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Last Day for 2010 Donations

Little Miracles International | Friday, December 31, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Today is the last day of the year to donate for 2010 tax deduction.

To our current donors, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for making the world a much better place for the vulnerable, war-affected and orphaned children we serve.

It isn't too late to help a child this year and we would love to have you help in our vision:

Please Donate now!

Please Note: To apply donations to your 2010 taxes, credit card donations must be received before midnight 12/31/10 Central Standard Time, and mailed donations must be postmarked in 2010.

Tax slips will go out first week in January.   Thank you for your generosity.

Heartwarming Story for the Holidays!

Little Miracles International | Sunday, December 26, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments

The Adoption Tax Credit Impacts Families from 2005-2009

Little Miracles International | Sunday, December 19, 2010 | Links to this post | 3 Comments



From Voice for Adoption (VFA – develops and advocates for improved adoption policies)

Did you know?
The federal adoption tax credit was made refundable for the first time! Meaning you can claim it for a refund even if you owe no taxes. Families who adopt a child with special needs from foster care can claim the credit without needing to incur or document expenses. The credit per-child is now $13,170 for adoptions finalized in 2010.

Now that the credit is refundable many more families will benefit; even families who adopted earlier than 2010, but didn’t have enough tax liability to access the credit in previous years. Families that finalized adoptions in 2005-2009 can carry forward unused tax credit to their 2010 return and claim it as a refundable credit. Be informed when preparing your taxes or visiting your tax consultant this year, visit the resources listed below.

Since this is fairly new, some tax consultants may not be aware of the changes; help to educate them of the recent updates to the federal credit by referring them to the IRS instructions for Form 8839 and NACAC’s fact sheets. To learn more about the adoption tax credit and how it might benefit your family, visit the following resources:


(You will notice that this currently links to the 2009 forms; the IRS will update the forms to 2010)

Adoption Alert: Ukraine Adoption

Little Miracles International | Thursday, December 09, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

Adoption Notice: Ukraine

December 9, 2010

On November 3, 2010, a proposed bill that would place a moratorium on intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements, including the United States passed a first reading in the Ukrainian parliament. On December 7, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv learned the proposed moratorium bill has been scheduled for a second reading during the upcoming plenary session on December 16. As the plenary session does have several important agenda items, this schedule may be subject to change
depending on the progress of each issue.

Additionally, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv was informed that a slight, but possibly important, change was made to the text for the second reading. The bill originally stated, “intercountry adoptions will not be allowed for the citizens and permanent residents of the countries with which Ukraine does not have bilateral adoption agreements.” The change eliminates the word “bilateral,” which may allow the possibility of multilateral agreements, like the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, to take the place of bilateral agreements.

The Ukrainian State Department for Adoptions (SDA) has indicated that adoption processing will be conducted as usual until mandated by a change in legislation.

The Department of State cannot predict the outcome of the second reading. However, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is active in encouraging its counterparts to consider the Hague Adoption Convention as the best means to address concerns in the adoption process and to safeguard cases in progress. The Embassy is monitoring the situation closely. Any prospective adoptive parents with cases currently open in Ukraine are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy Kyiv Adoption Unit. The Embassy maintains a listserv to communicate with U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents and will use this to send updates as information is available.

Hoyer Statement on Passage of the Help HAITI Act

Little Miracles International | Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
For Immediate Release: December 1, 2010 WASHINGTON, DC -

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer released the following statement today after the House passed the Help HAITI Act:

“Today, the House passed the Help HAITI Act, an important piece of humanitarian legislation that continues America’s constructive response to the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti early this year. Following the earthquake, more than 1,000 Haitian orphans were brought to the United States by adoptive American families; the bill we passed today ensures that those children, just like all other children adopted from abroad, will have permanent resident status. For the adoptive parents who generously took Haitian orphans into their homes, the guarantee of permanent resident status means that their children will enjoy a full range of legal protections and will no longer be stuck in legal limbo.

“The adoption of more than 1,000 orphans has been in proud keeping with America’s tradition as a welcoming refuge. I am happy that this bill, which is now ready for President Obama’s signature, gives full legal recognition to these adopted children and paves the way for what I am sure will be their important contributions to our country.”

Kazakhstan Adoption Alert

Little Miracles International | Monday, November 29, 2010 | Links to this post | 2 Comments
Adoption Alert

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues
__________________________________________________
November 24, 2010

According to the Government of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Education plans to match all families with pending adoption dossiers with children before December 15, 2010. Once these matches are made, the adopting parents will be invited to travel to Kazakhstan for the mandatory three-week bonding period with the children. Adopting parents who decline to travel to Kazakhstan to bond with the children with whom they are matched will not be able to proceed with an adoption in Kazakhstan under the existing adoption process; their “pending dossier” will be closed.

International Adoption Simplification Act

Little Miracles International | Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
The International Adoption Simplification Act legislation passed in the House this week.

Some describe this as a technical correction to some elements of the Hague implementation legislation. Two key changes are:

1. Extend the option to defer overseas immunizations of adoptive children from I-600 to I-800 cases

2. Enable older siblings to be adopted by a family that adopted younger siblings

The option to defer immunizations does NOT extend to TB screenings of adoptees. TB screenings will continue.

The legislation can be viewed here.


A Media Summary of the Legistlation is here.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. It's a great opportunity to raise awareness about the miracle of adoption and the hundreds of thousands of kids all over the world in foster care and/or orphanages who are waiting for their forever homes. 

In the past, the stigma of single parenting prevented the adoption of many children who were desperately in need of a loving home.  Today, the adoption picture has changed, and includes an ever-increasing number of single parents by choice.  Even celebrities like Angelina Jolie (whose adopted children are from Ethiopia, Vietnam, and Cambodia) and Meg Ryan (whose baby girl is from China) chose to adopt as single parents.

Why do single parents chose adoption?  For the same reasons as married couples.  Mainly, because they want to nurture and raise a child and seek to have a loving family unit. Many singles hoping to adopt children are doing so because they feel they had a wonderful childhood and want to give that to another child.

However, even as single parent adoption continues to grow (and research citing the benefits of single parent adoption continues to mount), there are still those that argue against single parent adoptions. 

Despite the greater acceptance of single parent adoption, the traditional view of parenting, that a child needs a mother and a father for healthy growth and development, still exists.

Before I delve into the benefits and disadvantages of single parenting, in the interest of full disclosure, it must be noted that I myself am a single adoptive parent.  In February of 2010, at the age of 28, I traveled to Shymkent, Kazakhstan to adopt a beautiful 6 month old daughter, Hannah Elizabeth.  When I joyfully announced the adoption to family and friends, I expected to be met with encouragement and elation.  Most of my family members and friends were ecstatic; however, the announcement was met by some with skepticism and concern.  I was disheartened, but undeterred.  I KNEW in my heart that I could do it.  And I knew in my head that marital status does not play into one’s ability to parent. 

Single parenting has been the most challenging, rewarding, chaotic, joyous, exhausting, eye-opening experience in my life thus far.  Here is what I have learned.  Here are our truths, and our reality. 

The truth is, single parenting is expensive. 

The reality is that single adoptive parents are usually of higher education and have higher incomes in comparison to the country's average. They have concentrated on their careers and have established a stable home that would benefit a child.

The truth is children benefit from two parent families.


The reality is that children benefit from families, regardless of structure.  Single, adoptive parents provide a home with more stability than many other families that have been compromised by divorce, death, illness, etc.  And single or married, everyone needs a support system of family and friends to help with the everyday challenges of parenting.

The truth is a child needs to be raised by parents of both sexes


The reality is that it IS important for girls to have adult males to relate to and for boys to have adult females to relate to. However, this person does not necessarily have to be a parent; it could be a close friend or family member of the opposite sex.

The truth is single parenting is HARD.

The reality is that parenting is hard.  It is a delicate balance between cherishing every single second with your sweet child and counting the seconds until nap time.  The joy of watching your children learn to walk, talk, and grow is sometimes eclipsed by the piles of laundry, dishes in the sink, and beds that need made.  Good parenting is a growth process for everyone, single or married. 

But the reality is also that my life began the day I met my daughter.   This tiny, demanding person came into my life and somehow moved my soul to dance.

The reality is that a day does not go by that I do not feel immeasurably blessed to have her in my life.

The reality is that the universe unfolds perfectly as it should.  I was meant to be her mother, and she was meant to be my daughter. 

Single or married, may each of you find as much joy and happiness in your families as I have found in mine. 

Erin Herman, adoptive mom of Hannah, Shymkent Kazakhstan Class of 2010 :-)

International Adoption Crisis, Both Ends Burning!

Little Miracles International | Friday, November 12, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments

International Adoption Crisis. BothEndsBurning.org from GloboxMedia on Vimeo.


Join the Campaign at BothEndsBurning.org

Stand up for children worldwide who need families! Join us in our campaign to reform the system of international adoption so more orphans can be matched with loving, nurturing families. SIGN OUR PETITION and help us make REAL CHANGE!

Spread the word about the need for international adoption reform in your community. Join the Both Ends Burning movement, which engages policymakers, government officials and the private sector to make a real difference for children.

A family is a child’s most basic human right. Both Ends Burning is a broad-based campaign to create a new system of international adoption so that the world’s orphaned and abandoned children can benefit from the support of a permanent family.

Children who have families thrive and lead healthy, meaningful lives. Children who do not suffer from unmet needs and developmental, emotional and intellectual challenges, and even permanent damage. They lead wasted lives, wrongfully detained in substandard orphanages, or worse, left to fend for themselves in homelessness or slavery.

Through creative works, grassroots outreach, and social and traditional media, the Both Ends Campaign works to shed light on the crisis that is strangling international adoption. Adoptions to the U.S. have fallen by 50 percent in the last six years. Countries are closing their adoption programs to overseas families. Would-be parents face hope-crushing delays, expenses and bureaucracy under the existing system. Meanwhile, the number of orphans continues to grow.

Both Ends Burning provides an alternative common-sense solution to replace the current process. What’s needed is a new international adoption system that works to match waiting children with eligible families in a time frame measured in a few months, not several years.

The current process is broken. Help us force the creation of a new one. Please sign our petition calling for a new international adoption system. Your involvement will help us provoke change. The time to act is now — too many children are suffering, too many families have lost hope and given up. Help us provide orphans with what every child deserves: A loving family.

Produced by: Craig Juntunen

Direction & Cinematography : Thaddaeus Scheel
at Globox Media Group, Inc. NYC

Creative Concept: Tripp Baltz and Jay Ferracane
AngryBovine.com

Special Thanks: Mark Fedyniak, Roy Leland

Copyright © – 2010 BothEndsBurning.org All Rights Reserved.

Watch this video on Vimeo. Video created by GloboxMedia.

One Less

Little Miracles International | Friday, November 05, 2010 | Links to this post | 1 Comment

We heard an awesome International Adoption related song inspired by one family adopting in Guatemala. Matthew West has produced a CD that is so, honest and passionate.  "Story of Your Life"  is about hurt, healing and the joy after.  We just had to share this song with you.   

After asking for people to send in their stories, West locked himself away in a cabin for two months and let these songs flow from those letters he had received from around the world. In the CD liner notes, he chronicles the individual stories that impacted each song, and this adds so much to the experience of this album. From the college-age girl whose plans were ripped away by a car accident "Strong Enough" and the family who adopted a child from Guatemala "One Less", from the pain of generational sins, abortion, and divorce "Family Tree," "The Healing Has Begun," "Two Houses" to the devastation of cancer and sexual abuse "Survivors," "Broken Girl", West rips our hearts out, allows us to deal with these things so often hidden away in darkness, and then asks God to come in and show us "The Reason for the World." He's even joined by Leigh Nash on "To Me," and her whimsical voice fits perfectly. Yes, put on the headphones, close your eyes in a quiet place, and let this song list go to work.

For those that have traversed the journey of international adoption, you will feel immediately the emotion of "One Less."   We've put the link to the CD so you can enjoy "Story of Your Life" as much as we have, and the video is below.  But first before the gorgeous song, the touching story that was submitted that inspired Matthew West's interpretation.

From Greg, Humboldt, TN

My wife and I started an adoption of a little girl named Lily in August of 2007. We were able to finally bring her home in November of 2009! I am the senior pastor of a church in TN and the adoption became a process embraced by our whole family of faith. As a part of the adoption my wife moved into an apartment there in that country so we could foster our now 8 year old daughter. We spent 7 months apart from one another. It was the most difficult test we have faced as a couple. The pain that marked those seven months was quickly replaced when we finally made it home. The joy we shared when we arrived here reminded me of what it must be like when one of God’s children finally make it home. We left Guatemala with no fan fare and a few tears. We arrived at our home with church members lining the street with banners, cheering, and sharing great relief.





Matthew’s commentary on: "One Less"

“Defend the cause of the orphans…” Isaiah 1:17

I was inspired by the hundreds of stories from people who were so passionate about adoption. What a gift for a family to open up their arms and welcome in a child with no home! Every adoption story is truly the proof that God is involved in the details, even the smallest details. I wrote the first verse to show how at the same time, in two different parts of the world, God is hearing the cries of two hearts, and little do they know they are about to be joined together by a God who can orchestrate the impossible.

There are so many orphans in the world today, that the mission of giving them all a home to the human eye seems more like a mission impossible. But, as I read one story after another about a child finding a home, I found myself saying, “That’s one less, one less, one less broken heart in the world tonight.”

You may not be in a position to adopt an orphan in your life right now, but there are many ways to carry out the command of the bible to care for the orphans. Personally, I have a friend who is in the process of adopting a little girl from Russia and he and his family are in need of financial support to do so. Many friends and neighbors are helping support this family’s effort financially so this little girl can have a home. Ask God to show you how to care for the orphans. Every time you help, that’s one less!

Adoption Alert: Ukraine Adoption

Little Miracles International | Friday, November 05, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Adoption Notice
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children’s Issues

November 3, 2010

The Ukrainian legislature is in the process of voting on a bill that would suspend all intercountry adoptions from countries without bilateral agreements with Ukraine, including adoptions from the United States. The bill passed a first reading and vote, but must still pass a second reading and be signed into law by the president. The second reading could take place in the next few weeks. If the bill passes the second reading, it may be signed into law as early as the end of 2010. The draft bill appears to include suspension of all adoptions in progress. The Department will post updates as information becomes available.

Kazakhstan Adoption Alert

Little Miracles International | Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | Links to this post | 1 Comment
Kazakhstan
Adoption Alert
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
_____

November 1, 2010

The Government of Kazakhstan has reinstated the expedited passport service
for adopted children. Adoptive parents or their service provider can now pay
a fee for approximately $14 to expedite passport processing. The process
takes about 7 working days to complete.

US Department of State Website Kazakhstan Adoption Alert
Have any of you seen the Playstation commercial (during football games) where a man spouts out "You're adopted!" as an insult to the person playing against, to throw them off their game? If you can spare a minute, email Playstation’s PR division and let them know what you think of it.

Unfortunately as big sports fans in our home, our 16 year old daughter saw it and commented very unfavorably to her adopted status in this poor advertisement. Why in these days of social tolerance is it ok to poke fun at adoptees by making them seem less on the social hierchy?  Shame on you Sony Playstation!! 

They show a woman being good at something counter-stereotypical: sports and video games.  On the less than pleasant note, the family does all they can to distract her from winning the game, including a man obviously meant to be playing the role of her father, growling at her:

"You're adopted!"


 




Adoption Alert: Kazakhstan

Little Miracles International | Tuesday, October 26, 2010 | Links to this post | 1 Comment
After several months of waiting, families in the Kazakhstan Adoption Program and those still considering Kazakhstan Adoptions will be pleased to know that information has been officially released.

LMI understands there are also some key legislation pieces that need to be voted on and put into place as well before adoptions can commence.  All in all we feel this is great news!

The Dept of State, Office of Children's Issues has issued the below notice regarding adoptions from Kazakhstan. This notice can also be viewed on their website.

Kazakhstan will become a party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) on November 1, 2010.

Government of Kazakhstan stated it will not accept any new intercountry adoption dossiers until it completes adoption reforms, which is expected to be March 2011, at the earliest.

Processing of Convention adoptions from Kazakhstan

Until the Government of Kazakhstan becomes a party to the Convention, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will not process a Form I-800A (Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country), that indicates an intention to adopt a child from Kazakhstan. For this reason, prospective adoptive parents should not attempt to initiate any new adoptions in Kazakhstan at this time. On or after November 1, 2010, a U.S. citizen seeking to complete a Convention adoption of a child habitually resident in Kazakhstan may file a Form I-800A as specified in the Form I-800A instructions.

Prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers should be aware that the Government of Kazakhstan continues to revise its intercountry adoption regulations, including those that will establish the number of and requirements for foreign adoption service providers. The Government of Kazakhstan stated it will not accept any new intercountry adoption dossiers until the adoption reforms are complete and its intercountry adoption process meets Convention standards. The Government estimates these reforms will be in place and that new intercountry adoptions may resume in March 2011. Prospective adoptive parents are warned not to enter into any agreement, implied or stated, regarding the prospective adoption of a child in Kazakhstan until such a time as the Government of Kazakhstan establishes the requirements and regulations governing the intercountry adoption of its citizens. The United States Central Authority cautions adoption service providers that they should not offer or appear to offer adoption services in Kazakhstan (other than for those transition cases still being processed under the former regulations) until the Government of Kazakhstan authorizes specific adoption service providers

Transition (orphan) cases

Prospective adoptive parents who may already have filed a Form I-600 or Form I-600A should also be aware of the Government of Kazakhstan’s position on “transition” cases. The Government of Kazakhstan announced that cases will qualify as transition only if the Kazakhstani Embassy or Consulate General sent the dossier to the Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs on or before May 25, 2010. These transition cases will be processed under the former procedures. Hague implementing measures will not affect the processing of these adoptions. Thus, prospective adoptive parents who filed a Form I-600A or Form I-600 before November 1, 2010, may need to file a Form I-800A, if the dossier was not sent by May 25, 2010.

Information regarding adoption requirements and procedures in Kazakhstan will be posted as soon as it is made available.

Marathon for Adoption

Little Miracles International | Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Links to this post | 1 Comment

Look for Little Miracles at the Marathon for Adoption this Saturday in New Braunfels, TX! Employees, families and friends of LMI will be running for a great cause. Stop by the main food tent--that's where I (Anne), the non-runner, will be working.


Hair Rules!

Little Miracles International | Saturday, October 16, 2010 | Links to this post | 2 Comments

Whether your child’s hair is like yours or not, African, Asian, and Hispanic hair each have particular qualities. In learning to care for and style your child’s hair, you are committing an act of love. And hair care presents a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child. As one AF reader says, “Embrace your child’s hair and enjoy the process.”

Read the rest of the article here!

Another fabulous hair resource: Happy Girl Hair

USCIS Adoption Application Fee Increases

Little Miracles International | Friday, October 08, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments

Effective November 23, 2010, USCIS will increase its fees for all immigration filings. The fees for the I-600a/I-600 and I-800a/I-800 will increase to $720 (currently $670); Biometrics (fingerprinting) will increase to $85 (currently $80). For detailed information regarding the increase, please visit the USCIS website by clicking here .


Adoption and Jewish Identity Project

Little Miracles International | Friday, October 08, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Are you (or is someone you know) a Jewish adoptive parent raising a child to identify at least in part as Jewish?

If so, you can help us learn more about the real-life experiences of Jewish adoptive families by completing the Adoption and Jewish Identity Project’s online survey for parents (or by forwarding the link to Jewish adoptive parents you know, as well as others who can help spread the word). Available here, the survey should take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete, depending on the number of adopted children in a family.

The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project is dedicated to improving the lives of Jewish adoptive families by creating broader understanding of the unique religious, cultural, and identity issues they face.

Over the last few decades, secrecy in adoption has become less common, while adoption across national, racial, and ethnic lines has created new kinds of “blended” families. These shifts are changing the experiences of Jewish adoptive families.

The results of this research will be used in a book for Jewish adoptive families or those considering adoption, as well as for adoption professionals and Jewish communal workers.

The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project is directed by Dr. Jennifer Sartori and Dr. Jayne Guberman. Sartori is Associate Director of Jewish Studies at Northeastern University. Guberman is an independent oral historian and consultant. Both Jenny and Jayne are also adoptive mothers.



US Embassy in Mexico City to Process Adoption Visas Now

Little Miracles International | Thursday, October 07, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Visa Services
Immigrant Visas

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City will begin processing immigrant visas in the F4 and adoption categories on October 1, 2010. F4 beneficiaries are the brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens who have filed immigrant visa petitions on their behalf. The Department of State has only authorized the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to process visas in the F4 and adoption categories. All other immigrant visa categories will continue to be processed at our state-of-the-art facility in Ciudad Juarez.

Applicants who will have their interviews in Mexico City will be contacted directly by the Department of State’s National Visa Center and given instructions on requirements they must fulfill before their immigrant visa interview. These applicants will be able to complete their required medical exams in Mexico City. Please see the medical exam information page for information on how to set up an appointment. Information on what to expect on the day of your interview is available on our applicant instruction page.

Applicants with an Existing Application in Ciudad Juarez

Applicants who have already had interviews in the F4 and adoption categories or who have upcoming appointments in Ciudad Juarez will have their cases completed by the Consulate in Ciudad Juarez. The Embassy will not be taking over any of these cases. If you have questions about the status of a case already under way in Ciudad Juarez, please contact the call center listed on the contact information page.


Guatemala Pilot Program
October 5, 2010

On October 5, 2010, the United States withdrew its letter of interest in participating in a pilot program to resume processing of intercountry adoption placements for a limited number of older children, groups of siblings, and children with special needs. The letter of interest had been previously submitted to the Guatemalan Central Authority for Adoptions, Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (CNA), in response to its November 2009 announcement of this limited pilot program.

The U.S. decision to withdraw its letter of interest is based on concerns that adoptions under the pilot program would not meet the requirements of the Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention. Specifically, the United States believes that more safeguards for children should be in place before the CNA could start processing new intercountry adoptions. In addition, the Guatemalan Government has not yet provided specific details for how adoption cases under the pilot program would be processed under Guatemala’s new adoption law.

The United States remains open to resumption of intercountry adoption placements from Guatemala, but will consider such a resumption only when it is confident that a Hague-compliant system is in place, including strong safeguards against abuses and resolution of the issues that led to corrupt and fraudulent practices prior to the 2007 halt in new adoptions.

It is our hope that the U.S. withdrawal from consideration for the pilot adoption program will allow CNA to focus its attention on resolving all pending transition cases.

VIEW- FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: U.S. Withdrawal of Interest in Participating in Guatemala’s Pilot Adoption Program

Kyrgyzstan: American Adoptions Still Stalled

Little Miracles International | Sunday, October 03, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Kyrgyz officials are currently reviewing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) prepared by the US State Department that, if signed by both governments, would expedite the adoptions of the 64 orphans. Ambassador Susan Jacobs, The State Department’s Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues, presented the MOU in mid-September to different Kyrgyz ministries during a special trip to Bishkek.

Jacobs said that once both governments agree on the document’s language, the MOU can be submitted to the new sitting parliament in Kyrgyzstan for approval.

Read More on this story...From Eurasianet

Russia, U.S. to Sign Child Adoption Agreement by Year End

Little Miracles International | Friday, October 01, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Russia and the United States are likely to sign a child adoption agreement by the end of 2010, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday.

"The text of the Russian-U.S. agreement on cooperation in international adoptions, intended to provide solid guarantees of adopted children's rights, was agreed upon during the bilateral consultations in July," Andrei Nesterenko told journalists in Moscow.

He said a final round of consultations, after which the document will be ready for signing, is expected to take place before the end of the year.

Russia is one of the largest sources of adoptions for U.S. families, accounting for about 10 percent of foreign adoptions. The mistreatment of Russian children, adopted in the United States, has begun attracting public attention in recent months as a result of a number of highly publicized incidents.

In June, a 7-year-old boy who was placed alone on a one-way flight to Moscow by his U.S. adoptive mother with a note claiming he was "psychopathic."

Following the case, Russia threatened to prohibit child adoptions by U.S. citizens until the countries sign an intergovernmental agreement guaranteeing the rights of adoptive children.

MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti)

Chosen Ones

Little Miracles International | Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | Links to this post | 1 Comment
Albino children are on the special needs waiting child list for China. In China, children with albinism face a bleak future. Often abandoned and ostracized, most will never be educated, marry or find a job in their country. Adoption offers hope for a chosen few.

Kim Anderson was facing an empty nest and looking for a way to do more to serve God when a photo of a Chinese orphan caught her eye. "That's our child," she thought. Now eight years later, Kim and her husband, Steve, have adopted four special needs children. The three boys have albinism.

Ironically, the same rare condition that stigmatized the boys individually in China, reinforces their brotherhood in the United States. Elijah, Paul and Micah's snow white hair and pigmentless skin, create the appearance of a biological connection. Despite their age difference, people often mistake them for triplets. What may be shocking and novel on one child is normalizing on all three.

Virginian-Pilot staff photographer Preston Gannaway spent the last year documenting the Andersons as they prepared for and welcomed Micah into their family.

Chosen ones from preston gannaway on Vimeo.


If you are interested in considering a child with Albinism, please contact Little Miracles today.

International Adoption Nutrition

Little Miracles International | Saturday, September 25, 2010 | Links to this post | 3 Comments
Nutrition has been long overlooked as a key issue for adopted children. New research shows that adopted children, even those who appear healthy, are often deficient in key nutrients that may impact their growth and brain development.For many adopted children, the change in environment, food, and feeding methods can be overwhelming and poorly received at first. While it’s important to meet a child’s nutritional needs, it’s equally important to do so in a non-threatening way.

Adoption Nutrition is dedicated to helping parents and professionals understand and meet the unique nutritional needs of adopted children so that they can grow and thrive. 


An Adopted Linebacker, An Unlikely Story

Little Miracles International | Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Bryan Kehl leans back, smiles and says his dad has always been a "storyteller."

He wraps exaggerated finger quotes around that last word to make it clear the stories his father tells aren't always rigorously fact-checked.

Giants linebacker Bryan Kehl, preseason win against Patriots
Six of Gary and Nancy Kehl's nine children were adopted, including Bryan. As a rule, there were never any distinctions made about whose genes came from where: Everyone was to be treated equally. But there was always one exception—and it always involved Bryan.

Giants linebacker Bryan Kehl, above after a preseason win against the Patriots, was adopted. He didn't find out until last year that his father was NFL journeyman running back Maurice Turner.

In one of those yarns that his dad was so fond of telling, Bryan's biological father was an NFL running back. "I wasn't sure it was true," he says. "Like I said, my dad tells stories.''

The first time Bryan touched a football, however, out in the family's backyard in Salt Lake City, he decided to play running back. All through youth football and until he went to high school, he was a running back. Now, some 20 years after that first run, he thinks his fondness for carrying the ball was influenced by family lore. "I'm sure that had something to do with it. My brothers all played defense."

Mr. Kehl is a strapping 26-year-old linebacker entering his third season for the New York Giants. He's no longer a running back. He plays defense like the rest of the Kehls.

But when it comes to his path to the NFL, there's something basic that Bryan Kehl doesn't know—whether his athletic talent was something bred into him by his parents, his siblings and his Utah childhood, or whether it was coded into his DNA.

The Power of Touch

Little Miracles International | Tuesday, September 21, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
We often talk about touch and how important it is within the international adoption field.   Stories about how children's brains were affected by lack of touch in orphanage institutions are still shocking.   


This is an interesting article on NPR about touch and how oxytocin,  a neuropeptide, released  can promote feelings of devotion, trust and bonding.


Human Connections Start With A Friendly Touch - on NPR

Orphanage Sponsorship in Northern Uganda

Little Miracles International | Saturday, September 18, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Sometimes when we go out into the field to meet the orphans in their environments we struggle with why the situation is so dire. There are some situations we cannot walk away from.  This is how we found Northern Uganda and the orphans in care there. Our hearts were changed forever from our experience there and I hope you will be changed too when you learn about the children.

You can read about the children of the Acholi Tribe on our blog.

Dream of a Child, the humanitarian blog and special projects blog of Little Miracles International,  is in desperate need for orphanage sponsors for an unsponsored orphanage in Northern Uganda.    These children are war-affected, and many are AIDS orphans. They were in starvation when we found them.  They are in extreme medical need.   

Please pledge with us to change their world, one sponsor at a time.

Please consider sponsoring our Acholi Orphanage today!

Washington Post Talks International Adoption

Little Miracles International | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
International adoption: From a broken bond to an instant bond

By Michael Gerson
Friday, August 27, 2010, Washington Post


Scott Simon -- the sonorous voice of NPR's "Weekend Edition" -- has written a short, tender book about the two most important people in the world. At least to him. "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other" recounts the arrival of his two daughters, Elise and Lina, from China, while telling the stories of other families changed by adoption.

Simon describes himself as skeptical of transcendence but as taking part in a miracle. "My wife and I," he says, "knew that Elise and Lina were our babies from the moment we received their postage-stamp portraits. Logically, I know that's not possible. But I also know that's how my heart, mind and body . . . reacted to their pictures. . . . I would take the photo out of my wallet in the weeks before we left to get each of our girls and hold it against my lips to whisper, 'We're coming, baby.' "

It is an unexpected form of human affection -- meeting an unrelated stranger and, within moments, being willing to care for her, even to die for her. The relationship results from a broken bond but creates ties as strong as genetics, stronger than race or tribe. It is a particularly generous kind of parental love that embraces a life one did not give.

International adoption has its critics, who allege a kind of imperialism that robs children of their identity. Simon responds, "We have adopted real, modern little girls, not mere vessels of a culture." Ethnicity is an abstraction -- often an admirable abstraction, but not comparable to the needs of a child living in an orphanage or begging in roving bands. Adopted Chinese girls are refugees from a terrible oppression -- a one-child policy that Simon calls "one of the great crimes of history." Every culture or race is outweighed when the life of a child is placed on the other side of the balance.

It is one of the noblest things about America that we care for children of other lands who have been cast aside. Simon recalls his encounter with an immigration officer in Chicago when bringing Elise to America: " 'When you cross that line,' he said, 'your little girl is a citizen of the United States.' Then he put one of his huge hands gently under our daughter's chin and smiled. 'Welcome home, sweetheart,' he told her." This welcome to the world is one of the great achievements of history. After millennia of racial and ethnic conflict across the world, resulting in rivers of blood, America declared that bloodlines don't matter, that dignity is found beneath every human disguise. There is no greater embrace of this principle than an American family that looks like the world.

Instead of undermining any culture, international adoption instructs our own. Unlike the thin, quarrelsome multiculturalism of the campus, multiethnic families demonstrate the power of affection over difference. They tend to produce people who may look different from the norm of their community but see themselves as just normal, just human.

Every adoption involves a strange providence, in which events and choices are random yet decisive. "Those of us who have been adopted," says Simon, "or have adopted or want to adopt children, must believe in a world in which the tumblers of the universe can click in unfathomable ways that deliver strangers into our lives."

When a columnist has a conflict of interest, he should disclose it. My wife, born in South Korea, was adopted by an American family at the age of 6 and welcomed into a Midwestern community. I first saw her when we were both 10, and I have never recovered. Years ago, we visited the orphanage where she lived in Inchon -- orderly, cheerful, but still with dirt floors. The director said she remembered my wife. We were skeptical. But the woman went into a storage room and produced a slip of paper -- the police record relating how On Soon had been found as a newborn abandoned in the market, a note with her name pinned to her blanket.

Life is a procession of miracles, but this one stands out to me. A 6-year-old girl walks off a plane in America, speaking no English, loved by a family she had never met, destined to marry, of all people, me. A series of events that began in a Korean market created my family, my sons, my life. And now my Italian, Jewish, English, Korean boys view themselves as normal, unexceptional Americans. Which they are.

michaelgerson@washpost.com 

» Opinion Writer | Michael Gerson writes about politics, global health and development, religion and foreign policy. His column appears on Wednesdays and Fridays. He also contributes to PostPartisan.

Gerson is senior research fellow at the Institute for Global Engagement's Center on Faith & International Affairs. He served as a policy adviser and chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2006. Before that, he was a senior editor covering politics at U.S. News & World Report. His book "Heroic Conservatism" was published by HarperOne in 2007.

Transracial Adoption

Little Miracles International | Thursday, September 16, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
This video is a family's experience and advice to those considering adopting transracially.

We love when he says "There is no other face that is my mom!" What an amazing relationship these two have.

Realistic Expectations - The first year home

Little Miracles International | Tuesday, September 14, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
What a great resource for adoptive families as they put away their travel suitcases, preconceived notions, and get down to the job of parenting.  Free New booklet you can download that covers a variety of topics for newly home families.

Have you discovered that parenting isn’t what you had expected? Adoption publisher EMK Press has compiled a valuable guide to help new parents put aside preconceived notions and navigate the first year of family life. Filled with articles, lists, and resources, “Realistic Expectations” contains practical advice on everything from avoiding parent burnout to managing an unanticipated special need. Download the 50-page, no-cost guide.
National Council for Adoption (NCFA) is pleased to release Adoption Advocate No. 27, "Back to School:  A Guide to Making Schools and School Assignments More Adoption-Friendly"
 
September means back to school!  Worried about school assignments that might be more difficult for children who are adopted or are in foster care?  Adoption Advocate No. 27 provides valuable information for parents, administrators, and teachers about how to make schools and school assignments more adoption-friendly.

Download Adoption Advocate No. 27.

Melkam Addis Amet! Happy Ethiopian New Year!

Little Miracles International | Friday, September 10, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
September 11th Ethiopia welcomes in the New Year, Enkutatash!  The year 2003!!

Kazakhstan Adoption Alert

Little Miracles International | Friday, September 10, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Kazakhstan Adoption Alert

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
September 9, 2010

A new Kazakh passport requirement has created a processing delay for all passports of about three months. This delay directly affects inter-country adoptions since adoptive children must acquire a passport before they can travel to the United States. Although applicants could previously pay a fee to expedite processing, this service is no longer available. Adoptive parents should anticipate this delay and discuss appropriate arrangements with their adoption service providers.

Previous Kazakhstan Adoption Alert: 
June 29, 2010
 
In May 2010, the Kazakhstani Embassy in Washington and Consulate General in New York stopped accepting new intercountry adoption dossiers.  The Kazakhstani government said this policy on new Kazakhstan adoption cases will remain in effect until the Hague Adoption Convention (the Convention) enters into force for Kazakhstan.  Kazakhstan has indicated that it intends to enact its implementing legislation by September 2010.  Kazakhstan will then need to issue Convention regulations before the Convention enters into force, so it is unclear when new adoptions will be processed there.

The Kazakhstani government has informed the Department of State that it will continue to process any cases for which the Kazakhstani Embassy or Consulate General had sent the prospective adoptive parents’ dossiers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by May 25, 2010.  These will be considered transition (“non-Hague” or Form I-600) cases; the policy on new cases  will not affect the processing of these adoptions.  For more information, you may wish to check the Kazakhstani Embassy’s adoption Web pages.

At this time, prospective adoptive parents should not attempt to initiate any new adoptions in Kazakhstan.  The Kazakhstani government will not process any new “non-Hague” or Form I-600 cases.  Additionally, since the Convention has not entered into force for Kazakhstan, USCIS cannot process a Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, where the applicants indicate their intention to adopt a child from Kazakhstan.

Little Miracles International will be in prayer for any families caught up in either of these situations.

L'shana Tova!

Little Miracles International | Wednesday, September 08, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
L'shana Tova to our friends celebrating the Jewish New Year this evening.   Wishing everyone a year of health and happiness!

Uganda Adoption Information Teleconference

Little Miracles International | Saturday, September 04, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
What:  Why Uganda?  Uganda Adoption Information Teleconference
Date:  Thursday, September 9, 2010 
Time:  7:00-8:00 PM CDT
Where:  Little Miracles Adoption Teleconference Line


If you're interested in adopting from Uganda, please join us on this call!  You will learn about the Ugandan adoption process, current time-lines, children available, and most updated news. Learn about Little Miracles, and how our adoption agency works with families through the international adoption process. Little Miracles director spent significant time in Uganda and cannot wait to tell you about this program and the lovely orphaned children desperately needing homes in Uganda.  There will be a question and answer session during this call. Please email to receive dial-in information.   We would be honored to have you on this call!

Bulgaria Adoption Information Teleconference

Little Miracles International | Friday, September 03, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
What:  Why Bulgaria?  Bulgaria Adoption Information Teleconference
Date:  Thursday, September 9, 2010 
Time:  7:30-8:30 PM CDT
Where:  Little Miracles Adoption Teleconference Line

If you're interested in adopting from Bulgaria, please join us on this call!  You will learn about the Bulgarian adoption process, current time-lines, children available, and most updated news. Learn about Little Miracles, and how our adoption agency works with families through the international adoption process. There will be a question and answer session during this call. Please email to receive dial-in information.   We would be honored to have you on this call!

One of our adoptive families is returning from Bulgaria this week with her precious daughter, and we are quite excited to tell you about the adoptions in Bulgaria!

Waiting Children in Uganda Adoption Program

Little Miracles International | Wednesday, September 01, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
We currently have several waiting children ages 3 and up in the Uganda adoption program. 

Have you considered a waiting child? Grants are available to assist with the adoption of some of the older children!!  The process can go quickly and if you select a waiting child, most likely you will adopt within a year of starting!

Uganda, located in Eastern Africa is a country that is easy to travel to. If you are for the first time considering Africa as a country to adopt from, please be assured that you will love adopting in Uganda.  Your heart will be changed and a part of your family will always hold Uganda tenderly.   If there were perfect words to describe the Ugandan people those words would be: loving and friendly.

Tragically this country has been marred by years of war and AIDS, creating a humanitarian crisis with more than 2 million orphans struggling daily with extreme poverty and famine. Child headed families are the norm here, and more than half of the population is under 17 years of age. It is said that "it takes a village to raise a child," but the villages are overwhelmed with the shocking number of children in this country that are without families. This situation leaves these children vulnerable and in urgent need of a permanent solution, a forever family.

Won't you please consider adopting a waiting child today?   Please call us at (806) 351-1100 today to talk to us about Uganda Adoptions or write us an e-mail.

Adoption Alert Nepal

Little Miracles International | Monday, August 30, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
The Dept of State, Office of Children's Issues has issued the following announcement regarding Nepal adoptions.  This announcement can also be viewed on their website.  Any further information obtained will be posted as soon as possible.

Adoption Alert Rwanda

Little Miracles International | Saturday, August 28, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Sadly we were informed that the adoption situation concerning Rwanda Adoptions has changed abruptly.   No one is ever prepared for this when it happens.   We can only hope that the Rwanda Adoption Authorities will expedite this international adoption process for all families so soon things will begin to run smoothly.

Unfortunately there is no guarantee how long this transition could take, weeks?   Months?  Years?   We never know.   Everything is in the hands of the adoption authorities in Africa.

Were you considering Rwanda and now you don't know what to do?   We have waiting babies right now in our Ethiopia Adoption program and many openings in our pilot Uganda Adoption program.   We have just returned from Uganda and have met the most precious children!   Please consider one of these two countries in which LMI can assist you without any  lengthy waiting time.  We would love to talk to you about our programs and get you back on the right track soon.  Please call us at (806) 351-1100.

------------------------------------------------

Here is the Announcement from the US State Department

August 27, 2010

Effective August 31, 2010,the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion (MGFP) in Rwanda is temporally suspending all new applications for intercountry adoptions so they can prepare for accession to the Hague Convention.  

MGFP announced that applications from prospective adoption parents already received by Ministry or any Rwandan Embassy before the above mentioned date will be processed.  More information will be provided as updates are received from the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda

New Orphan Hosting Program

Little Miracles International | Saturday, August 28, 2010 | Links to this post | 0 Comments
Have you ever wanted to help an orphan child in a significant way?  Touch a child's life more personally but were not able to travel to the country?  The orphan hosting program just may be for your family!!

Hosting opportunities are quickly arriving for the Christmas Holidays!



The rewards for families hosting an orphan for a few weeks:
  • Seeing a child’s eyes when they experience something they have never seen before-something as simple as bubble bath or a vacuum cleaner or a clothes dryer.
  • Sharing special holiday events and summer activities and vacations!
  • Hearing those first English words, spoken with a darling accent, “sank oo.”
  • Giving them the attention they have craved for so long and done without and watching them bloom from it. I could go on and on about the positives of opening your heart to a needy child.
  • Best of all, keeping up a correspondence with the kids, sending them little cards and gifts. They write back. I know I have touched lives forever. In fact, one child wrote about her hosting experience: “Those were the best days of my life.”
  • Hosting to adopt, getting to know your child before you adopt!
  • Hosting just for the joy of hosting and providing a once in a lifetime experience to a child.
Please see our Hosting Program Page for more information about this program!