Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Registration Begins Today for Joint Council Adoption Webinars

Joint Council has gathered some of the most renowned adoption experts to present adoption related topics in a webinar education series. Registration starts TODAY for prospective adoptive families, adoptive families, and adoptees.

When & Where

Webinars will occur on the first Tuesday and the first Thursday of each month at 7 PM EST and participants will gain access through submitting a nominal fee of $10 per webinar. Joint Council is excited and privileged to offer this unique opportunity to hear directly from adoption experts and to pose questions to these experienced professionals. For detailed information, including the webinar schedule click here.

Register Today!

Adoptive Parent Webinars registration begins today and will continue throughout 2009. To register now, click here!

2009 Adoptive Family Webinars Schedule

Tuesday, July 2nd
Eastern European Orphanages
presented by Todd Ochs

Thursday, July 7th
Developing Cultural Competence in Adopted Children
presented by Patricia Irwin Johnston

Tuesday, August 4th


Thursday, August 6th
Journey to Me
presented by Heather Forbes

Tuesday, September 1st
Medical Special Needs Children
presented by Todd Ochs

Thursday, September 3rd
Understanding and Managing Loss in Adoption
presented by Dr. David Brodzinsky

Children's Hope is a proud member of Joint Council.


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Monday, June 22, 2009

Congratulations to Three Ethiopia Families!

The Ethiopia Program is happy to announce that Children's Hope has placed a sibling set on our Waiting Children list last week and today we were honored to give two referrals to two families, a sibling set of a 3-month-old boy and 4-year-old girl, and an infant boy. The families are thrilled!


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Children's Hope Spring E-news, Available Online Now!

In this spring edition of the Children’s Hope E-news:

Choosing to Love - Adopting a child of toddler age or beyond takes creative parenting and lots of love. Experienced parents, Todd and Gretchen adopted their adorable six-year-old daughter Selah from Ethiopia in January of this year. For Gretchen, their bonding is about choices.

A Vision of Their Future: Adopting a Child with Visual Impairment - A mother to three children with visual impairment, adoptive parent Velleta Scott is an expert in training in ophthalmic disorders and parenting the once unknown. When Velleta adopted her first child, she had questions. Now she has answers.

Read these stories and program updates from each of Children's Hope's countries by clicking here.

Have something to share with fellow Children's Hope families for next month's e-news? Email communications@childrenshope.net with your recent photos and story ideas. Thank you for sharing!


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Friday, June 12, 2009

Interview with Andrea Napa: Red in the Flower Bed (Children's Adoption Author)

Andrea Napa is the author of the new adoption-themed children's book, Red in the Flower Bed. Andrea is the mother of an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Leah. She is a registered dietitian at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Red in the Flower Bed is for recommended for readers ages 6-8. This interview was conducted over email in June 2009. Thank you for sharing, Andrea!

1. When and why did you begin writing Red in the Flower Bed?

When my daughter was 4 months old we brought her home from Vietnam. She understood from an early age that she was adopted, and sometimes would cry that she missed her birth mother. She would also ask questions that we didn't have the answer to, as we were not given any info. as to who her birth parents were or why she was given up. Her saddness and my inability to answer her questions was inspiration for writing this story. I started writing it when she was about 3 or 4, and from time to time I would work on it. The story just wouldn't leave me. Then just when she turned 5 years old she was diagnosed with Ewings sarcoma, a rare form of childhood bone cancer. (After major surgery and 8 months of chemotherapy she has now been in remission for 2 years). The concept of the seed's journey took on even more significance, as it seemed that she had already journeyed very far (both literally and figuratively) for a little girl. She was taken from her birth place half way around the world as an infant and then fought cancer a few years later. Furthermore, I couldn't help wondering if she had "landed" in the right place, as we live only 20 minutes away from the best children's hospital in the country, if not the world. I also happened to work there. It seemed more than coincidence that she ended up with us.

2. In Red in the Flower Bed, the poppy seed flower is beautiful but does not look like the other flowers in the family garden. Although it is not mentioned in the text directly, this story is an illustration of interracial adoption. How old is your daughter now and how does she react when you read your book to her?

I deliberately did not use the word adoption in the story so that the reader can interpret the book in their own way at their own pace according to their age level. My daughter is now 7 1/2 years old. She loves the idea that I wrote a book and asked me to read it to her second grade class and is hoping that I will end up on TV! Her favorite page is the last page with the rainbow. I think she interprets this to mean that she is wanted and needed in our family, even though she does not look like us and is not a birth child like most of her friends. She also seems to be comforted by the mother poppy being sad, as it helps her feel that she wasn't just thrown away by her birth mother. Also, I made the seed turn into a red poppy flower like its birth flower, since when my daughter asks what her birth mom looks like I can say with some confidence "she looks like you", which she loves to hear. She is proud of her Vietnamese background and always answers that she is from Vietnam whenever someone asks where she is from (even if they just mean what state). I hope that she will never feel ashamed of looking different from her family or classmates. In this story the seed retains its identity no matter where it lands since its heritage can't be ignored or denied. Note that the garden flowers accepted the seed for who she was even before they knew what kind of flower she would be. The seed blossomed into her full potential because she was given the care and love she needed.

3. What are some good questions / statements an adopting parent might add to this story to further relate to their child?

Questions to prompt the child to think about the story could include: Why do you think this story is called Red in the Flower Bed? Even though the poppy did not look like the other flowers in the garden, was she still part of its family? Who did she look like? What did the seed need to grow in the garden? Do all flowers need this? How was the garden changed by the poppy flower?

4. Can you explain the choices made in the illustration technique?

My main goal was to attract the attention of young children with colorful, eye-pleasing pictures. In children's books it's important for the pictures to bring the words to life. I was inspired by the art techniques of Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert, two of my favorite children's book illustrators. One adult reader commented that the collage style using different prints makes that point that "we are all one and can come together to form a single family".

5. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I think that it's important to accept your child unconditionally for who they are, and to acknowledge your child's place of birth and heritage. It will always be a part of them. It is also important to respect your child's desire to know their background. It is their right to know. Allow them to talk about it and ask questions, even if you don't know the answer. Be honest.


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Friday, June 5, 2009

From Our Ethiopia Families - One Year with Mari

As a single mom, what does the first year of life as a family look like? In January 2008, Jill had the opportunity to discover the answer firsthand with Mari, born in Ethiopia.

“Mari and I met on January 2nd, 2008 - a great start to the new year," says Jill. It was a year of firsts together. Month by month, she documented her experience on video and shares it with you.

View it here, Jill's Expedition to Ethiopia


Program News: To today's Ethiopia referral family, congratulations on your 7-week-old female twin referral and the conclusion of your wait!

The Children's Hope Ethiopia Program received a total of 23 child referrals in May to match with families. Some of these children were placed on our Waiting Children’s website and several have found their forever families. Yet there are a few remaining children who desperately need a home as well. Please visit www.CHIFamily.net to view the waiting children. Congratulations to those matched!


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Learn more about CHI's Ethiopia Adoption Program

"And Then There Were Four...": a Colombia Adoption Story

Parents Beth and Charles traveled to Colombia to adopt a brother and sister in May 2008, creating a family of four siblings. Their story is one of a couple's love for children, a stranger's heart and compassion, and four unique kids all aware of sibling love.

"Our community has completely embraced our mulitcultural family," says Beth. "From the beginning our family and friends from our community have offered such support and love that all we can do is thank God for allowing us to be used to promote adoption and His love."

The Hollis Family shared their story with their local paper. Read more about their family's creation by clicking here.


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