Thursday, January 31, 2008

Through the Children's Faces, Four Volunteers Capture the Heart of CHI's Hope Center (Video)

Four Bank of America employee volunteers visited the Children's Hope International (China) Hope Center in November, and took some great video. It's a wonderful world for these orphaned children, given the opportunity of life-altering or life-saving surgeries!

"The little 7-year-old boy holding the video camera - his pupils are not fully developed and he has a lot of difficulty with his vision," says volunteer Karen Taylor of Jacksonville, Florida. "He might never see things like Tienanmen Square, the Great Wall, or Temple of Heaven in person. But while we toured China, we got it all on video...and he was able to see it - up close, through the camera."

Created in November 2003, the Children's Hope foster home was founded as a post-surgical support center, providing trained medical care for children recovering from surgery. Often these children are available for adoption post-surgery (sometimes through Children's Hope and sometimes through other agencies), as their medical or surgical needs are what kept them from being adopted previously.

"We would arrive as the children awoke from their early afternoon nap and stay until it was time for their dinner. These eleven special needs children were in multiple stages of recovery from surgeries that included open heart, spinal cord, amputees, cleft pallet, and cornea repair," says Karen.

"We played and laughed and held them as close as we could for as long as we could each day. They didn’t want us to leave and we didn’t want to leave them."

Also, while in China, the volunteer foursome visited the Luoyang Orphanage for four days, teaching English lessons, singing songs, playing games, and taking 17 of the over 600 children on an excursion to the park.

More details and photos of this group's trip will be shared in next month's February E-news.

(Video posted originally on YouTube by volunteer, Chung Tsang of New York. Volunteer Karen Taylor may be seen in the video, in the white shirt.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

US State Department Advisory for Vietnam International Adoptions

Yesterday, the US State Department released two statements concerning Vietnam international adoptions:
Warning Concerning Adoptions in Vietnam
Vietnam Intercountry Adoption Concerns

If you are a Children's Hope family, please consult your Program Updates, your adoption consultant, and the yahoo boards for more information.


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Friday, January 25, 2008

US Department of State to Issue an Official Statement on International Adoptions from Vietnam

The US Department of State held a conference call today with all US agencies facilitating international adoptions in Vietnam. This call was to inform agencies of a US Department official statement soon to be released, warning potential application families of the current US/Vietnam Memorandum of Understanding set to expire in September 2008.

The State Department still does not know whether the agreement will be resigned in September or not. This statement will notify families, unaware of current conditions, to possibly reconsider beginning an adoption from Vietnam at this time.

Children's Hope has continued to update our families about the current situation in Vietnam and we will continue to do so. This update is to prepare you as you see warnings appear on outside chat groups, e-mails or through the US Department of State web site. We expect the announcement to be made on Monday at the earliest.

Click here, for US Department of State udpates.


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Blogroll Additions and Family Transitions

Blogs New to the Blogroll:

The Hendons--MO Vietnam (Waiting)
Congratulations to our two Traveling Families adopting from China. Both of these families will be flying into Guangzhou this weekend, to finalize the adoption of their daughters!


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Colombia and Kazakhstan Rank Highly on Wall Street Journal Index

On December 14, we shared an article on Kazakhstan's continuing economic growth. Today, more reports are showing a glimpse behind the curtain. How are Kazakhstan and other Children's Hope countries faring economically?

Last week the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal jointly released the Index of Economic Freedom. Children's Hope countries Colombia and Kazakhstan ranked highly, placing both countries in the "moderately free" category.

Colombia ranked 67th among the world ranked 157 economies; Kazakhstan ranked 76th. The “moderately free” category also includes Spain, France, Czech Republic, Israel, Italy, Portugal and Turkey.

Colombia's overall score increased 2.3 percentage points over last year, "reflecting improved scores in seven freedoms, including investment and monetary freedom". Kazakhstan's comprehensive score increased 1.4 percentage points over last year, reflecting a significant improvement in trade freedom. According to the Index report, the country is ranked 13th out of 30 countries in the Asia–Pacific region.

I hope you find the material interesting!


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Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Children's Hope January E-news, Available Online Now

'The Call'. You are waiting for it, you remember it, you cherish it. If you wait years or only months, nothing diminishes the joy of that moment, when the phone rings and you realize - you are a parent. Two-time adoptive mom, Pam Bischoff waited in anticipation for her friends to feel that same joy, too.

Read Pam's story, in the January E-news available online. With Christmas just behind us, and Chinese New Year (and Tet!) just ahead on February 7, your child's birth culture is on your heart. Beyond the holidays and festivities, Jean MacLeod reminds us that birth culture is both race and relational, too. See how you can share these important aspects with your child.

For the holiday, check out the Kids Corner and celebrate Chinese New Year (you don't have to have completed a Chinese adoption to enjoy this!) by making Chinese lanterns, dragon centerpieces, or hand puppets with Nick, Jr.'s new star Kai-lan. The animated Chinese-American girl will make her breakout performance on February 7 on the new series, Ni Hao, Kai-lan.

There's more...see for yourself.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"My Stomach is in Knots Right Now" - A Father (and NFL Footballer) Meets His Adopted Children

If you are unable to travel with your family to meet your adopted child in their birth country, meeting them at the airport is an experience you will never forget. Armed with "Welcome Home" signs and arms ready for hugs, Chicago Bears wide receiver Musin Muhammad and his family and friends barreled into their car with big grins. They were traveling to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, where Muhammad comes face to face with the two children he had fallen in love with, adopted internationally from Ethiopia.

View this father's experience on the Chicago Bears' web site. The Player Profile may be found on the right sidebar, labeled "Muhammad adoption feature".


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Blogroll Additions and Family Transitions

Blogs New to the Blogroll:

The Nodines--NJ Russia (Waiting)
The Wheelers--GA Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Podolskis--WI Colombia (Completed)
Thank you for your patience in the update to the blogroll, as I have been out of the office. There will be a regularly scheduled blogroll update on Friday, even if no one has "transitioned".

If you would like to add your blog to the Children's Hope International family blogroll, please email me with your blog address, your name, the state you reside within and the country you are adopting from.

See someone that I missed that is traveling? Have a topic you'd like to see covered? Leave me a comment and let me know, too. Thanks for sharing and joining in on the open conversation!

- Jennifer Newcomb


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Monday, January 14, 2008

Vietnamese Adoption Series Offers Sweeping View

In a recent four part adoption series, writer Venus Lee of Vietnamese-language newspaper Nguoi Viet 2 delves into the history of Vietnamese adoptions, the current international adoption process, and how adoptees assimilate into American culture.

Do you eat soup with your left hand or your right hand while in Vientam? Is cologne appropriate to wear while traveling? Packed with information and real life experiences of adopting families, this series is sure to offer adopting families something new.

Part 1: A New Family (December 20, 2007)
Part 2: Preparing and Waiting (December 26, 2007)
Part 3: Across the Miles (January 3, 2008)
Part 4: Aftermath of an Adoption: Adjusting to the Culture (January 11, 2008)

Nguoi Viet 2 is the premier English-language publication of the Nguoi Viet Daily News, the oldest and largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the United States. Based in southern California, the weekly newspaper targets the young, multi-cultural generation of Vietnamese Americans.

Thank you, Kathryn Helgren, for sharing!


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Friday, January 11, 2008

A Message of the Ministry - Giving Health, Giving Hope

Not enough attention can be drawn to the medical needs of children in China...or the amazing effect our giving can mean to a poor family or an orphan whose options seem hopeless. Keeping a family together and bringing life to orphans - these are more than goals for Children’s Hope donors - this is a mission.

Moody Broadcasting Networks's Tracy Haney spoke yesterday with Children's Hope Cory Barron and Mary House on this mission. The broadcast, which will reach many through MBN's affiliates and member stations, aired on popular segment Prime Time America.

(Clicking the above link will open your default audio player. Once the broadcast begins, slide the marker to minute 20:00. The segment runs to marker 27:42, and is just under 8 minutes in duration.)

Do you wish you could have helped bring one of the 455 surgeries to a Chinese child in 2007? Help change a life this year, donate here.


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Blogroll Additions and Family Transitions

Blogs New to the Blogroll:

The Arceo/Hoskens--HI Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Babbits--OK Vietnam (Waiting)
The Baneys--OK Russia #2 (Waiting)
The Gregorys--CA Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Yeltons--GA Colombia DTCo 2/24/05 (Waiting)
Waiting Families No Longer, Families Beginning Their Travel:
The Armstrongs--IL Colombia DOT 1/13/08
The Hastings--VA China DOT 1/14/08
The Malins--MO China #2 DOT 1/16/08 Pass: 1205
Welcome Home! A Newly Completed Family:
The Catletts--VA Ethiopia
The Woods--CA Kazakhstan


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Two Vietnamese Boys Find One US Home

Blogroll family Gina and Keith were all smiles when they received their Vietnam referral for their two boys on Tuesday. Waiting for them in Ho Chi Minh City are 4-year-old Sam and 2-year-old Eli. The family will travel in four to six months to adopt the two brothers into their family where the boys will have three sisters.

Congratulations to this great family!


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Monday, January 7, 2008

Merry Christmas! - Again?

Orthodox Christian Christmas is celebrated in Russia, Ethiopia and Kazakhstan today. "The holiday is called the Birthday of Christ in Russia," says Yuriy Kudinov, Director of Children's Hope Russia Team.

In Russia and Kazakhstan, the Santa figure is represented by Father Frost, or Ded Moroz. Dressed in robes and boots with a long white beard, Father Frost brings presents to children, sometimes on Christmas but also on New Year's Day. Approximately 40 percent of Kazakhstan's citizens celebrate this holiday today.

A very merry Christmas to all!

Picured: Father Frost and the step-daughter, illustration by Ivan Bilibin from Russian fairy tale Morozko, 1932 - Wikipedia.

USAToday: A Look Into Today's Russian Christmas


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Friday, January 4, 2008

Blogroll Additions and Family Transitions

Blogs New to the Blogroll:

The Coffeys--GA Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Harrigans--KS Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Niccums--OH China LID 1/22/07 (Waiting)
The Presseys--GA Vietnam (Waiting)
The Webbers--CO Ethiopia (Waiting)
The Lanigans--MO Russia (Completed)

Russia Travel Advice From a Family Who Has "Been There, Done That":
The Wilsons--MD Russia Waiting for T2
Wendy has taken the time to jot down surprises from her first trip to Russia, packing musts and more advice for Russia travelers. Check it out!


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China Adoption: How Old Will My Child Be?

In our December 31 referral group, six families received beautiful infant girl referrals. Five of these families received referrals for girls older than the family requested in their petition letter.

Several Children's Hope International families have asked about the age requested in the family's petition letter versus the age of the child referred in this group. As outlined in the Hague Treaty on International Adoption, the CCAA's goal is to make a match that is in the best interest of the child and the family adopting them - with an emphasis on the child. When making the referral match, the CCAA considers the child's paperwork and the family's dossier.

The match is not made simply based on the age the family requests. The CCAA looks at the age of the parents, other siblings in the home, the family's life style, hobbies, interests, facial features, significant dates, etc. Families adopting from China are often amazed at how perfectly matched their child is to their family. The CCAA also attempts to keep families with the same agency in the same province to make traveling as a group in China easier.

We certainly understand families' concerns about the age of the child at referral and want to respond to those concerns. It may be helpful to review the CHI Referral History from June 2003 to Present which is available on the CHI main/China Yahoo Group (adoptionchildrenshope). If you are not a member of the CHI main/China Yahoo group and would like a copy of the CHI Referral History, please contact your local branch office or Ann Tollefson ( and an email of the history report may be mailed to you.


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