Thursday, February 17, 2011

The GRACE Fund

Check out this YouTube video about how families are created by AAI's GRACE FUND.  The fund helps families who want to adopt our longest-waiting children but need financial assistance to do so.  The photos are by professional photographer and GRACE FUND founder Emma Dodge Hanson with "welcome home" ones at the end submitted by recent AAI families.

Read more about the GRACE FUND here and make a donation at this link.


Monday, February 14, 2011

AAI Family Tree Quilt

Help us fill up the new AAI Family Tree Quilt!
animal, branch or leaf will be placed on this beautiful quilt
in honor of your family, an adopted child or another loved one.

Your generous donation will support:
  • Student sponsorships in Ethiopia and Ghana
  • Our partner orphanages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Burkina Faso
  • Opportunity House--our program for special needs children in Ethiopia
  • Building a boy's dorm at one of our partner orphanages in Ghana
  • Supporting a housing project for vulnerable children in Uganda
  • "Good Neighbor" projects to improve sanitation and literacy in the poor neighborhood near Layla House in Ethiopia
  • Specialized medical and dental care for orphan children in our programs
  • And many other projects benefiting orphan children in the countries where we work
For the past few years, AAI volunteer and quiltmaker Barb Patton has made an annual quilt for us with the drawings of Layla House children.  The quilt was then raffled off and the proceeds supported our humanitarian mission.  This year we are trying something unique and different---Barb's quilt, shown above, will grace the walls of AAI's office in Port Angeles, WA.  It's just waiting for one thing to be complete---the names of our families and supporters---on the leaves, branches, trunk or background!   When you make a donation to the AAI Family Tree Quilt, Barb will add your name or that of someone you wish to honor to a section of the quilt.  Help us "leaf out" this beautiful tree with a generous gift today!
Donation levels:
  • $1000 and up: Name on an animal or star to be added to the background (see examples below)
  • $500-$999:  Name on the trunk of the tree
  • $250-$499: Name on a branch of the tree
  • $100-$249: Name on a leaf to be added to the tree
Donations can be made online at or by check to the AAI office. Unless an honoree is otherwise specified, your family name will be added to the tree.  If you have a special request or questions, contact Susan Poisson-Dollar, AAI Director of Development. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

AAI helps a very special Princess in Ghana....

This post and pictures were submitted by Anita Gillispie, AAI Ghana coordinator.   She worked hard to ensure that this little girl, named Princess, received the care she deserved and now can look forward to a bright future.
Baby Princess with items brought to her in the hospital by AAI families
In late 2010 I received an out-of-the-blue email from Martha Osborne (from Rainbow Kids).  It's very common for adoption agencies and advocacy groups to be contacted by people in foreign countries who claim sad circumstances for "orphans" who need help.  Most often these emails are scams.  It's easy to become calloused and assume they are all fake situations.  However, Martha received an email that she said she had a feeling about.  She didn't erase it immediately.  She thought there was a possibility it was genuine.  Could AAI check it out?
I responded to Dr. Y, who is a resident at a hospital in Ghana.  Very quickly it was obvious that this was a real situation.  Dr. Y had come to know Baby Princess.  This baby had been abandoned at her hospital.  The hospital had been giving her care, but nothing extra.  Dr. Y arranged for her to receive the life-saving shunt surgery Baby Princess needed.  She went even beyond that, reaching out to those in America that might be able to help find Baby Princess a family.  Babies with this condition in Ghana simply do not have a very good chance at long life.
 Baby Princess with Dr. Y post surgery
Our team in Ghana began to work with Social Welfare, the hospital, and Dr. Y to be able to legally "free" Princess from the hospital.  However, finding care for a baby with her special needs is not an easy task in Ghana.  Princess needed a home with caregivers who understood her special need.  She needed a home with clean surroundings and better-than-average resources for her care.  AAI could provide financially for Princess, but we could not give her the hugs, and tummy time, and developmental challenges she would need to thrive.
I began putting out the word that we were in search of a foster family for a very special little Princess.  For weeks I searched.  People came together and told me of one person, who knew of another person, who might be able to care for Princess.  During that time I made some great connections with people who are able to care for children in Ghana with more severe special needs, but nobody was able to take Princess at that time.  We expected Princess to be released from the hospital "any day."  Where would she go?  I can tell you that during this time it was hard to find sleep at night!
I went to a social networking site, looking for any connection to anybody in Ghana who might be able to give this deserving and precious baby a home.  On a whim I contacted City of Refuge Ministries--an organization that is focused on rescuing children who have become enslaved in the fishing industry in Ghana.  I had heard good things about the home, but didn't "know" them at all.  I sent the email with very low expectations.  However, after a few days I received the email I had been hoping for!  City of Refuge had conducted a board meeting and decided they would be happy to welcome Baby Princess into their home!
What transpired then none of us could have predicted.  All of a sudden the "rush" to find a home for this child was put on hold as red tape kept her from leaving the hospital.  Many weeks passed by.  City of Refuge, Dr. Y, and our team in Ghana continued to advocate for Baby Princess.  Finally, on Friday February 4th, Baby Princess was allowed to leave the hospital and join her new foster family.  Our Princess has found her "castle!"
In the next several months we expect Baby Princess to become available for adoption.  All of us invested in her life so far are waiting in anticipation to see how the rest of her story turns out.  We know that this is a special child, with a special purpose.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

AAI-Ghana---good news for large families!

Ghana Gives Go-Ahead to Larger Families
We are happy to share that Social Welfare in Ghana has recently become more open to accepting families with more than 5 children.  At this time our Ghana program can accept a handful of families who have 5-10 children, and who are hoping to adopt children 6 or older or children with chronic special needs (HIV, Hep B, CP, Sickle Cell, etc.).  The program typically takes 6-12 months from child match to homecoming, with 1 or 2 required trips to Ghana.  If your family would like to pave the way for other larger families to adopt from Ghana, please contact Anita Gillispie for more information.