Monday, December 12, 2011

iGive to AAI!

We are at the height of holiday shopping season! Did you know that if you do your shopping through up to 26% (but usually 1-5%) of your total is donated to AAI's humanitarian projects? It's true! These donations can add up to make a difference in countries like Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda.

If you aren't already a member and sign up now (adding a button to your toolbar) AAI will get $5 for your membership! If you share the link with a friend and that friend signs up, another $5 for AAI humanitarian projects! Click HERE to learn more about the 1 Million Buttons for Change campaign. The campaign goes through January 9th, 2012.

Thank you to all who remember to give back at this time of year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

National Adoption Month CHALLENGE Results

During the month of November we challenged everybody in the AAI family to think of ways they could (1) promote adoption and (2) give back to organizations that advocate for the orphaned child. We are pleased to share that many AAI families stepped up to the plate with wonderful results! Earlier this month we shared some of your great ideas. Here are some others.

*Bryana and Jodi Slaback shared, "On Nov. 6 I presented the Operation Christmas Child project through Samaritan's Purse to my church. It is going well and shoe boxes with gifts for needy children around the world are already coming in. We will take our two adopted boys (Guatemala and Ethiopia) shopping to fill a shoe box each for boys their age. They love it and it raises awareness of needs around the world and challenges them to give out of their own wishes of what they would like to receive themselves."

*Tiffany Bryner made a display at the public library in Sitka, Alaska where she is employed.

*An AAI family shared, "Every time I shop at Costco I purchase a can of formula to take with us..(I shop there a lot with my brood). I have asked and encouraged my friends to do the same."

*AAI Counselor Marilyn Weaver took part in an adoption conference at a church in the Tri Cities on November 4. She spoke in a breakout session on homestudies. The theme she chose was “The Homestudy is the Heart of Adoption.” She referred to AAI and passed out information about our agency.

*Carol Gilliom shared, "Every year, including this year in October, my daughter Anna Gilliom (16 years old now), and I talk with all 80 students in the 7th grade at our local school about adoption. We talk about how Anna came from India as an infant, what adoption means to our family, and about Indian culture. We give our talk in the Social Studies classes during their unit on India."

*An AAI parent shared, "I am also going to a third grade class where some of my friends children go and I am speaking on adoption. The class is going to ask parents to donate needed items for our upcoming trip."
*Kris Adam helped raise funds for plane tickets, etc, for a family in her church that is adopting 3 children from Ethiopia. Everything she sells until mid Dec. goes directly to their fees. Kris states, "I am making necklace charms and ornaments. I know it won't be much, but every drop in the bucket helps!"

*Gina MacConnell purchased 100 devotionals about adoptions from Show Hope and has been handing them out to anyone who shows interested in adoption.

*One AAI Parent shared, "We are hosting a Adoption Info Meeting and a Help Us Fill Our Suitcase Party before we leave for our court trip in December. My plan is to have empty suitcases at our front door as our guests arrive(I have sent out a list of the things that AAI in Ethiopia needs). I am going to show the Cry of the Orphan video and have informational materials available."

*Several AAI families ate very simply the week before Thanksgiving, then donating the money they saved on food to various programs at AAI.

Thanks to ALL who participated this year, and shared your activities with us!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

AAI Family Quilt--A Longstanding Tradition

The AAI Family Quilt is coming along nicely! If you have made a donation to AAI and would like to see your name on a leaf, star, butterfly, or other items that will adorn the quilt, just contact us!

Did you know that fundraising quilts are a longstanding tradition in the United States? Recently, an AAI supporter wrote a blog post about these quilts, and featured the AAI Family Quilt as example. You can read the entire (very interesting) blog post HERE.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

AAI Volunteer trip -- Join us in February!!

2012 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 14 participants.  The dates for this year’s trip are February 26th – March 8th, 2012.  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.   We had a wonderful experience in November of 2010 and you can read more about it at this link.

The land cost for the trip is $1300 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 $1400-1700 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 as well as to make a commitment to do some fundraising prior to or after the trip. A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required by January 15, 2012 to secure a spot on the trip and participants are also required to have health insurance and to purchase a travel insurance plan (generally very inexpensive).  Please contact Susan Poisson-Dollar for more details or to reserve your spot on the trip.   

There will also be opportunities to tutor children, teach English, work at our facility for developmentally-delayed children (Opportunity House), and to experience Ethiopian traditions by visiting typical families.  We may be asked to paint rooms and do other similar projects at partner orphanages.   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, October 12, 2011

Temesgen and MOWA official visit Port Townsend, WA

Last week, AAI lawyer Temesgen and a MOWA official visited Port Townsend, WA and had dinner with a number of AAI families.  Chris Little, AAI Board President and adoptive parent of many, sent these pictures in and reported that everyone had a great time.  In addition to joining local AAI families for dinner, Temesgen and the MOWA official also visited a school, several private homes and the Port Townsend courthouse where many adoptions are finalized. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The bidding is on!!

2011 AAI Holiday Project Auction

Open for Bidding!

Head right over to this link to get a look at 100 beautiful gift items that benefit AAI's ongoing humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia and Ghana.   Jewelry, artwork, clothing and household items and vacation opportunities await you there.  Get your holiday shopping done extra early this year and your gift recipients will also appreciate that your purchase did "double duty" and helped an orphaned or vulnerable child in one of our programs.  The items were all donated by friends and supporters of AAI, many of whom are adoptive parents.  


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holiday Project Auction Starts October 1!

Check out all the great Holiday Gift Ideas!

Wouldn't you like to get your holiday shopping done early this year and benefit a good cause too?!   The 2011 AAI Holiday Project kicks off this year with a silent auction of over 80 beautiful items.  The online auction starts October 1 but you can start previewing the items now at this link !

As the saying goes --"Bid early and bid often."  All proceeds from the auction benefit AAI's Humanitarian Projects.  Read more about them at our website under "Humanitarian" and elsewhere here on the AAI blog.  

Thanks for shopping!  We will still be having our annual Holiday Project Fund Drive after the auction and offering you the opportunity to have a special holiday card sent to someone special who will love knowing that your gift benefited an orphaned or vulnerable child in one of our programs. Great gift idea for the many people on your list who already "have everything."   

Read the latest AAI newsletter here!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Password-Protected Waiting Child Page on AAI Website

Help spread the word!

We just added a new feature to the AAI website -- a password protected page with photos and information about waiting children in all of our international adoption programs.   The first page features a healthy 11 year old boy from Burkina Faso, a pair of young brothers from Ghana, and a little girl in our Republic of Georgia program among others.   We plan to put up new pages every few weeks so once you obtain your password, please keep checking---maybe you will find your child there one day!   Contact Johanna in the AAI office to find out how to obtain the password.

Feel free to post this link to any adoption groups you are involved in, your blog, your Facebook page etc.  Many of the children we will feature have special needs and we want to find families willing to help them develop to their full potential. 

*** NOTE:  We have just learned that some browsers and computers are experiencing difficulties with accessing the page.  If you can't, please email Johanna above (click on the link) and she can send you the information directly.  Thanks--we're getting lots of interest already!! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Help Us Expand Opportunity House!

AAI's Opportunity House Project in Ethiopia currently provides loving care and individualized therapy and training for thirty children with serious disabilities.  Twenty of the children reside on the Layla House compound and another dozen live at Kibeb Tsehaye, a partner orphanage cooperating in the project.  Our agreement with the Ethiopian government involves expanding OH's services to include fifty or more children over the coming months.  To achieve this, we need YOUR help!

There are two easy ways to contribute to Opportunity House and know that you have helped to make a child's life infinitely better.    Please consider sponsoring an OH child with a recurring donation of $35 a month or more.  In return, you will receive a photo and child report on a specific child at least twice a year.   We also need one-time donations for the purchase of needed equipment (as seen in these photos), the salaries of trained professionals and to pay for the staff training sessions we are doing for the children's caregivers.  If you would like to know more about specific OH needs and how you can "sponsor" a physical therapist or staff training workshop, please contact Merrily Ripley.  

Thanks to AAI parent Mike Erickson and volunteer Sophie Brill for these nice photos of children benefiting from Opportunity House services.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AAI Child is "Community Hero" in Utah

Recently an AAI adoptive mom shared with our listserve community that her son Phile was chosen as a  Community Hero this summer.  Phile has multiple special needs and spent time at our Opportunity House program.  Her story and some pictures are below.  


Our son, Phile, came home exactly two years ago. He spent about a year at Layla House but most of his time was at Opportunity House. Phile is seven years old and has been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy, autism, severe developmental delays and a seizure disorder called Lennox Gastaut Syndrome. As my mom once described, our family went through a pretty big "storm" that lasted well over a year after Phile came home. We spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, doctors, offices, therapies, counseling, schools, etc. trying to find help for our son and our families "new normal."

We live in a small town of about 20,000 people in Utah. Each summer, our community has a week long celebration including a parade, carnival, rodeo, concert and a variety of other activities. As a part of the celebration, a community hero is selected based on nominations. To kick off the celebration, the "Hero" is announced. Phile was secretly nominated by a neighbor and was chosen by the city as the Hero. The city got in contact with members of my family to get more information about Phile and our family. We had no idea any of this was going on!

One afternoon my sister told us she had a surprise for our family and that we needed to go for a short drive to get to it. So we all got in the car and followed her a little over a mile from our house to a new park the city was building. When we pulled up, over a hundred people were there cheering and chanting Phile's name. There were family, friends, teachers, nurses - all people whose lives have been affected and hearts touched by their interaction with our son. It was incredible and we were completely shocked and overwhelmed! It turns out that the park the city was building is unique in that it is a handicapped accessible, special-needs park...and it was named after our son. There is a plaque on display with a picture of our son and his story which was written by my mom. The mayor was at the "reveal" and honored our son and our family. Our family was invited to ride in the parade and to be special guests at the Clint Black concert that weekend. It was also announced that all the proceeds from the city's celebration would be used to fund a rec program for the 200+ special needs children in our area. We were speechless! The park is nearly complete and we have asked to the city if we can add a handprint mural so Phile's park can honor all the special needs children in our city.

Where Phile lacks in "ability" he more than makes up for in heart. He has truly taught us the meaning of unconditional love. There are days where I find myself in a bad mood or feeling upset for one reason or another. Then I see my son who, in my mind, has every reason to be frustrated at life but is so happy and just smiles, laughs and finds joy in the simplest things. I am so grateful for his example, for my neighbor, the community that I am a part of, and my family who take the time to find the rainbows in the storms of life.

-Becky A.
wife to a fabulous man and mom 4 beautiful bio girls and 2 amazing boys we were blessed to find

Thursday, August 25, 2011

AAI Thailand Program -- Recent staff visit

AAI Thailand/China Coordinator Ky Bower recently visited Thailand to visit orphanages and attend events for adoptees from that country.  You can read more about our Thai adoption program at this link.   Here is a report from Ky's trip to this beautiful country.   
Ky and Mrs. Anchalee at Pakkred Baby Home
I am back from my trip to Thailand and had a wonderful experience as part of the Nativeland visit program.  AAI was the only agency from the US that was represented and I was very grateful for the opportunity.  I highly encourage Thai adoptive families to participate in this program in the future.  It is a wonderful experience for the children to return to the children’s homes, see their caregivers again, and really get to experience the culture and traditions of their birth country.  The tour really focuses on the children and the love that their birth country has for them.  No matter where their new lives and families have taken them, the tour organizers believe it all started in Thailand and they try very hard to help the children realize how loved they are by their country.  The Nativeland visit takes place about every 2-3 years and we will send out information about the next one when it is made available.
The Child Adoption Center

I was able to meet with our Social Worker Ms. Anchalee for a meeting prior to one of the activities. She informed me there are special needs files ready for our agency and that we should expect to receive those within the next few weeks.  It is my understanding that these are completed files of special needs children- medical, child history, photos, and possibly video as well.  AAI will review these files and match them with families who have completed dossiers. Depending on the number of files we receive, we will then advocate for the rest of the waiting children who in need of families.  I will update the list of waiting children and notify families in the program once the information has received and processed. 
Welcome music and dancing at one of the children's homes

We will also be notified later this year if the Thai healthy child program will re-open. We hope to know this fall if AAI will be able to submit applications for healthy children for the 2012 year. 
One of the children's homes that Ky visited
I was able to visit the Child Adoption Center as well as the US Embassy and to get familiar with the offices and the processes there.  It was very clear how busy the Child Adoption Center is with the workload each social worker has because they work with many adopting countries and many different children’s homes.  After meeting with several different social workers I can tell you their hearts  are in the right place and they too want to see these children home with their adoptive families.  The biggest news to report about my meeting with the US Embassy is how valuable Ms. Oh is in that process. She has a wonderful working relationship with the staff members there and will see to it that families complete the process as quickly as possible. The lines at the embassy of people applying for visas can be very long can be long of people and adoptive families take priority.  Families are told to go to the front of the line and notify the officer that they are there for adoption.   I was happy about that because they day I was there the lines were very LONG. 
l-r, Mrs. Oh, Janelle and Ky

The highlight of my trip is my visit to one of the children’s homes.  The director of the home was very welcoming and a lot of preparation took place for our arrival. Seeing how excited the caregivers were to see “their” children again brought tears to my eyes and gives me goose bumps as I write this. It is very clear that these kids are loved and well cared for.  The love the children returning to the home have for their nannies was obvious and they couldn’t wait to be in their arms again. It was a special reunion that I am honored to have witnessed. This home in particular had several sections to it; a room for the babies under a year old, a room for the toddlers and then a room for the older children up to age 6. Playrooms and reading rooms were also included in each section.  The home was beautifully maintained and the feeling that I had while touring it was a positive one.  

Often when we think of children being in orphanages we think negatively of the conditions but I can tell you that this particular home was gorgeous and very child-friendly---with beautiful bright colors, lovely landscaping and an abundance of toys and play equipment.  From what Janelle,  AAI’s former Thai coordinator and my traveling companion on this trip, tells me, this is the general condition of most of the homes she has visited in the past within Thailand .
Ky and social workers

Overall, it was a very successful trip and I feel optimistic about future Thai adoptions. During the visit the social workers at the Child Adoption Center hosted a dinner for the representatives of the agencies that attended.  This was another highlight of my trip as it was comforting to speak to other agencies about their experiences with Thai adoptions.  It was a wonderful time to connect personally with the Child Adoption Center workers as well as to make new friends with agencies from around the world.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Another AAI family story

Recently we received the following story and pictures from an AAI family, the Bossleys of Ohio,  that adopted two special needs children years ago from our Taiwan program.  It is so inspiring to read success stories like this and we thought we just had to share it more widely.

Peter and Ben

When our oldest son went away to college, it left an empty spot in our lives - both physically and emotionally.  I had always wanted another child or more.  We had 3 biological children and one adopted daughter with some severe emotional issues.  We were stressed almost beyond our limits with her.   I think emotional issues are tough ones and dealing with them takes a lot of real time, wisdom, and love.

I wanted another child as we had been married young and still had child rearing time but my wife had gone through a tubal ligation at the time of our third child.  To compound the issue, we were not wealthy - not at all.  When we decided to adopt, I went through 12 agencies that turned us down until I finally got a photo and information about a 2 year old boy from Taiwan who had been blind from birth but was as cute as a button and seemed to be a normal bright boy.  I had friends who were blind so I did not have a problem getting past the lack of vision.   I had a vision for that child and so did Sister Rosa from the orphanage.
The greatest problem I had was getting my wife's signature on the papers.  She was not sure about adding another child because of what we were going through.  I never believed it possible but six months later we were at the airport waiting for our newest son.  Peter was soon enrolled in a preschool for blind children.  Three days a week I also took Peter to the Cleveland Sight Center and waited with other parents - all mothers of blind children.  As I watched Peter at normal tasks and at play, it was clear to me after a year that he would have a much easier time if he had a sighted sibling.

I wrote to Adoption Advocates again - just to drop a hint that we would be interested in adopting again.  I did not think that anyone would allow a second adoption but again Sister Rosa  surprised us and responded that she had  "just the right child for us."  This was a child whose photo would bring a shocked look to anyone I shared it with because the little 17 month old boy had a huge " hemangioma" on his entire lower left jaw.  These blood tumors are red because they are filled with blood and this one was fully the size of the rest of the toddler's face.   This child had been hospitalized (mostly kept on his back) for his entire young life.  
Ben before surgery

I wanted to be certain that the rest of my children could deal with the comments and interactions of others when seeing  him for the first time, so I had the children each take the photo to school to show it to their friends and to deal with the comments.  The family members each handled the comments and questions and I tried to learn about the remainder of his medical conditions.  We had heard that one family had turned him down.  We decided to accept him but my hesitation was that there was no real indication of his mental ability.  I could handle most handicaps but I was uncertain about how I could do with a child with limited mental growth.   

 Benjamin, as we named him, would take only formula through a bottle and was only 12 pounds at 17 months old .  His legs were especially shocking as they were still as he had been as a newborn.  Both Peter, and Benjamin came into this world weighing less than 2 pounds each.  The percentage of babies who survive at this low birth weight at the time was 10%  The Early Childhood Intervention program in our area was just beginning to get underway and I was one of two parent representatives for our county's program.

I began Benjamin in the program for children under 3 years for  2 days a week and then the other 3 days a week, I took both of the boys fifty miles into Cleveland for Peter to go to the class at the school for the blind.  For some of the time, while Peter was in class at the children for the blind, I took Ben over a few blocks to a speech specialist as he was almost 4 years old and still did not speak.

Over the next two years, surgeons worked in nearly 30 surgeries to remove the tumor on his face.  He had 4 other surgeries to correct other problems.  Both boys went to the local elementary school. I remember in 1994 when I took Peter to enroll him in kindergarten
the principal of the school looked at me and said "There is a place for kids like him"  (referring to the schools for the blind).  I said "I know - this is one right here" ---affirming my decision to have Peter mainstreamed.  This law was 20 years old and yet I still had to battle fervently to have things done in a practical way for him to learn.    "Braille and Speak" notepads were coming out and Peter got his first one in the fourth grade.  He really took off academically then and even learned to fix it himself so we didn’t have to send it away when it need servicing  because that took many weeks.  During their school years Peter and Benjamin were involved in wrestling for at least one year and Peter also participated in Model UN.

Peter was able to take university classes in his last year of high school and began studying on the Ohio State University campus to be an Information technologist for the Office of Research.  Benjamin graduated with honors from high school and followed a couple of years behind Peter also at Ohio State University.  Ben received a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing and then went on to graduate school at Kent State University.  He is now licensed as  a teacher in Early Childhood Intervention and specialized in three to five year old children.

Having Benjamin go from a class of children in an early intervention program to directing a class of the same made me  think of the days I was waiting for him to finish the class and reading the books on degrees of mental retardation - and wondering what I had gotten myself into.  Both boys live independently in their own condo and put themselves through school.  My motto is now “Teach a child to fish and you will be envious of his trophy catch."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 2011 Families for Children newsletter

Click here to read!

Report from AAI-Ghana

Our Ghana Coordinator, Anita Gillispie, traveled to Ghana for two weeks in June.  It was a very busy trip, with visits to around 15 orphanages and non-profits in 5 regions of Ghana and Togo.  In this part of the world in-person relationships are of the utmost importance.  Culturally, some things must be communicated in person rather than by email or phone.

Thanks to generous donations by AAI families and friends, Anita was able to take over 300 pounds of donations, and give over $2500 in food and supplies to orphanages and non-profits in Ghana.
AAI helped a group foster home receive 12 new mattresses for the children.
Directors of the group foster home choose donated shoes and clothing for their children
Earlier this year families raised $5000 for the construction of a new dormitory at Nyame Dua Foster home.  Anita was able to tour the dormitory that is now nearing the end of construction.  When finished, the addition will have a new sitting area, 2 new bedrooms, a western-style restroom, and a storage area.

construction of the Nyame Dua boys dorm

The current restroom facility at Nyame Dua--a new one is planned.

Family Preservation is a significant part of our program in Ghana.  Anita was able to observe these programs in action when she went along to deliver food to vulnerable families and to visit the sponsored children in school.

The trip was very fruitful, in part, thanks to the private vehicle Anita was able to use during her time in Ghana.  Unfortunately, The Ripley Foundation (our primary NGO sponsor in Ghana) is in dire need of vehicles to be able to effectively do their work in Ghana.  Currently, they are borrowing one vehicle (to be returned in August) or using public taxis/buses. Please consider a donation to our Ghana Vehicle Fund to help put this program back on the road.  

The roads are sometimes almost impassable even for a 4X4 SUV, so you can imagine how difficult it is for TRF Humanitarian Director Muna Saeed to do her work hiring public taxis each day.  Many times she can only take a taxi to a certain point before she is left to walk the last few miles on foot (often with donations in hand and her son on her back).  This is, at best, an inefficient way to accomplish the work that must be done on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children. 
 Muna, walking with a mom whose children are sponsored through AAI

Joha, TRF's Director of Development, often takes a public bus from Accra to Bolgatanga--a 17 hour ride--in order to work on adoption cases in the Upper East Region.
 Joha (in brown shirt) settles in for the 17+ hour bus ride

Without access to a dependable SUV, Anita would have been unable to visit at least 5 of the orphanages she visited during the last trip.  The SUV barely made it through the muddy road below.

In the coming months we hope to assist The Ripley Foundation in purchasing two used vehicles--one for city travel and one for "rough" travel.  The organization is doing its best to raise money within Ghana (including their own personal funds) to meet this need, but they ask that we come along side them.  The fact is, at this point, AAI adoption and family preservation work is being inhibited by the transportation problems.

Thank you for your continued support in Ghana.

Anita Gillispie
Adoption Advocates International

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holiday Project Kicks off with an Online Gift Auction!--Items needed now.

 This year we are trying something new and different for our annual Holiday Project.  Coordinator and volunteer extraordinaire Mandie Doak just sent this message to our country yahoo groups and I'm sharing it here for those who read the blog.  And wow--look at some of the items she's already received--they would make great gifts!
Hi All! I know its hard to believe that I'm posting about the Holiday project and its only the middle of July... but I have to tell you, I've already been thinking about it for a month now, and today I saw aisles and aisles of  Christmas decorations out at Hobby Lobby.... so apparently, I'm not the only one!

The reason I'm typing is because I am putting together a silent online auction (and possibly an event in Kansas at its end...) to raise money for this year's Holiday Project. The auction will take place the beginning of October, but I wanted to get the word out early so that those of you who are crafty and quilt or knit, or do some other great thing that requires a bit of time to put together, could have time to do it! I'm asking for donations from all of our AAI Africa families , since this project will touch children and caregivers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda this year!  

My name is Mandie Doak, I'm an Ethiopia adoptive parent, volunteer with AAI, and I have
been organizing the Holiday project for the past 5 years.... I put the word out, beg for money, do the shopping, beg for more money, remind you all that we still have money to raise, and finally carry all the gifts to Ethiopia and oversee that portion of the project. You can visit this link and see photos from last year's projects in both Ethiopia and Ghana.

I'm very excited to be including AAI's new program in Uganda in this year’s project, and I can't wait to see the photos of their celebrations!

Last year’s project brought in more than $20,000... Half of which went to AAI's humanitarian aid projects. The remainder of the funds went to provide gifts for all of the children in AAI's care, special Holiday party and foods, modest bonuses for the caregivers, special treats for our sponsorship kids, and holiday meals for several of AAI's partner orphanages. The project will touch more than 500 orphans and caregivers in all three countries.

Please help us to make this year’s project a HUGE success! If you are able to donate an item or two, please let me know and I’ll send you my shipping address! If you are crafty and you know it...raise your hand! Calling all quilters, clothing makers, bow makers, photographers, jewelry makers, artists, etc.!  Travelers, you can help out too! If you are traveling soon, and would be willing to pick up some souvenir type items (drums, baskets, scarves, clothing, coffee, spices, jewelry, etc...) to donate to the cause, let me know!

The auction is not limited to physical items.... If you own a salon, how about' a do? Own a restaurant or have a friend who does?   How about donating a dinner for two? Maybe you can donate a weekend getaway or charter fishing trip? You can see where this is going! If you can offer a good or service that someone else could bid on, let me know!

You don't have to be a crafty-traveling-business owner to participate, either! If you have an item, or want to purchase an item to donate to the cause, that would be welcome too! Just as a reminder, donations should be new or like new items that you would want to give or receive as a gift during the holidays... We are hoping that folks will use this auction as a place to do some of their holiday shopping, so please keep this in mind!

I have the Holiday Project FB page up and running, and have started posting previews of the items that will be offered for auction! I will update it as I receive the items. Stop by, "Like" it, and get ready to bid! Please be sure to check out donor's websites, many of them work with organizations in Uganda, Ghana and Ethiopia.

If you have a website associated with your goods, I would be happy to link it to your items. They will also be linked on our Facebook page, where I will have a preview of the items as I receive them. Take a look; there are some beautiful things already that will make great gifts for a special someone on your list.  

Please feel free to contact me with questions! Items need to be shipped to me by Sept. 16th.

Looking forward to hearing from you! Thanks so much for your help with this!

Mandie Doak