Wednesday, September 19, 2012

AAI Short Term Volunteer Trip--February 2013

2013 Short-term Volunteer Trip


Chris Little and Susan Poisson-Dollar, AAI Board President and former AAI Director of Development respectively,  will be leading a short-term volunteer trip to Ethiopia for a maximum of 12 participants.  The dates for this year’s trip are February 27 – March 8th, 2013.  Chris and Susan have each visited Ethiopia numerous times and also have significant experience hosting volunteer groups both in the U.S. and Ethiopia.  They enjoy sharing their love for and knowledge of their “adopted” country with new people.  AAI's in-country staffalso enjoy sharing their knowledge and expertise with visitors.

The land cost for the trip is $1400 and includes airport pick-up in Addis, lodging (single occupancy, discount for sharing), transportation and some meals in Addis as well as a donation to Adoption Advocates International’s humanitarian projects in the country.  Flight costs will depend on the participant’s home city but are currently ranging between $1300-1700 round trip from most parts of the country.  Participants will have the option of joining either of the group leaders on their flights or of arranging one independently.  Depending on the interests of the group, excursions outside of Addis can be arranged and the travel agent we are working with can also help organize add-on tours to other parts of Ethiopia. 

All participants will be expected to get a criminal background check prior to the trip or submit one received in the last two years.  They will also be asked to carry supplies for AAI’s partner orphanages and other nonprofits.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required by February 1, 2013 to secure a spot on the trip and participants are also required to have personal health insurance and to purchase a travel insurance plan (generally very inexpensive).  Please contact Susan Poisson-Dollar ( or Chris Little ( for more details or to reserve your spot on the trip.   

There will be opportunities to tutor children, teach English, work at our facility for developmentally-delayed children (Opportunity House), visit local nonprofits and to experience Ethiopian cultural traditions.  We may be asked to paint rooms and do other similar projects at partner orphanages.   Chris and Susan do not believe in rigid schedules but instead they strive to meet each participant’s personal  goals for the experience.   People with specific skills may wish to work in-depth on one project while others volunteering for the first time may prefer a more flexible, exploratory experience.   Excursions will include trips to shop for fairly-traded handicrafts, visits to other nonprofit projects serving orphans and vulnerable children and a dinner at a cultural restaurant featuring traditional dance and food.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Uganda--You Passed it On--THANK YOU!!!

We wish to thank everybody who so freely gave to assist the care needs of the 7 sisters in Uganda yesterday.  Because of you, we met our goal!  In fact, the goal was SURPASSED!!!  [Donors will be contacted about the overage.]

To date we have not had anybody sign up to be an ongoing sponsor for the 7 girls.  Please, if you can give in an ongoing way towards the girls' care, consider doing so.  $65 a month would cover one girl each month, but if you can sign up to give a recurring donation of another amount, that still helps.  These fees ($1200) recur ever 3 months and it would be ideal to have a recurring donation base for the care and protection of these girls until a permanent family can be found for them in Uganda.

Thank you again!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Uganda--2 Days for 7 Sisters--Pass It On!

THEN:  Four months ago AAI's Uganda Coordinator, Salem Richards, put out a plea for help for 7 precious sisters in Uganda who were in a desperate situation. These seven sisters were living alone, in desperate poverty, in rural Uganda. The oldest girl is thirteen, the youngest, just a year. Their mother had passed away and their father was not caring for them. Their home was being attacked at night and things happened to these precious, unprotected girls that should never happen to any child. Their story broke Salem's heart, and the hearts of many others. Through the generosity of friends and families of AAI's Uganda program, we were able to raise enough money for these seven girls to be rescued by social workers in Uganda and taken to a safe place!

The six big girls are now in a boarding school while the baby is being cared for by a missionary in Uganda who assisted with their rescue. We are told that the girls are doing very well at their boarding school. We want to enable the social welfare officer dealing with their case to keep them there until a permanent family situation can be found for them in Uganda.

NOW: We found out yesterday (5-14-12) that the next term's school and care fees are due immediately and without payment the girls risk immediate expulsion! We weren't expecting this and have not yet found ongoing sponsors for the sisters. You see, when we (AAI) told the social workers we would help, we became responsible for them. For EVERYTHING they need. We've paid for them all to go the doctor and have medical tests done. One of the girls was hospitalized. Another needs to be evaluated by a cardiologist. We provide money for them to be cared for during school breaks, all their meals, personal items, etc. We are responsible for all of their needs. 
When we found out on such short notice that we needed to pay the school for their next term, "L," our amazing in-country coordinator decided she could not allow the chance of these children being kicked out of school with nowhere to go. Without us knowing about it she took her own money and paid the fees so these precious children could stay at their school and continue being cared for. We are overwhelmed with her generosity and so grateful she stepped in to provide for these children until we can get the money to Uganda. HOWEVER, the funds she used to pay the school was money provided to her by her other job to go on a work related business trip at the end of this week!   WE MUST REPAY HER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!  Our fear is that "L" may have put her other job in jeopardy in order to save these girls from being put out on the street.

There are two needs here.  The first and most urgent need is to pay/repay $1200 ($200 per girl) to cover the girls' care and education fees that were due on Monday.  We hope to raise this money in two days, as crazy as that sounds!  Friends and families of AAI are just that crazy and generous!  ANY donation amount is appreciated.  If 120 people donated $10, we'd meet our goal!  The preferred way to donate is by calling our office and speaking with Kathy to make donation by credit/debit card by phone.  360-452-4777.  Alternatively, you can CLICK HERE to make a donation on our website.  Choose "other" then note "Uganda, 7 sisters."

The second need (just as important in the long run), is to find ongoing sponsors for each of the 7 girls until a long-term care plan is created for them.  We recognize that boarding school is not the best long term solution for these girls.  Social service professionals in Uganda are working with the goal of this sibling group being cared for in a family.  Until that time, they must be cared for and kept safe.  If you are willing to sponsor one (or more) of the girls at $65 a month (or $200 every 3 months), please contact Salem to discuss which child to sponsor and CLICK HERE to set up your recurring donation.  Choose "other" then not "Uganda sponsorship, 7 sisters."

Thank you for considering this VERY immediate need in Uganda.  Please, post about this on your blogs and facebook pages.  Pass it on to your email contacts.  Without your help in spreading the word about this need, it will be almost impossible to reach our goal! 

Many Thanks,


Thursday, April 26, 2012

AAI's Erin Henderson Does it All!

AAI's Special Needs Coordinator, Erin Henderson, has long been appreciated by friends and families of AAI.  She is now making new fans in the running world, as she has transformed herself from mom and coordinator into a serious competitive runner over the past 3 years!  Erin was recently highlighted in Runner's World Magazine with an online article.  Click below to be inspired!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adoptive Families Magazine Survey, Gives $500 Donation!

As of right now, we (Adoptive Families Magazine) need 83 more people to take our 2010/2011 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey to activate our random drawing:! If we reach our goal for completed surveys, we'll randomly choose one respondent and donate $500 to the adoption charity of his or her choice!

Please help us out by taking this survey if you adopted in 2011 or 2010, and by forwarding the link on to anyone you know who adopted during the past two years. If you've already taken this year's survey, you have our thanks!

See past years' survey results, learn about the organization we donated to on behalf of last year's random drawing winner, and find a link to this year's survey at:

To go directly to the 2011 Cost & Timing of Adoption Survey, click here:

Many thanks!

Eve Gilman

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let Your Voice Be Heard by February 14!



The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has released a survey the results of which will inform U.S. government policy makers on adoptive families’ experiences when interacting with U.S. government officials during the intercountry adoption process. The survey seeks to collect responses from adoptive families, potential adoptive families and adoption service providers.

This survey respresents a unique opportunity for the adoption community to share their experiences and express their opinions regarding the services provided by the U.S. government. We strongly encourage all Joint Council supporters who have adopted internationally or who have facilitated intercountry adoptions to participate in the survey and to encourage others to do so as well.

Adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent, please use the following link:

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Adoption Advocates International founder, Merrily Ripley, recently shared this information. Thanks Merrily for your continued involvement and support! We love you!


The First Annual Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day will be Monday, February 13, 2012. The hope is that everybody in the adoption community will take part. Many adoptive families are not aware that this tax credit exists. It is our goal to help ensure that adoptive families who are eligible to receive this benefit are informed about how to claim the credit. We are asking everyone, including professionals, advocates, state agencies, families, and others to help spread the word on one given day (Feb. 13th) in hopes to broadcast the existence of the adoption tax credit. Details about how you can help are below.

Save the Date: Plan now to be part of the Adoption Tax Credit Awareness Day on Monday, February 13, 2012—a national effort highlighting the federal tax credit available to adoptive families.

Play Your Part: Join with adoption organizations, state agencies, adoptive families, advocates, and other interested parties to raise visibility of the adoption tax credit. Help spread the word collectively, through website postings, email blasts, newsletters, social media, and other informational outlets, so eligible families that may not be aware of this benefit can be sure to access the credit. Families who adopted as far back as 2005 may still benefit if they haven’t already. Be sure to include non-internet based strategies since some adoptive families do not have access to the internet.

The Facts:

  • Since 2003, families who adopted a U.S. child with special needs from foster care could claim a federal adoption tax credit even if they had no adoption expenses (as long as they met the fairly generous income requirements).

  • Children who receive adoption assistance/subsidy benefits are considered children with special needs. Even families who receive a deferred subsidy ($0 per month but medical coverage through the subsidy program) are eligible.

  • All adoptive families (except those who adopted a step-child) are eligible for the credit, but those who adopt children other than those with special needs must have—and be able to document, if requested by the IRS—qualified adoption expenses.

  • For 2010 and 2011 the credit was made refundable. If parents who adopted as long ago as 2005 had credit to carry forward into 2010, that amount of the credit also became refundable. In 2010 and 2011, parents can claim the credit even if they don’t have income or any tax liability.

  • The amount of the credit for 2011 is $13,360 per child.

The Information:

Please distribute this widely among your networks. Thanks for taking the time to make this count for adoptive families!