ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families

ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book for Adoptive Families by Gayle H. Swift

Learn more about the book (PDF)

51LYPIyatIL__SX258_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ An award-winning  book about adoption that celebrates the blessing of family and addresses the difficult issues as well. With exuberant illustrations and a diverse representation of families, ABC, Adoption & Me deepens understanding of what it means to be an adoptive family. It provides talking points that bring families closer, and presents adoption as a safe topic. Kids report that ABC, Adoption & Me expresses their complicated feelings in a way that makes them feel normal and which makes it easy for them to discuss with their families. “Most adoption books only talk about the good part of adoption. ABC shows adoption from the kid’s side.” Includes a parent guide.

Named a Favorite Read of 2013 by Adoptive Families, the award-winning national adoption magazine and leading adoption information source for families before, during, and after adoption.

Named a Notable Picture Book for 2013 by Shelf Unbound in their December/January 2014 issue.

Earned an Honorable Mention from the Gittle List of 2013

“Adoptive Families Magazine” named it a Favorite Read of 2013 and it has garnered several other awards as well. I hope all adoptive families will make this a part of their family library. Posted by: Robin E. Sizemore, Executive Director, Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc

FREE NC Homestudy Bootcamp: Registration Required

Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc is offering a FREE NC Homestudy Bootcamp on Saturday May 3 @ 3-4:30pm, 1208 Eastchester Drive, Suite 120 High Point, NC.

Registration Required.  336-899-0069 or info@hopscotchadoptions.org

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HelpUsAdopt Deadline April 11, 2014!!!

HelpUsAdopt%20Logo%20jpeg HelpUsAdopt Adoption Grant Deadline is April 11, 2014!!!!  Get your Application in today!!!

IAC 265 Results February 26, 2014

iacresults113020111_thumb_thumb_thumb1 The following referrals were issued in IAC Session 275 which was held on February 26, 2014.

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Georgian Children’s Reunion to be held in Atlanta, Georgia May 9-11, 2014

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Georgian Children’s Reunion to be held in Atlanta, Georgia May 9-11, 2014 – Program and details to follow – mark your calendars and clear your weekend for a great time re-connecting to families with children/teens from Georgia and to our children’s culture and community!

Georgian Children’s Reunion to be held in Atlanta, Georgia May 9-11, 2014

georgian%20childrens%20reunion%202014%20fb%20banner

Georgian Children’s Reunion to be held in Atlanta, Georgia May 9-11, 2014 – Program and details to follow – mark your calendars and clear your weekend for a great time re-connecting to families with children/teens from Georgia and to our children’s culture and community!

75,000 Orphans and Counting…

Source: http://childrendeservefamilies.com/75000-orphans-counting/

By Kelly Ensslin

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Kelly Ensslin has an insightful new blog post on the Both Ends Burning website about the newly released State Department adoption numbers, showing a drop for the ninth consecutive year in a row. The numbers over the past decade represent at least 75,000 orphans who have been deprived of permanent, loving families due to failed U.S. policy.

“Last Friday, the Department of State released its long-awaited annual international adoption statistics. As we had predicted, for the ninth straight year the number of children internationally adopted into permanent loving US families has fallen. In fiscal year 2013, only 7,094 children entered the United States on orphan visas. This number represents an 18% drop from the prior year and a 69% reduction since 2004, when international adoptions peaked at 22,884.

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6 things you shouldn’t say to, or in front of your child

Posted on http://lovinadoptin.com/2014/03/20/6-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-or-in-front-of-your-kids

Worthy and Reposted by Robin Sizemore, Executive Director of Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc

b3c432785b7717fca009fcd7a15e74c6Sometimes it’s common sense and sometimes it’s not. Despite that common sense we’ve all supposedly been given, I’ve heard some terrible things said in front of, and to, children. Guidance has also been disposed by some professionals that can be detrimental to a child’s healing (I mean completely stop it right in its tracks). Some of the points on this list may seem obvious to you, but I encourage you to read through them, because even parents with the best intentions can say things that are hurtful to a child. This can especially happen when a hurting child is acting out because of what’s going on inside of them. So, here they are:

  1. Don’t talk about how difficult your child is.
    By making statements like, “Ezra is so naughty, you wouldn’t believe what he did today,” “Sarene is such a pistol, she knocked the lamp over again,” “Jared won’t stop hitting, he’s a brat at school.” These statements can make a child feel like they can’t do anything good, especially if 70% of their behavior is negative, it can shine like a negativity rainbow around them. Your child already feels like they can’t do anything right, children will blame themselves for being removed from their birth family, for being in an orphanage, for moving from one foster home to another. They may even feel worthless, so talking about what they aren’t doing right doesn’t help. When your child has negative behavior decide whether there will be a consequence, and leave the behavior there (meaning don’t carry it through to that night or the following days).

    *The reason I say “decide” if there will be a consequence is because there are certain behaviors that shouldn’t have consequences: stashing/hoarding food, sneaking food, getting up in the middle of the night or not staying in bed, wetting the bed, and pottying their pants to name a few. These can all be indicative of an underlying problem, and frankly so are all behaviors.

    Try to find out what is triggering your child, what is causing the problem, try to help them through it, and don’t jump to discipline first.

  2. Abstain from discussing the money you’re getting or not getting for foster care.
    This one seems obvious to me, but obviously it’s not obvious to others, because I’ve heard it, or I wouldn’t list it. Parents forget their children can hear them, even if they’re chatting on the phone or talking to a friend while the kids play. Once, while standing in front of the Department of Human Services a foster mom talked with someone while her foster kids ran around her playing. She said, “I won’t adopt them (the kids who were with her!) unless they increase my stipend. This child needs_____ and that child needs_____ and they won’t increase my stipend to pay for it.”

    If you want to talk about what the state is or isn’t paying you, it’s your right, but discussing it in front of your kids can be hugely problematic. They’ll feel they’re only wanted if you get enough money for them. And, honestly, no matter how little a state pays foster parents, it doesn’t mean children aren’t worth being cared for.

  3. Avoid talking about how easy your life was before them.

    “Before you came, it was so peaceful here.” “There was no fighting until you came along.” “I’m always exhausted now.”  – Statements like this will make a child feel unwanted and that they cause all the problems. When it’s true that it looks like the hurting child causes an immense amount of strife, we must remember it’s their past causing all the turmoil within them and rising to the surface. – Help yourself and find peaceful moments in your day to have to yourself.

  4. Refrain from telling them: “If you can’t follow the rules, you can’t live here,” or “I guess you don’t want to live here since you can’t follow the rules.”

    Interestingly (I actually have another word for it) this is advice given by some therapists. This gives the impression that a child or teen is judged solely based on their negative behavior. And sorry, but if the only behaviors a child’s been taught are negative, they will have less then desirable behaviors.

    Kids are also going to test you to see if you will stick with them through the bad. They’re going to prove to themselves no one will love them if they do wrong. In my opinion leaving the home is not an option. When you say they can’t live in your home if ____, it gives them an option. An option to miss out on love, possibly for the rest of their life.

  5. Don’t place blame on children by saying things like: “You’re ruining everything.”

    Blame can also come across very strongly through actions and attitudes toward kids. I’ve seen this happen so often, and sometimes it’s perpetrated by therapists. They blame the child, saying, “See what you’re doing to your parents.” When it’s not a contemplated action against them, but rather a protective instinct because adults aren’t safe and are untrustworthy. A hurting child cannot heal themselves. Put blame anywhere else, but on a child. Do you blame your child for anything? Loss of anything, changing anything?

  6. Avoid talking about what the social workers are saying.
    When doing foster care you are surrounded by social workers, they come in and out of your house, you talk to them on the phone, you email, you see them in court and at visits, and there can be a lot to discuss with your spouse, friends and family. But telling your kiddos what was said, or saying it when they can overhear you, can cause major behaviors among other problems. However, if discussions are serious about your foster child being reunited with their family then you need to share this with your child to prepare them.

Remember children are much smarter than many people give them credit for. Although it may seem like they aren’t listening, they are. While they’re playing, watching a movie, or sitting in the backseat, they’re listening.

Also, there are times when our own words, attitudes, and actions cause negative behaviors in our kids. I created this list so you can look at what you’re saying, or when you’re saying it, so you can avoid breakdowns and help your kids heal.

So you know, I’m far from perfect myself. I’ve said some things I regret. We can’t erase the past, but we can apologize and we all have a chance to change what we say from here forward.

International Adoption’s Drastic Decline: Why US Government Policy is Significantly To Blame

Source: http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org/international-adoptions-drastic-decline-us-government-policy-significantly-blame/

By Diane Kunz

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U.S. government policy is significantly to blame for the drastic decline in international adoption.  The US  government views international adoption as something to protect children from rather than a form of protection for children.  Let me explain.

Over the last five years the USG has taken a consistently negative approach on international adoption. The Department of State has adopted UNICEF’s policy which is that international adoption is to be shunned.  It is DOS and UNICEF which advance the proposition that countries should reject international adoption as a method of family formation.   When speaking at international forums such as the  Fifth International Policy Conference on the African Child:  Intercountry Adoption:  Alternatives and Controversies (May 29-30, 2012; http://www.africanchildforum.org/ipc/), DOS and UNICEF speak with one voice,  defining  international adoption as cultural genocide,  a sign of national failure or as a cover for fraud.   As the USG has funneled billions of dollars of aid through UNICEF in the last five years, it is no surprise that developing countries are following this prescription.

The USG has not usefully aided countries which wish to join the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.  DOS, our Central Authority, has not given the level of technical advice and training that could bring good programs into existence.    Instead we criticize other countries’ efforts and find them unacceptable (The record of our interactions with Vietnam is relevant here.)  We have not accorded appropriate respect to countries which have joined the Hague.  Being a member of the Hague Convention should give foreign Central Authority decisions an analogous  level of status as under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.   DOS has taken the opposite approach, telling the Chinese what their laws mean, questioning the Ethiopians on their legal practices etc.  Contrast the approach taken by DOS in Hague Abduction cases.

DOS has not used timely and appropriate diplomacy with other international adoption partners.  Chinese officials have repeated told stakeholders that DOS is the worst central authority with which they have programs.  We could probably not have prevented the Russian ban on international adoption to the United States but had DOS taken a more active role during the negotiations over the U.S.-Russian Bilateral Adoption Agreement, that treaty would have been effective, with regulations promulgated when the Russian ban was enacted.  This would have most likely meant that Russian children (including biological siblings of children previously adopted here) who were already near the completion of their adoptions, would have come home to their American families.

DOS often uses fear of fraud as an explanation for its actions.  Yet when USCIS examined over 2000 Ethiopian cases, its officials could find no case that should not have been approved.  The Center for Adoption Policy has repeatedly asked DOS to require specific anti-fraud measures, with no results.  It is almost as if DOS wants fraud to exist as an excuse to end all international adoption.  Of course there are bad adoptions which call for specific bad actions to be ended and specific bad actors to be excluded from international adoption work.  But instead of this proper focus, DOS is weaponizing these wrongful practices and targeting all international adoptions. Is there trafficking through adoption?  There are a tiny number of documented cases and they are heinous.  But the number is miniscule when compared to child trafficking done through illicit immigration schemes, and child snatching.

DOS has repeatedly been dilatory and lax in its efforts as the Central Authority.  There have been numerous times over the last five years when I have contacted DOS with news of changes in various countries’ programs.   I glean my information from online research.  Surely DOS could have better information if it so chose.  This lack of information causes true pain and suffering to potential adoptive parents.  Just as bad are the continued flawed processing and the consistent burying of adoption cases under reams of paper.  No wonder we have seen the pool of potential adoptive parents shrink because families, understandably, shy away from international adoption when they learn of these unnecessary pitfalls.

There is another way.  The USG could take the opposite path and embrace international adoption as one legitimate method of family creation for unparented children.  This is the goal a number of supporters are attempting to reach through the Children in Families First Act (CHIFF; S. 1530, H.R. 4143).  As CHIFF directs:  “All options for providing appropriate, protective, and permanent family care to children living without families must be considered concurrently and permanent solutions must be put in place as quickly as possible. Solutions include family preservation and reunification, kinship care, guardianship, domestic and Intercountry adoption, and other culturally acceptable forms of care that will result in appropriate, protective, and permanent family care. Preference should be given to options that optimize child best interests, which generally means options which provide children with fully protected legal status and parents with full legal status as parents, including full parental rights and responsibilities.”

In practice this policy would direct DOS, USCIS and USAID to use both money and soft power influence to promote policy which puts the goal of children having families first, including the use of international adoption as a legitimate option for unparented children, as well as advocating for other available solutions.  Our government would allocate our foreign aid to help countries create child-centered solutions which would have general similarities but also take account of  national differences.  We would provide monetary and technical assistance to countries that were joining the Hague Convention  and we would measure progress to make sure that best practices  were put into place in a timely fashion.  With our Hague partners we would take the position that once you have joined the Hague club, we respect and accept your domestic procedures.  The USG position would aim to get to yes, rather than find ever more creative ways of saying no.

We would assure countries that in our multicultural nation, a child who comes here will be brought up with the greatest respect for her culture and will grow up as a citizen of the world.  Nationalism has not increased in the last twenty years; one of the courses I taught at Yale (in my previous career as a diplomatic historian) traced the trajectory of nationalism, and I can vouch for that assertion.  If you look at the number of immigrants who wish to come here and the lengths that they go to do so, one understands that nothing ideological stands in the way of the hope for a better life, for oneself, and for one’s children.

Currently, despite falling birth rates, millions of orphans and vulnerable children are at risk around the world.  The USG can and should work with governments and international bodies to create permanent solutions for these children without families.  Take China, for example.  In Guangzhou the local government this year set up a child safe haven box where parents could leave children they could not care for.  In ninety days 260 children were left there, completely overwhelming officials who closed down the facility because they had no room in the city’s orphanages.    On an annual rate, the number of children abandoned in that one safe haven in that one three month period is 45 percent of the entire number of adoptions from China to the United States in FY 2013.  Under our new approach, the USG would, together with Chinese officials, ameliorate difficulties so that these children could find permanent, loving homes.

In FY 2008, our first year as a Hague nation, there were 17, 456 adoptions into the US.  Last year there were 7,094.  Tens of thousands of children have been abandoned to the direst of fates.  We must do better.

Dr. Diane B. Kunz, Esq. is Executive Director of the Center for Adoption Policy, a 501 (c) 3 corporation that has become a pre-eminent legal and policy institute engaged in adoption issues. The Center for Adoption Policy was honored in 2008 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute as an Angel in Adoption. Dr. Kunz has consulted with government agencies such as the Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control and USCIS and has been actively involved in helping deal with issues pertaining to the Haitian children who came to the United States under the humanitarian parole program. From 1976 to 1983 Dr. Kunz practiced corporate law with the firms of White & Case and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett (Cornell University, J.D. 1976). She left the practice of law and studied diplomatic and economic history at Oxford University (M. Litt. 1986) and Yale University (Ph.D, 1989). From 1988 until 1998 she was Assistant, then Associate Professor of History at Yale University. While at Yale she wrote extensively on twentieth century history, including the prize winning book, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis and Butter and Guns: The Economic Diplomacy of the Cold War. From 1998-2001 she taught history and international relations at Columbia University. In 2001 she and Ann Reese founded the Center for Adoption Policy. Dr. Kunz is a member of the New York bar. She is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys. She is also the mother of eight children, four of whom were born in China through the non-special needs and waiting children programs.

Georgian Association Issues a Statement Concerning Russia’s Annexation of Crimea

Dear Friends,

The Georgian Association in the USA has issued a statement concerning Russia’s Annexation of Crimea.

The transcript of the statement is reproduced below. Here is a link to the actual statement.

Sincerely,
Nino Aduashvili
Executive Director
Georgian Association in the USA, Inc.

Statement of the Georgian Association in the United States of America

The Georgian Association in the United States of America, the oldest organization representing the Georgian-American community, condemns Russia’s annexation of Crimea in the strongest terms and fully supports the government of Ukraine in declaring the March 16th referendum on Crimea’s independence illegal. The Association calls on the US Government to undertake all possible steps to protect the fundamental principles of international law, based on sovereignty and the territorial integrity of nation-states.

The Association calls on the Obama administration to ensure security guarantees for Georgia and to advocate forcefully for Georgia’s accession into NATO. Granting Georgia the Membership Action Plan (MAP), which it has earned by meeting strict NATO requirements, is a more effective way to impose a real political cost on Moscow for its illegal and politically destabilizing activities, while demonstrating to Ukraine and other countries that the hard work of reform pays off. 
Economic sanctions and a travel ban against individual members of the Russian political and military leadership alone are unlikely to convince Russia to withdraw its military from Crimea and to respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine for several reasons.

First, it is highly unlikely that sanctions alone will persuade President Putin to relinquish Crimea or to allow Ukraine out of Russia’s political orbit. The Kremlin’s desire to keep its immediate neighbors within its sphere of influence trump any economic interests that may be damaged by sanctions.

Second, based on their experience in 2008, President Putin and his circle are convinced that Russia can wait out sanctions. They expect Europe to cave in due to its dependence on Russian gas and the damaging economic losses that will result from tit-for-tat sanctions. Whether this belief is accurate is immaterial; what matters is that Putin and his inner circle perceive it to be true and will base their actions on this perception. Relying on economic sanctions will not yield their intended political effect, especially given the autocratic nature of the Russian government and its insensitivity to domestic pressures.

Offering NATO membership to Georgia is a proper strategic response. NATO membership, in concert with the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, extends stability and prosperity to qualified countries, and serves the interests of the United States. The alternative is a Russian model of confrontation, dismemberment of neighboring states, instability and corrupt governance,

In order to extend NATO membership to Georgia, the US government should open immediate dialogue with its NATO partners, Germany and Turkey, as well as with the UK, which is the host nation of the next summit, to push Georgia’s MAP forward at an accelerated pace.

Given Georgia’s significant contributions to US-led military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, its strategic location and its success in becoming a stable and democratic state, the Association calls on the US government to immediately begin negotiations with its NATO allies to ensure the rapid promotion of Georgia’s NATO membership.

Board of Directors of the Georgian Association in the USA

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