwise languish in institutions or other impermanent situations.
So, what exactly is a post-adoption report? While the number and timing of reports required varies, generally the report’s goal is to discuss the child’s development and adjustment to a new family, home, and country. It’s important to pay special attention to the specific requirements in the country a child is adopted from. The type of information, how it should be assessed (through an agency or by parents themselves), and how it should be submitted can vary widely from country to country. Below, we’ve listed some basic information on several countries reporting requirements. If you have specific questions about what your reporting requirements are, we encourage you to reach out to your adoption service provider to learn more. Department of State also provides country specific information and can be contacted if you need more information.
Post-Adoption Report Requirements
We aren’t listing in detail all the country requirements, but wanted to give examples of some common countries of origin and their general guidelines, we’ve also linked through to more specific information at Department of State for each country. Of course, the best way to get information on what is required for your adoption is always to contact your adoption service provider and confirm what was required by the country at the time of your adoption and any other requirements the agency might have that you agreed to during the adoption process.

Bulgaria: 4 reports required. One every six months after adoption for first two years.

China: 6 reports required. Six months after adoption and at 1,2,3,4, and 5 years after adoption. First 3 reports must be prepared by the social workers who prepared the homestudy. Families may write last three reports themselves.

Colombia: 4 reports—signed by social worker—at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months from the date of the final court decree which is signed while the family is in Colombia.

Ethiopia: Post-adoption reports are required at 3, 6, and 12 months post-adoption. After the first year, reports must be filed yearly until child turns 18.

Haiti: 7 post-adoption reports are typically required. The first 4 must be completed with the adoption service provider at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months after adoption. The last 3 reports at moths 36, 48, and 60 may be submitted directly to IBESR by adoptive parents.

India: Post-adoption reports are required quarterly in the first year after adoption, and twice a year during the 2nd year. They may be submitted online by the adoption service provider.

Kazakhstan: Post-adoption reports are required every six months for the first 3 years, and once a year until the child is 18. Reports are to be submitted to Kazakhstani diplomatic mission in the country of the child’s residence.

Philippines: During the first 6 months of custody the adoption service provider must conduct bi-monthly reports. After this period, adoptive parents should file a petition for adoption in U.S. court.

Russia: Russia requires children to be registered with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave Russia or with the Russian Embassy or Consulate upon arrive in the U.S. 4 post-adoption reports are required. The reports should be completed: (1) 5 months after adoption court order and submitted no later than the end of the 7th month, (2) 11 months after adoption court order and no later than then end of the 13th month, (3) 23 months after adoption court order and submitted no later than the end of the 25th month, and (4) 35 months after adoption court order and no later than then end of the 37th month.

Ukraine: Post-adoption reports are required annually for the first 3 years, and once every 3 years thereafter until the child is 18.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Attention Alabama Families: IAC Presents "Adoption Boot Camp" – June 3rd, 2017

The International Adoption Clinic at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham (AL) will be hosting a live seminar entitled “Adoption Boot Camp” on June 3rd, 2017 from 8:30am to 5:00pm in the Bradley Lecture Hall at Children’s Hospital.

The focus of Adoption Boot Camp will be on internationally and domestically adopted children or those children in the foster care setting. Discussed will be the awareness of medical, emotional, and developmental needs to expect once home.

While hosted on the same date, our domestic and international focused seminars are held separately so that the focus is on the specific needs of those families, whether adopting from the U.S. or another country. 

Please forward this flyer to any family going through the domestic/foster care or international adoption process OR families already home with their child who you feel would take great benefit from these topics.

The seminar is also opened to professionals within the field of adoption or who would like further education on these topics. CEUs will be available for both social workers and nurses. If you are a professional seeking to attend, please see the flyer noted “for professionals” flyer and pass along to others that will benefit from this educational seminar.

The deadline to register will be: May 20th, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Announcing The New AdoptTogether.org



AdoptTogether has officially partnered with Pure Charity to become:
ADOPTTOGETHER powered by Pure Charity
 
Their new partnership will be official this Wednesday, April 26.
 
All of your basic questions & answers about their new partnership is featured below, but feel free to email Sueann@adopttogether.org with any further questions!

We are so EXCITED!

Here's to a brighter future for all AdoptTogether families, and greater strides towards the vision of a world with a family for every child!
 
Five Changes You May Notice on the New AdoptTogether.org
 
1. A New Look
AdoptTogether.org is going to look far different than before. Essentially, it will have all the same functionality with an upgraded look and feel to make donating and creating a profile just as easy as before. NOTE: All preexisting family profile information and donation history will automatically be transferred to the new site.


2. A Transition Period
Real talk, whenever a website gets a massive overhaul like the one AdoptTogether has gone through, you can expect the occasional hiccup. Things you may notice could be anything from a broken link, a few grammatical errors, and a slight delay in data being transferred over from the old to the new site. For instance, profile changes and donations made after Friday 4/21 will be reflected on the new site by the end of this week. If you have already received an AdoptTogether Grant, it will appear on your Grant Dashboard within the next two weeks.


3. The Grant Submission Process
AdoptTogether.org now features a Grant Request Portal for families to quickly and easily request their funds raised through AdoptTogether. This process is one of the fundamental services AdoptTogether provides families, and it just got a whole lot more efficient!


4. New Tools For Your Profile   
AdoptTogether profiles will now come with a variety of upgraded features, which include an enhanced ability to track your donor activity, view your Grant Request status and history, display a geotag showing the region where you’re adopting from, and upload videos to keep your network informed and engaged with your family's progress!


5. Resources
To aide families in the adoption process, the AdoptTogether team has collected and created over 80 resources full of information about everything from "How to Start the Adoption Process," to "What You Need to Know the First Day Your Child Comes Home." We hope these new resources will be a valuable asset to families for years to come!

If you still have any questions about the new partnership please email Sueann@adopttogether.org.

Cheers!
Hank
CEO & Founder | AdoptTogether

Friday, April 21, 2017

Adoption Alert—Suspension of Adoptions from Ethiopia

unnamed

On April 21, an official from Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women and Children (MOWA) informed U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa that it is suspending its processing of intercountry adoption cases, effective immediately. The U.S. Department of State does not yet know how long this suspension will last. The Office of Children’s Issues and the Embassy are working with MOWA to seek more information on the terms of the suspension. We will urge MOWA to complete processing of cases that were in progress prior to this suspension.

If you have questions about your pending case, please contact your Adoption Service Provider. You may also write to ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov if you have questions about an adoption-related visa application or immigrant petition. You may copy the Office of Children’s Issues at Adoption@state.gov on your email to the Embassy if you wish.

Please continue to monitor adoption.state.gov for updated information on intercountry adoption in Ethiopia.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Contact Information for the National Benefit Center

Dear Adoption Community,

We would like to share the following information we received from the National Benefits Center:
Effective today, the National Benefits Center will consolidate our public email boxes into one box.

We will only use NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov and have deactivated NBC.Hague@uscis.dhs.gov.

We are in the process of updating our contact information on https://www.uscis.gov/adoption/uscis-adoption-contact-information.

In the meantime, messages received to the NBC.Hague mailbox will be automatically redirected to the NBC.Adoptions mailbox through a system ‘rule’ for one year, expiring on May 1, 2018.

We would appreciate your assistance in directing your staff and our customers to NBC.Adoptions@uscis.dhs.gov going forward. Our contact telephone number remains the same (877-424-8374).

Sincerely,

The Office of Children’s Issues
Official  UNCLASSIFIED

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Intercountry Adoption Statistics Continue Decline: Now available

Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions Narrative

The 2016 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoption, as required by Section 104 of the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, provides data and other information on intercountry adoptions to and from the United States from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016. The report is released after a thorough review of the available data to ensure the information is accurate. In addition to the actual data, this review includes a summary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Children’s Issues, Adoption Division’s efforts for the fiscal year.

Continue reading (PDF)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Save Adoptions — Phase II

df477d0e200d0226e1ecbc7042d3ab3c

Dear families,

Less than 5 months ago, we were facing the imposition of new regulations from the Department of State which would have raised the cost of adoptions for our client families, created financial and operational obstacles for our agencies and guaranteed the continued decline in intercountry adoptions.
Eighty-eight agencies and other adoption service providers stepped up and signed an open letter to the Department of State urging that these proposed regulations be withdrawn.  In addition, almost 28,000 adoption supporters joined us and signed our Petition to the Department of State.  On April 4th, our collective voices were heard and the proposed regulations were withdrawn.

Whether you supported our efforts or not, we urge you to continue to fight the attack on intercountry adoptions.  We have tasked our SaveAdoptions.org web site to continue the fight.  For the next 4-6 weeks, we will be highlighting the travesty in Nepal.  Whether you have, or would like to adopt from Nepal, or maybe you just care about suffering children, you can’t be happy about the blanket suspension of adoptions from Nepal which has been in place for over 6 years, despite no proof of the fraudulent documentation alleged by USCIS.

First, take a look at the updated www.saveadoptions.org web site.  Second, please use your mailing lists to urge your family and friends to sign the plea to lift the Nepal suspension.  We had 27,949 signatures before updating the web site, so we will know how many adoption supporters sign on for this next phase of intercountry adoption support.  Your signature will Support the Cause of Nepalese orphans. If you have already signed the original petition, know that this is a new petition and your signature is vital. 

Thank you for considering this important issue and getting involved.  (Share, re-tweet, or send an email)

"The Day We Met" Adoption Documentary In The Making

f18dacc33f053e4f296bd4ab2cd855ea

Hello Hopscotch Families,

I’d like to introduce you to Patricia Carrascal, an audiovisual producer from Argentina. At the moment Patricia is working on a documentary about adoption from around the world. She is searching for families to share their international adoption stories. 

If your family is in the beginning stages of adoption, Patricia would like to record your journey, step by step. Patricia is an adoptive mom and knows it’s a complicated process. Attached you’ll find a flyer with the documentary proposal in more detail.

If your family would like to participate, you can contact Patricia directly at patcarrascal@gmail.com

With encouragement,
Robin

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PDF FLYER.

Armenian Potluck for NC and SC Families

armenian flag 2015

Armenian Potluck

Saturday, April 22, 2017
5:00 pm

First Southern Methodist Church,
2017 Fork Shoals Rd.
(Near the I-185 Southern connector tollroad.)
Greenville, SC

Please bring:
Meat dish
Salad or dessert
Beverage

RSVP Kathy Chorbajian 864-269-3533

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Are Time-Outs Helpful or Harmful to Young Children? by Claire Lerner

Source: www.zerotothree.org

Jan 14, 2016

By Claire Lerner

a3d2d602-8b32-4234-9117-fa5388f2a80f-smallWhat’s a parent to do when one of the most commonly used tools for discipline is called into question?

A number of recent articles in popular media that denounce the use of time-outs have sent many parents, understandably, into a tailspin. Critics believe that instead of helping children calm down, time-outs have the opposite effect—causing children to become even more distressed and “dysregulated,” or out of control. Further, children can become so overwhelmed by the disruption in their relationship with their parent during time-out (and by the shame they feel for being “bad”) that their emotional upset increases and their likelihood of learning from the experience decreases. But all of these negative outcomes assume that time-out is approached with anger, shaming, and harshness by the parent. When implemented this way—as punishment—time-out can no doubt be detrimental to the child.

Continue reading.

The Past Is Present: The Impact of Your Childhood Experiences on How You Parent Today

Source: www.zerotothree.org

By Claire Lerner

Feb 29, 2016

This article encourages parents to reflect on experiences they had growing up in order to make conscious decisions about what practices they want to repeat, and not repeat, with their own children.

-------------------------------------

1f8889c2-74a5-42b1-9bdf-b7bba002388e-smallHow many times have you opened your mouth to say something and heard your parents’ words come out? You’re not alone. Most parents have had this experience. It helps you see how deeply you are influenced by your childhood experiences and why it’s so important to become aware of how they shape your approach to parenting today.

Just as you are your child’s first teacher, your parents were yours. Things they said and did, their way of being and relating to you and others, laid the foundation for many of your beliefs, values, attitudes, and parenting practices. Few parents, if any, had a lesson plan in mind. The transfer of information mostly took place through everyday interactions. You tuned in to the subtle and not-so-subtle messages they sent, which influenced how you thought about yourself and the world around you.

Continue reading.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Decoding Your Child's Behavior

decoding-2At some point all parents face behavioral challenges with their children. Adopted children have often had unfortunate experiences that may increase misbehavior and make traditional discipline techniques ineffective. Join Phyllis Booth, Founder of Theraplay®, and Mandy Jones, LCSW, JD, certified Theraplay® therapist at the Center for Lifelong Adoption Support, as they provide an empathetic understanding of why negative behaviors occur and discuss tools, techniques and activities that parents can use to tame temper tantrums and create positive relationships.
Topics will include:
  • Differences adopted children face in childhood and how that affects behavior
  • Behavioral and self-regulation issues both at home and in school
  • What parents can do to curb negative behaviors
  • How parents can create happy, connected family relationships
Continue reading.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Eating Asia: Drinking Food at the Deserters’ Market in Tbilisi, Georgia

Source: http://eatingasia.typepad.com

Side note: In my 21 years’ experience and love affair with Georgia and Georgians, I have never experienced anything like this write shared.  I take that back…. Once, when I was lost with a dead phone battery, a female shop keeper was super rude when I asked to use her phone… but the hair salon next door, more than made up for her shocking rudeness. He took my predicament personally and assisted me with the kindness of a big brother and delivered me safely home.  Otherwise, every encounter with Georgians have been nothing but Southern hospitality on steroids, full of charm and profound generosity.  I’m sharing this article for the food and photography illustration, only. 

——————

scenes from Dezerti market, Tblisi, GeorgiaIt is not the best wine I’ve drunk since arriving in Tbilisi the week before, not even close. Lightly effervescent, with a distinctly sour edge. Also, it is 10 AM, and I’m not a morning drinker. Not so the men clustered around Dave and I, watching with keen interest our every sip, our every nibble from the dishes on the counter in front of us. One shortish fellow with a stubbled head and double chin breathes alcoholic fumes on my cheek, then leans back on his heels and smiles, swaying like a Weeble.

I don’t know what to make of him, or of this mid-morning liquor-fueled scene in the near-dark of Dezertiri Market’s rear recesses. And that pretty much describes my state of mind for most of our short time in Georgia. We’d come from eastern Turkey, a place of big smiles, bigger welcomes, outsized hospitality. In eastern Turkey turning down invites to tea, to lunch, to dinner, to a night or five on the spare bed or couch of a perfect stranger has become normal. In Tbilisi, people smile …. or scowl. Shopkeepers are gracious … or rude. Trying to smooth the way with a nicety uttered in (my mangled) Georgian are met with a thumbs-up …. or a cluck of the tongue, a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head. They love you or are annoyed by you (some seem to despise you), these Georgians, and it is near  impossible to predict which it will be. But here, in Dezertiri’s boozy back room, we are most decidedly welcome.

Continue reading.