Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AAI has 3 new Pilot Programs!

Hi Everyone,

We are very pleased to announce that Adoption Advocates International has 3 new pilot programs in place and we are accepting qualified families for each of them.  By the term "pilot program" we mean that our first families are considered "pioneers" and that some of the aspects of the process may still be unpredictable and that it is very important that families be patient and flexible.  In some cases, adoption is new to the country and there may be some "bumps" along the road.   The three new programs are in the Republic of Georgia, Burkina Faso and Uganda. 

Today's blog post is about our new program in the Republic of Georgia and the description and photos below were contributed by the program's coordinator,  Kathy Johnson.  If you are interested in learning more about the adoption process in Georgia or the available children at the orphanage please contact her directly at Kathyj@adoptionadvocates.org.

I promise blog posts soon about our programs in Burkina Faso and Uganda.

Susan PD
Director of Development

Baby House in Georgia

AAI has started a new program in the Republic of Georgia, an eastern European country that is just coming out of an over-2-year hiatus on international adoptions. Many young children are waiting for adoptive families. The available children are Caucasian, of Georgian, Russian-Georgian, or Armenian heritage. They vary from blond/blue eyed to darker hair and skin. The children tend to be very bright and FAS and FAE are extremely rare because Georgian women, as a rule, do not drink, especially during pregnancy.

Most of the available children are placed for adoption because of some medical issue, but other reasons include extreme poverty and the child being born out-of-wedlock. Some have medical issues that can be easily corrected in the West but not in Georgia. Other children have serious or permanent disabilities. We are in great need of families willing to accept such special needs children. The disabilities most commonly found in children waiting for adoption include: Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina bifida, Hydrocephalus, Microcephalus, and cleft lip. 

row of cribs at Baby House

AAI's coordinator in Georgia, Kathy Johnson,  has been facilitating adoptions since 1995 and has developed an extensive network of contacts. This includes a highly respected working relationship with the Georgian adoption agency, which operates under the authority of the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. Families eligible to adopt from Georgia include: couples or single women, with at least one parent between the ages of 24-62 years of age. Single men are considered on case-by-case basis and must be willing to accept a special needs child. 

top photo--group of children from Georgia
bottom--delivering supplies to Baby House

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back to School! With brand new backpacks

About 25 older children at Layla House are now attending a private school off the compound everyday and were in need of backpacks and school supplies for their new experience.  An AAI family heard about this need before their own trip and organized their family and friends to supply the kids.  They sent us the following description and photos of this great project.  Note the happy faces on the kids  heading to school in style.  Thank you so much Rupertus family! 

A few months prior to our court date, Chris and I decided that we wanted to bring supplies with us to Layla, and we wanted it to be stuff that they could use right away. We asked Merrily, Susan, and others what supplies were most needed, and one thing they mentioned to us was that some of the older kids would be starting school right around the time of our trip, and that they could really use new backpacks and school supplies. It dawned on us that good people on our block in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia might be interested in helping out with this task, so we put out an e-mail APB to everyone asking if any of them might be interested in assembling a backpack and a set of school supplies (folder, pens, pencils, ruler, etc.) for one child. Within ten days, we had a living room floor covered with backpacks full of stuff! The response was so overwhelming that we ended up taking over extra sets of backpacks and supplies along with the ones that were needed immediately. It was really cool to be intermediaries between our neighbors in Philadelphia and the children at Layla.