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


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.


Article from The Economist: Hundreds of thousands of children languish in orphanages. Adopting them should be made easier.


Babies without borders

20160806_LDP001_0 OF THE 2 billion children in the world, about 15m are parentless. Millions more have been abandoned. Most of these unlucky kids are cared for by other relatives. Others live temporarily with foster parents. But hundreds of thousands languish in state institutions of varying degrees of grimness. The youngest and healthiest will probably find local adoptive parents. For older or disabled children, however, willing adopters from abroad are often the best and only option. Yet the total number of overseas adoptions is dwindling (see article).

There is a reason for this. For decades cross-border adoptions were often a racket. In Romania after the fall of the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989, thousands of orphans were adopted illegally. In post-civil-war Guatemala middlemen paid poor women a pittance to get pregnant repeatedly—or simply stole babies and sold them. When one country tightened the rules, the trade in babies moved somewhere laxer.

That trend has stopped. As countries have implemented the Hague Adoption Convention, passed in the wake of the Romanian exodus, they have stamped out the worst cases. Last year 12,500 children were adopted by overseas parents, about a third of the total just over a decade ago. The crackdown was necessary: babies are not goods to be trafficked. But many governments have gone too far. It is now too hard for willing, suitable parents to adopt needy children—and this hurts both the would-be adopters and, more importantly, the children.

Cambodia and Guatemala have stopped foreign adoptions completely; Russia has banned those by Americans. In many other countries the paperwork can take years. This is cruel. The early months and years of life are the most crucial. Depriving a child of parental love—inevitable in even the least dire orphanage—can cause lifelong scarring. The priority for any system should be to perform the necessary checks as quickly as possible and to place every child with foster or adoptive parents.

The Hague convention is a good starting-point. It says: first try to place an abandoned child with a relative; if that fails, try for a local adoption; and if a local family cannot be found, look overseas. Critics of international adoption point out that children who grow up in a different culture sometimes feel alienated and unhappy. This is true, but for many the alternative—growing up in an institution—is far worse.

When overseas adoption is a last resort, the children who end up with foreign families are the ones whom no one else wants: the older ones, the severely handicapped, members of unpopular ethnic minorities. In Guatemala only 10% of the children awaiting adoption are babies or toddlers without special needs. Few Guatemalans will consider taking the other 90%. Plenty of evangelical Christians in America would be happy to. It makes no sense to stop them.

No one cares for you a smidge

Creating a fast, safe adoption system should not be costly. Indeed, it should be cheaper than keeping children in institutions. All it takes is political will, as can be seen from the success of schemes in Peru and Colombia. Public databases that match children with good, willing parents work well locally in some rich countries. (Pennsylvania’s is praised, for example.) There is no reason why such systems should not be made international. Children need parents now, not next year.

Comment by Robin E. Sizemore

“All too often foreign governments come to rely on UNICEF’s child welfare policy of de-institutionalization programs, which on the surface appear to be in the best interest of any child. However, what has resulted is a permanency plan of foster care, as the end goal for these children. Governments are all too happy to rely on subsidized programs and justify it to the beat of ‘keeping children’s heritage and culture’ over a child’s TRUE best interest, which is a loving, suitable, permanent family – wherever that may be. The preamble of the Hague offers that ‘a family environment’ is every child’s right – until that phrase is removed, and permanent family is made the single goal for every child, we can continue to expect governments to fail children through policy and practices counter to any child’s best interest.”

Robin E. Sizemore
Executive Director of Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc and Adoptive parent

Hopscotch Extends Our Deepest Condolences to the Quesenberry Family

Posted with permission of Natalie Hampton Quesenberry

635931996081468428-image1 For those that may not have heard through the adoption community, a wonderful Hopscotch family lost a devoted husband and father while in Bulgaria recently.  What should have been a joyous trip to bring home two very sweet boys they longed for, the unthinkable happened in Eric’s sudden passing.  The family was left without life insurance or a will and are struggling to provide the much needed stability to a newly transformed and vulnerable family.  Natalie, Eric’s wife of 24 years, is now navigating the infinitely complicated process of managing Eric’s estate, getting through the day to day life with two additional new children with special needs and planning Eric’s memorial and burial service – all while in the depths of grief.  Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve and find a new normal for their family.  In the event you feel led to support them further, you can do so at

Continue Reading.

30 Adoption Stories in 30 Days: Here Goes!


By Madeleine Melcher


I always knew I would adopt.  Not in an intentional “I’m going to adopt” kind of way.  You see, I was adopted and as I have likened it before, knowing I was adopted was always as normal to me as having a belly button– It was just always there.

I was fourteen months old when the nice man from the agency rolled up to my parents’ apartment building in Germany.  I was delivered to my parents in a yellow Mercedes that day.  “I saw her and I just knew she was for you” he told them in broken English, when he called the day before, to let them know I would be theirs.  “Theirs”.  That word alone would set some adoptees in a tailspin, but for me it is a word of love, of belonging.  You see, they were MINE, too.  FAMILY. It is the strongest of connections and for me that did not require biology.

Ever since I can remember, I have loved the mother that kissed my boo-boos, helped with science projects and dealt with my “teen girl hormones”.  The mother that, until the day she left this earth, thought of my sister and me first and always. Isn’t that the way it is supposed to be? Loving your children with all of your heart, with no thought to DNA?

Read more.

Rescuing the Rooftop Folks: International Adoption Neither Saint nor Devil

International adoption is neither saint nor devilI read an article recently in the KoreAm Journal titled Where is home? by Kai Ma. The subtitle of the article reads: “Once the largest supplier of international adoptees, South Korea, is at a crossroads, looking to end overseas adoption out of a sense of both shame and responsibility.”I thought this was one of the best and most well rounded articles I’ve read lately on the place of international adoption in a country’s child welfare system.The article points to the growing anti-adoption sentiment in Korea, brought on in part by the Korean media’s focus on problems and complaints of some vocal adult adoptees.The author interviewed and quoted a number of adult Korean adoptees, and it is their insight that makes this article shine.Here are some quotes that I thought worth thinking about:

  • Discourse surrounding South Korea’s international adoption policy usually involves a triangular tug-of-war between lobbyists, adoption agencies and advocacy groups, but what lies at the center are children in need of homes. Despite the varying and contradicting perspectives, all agree that the welfare of the child must take precedence…
  • ‘Korea could absolutely close its doors, and it’s happened in other countries with the swipe of a pen.’
  • At the same time, there is an evident shift in the prevalence of international adoption — and not just in South Korea. …“In the past five years, there has been a changing tide about thinking critically about when international adoption is appropriate,” says McGinnis. “[Holly McGinnis works for the Donaldson Adoption Institute and was adopted from Korea.]“Many countries now are pulling back their practices, so what we’re seeing right now in Korea is indicative of broader changes.”
  • “Yet international adoption is an unfortunate necessity,” she adds. “In an ideal world, every child is loved and wanted, but that’s just not the reality. That’s not to say that kids that are adopted aren’t wanted, but what we don’t like to acknowledge is that adoption happens because something couldn’t happen.”

International adoption is often either vilified or sanctified in the press, when in reality it is neither devil nor saint.In an imperfect world, it is often the best solution, but that doesn’t excuse doing nothing to try to improve the underlying conditions which resulted in this being the best solution.Women and men conceiving children they are not able to raise is the root cause, and all efforts should be made to support and encourage people to make good reproductive choices.I want to live in a world where poverty is never the sole reason for relinquishing a child.Being to young to parent or wanting a child to have two parents are valid reasons for relinquishment in my book, regardless if the child is from Bulgaria or Boston. The notion, however, of stopping international adoptions or impeding them unnecessarily through regulations, in order to assuage national pride or to try to force governmental action is absurd.It’s akin to starting work on the levees in the midst of a flood, while people are stranded on their rooftops.The levees need attention, but the rooftop folks need a lift right now.Surely, we can do both.One of the adult adoptees was quoted in the article as saying: “So what would be the only logical reason for closure of international adoption? When there are no more children to be sent abroad.”Amen!

Image Credit:


Inside The Little Couple’s Adoption Journey [Video]

Click here to watch the video.


Solving The World Orphan Crisis

I hope you can join us today on Huffington Post Live at 11:00 am ET for a lively conversation on Solving The Worldwide Orphan Crisis.  I’ll be joining Dr. Jane Aronson, Deborra-Lee Jackman and other advocates (see below) for a live-stream panel discussion hosted by Huffington Post’s Alicia Menendez.  To watch our discussion just visit Huffington Post and click on LIVE or simply click here.

  • Dr. Jane Aronson, Author of Carried in Our Hearts, CEO & Founder of Worldwide Orphans, Dr. Jane is a board certified general pediatrician and pediatric infectious diseases specialist, and has been a practicing adoption medicine specialist for the past 12 years
  • Des: Dr.Jane Aronson’s son who was adopted from Ethiopia at 15
  • Deborra-Lee Jackman, An actress and director who was inspired by her 5-year-old son to become Dr. Aronson’s “partner in crime” and founded National Adoption Week in Australia
  • Theresa Rebeck,  Broadway playwright, novelist, and Smash producer. Most importantly, a proud mother to Cleo, who was adopted in 2003 from China
  • Tanya Barfield, A playright and adult adoptee

The Dark Matter of Love – Science Can Change the Way You Love

The Dark Matter of Love Trailer from The Dark Matter of Love on Vimeo.

Monday April 22, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT

United States Capitol
Capitol Visitor Center
Washington, DC 20510
Info on Getting to the Capitol

You are invited to a FREE documentary film screening of THE DARK MATTER OF LOVE on Monday, April 22 at 6:00pm!

The Center for Adoption Support and Education, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the National Council for Adoption are jointly sponsoring this screening to increase the community’s awareness of the complexity of moving children into adoptive families with histories of trauma, severe attachments and profound loss.

In this film, Masha, an eleven year old Russian girl, learns to love her adoptive American family through a scientific intervention. Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Marvin, an expert in attachment, has spent a lifetime developing a program to help children learn to love. Rare footage of his extraordinary experiment is woven through the story of Masha learning to love for the very first time. 

Please join Dr. Robert Marvin in the discussion about our community’s continued investment in accessible and effective post adoption  services for families faced with these challenges.

Click the link below for more detailed information or to RSVP!

Get more information

Register Now!

Thank you for your attention! We hope you can attend this exciting event!

Mark Your Calendars!!! Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2013

picnic_pix Mark Your Calendars!!!
Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2013

Winton Woods Park
Cincinnati, Ohio

June 21-23, 2013

If you plan to attend, contact the co-chairs today.

IAC 245 & 246 Results

IAC-245-and-246-Results-3-19-2013 1 The following referrals were issued in IAC Sessions 245 & 246 which was held on March 19, 2013. Download the PDF here.

%d bloggers like this: