Friday, September 28, 2007

US Department of State Urges Americans Not to Begin Adoptions in Guatemala

From the US Department of State online: “The U.S. Department of State urges American citizens not to begin an adoption in Guatemala at this time. Fundamental changes in Guatemalan and U.S. adoption law will take effect over the next six months. These changes are likely to inject considerable uncertainty into the adoption process.”

To read this and several additional updates on Guatemalan adoptions this week, click here.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Moon Festival Celebrations!

Whether you call it the Fifteenth of the Eighth Moon, August 14, Year of the Pig or simply September 25, 2007—today marks one of the most important dates on the Lunar Calendar: the Moon Festival, celebrated in both China and Vietnam.

Families and Asian communities across the US began celebrating this past weekend and many have celebrations today and into the coming weekend. Eat the traditional moon cakes outside under the moon with your family and friends, lead a parade of lit lanterns down your street, or plant a tree in honor of the harvest to celebrate this great day of abundance.

Children’s Hope participated in many activities in orphanages and poor communities within Vietnam yesterday (due to the time difference). In the Vinh Long and Tam Binh 1 and 2 orphanages, the children enjoyed lanterns, a special lunch and moon cakes for the festival. In Vinh Long two separate festivals were planned for the areas poor children, one within the community and another in the surrounding rural areas. Within the community, 480 children were presented with small gifts in celebration. We hope to share pictures of these festivities in the next E-news!

Children’s Hope wishes you and your family a happy Moon Festival!


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Friday, September 21, 2007

News and Words from Those That Have Been There: Children's Hope September E-news

When 2-year-old Diego "slimes" his pet cat Obba with a sloppy kiss and when Andrew and Tatiana begin learning English at ages 5 and 3—there's a big hand helping to bring each of these small joys. In the Woods family adoption, God was in everything: from their decision to adopt through Children's Hope Colombia program to the workings of a new family of five.

Read the Woods story in the September edition of the Children's Hope E-news. Also in this issue, our Blogger of the Month shares one of her greatest fears and greatest wishes for being a new mother to her daughter waiting in Russia and Jean MacLeod of Adoption Parenting: Creating a Toolbox, Building Connections brings you a personal column, this month on raising your Chinese daughter from a girl in pigtails into a young woman.

There's so much more in this month's E-news, only a click away...


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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where You'll Stay When Finalizing Your China Adoption

In our efforts to improve the quality and service to our families inside China, Children's Hope is working with several hotels in Guangzhou.

In September, our families will stay at the Garden Hotel. The Garden Hotel is experienced in serving adoptive families during their stay in Guangzhou. The hotel is 15 minutes by car to Shamian Island and is located by several restaurants (including McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and Starbucks) and shopping (for snacks, formula, diapers and gifts). Each room has free internet access and the executive rooms have wireless internet access. Please refer to the Garden Hotel website for photos of available rooms.

Children's Hope has been given reasonable room rates for the following types of rooms (prices will vary during the high and low travel seasons):

* The elite room is 32 square meters and can accommodate sleeping for 3 with the addition of a rollaway bed.

* The deluxe room, 64 square meters, with a living room is considered a suite. It can accommodate sleeping for 4 with the sofa and additional rollaway bed.

* The executive room is 64 square meters and is located on the executive floor. Single, double, queen or king size beds are available and two breakfasts are included with the room rate. Rollaway beds and additional breakfasts are available.
The Garden Hotel has free breakfasts for children under 6-years-old. For children ages 6-12, breakfasts are half of the adult price.

Property Facilities:
Business Center * Currency Exchange * Beauty Salon
Sauna * Medical assistance available * Wheelchair accessible
Swimming * Pool * Shopping Center * Babysitting
Limousine * Health Club * Karaoke
Billiards * Dancing Hall * Massage (Foot/Traditional/etc.)
Golf * Tennis * Ticket Service
Multi-functional Hall * Flower store * Squash
Fitness Center * Steam Room * Solarium
Credit Cards Accepted

Room Amenities:
Domestic Direct-dial phone * International Direct-dial phone * In-room safe

Surrounding areas:


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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Defying the Odds—A Special Needs Adoption in Chicago Sun-Times

Born with a birth defect causing depressed cheekbones, malformed ears, a receding chin and downward slanted eyes—Aleksey Zurkowski began a new life at 11-years-old when adopted by parents David and Vicki of Elmhurst, IL. Defying both the statistics of older orphans in Russia and the laws of gravity through gymnastics, Eleksey is a true success story.

Read more about Eleksey in the Chicago Sun-Times' "The Ultimate Survivor".

Post updated on 12/18/07 with article link.


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Happy New Millenium, Ethiopia!

Today, Ethiopia celebrates its own new millennium. Welcome, Ethiopia, to the year 2000!

Ethiopia is the only country which still adheres to the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. This calendar includes an extra month, only five days long (unless in a leap year), which over time has placed the country seven years and eight months behind the Gregorian calendar. If not for Pope Gregory XIII who began the Gregorian calendar 400 years ago, we would be celebrating the beginning of the twenty-first century in the United States, too!

Ethiopia, in its tradition, will celebrate this New Year today on 1 Meskerem, or September 11, which marks the end of the rainy season and the beginning of spring and all the beauty it brings to the country.

The Ethiopian Millennium will be celebrated from September 2007 to September 2008. Today the celebration will jump start with the Grand Millennium Concert, opening ceremonies with 2000 artists and dancers, and the Taste of Addis Africa Festival. The celebration will continue year-round with exhibitions, major sporting events and environmental measures like 2 Trees for 2000, challenging every Ethiopian to plant two trees by the close of the second millennium.

We at Children's Hope are excited to be a part of this new century in Ethiopia with our adoption program, and are eager to develop our humanitarian aid efforts in this country. Orphan sponsorship within Ethiopia is slated to begin in October 2007.

This month so far, we received a referral for two siblings - a 14-month-old girl and her 3-year-old brother. We were thrilled to be able to refer them yesterday to a Children's Hope family. More referrals are expected soon!

Congratulations to this family and congratulations to Ethiopia on this much celebrated occasion!


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Monday, September 10, 2007

Most Kazakhstan Regions Require Only 2 Trips for International Adoption

The internet rumor: Additional regions in Kazakhstan are beginning to adapt a 3-trip process similar to that of Kazakhstan region Almaty City.

The response: The region of Almaty City consists of three orphanages, all located within the city. It is a region of its own and operates differently than any other region. As many of you know, this region was closed to all agencies for almost 1 1/2 years. This May, the region re-opened and began inviting families, with two Children's Hope families traveling to the region in recent months. Again, this region's process, currently requiring 3 trips, differs from other Kazakhstan regions:

Trip 1 (2 weeks) both parents are required to travel for bonding period.

There may be 2-5 weeks between Trips 1 & 2.

Trip 2 (2 days) both parents are required to travel for the court hearing only.

There may be 2-3 weeks between Trips 2 & 3.

Trip 3 (4 days) only one parent needs to travel to personally receive all documents, go through the medical evaluation for the child and complete their US Embassy interview.
Children's Hope is requesting the Ministry of Education to not send our dossiers to this region. If any family prefers this region, please contact your adoption consultant. Once the Almaty City officials get in a groove – they may alter this process to be more like that of other regions…

Other regions still operate the same way! Families travel in two trips:

Trip 1 (3-4 weeks) both parents must travel for bonding period and court hearing.

There are approximately 4 weeks between Trips 1 & 2.

Trip 2 (2-4 days) only one parent needs to travel to personally receive all documents, go through the medical evaluation for the child and complete their US Embassy interview.
Learn more about adopting from Kazakhstan on Children's Hope Kazakhstan Adoption page.


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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mark Your Calendars for America's Funniest Home Videos this October

A Children's Hope completed family, John and Beth Anth, submitted a video of their daughter Katie to America's Funniest Home Videos. Not long after, they received a phone call—their video was selected as a finalist!

On August 18, the entire family, including the Anths teenage daughters Brandi and Amber and the video's star Katie, flew to Los Angeles for the show's taping. You can watch the exciting result on October 14 on ABC. Third place wins $2,000; second place, $3,000; and first place, a whopping $10,000.

"Being at the studio was really interesting to see how the show is made," says Beth. "Katie was a ham in front of the camera and clapped and waved when they showed our family. She was as cute as can be! It was a really fun experience for all of us, and of course winning a free trip is pretty awesome!"

View the potential winning entry, Stroller Roller, and cheer on one of our own on October 14!

* Sixteen-month-old Katie was adopted from China in February 2006.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Children's Hope Has No Families Receiving Referrals in Current Batch

The China Center of Adoption Affairs updated their CCAA web site and the CCAA/Agency Information System with the following referral news on September 3:

"Document Processing: The CCAA has finished the placement of children for the families whose adoption application documents were registered with our office before November 25, 2005."

This group of referrals covered the November 22 through November 25, 2005 log-in-dates. Each family seeking to adopt from China receives a log-in-date upon their adoption paperwork receipt in China; the CCAA conducts an initial review and logs the paperwork into their system. The date that the paperwork is logged in at CCAA is called the log-in-date.

Unfortunately, Children's Hope's next log-in-date is not until 11/28/05. Please join me in giving our 11/28/05 and December 2005 log-in-date families a big hug as they continue to wait for their referrals.

Ann Tollefson
China Program Director


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