News from Bulgaria

Bulgaria%20bears%2004-29-2013 Two amazing kids were granted court decrees in Bulgaria today!  Congrats Hopscotch Mom!!!!!


Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2013

A letter from the Bulgarian Family Reunion 2013 Co-chair, Yvonne Villemure:

Where in the world did February, March and April go? I was commenting yesterday to Viviane that it felt like it was the beginning of March here in Southeastern Michigan…. maybe that is because of our cold and crummy weather… we are just this week having a solid week in the 50’s… just yesterday I had to scrape a frosty snow layer off my car. I want to cry… it is just not far to be so cold for so long!!!! I am over cabin fever and ready for our camping weekend!! Maybe we will be fortunate that June will prove to be a beautiful balmy month and not quite the sauna from the past two years. 🙂

So Topics of today-

1. FEES- The deadline for Reunion fees is May 1st. Please keep this in mind. I am open to Paypal or checks in the mail… whichever is easier. I can tell you guys that Viviane and I cannot move forward right now until the fees are in. We are dead in the water (because we have received a limited # of fees) so please get them in so we can make this a successful event!! If you have sent your fees, thank you! If you haven’t please, please send them today!

2. FORMS- Thank you to those of you that have sent me your forms either in the mail with your payment or electronically. These forms help us immensely…. if you haven’t signed up for a potluck item, let me know and I will give you a few ideas of what may still be needed…. pretty sure we still need hotdogs and hamburgers! (Hotdogs, hamburgers, smoked pork and buns are now covered though it would help with costs if another family or two would sign up for hamburgers. If anyone wants to bring chicken, please remember to pre-cook it. We could use another green salad – Yvonne is making shopska- and possibly a tray of hamburger/hotdog fixings like tomatoes, lettuce, onions, pickles, and condiments.)

3. T-SHIRTS- We will be ordering the shirts earlier this year, the past two years we have cut the deadline close.  In the past 2 years I have allowed people to order t-shirts almost up until the week of the reunion… I am ordering the t-shirts the first week of May. This means that I need the t-shirt sizes ASAP… send me your forms so I can organize this! 
***NOTE: If you are a family that is still waiting for travel dates and are putting off sending fees, please contact me ASAP so that we can work out the t-shirt order. I can always ship your t-shirts to you if you are unable to attend. But I would really hate for anyone to not have the reunion shirt for our pictures! BTW, I will not be ordering extra t-shirts this year. Last year I ordered extra and we still have a few left. If you are interested in purchasing a 2012 t-shirt for $5, please e-mail Viviane for the sizes that are left! ***

News from Ghana (and Detroit Lions!)

Lions take BYU DE Ansah of Ghana No. 5 in draft

ghana_flag_a ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) – Ziggy Ansah was born and raised in Ghana, playing soccer and shooting hoops without ever seeing a snap of football.

When he moved to the United States in 2008, some missionaries suggested he attend Brigham Young and try out for the basketball team. He fell short there, but was willing to listen again when friends persuaded him to play football for the first time in 2010.

It has paid off and then some: On Thursday night, the Detroit Lions made him the No. 5 overall draft pick.

"It’s been a humbling experience,” Ansah said with a thick accent on a conference call with Detroit-area reporters. "A crazy journey.”

What if someone told him a few years ago he would end up being drafted fifth overall in 2013?

"I would be like, `I don’t know what you’re thinking,”’ Ansah said.

If Ansah doesn’t play up to his potential, some people may be saying the same thing about the gamble the Lions took with an inexperienced player.

Detroit desperately needed an offensive tackle, but three were drafted within the first four picks. The franchise’s decision-makers knew they also had a glaring void at defensive end. Instead of trading down to acquire additional picks, the Lions stuck with their slot and took a player they evaluated up close for a week at the Senior Bowl.

"He’s the best player available,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. "And, he fills a need. This was an opportunity where the grade matched up with the need and it worked out great for us.”

Detroit didn’t re-sign defensive end Cliff Avril, who joined Seattle in free agency, and cut its other starting defensive end, Kyle Vanden Bosch, from last year’s 4-12 team.

The Lions’ poor season put them in a position to coach a team at the Senior Bowl and they took advantage, getting to know an intriguing player in a way no other team in the league could’ve this offseason.

It eased any concern Mayhew had about a player very new to the game.

"If we didn’t have the opportunity to coach him at the Senior Bowl, that would have been a bigger issue,” Mayhew said. "But we had the opportunity to work with him and teach him and we saw the way that he could learn, how quickly he picks things up and we saw the impact that he had in the game so we felt very comfortable with him.”

Ansah, whose first name is Ezekiel, didn’t know how to put on shoulder pads just three years ago.

"He had no idea,” BYU center Braden Hansen recalled last season.

Slowly, he turned himself into a player widely expected to be among the first chosen Thursday night – and he was soon after Detroit was on the clock.

Now, the 6-foot-5, 271-pound Ansah has got a great shot to start on an NFL team.

"We didn’t draft him to be a project,” Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said.

Ansah should be able to benefit from playing alongside one of the league’s best tandem of defensive tackles – Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley – that will put him in one-one-situations when he’s trying to sack quarterbacks.

"I just can’t wait to be a part of that line,” Ansah said.

Ansah’s athletic ability could create mismatches that Detroit’s shaky defense needs next season.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at the NFL Combine and had a 34.5-inch vertical leap. In track at BYU, he ran the 200-meter dash in less than 22 seconds and had a sub-11-second 100-meter dash.

"Phenomenal, phenomenal athlete,” Mayhew said.

Impressive person, too.

The actuarial science major, the youngest of five children, speaks two Ghanaian dialects and hopes his unique path inspires an entire continent .

"One thing I want to do is just to be an ambassador with the NFL and bring the game back to Ghana because I know that there are little kids back home that are going to be pretty good at this game,” Ansah said. "I can try to introduce the game to the people in Africa.”

Read More.


News from Armenia

clean_baby_hand Congratulations to our Hopscotch family that was matched and accepted a beautiful baby boy today in Yerevan! We hope time waiting for a court date passes quickly and he will be home with you very soon!! 

Genocide in Armenia

armenia "With faith and courage, generations of Armenians have overcome great suffering and proudly preserved their culture, traditions, and religion and have told the story of the genocide to an often indifferent world."
~Jerry Costello

News From Ghana

ghana_accra_pottery_market_8 Hopscotch family has been granted a court date!! They leave this weekend to finally meet their beautiful new daughters. We are all celebrating this big step with them!!!

Your visit made our day at Hopscotch!


Meet the Author of "The Sandcastle Girls"

Friday, April 26 @ 7:30 PM
Where? St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church
630 Clothier Road
Wynnewood, PA 19096
Adults $20 in advance $25 at door; Students $10

Download the Invitation (PDF)

Robin Sizemore shared, "I’ve read all of Chris Bohjalian’s books and was thrilled to finally have a book that draws upon his own history. If you have not read the book, I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the Armenian genocide or simply loves a story with lots of twists!"

The Sandcastle Girls is a sweeping historical love story steeped in Chris Bohjalian’s Armenian heritage.

When Elizabeth Endicott arrives in Aleppo, Syria she has a diploma from Mount Holyoke, a crash course in nursing,  and only the most basic grasp of the Armenian language.  The year is 1915 and she has volunteered on behalf of the Boston-based Friends of Armenia to help deliver food and medical aid to refugees of the Armenian genocide.  There Elizabeth becomes friendly with Armen, a young Armenian engineer who has already lost his wife and infant daughter.  When Armen leaves Aleppo and travels south into Egypt to join the British army, he begins to write Elizabeth letters, and comes to realize that he has fallen in love with the wealthy, young American woman who is so different from the wife he lost.  Fast forward to the present day, where we meet Laura Petrosian, a novelist living in suburban New York.  Although her grandparents’ ornate Pelham home was affectionately nicknamed "The Ottoman Annex," Laura has never really given her Armenian heritage much thought. But when an old friend calls, claiming to have seen a newspaper photo of Laura’s grandmother promoting an exhibit at a Boston museum, Laura embarks on a journey back through her family’s history that reveals love, loss – and a wrenching secret that has been buried for generations.

Adoption Agency Helps Family Feel Complete

By Ruth D. Anderson

bassetLisa and Ronnie Bassett had five children, but the family did not feel quite complete.

Because they had a 3-year-old, Chase, with Down syndrome, they decided to adopt another child with Down syndrome.

Lisa Bassett looked online for a local adoption agency that offers Down syndrome children.

She found Hopscotch Adoptions, a nonprofit, international adoption agency authorized in New York and licensed in North Carolina. It helps children in need of families become part of permanent, loving homes. On the Hopscotch website, Lisa Bassett found a picture of Davit, a little boy from Armenia, and knew she had found her child, she said.

Last February, Lisa and Ronnie Bassett went to the High Point office of Hopscotch Adoptions and started the process that took one year to complete.

“As soon as we walked into the office, everyone was so helpful,” Lisa Bassett said. “I just knew that this was the agency for us.”

Robin Sizemore, co-founder of Hopscotch, told the Bassett family that the child they saw on the website might not be available.

But Lisa Bassett said she knew in her heart that he was going to be with them.

Hopscotch facilitates the adoption of infants, toddlers and older children, as well as children with special needs.

It specializes in adoptions from the republics of Armenia and Georgia with new programs in Bulgaria, Ghana and Morocco. When children can no longer safely remain with their birth families or be adopted in their countries of birth, Hopscotch makes it possible for children to be placed internationally with adoptive parents who can provide a nurturing and stable family.

Hopscotch works closely with prospective adoptive families starting from the first visit, telephone call or email. Hopscotch helps families with paperwork and compliance issues.

Lisa and Ronnie Bassett went to Armenia for a week in October and met Davit at the orphanage.

Then Lisa Bassett went back for three weeks, with her mother and husband joining her later.

Hopscotch representatives met them at the airport with an interpreter and took them to an apartment. During these three weeks, they went to court, got a physical for Davit and arranged for his visa and passport. Hopscotch was present at each step in the process.

Throughout the year, Hopscotch prepared them to become adoptive parents. After they got home, Hopscotch provided post-adoption support by visiting at the house and following up with phone contacts.

The process, even when it goes well, is challenging and stressful, Lisa Bassett said, but Hopscotch provided understanding and support.

Davit, 21/2, has been in the Bassett family for six months. He and his brother Chase are “getting along like most brothers,” Lisa Bassett said.

“The Bassett family is just one example of the many terrific families we have had the privilege to work with,” said Sizemore, executive director at Hopscotch.

“Adoption should be entered into as a lifelong commitment.

“It’s one of the most intimate decisions and processes a family will ever make, and we don’t take this lightly. We want the best for these children, and they deserve no less.”

Sizemore has personally helped place more than 350 children into permanent and loving families.

Since its founding in 2006, Hopscotch has assisted more than 170 children.

“Not many people can say they really love their work, but all of us here at Hopscotch certainly do,” Sizemore said. “Seeing children join their families and coming home is the most powerful affirmation of what we do.”

Ruth D. Anderson is executive director of The Servant Leadership School of Greensboro and a member of the program committee of The Guilford Nonprofit Consortium.

IAC 248 Results

iac-results-11-30-2011-1Click here for the April 10, 2013 IAC Results (PDF) including referrals that were issued in IAC Session 248 which was held on March 6, 2013.

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