In Armenia, ‘What Do You Want to Be?’ Is Asked in Infancy –


By Bryant Rousseau

Image1Children in Armenia start thinking about their careers at a very young age — around six months or so.

When an infant’s first tooth arrives, typically in four to seven months, a celebration takes place known variously as the “agra hadig” or “atam hatik.”

As part of the ritual, objects symbolizing different professions are arrayed in front of a child: a microphone for an entertainer, a stethoscope for a doctor, scissors for a tailor or money for a banker. Whichever object the baby chooses first is thought to be a sign of where the child’s professional aptitude lies.

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Heart of the Matters Website and Courses are Updated and Refreshed

October 2016

Course Spotlight: Because They Waited



  • Quality: 10 hours of Hague compatible education

  • Refreshed:  Renewed with updated resources

  • Convenient: Mobile access

The Because They Waited™ education system is online with modules covering topics pertinent to individuals adopting a baby or an older child, internationally or through foster care.  Modules present "The Science" in a user friendly format, followed by "The Parenting" which offers concrete parenting tools.   "Wrap Up and Resources" as well as study materials are also provided for each topic.
Topics covered include:
Promoting healthy brain development
Sensory processing and sensory integration
Parenting to a child’s "real age" vs. chronological age
Understanding the internal alarm
Building attachment
Race and Culture
Contact us at for a copy of the table of contents for Because They Waited.
More quality adoption education


Heart of the Matter Education  816 246-1100

What Is Adoption Medicine? (by NCFA)

Adoption Medicine: Improving the Health and Wellbeing of Adopted Children

By Dr. Emily Todd First, let me answer the question on everyone’s mind: What is adoption medicine? Children who join families through adoption may have special health, behavioral, and developmental needs. Adoption medicine addresses those needs with the family in all phases of the adoption journey. Those of us in adoption medicine are typically pediatricians, but we have a variety of additional training beyond pediatrics, in areas such as genetics, infectious diseases, global health, and developmental or behavioral pediatrics. We apply our skills in all phases of the adoption journey – both before and long after an adoption to help children adopted via all types of adoption.

Within the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), there exists the Council on Foster Care, Adoption, & Kinship Care (COFCAKC). This is a group of pediatricians with a special interest in adoption, kinship care, and foster care. These pediatricians are dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of children and youth in foster care and kinship care, as well as those who have been placed in permanent adoptive families.

Read more (PDF)

We’ve Got Your Back: Lilit In America!


The Green Light – January 22, 2016

_62A6622 After reviewing all information, Dr. Caridi and his team decided that Lilit is, indeed, a candidate for spinal surgery that will significantly enhance her quality of life as well as prevent additional health problems in adolescence.

Lilit’s ten-hour surgery will be complicated, removing several ribs and vertebrae and inserting a metal rod to reduce the 120 degree curvature of her spine.  If all goes as planned, Lilit will not need additional surgeries or follow-up care in the future.  Rehabilitation could take as long as two months, however.

Lilit’s surgery is scheduled for January 27.

Learn more about Lilit’s journey.

How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime


By Nadine Burke Harris

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.

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As Long As It’s Healthy…. But What If It’s Not?


By Sarah Watts

n-COUPLE-HOLDING-HANDS-large570 Six months into our pregnancy with Henry, after our bombshell diagnosis of spina bifida, Lou and I would make regular treks up to Park Ridge to see our Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, who kept us abreast on how the baby was doing in utero. Since I’m ridiculously extroverted and I adore small talk, I started chatting up the receptionist as we were filling out some paperwork, post-appointment (Lou, his usual introvert self, was probably silently willing me to stop talking). At this point, we had already been told by two separate doctors that Henry would be totally paralyzed from the waist down.

We started talking about her kids — three girls! — and I asked her if she preferred girls, or if she might try for a boy. We both quickly agreed that the baby’s sex wasn’t really that important — boy or girl, they were blessings.

"Oh, I like girls, but it doesn’t matter to me!" she exclaimed. "You know, as long as they’re healthy and running around!"

Read more.

News from Armenia: Kybele’s 5th Teaching Visits Continue to Advance Women’s Healthcare

The following brief summary of the Armenia program’s progress was submitted by Co-Team Leader Dr. Gordon Yuill.

246252d7b43f1ace981c3a74fd7776b3 Kybele Team members have made five trips to Armenia so far.  Initial visits were paid to Yerevan (in 2006, 2010 and 2012), but more recent trips included stops in Gyumri (2012, 2013 and 2014), Akhuryan (2012, 2013, and 2014), Dilijan (2012), Ijevan (2012), Novemberian (2012), Karabakh (2013), Artik (2014), Matuni (2014), Gavar (2014), Sevan (2014), and Hrazdan (2014).  Each trip has consisted of a one-or-two-day national conference in Yerevan followed by small-team visits to individual maternity clinics, where Kybele volunteers worked alongside the local physicians.  Through this process we have seen an increase in the use of regional anesthesia for cesarean section throughout and an increased availability of epidural analgesia for labor in some units.   

Adoption Alert: Ebola Outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone


August 8, 2014

Adoption Alert

Ebola Outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone

The Office of Children’s Issues understands that prospective adoptive parents may have questions and concerns about the outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. We want to ensure that you have current information on the crisis as it relates to your adoption cases.

Please be aware that local adoption authorities may close or limit their adoption processing as government resources are directed to addressing the Ebola outbreak.  Continued availability of services at our embassies is always dependent on local conditions but we will do our best to continue processing adoption cases as a priority. 

Currently, due to health and security concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Liberia modified its immigrant visa processing schedule.  Please consult the U.S. Embassy in Liberia’s website for the latest guidance.  If you have not yet completed a medical exam for your pending adoption case in Liberia, please contact for more information.   Immigrant visa processing for adoptions continues as usual at the U.S. Embassies in Sierra Leone and Senegal (for Guinea).

For specific inquiries, please contact the consular sections at the appropriate embassy:  For Liberia,; for Sierra Leone,; and for Guinea,

Please also note that the Centers for Disease Control has issued Travel Warnings for Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone advising against nonessential travel and has provided guidance to reduce the potential for spread of EVD.  These links are accessible on the Department’s Ebola Fact Sheet.  In addition, on August 7, the Department issued a Travel Warning for Liberia

The Department of State will continue to provide updated information on as it becomes available.  If you have any questions about this notice, please contact the Office of Children’s Issues at 1-888-407-4747 within the United States, or 202-501-4444 from outside the United States.  Email inquiries may be directed to

Are You Ready To Give a Little Love?

Lovell’s Little Bits, a riding academy charity and will travel to Ghana November 16-23; on a mission to bring school supplies and install new furniture to the children we serve.  The riding academy has recently installed a fresh water well, which has changed the community health standard immeasurable.

Families often inquire with Hopscotch about how they can help the children in Ghana. This is your chance to make a direct and positive impact on the lives of children thirsty for an education, just the same as we have for our own children.

If you want to make a difference in a child’s life and future, you can participate by sending a check to support purchases for the children while the group is in Ghana or you can send school supplies directly to the riding academy, which will personally deliver your gifts to the children.

Where to Send Financial Support:    

Cash Lovell Stables & Riding Academy
2915 Shetland Drive
Winston Salem, NC 27127

Check Made Payable To: Lovell’s Little Bits
Memo Line: “Ghana Missions”

Where to Send Your School Supplies:

Cash Lovell Stables & Riding Academy
2915 Shetland Drive
Winston Salem, NC 27127

Package Should Be Marked: “Ghana Missions”

What The Kids Need:

  • Pencils
  • Picture Books
  • Color Books
  • Ink Pens
  • Crayons
  • Reading and Math Exercise Books
  • Story Books for Ages 0-18 years

2012 International Women’s Symposium & Women’s Health Conference and Dinner

Announcing the 2012 International Women’s Symposium & Women’s Health Conference and Dinner September 27-29, 2012 in Winston-Salem, NC in the Maya Angelou Center for Women’s Health.

Hopscotch would like to give special recognition to two guest speakers. Dr. Holly Muir and Dr. Jane Aronson will both be presenting during the Symposium.

Click here to download the 2012 International Women’s Symposium brochure (PDF).

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