Drone Views for Gyumri, Armenia – Beautiful!!





Gyumri city stadium

Your Friends from Hopscotch Adoptions Wish You a Very Happy 7th Birthday!


Madeline Stuart, 18-Year-Old Model With Down Syndrome, Will Walk In NYFW

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com

By Carly Ledbetter

11850016_1099023933458652_694340305_n In just one year, Madeline Stuart, an 18-year-old with Down syndrome, has become the face of two fashion campaigns. Now the Australia native is set to walk in New York Fashion Week on September 13.

"When we were asked to do New York Fashion Week, it didn’t surprise me," said her mother, Rosanne Stuart, in an interview with Cosmopolitan. "I don’t think anything really surprises me anymore. She’s been asked to do a lot of stuff and I was hoping to she’d get asked to do NYFW but I assumed it would happen. I hope that doesn’t sound too pretentious."

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Why You Should Not Welcome My Child With Special Needs Into Your Church

ezra field I realize this may be one of the most controversial posts I have ever written. It has taken me months of writing, stopping, coming back, re-writing and I’m still not positive it’s perfect. But it is my heart. Every fiber of my being burns with passion over this topic. I want to share with you why you should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church.

I write this from what I believe is a unique perspective.  You see, I have worked in ministry for over ten years now. I have been on staff as a youth pastor and a children’s pastor. I have helped to develop a special needs program within a church setting. I have also been a teacher for five years collectively. I have taught classrooms full of children from all kinds of backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses. Most importantly, I am a mother to two beautiful children, one of whom has Autism. That’s right, I am the parent of a special needs child.  So why on earth would someone with my background write a blog like this? Allow me to share my heart with you.  These are the reasons I believe you should NOT welcome my special needs child to your church.

Read more.

New Armenian Language Program – Classes Forming Now!

Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR)

Armenian Language Program

During the past decade, hundreds of children have been adopted from Armenia, some of which to non-Armenian parents and many who do not live in close proximity to an Armenian school or an Armenian Church.  Given the importance of the Armenian language to these children’s ethnic identity, SOAR’s Armenian Language Program (ALP) was developed to provide elementary and intermediate Armenian instruction to children adopted from Armenia who are now living in the Diaspora.

The Program offers live, virtual instruction, in both Eastern and Western Armenian, to anyone in the global community interested in gaining an appreciation for the Armenian language. The ALP is overseen by SOAR-Yerevan, with proceeds benefiting SOAR’s Orphan Transitional Program.

Please go to the Armenian Language Program to enroll. 

Classes forming now!

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

Email: gyacoubian@soar-us.org   Web: www.soar-us.org

Part II: Article on non-convention adoptions/guardian pitfalls and perils

Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of Intercountry Adoption from Non-Hague Countries: Considerations for Agencies and Adoptive Parents (Part II)

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org

By: Christine Lockhart Poarch and J. McLane Layton


This is Part II of a two-part series that provides an overview of the most common perils and pitfalls involved in designating a child as an orphan under U.S. law, and emphasizes best practices for agencies and adoptive families when pursuing adoptions in countries that are not signatories to The Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. Part I provided a complete and thorough explanation of the orphan definition under U.S. law. Part II provides an overview of the procedural requirements and potential practical complexities in orphan cases.

Read more.

Avoiding the Pitfalls and Perils of Intercountry Direct Placement

Avoiding the Perils and Pitfalls of Intercountry Adoption from Non-Hague Countries: Considerations for Agencies and Adoptive Parents (Part I)

Source: http://www.adoptioncouncil.org

By Christine Lockhart Poarch and J. McLane Layton


While adopting a child from another country, you receive word that the in-country court has scheduled the final guardianship or adoption hearing. You make travel plans with your family to be in-country for just a few weeks. After all, once you appear for the in-country court proceeding, you are sure that this very long process will be almost over. You assume that the last step–procuring a visa from your own government, the United States–will be quick and painless.

Sometimes it is, and you are soon on your flight home, exactly as scheduled, with the newest addition to your family. Other times, your family is not so fortunate, and you spend weeks or months, thousands of dollars, and every ounce of patience trying to prove to the U.S. Department of State and ultimately, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), that your child is truly an orphan under U.S. law and eligible for a visa to enter the U.S.

In our experience, what agencies and adoptive parents don’t know about the orphan definition can hurt them and may risk the family’s completion of a successful intercountry adoption. This article is Part I of a two-part series that will provide an overview of the most common perils and pitfalls involved in designating a child as an orphan under U.S. law and emphasize best practices for agencies and adoptive families when pursuing adoptions in countries that are not signatories to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.2 A complete and thorough understanding of the perils and pitfalls of the orphan definition—in the beginning, before the case gets off the ground in-country—offers adoptive families and adoptees the best chance of avoiding heartache, disappointment and delay, protects birth families, and offers agencies the best chance of formulating policies to support favorable case completion when inter-country adoption is in the best interest of the child.

Read more.

Message from Joint Council’s Chair of the Board

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, it is with great sadness that we inform you that our organization must cease its operations effective June 30, 2015.

Joint Council’s 40-year history has been storied. A small group of organizations came together in 1975 to share information, elevate practices and collaborate on projects serving children in the U.S. and abroad. From those beginnings, we grew into an international organization with an outstanding reputation helping thousands upon thousands of orphans and vulnerable children. We are extremely proud of Joint Council’s accomplishments and take great pride in the difference our organization made in the lives of so many children and their families.

These accomplishments were only possible because of the company that we kept. The Joint Council community is a family unto itself. We would like to thank all current and previous staff, board members, partners, donors and supporters for their dedication to our common cause.  We especially want to thank our current staff – Jennifer, Marie and Brandy – who have worked tirelessly under extremely stressful circumstances, and to the end, with extreme passion and dedication.

This was a difficult and painful decision to make, and we would like you to know that the Board acted reluctantly. As an organization, we have been subject to the same trends that have impacted many of our partners over the last decade. While we have been on the brink before, each time we were able to recover, but with diminished capacity. At this point in time, we are simply out of money and realize that we no longer have the prospect of continuing as a viable organization.

I hope that all of you will continue your tireless efforts to address the unmet needs of vulnerable children and continue the legacy of Joint Council by working to end the suffering of children who live every day without the safety and love of a strong permanent family.

On a personal note, as an adoptive parent who benefited from the work of Joint Council, I will forever be grateful for the group’s leadership that helped make our adoption possible.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Thank you for all of the support you have shown to Joint Council,

Brian Franklin
Board Chair

About that Homecoming…. When We Come Home….

Source: http://bringinghappinesshome.org/when-we-come-home

Hi Everyone!

We are SO excited to be coming home soon. But before we do we wanted to be sure to let everyone know what to "expect" from us and from Asher upon returning home. Asher has done an amazing job so far transitioning into our family and bonding with us. However, once we get home it will be another transition for him. New place, new home, new environment & new people; we want to give him the best and easiest transition we can. In order to make sure that this happens, we are going to ask a few things of everyone. We appreciate your patience and effort to help us! :)

1.) Please don’t hug/kiss Asher (at least not yet) We want him to understand that hugging & kissing is only for family. In order to do that, we have to ask that everyone refrain from falling into the cuteness. I know, he’s adorable! SO, if you would like (if you see us out and about), high fives/fist bumps/pats on the back are ok. We will let you know when he is open for more affection.

2.) Please do not feed him (Or change his diaper, for that matter) Right now, ALL of Asher’s needs must be met by his Mommy & Daddy. We want him to understand that we can & will meet all of his needs. Again, we will let you know when it is ok to give the little guy a snack or two. But please, for now, let us meet this need.

Read more.

Spread the Word About Adoption Learning Partner’s Next Webinar

LIVE WEBINAR: International Search & Reunion

It’s a Small World After All

Thursday, July 9, 2015
7-8:30pm CDT


Do you know families who adopted internationally?

Many parents who built their families through international adoption assumed that the ongoing role of their child’s birth family would be limited to non-existent.

But things change. The world changes.

You may know families who are parenting teens or tweens who are now curious about their birth family, and talk about finding them.

Is it even possible for children to find their birth mom who is from somewhere beyond the United States? What are the possible ways to address this curiosity?

Speakers Susan Soonkeum Cox of Holt International and Joy Lieberthal Rho, LCSW and co-founder of I Am Adoptee, discuss the many possibilities and complexities of international search and reunion.

This webinar is co-sponsored with JCICS.


Have You Heard About Adoption Parenting Pathways?

Adoption Parenting Pathways is the perfect way for adoptive families to find local resources online.


What’s New at ALP?


This month, purchase our popular course, "Adopted: The Identity Project" for just $10. While you’re there, check out the documentary, "Adoption & Identity Intertwined."



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