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