Friday, December 28, 2012

Russian Adoptions Update

The following is an update from the Joint Council on International Children's Services.  If you are in the process of adopting from Russia, please note the Joint Council survey at the end of this page. 

Would everyone else please join me in fervent prayer for the children and families affected, as well as those who are advocating at national and international levels.

Update: Putin Signs Law Banning Intercountry Adoption

December 28, 2012

In what we can only describe as a tragedy, earlier today President Putin signed the ban on intercountry adoption. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2013 and while some details remain unclear, it is being reported that the law supersedes the bi-lateral adoption agreement between the US and Russia. The status of the adoptions currently in-process is not assured at this time.
The closure of Russia to intercountry adoption follows what is now an all too familiar string of tragedies. Children in Vietnam, Nepal, Romania and too many other countries suffer the life-long effects of institutionalization due to the elimination of intercountry adoption as a viable option. However unlike other closures which were generally based on child protection issues, the Russian ban is particularly stinging in that it is an act of politics, pure and simple.
As a professional advocate for children and the father of two Russian born children, this ban by the Russian government is a loss for my head and my heart….but most of all a loss for the children of Russia.

Best Wishes,
Tom DiFilipo
President & CEO

Joint Council reminds those families who are in the process of adopting from Russia of the U.S. Dept. of State’s requests that families currently in the process of adopting a child from Russia email the Department of State at . Families should state the stage and status of their adoption and use “Intercountry Adoption in Russia – Family Update” in the subject line of the email

Joint Council will continue to engage in collaborative efforts with and through US and Russian government officials, the Department of State, Congressional offices, Joint Council Partners, NGOs and advocates in both countries. We will provide updates on this situation as they become available. To receive Joint Council updates regarding Russia, individuals are urged to sign up for our Russia email alerts, which can be done by clicking here (Select “Country and Issue Specific Information” and then select “Russia”).
Joint Council's Russian Ban on Intercountry Adoptions Survey
In response to the recent ban of intercountry adoptions in Russia, Joint Council is collecting information to create a database of families currently referred children in need of a permanent family. If referred more than one child, please complete the survey for each child you are in the process of adopting.
You will need to provide information regarding your referral including the date and region of the referral and birthday of the child referred. Please contact your adoption service provider if you need additional information regarding your referral as accurate information is important.
Information provided will be utilized to assess the extent of the situation and more effectively advocate for these cases. Please complete this survey if you have been referred a child, so we can fully assess all those involved. To assist with speedy advocacy, please ensure you have completed the survey by January 4, 2013.
The information you provide will be shared with the US Department of State, members of Congress, and USCIS.
Please click here to participate in the survey.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russian Lawmakers Back a Bill Banning Adoptions from U.S.

On Wednesday, Russian lawmakers backed a bill that would ban adoption by U.S. families.  The action is widely seen as retaliation for U.S. sanctions against Russia for human rights violations.  I personally find this sadly ironic.
You can read a story in today's Daily Herald.
Here's how your voice can be heard.
Sasha D’Jamoos is a young Russian adoptee with special needs who last week started Voice of the Child, a campaign to encourage the continuation of adoptions between Russia and the United States. As part of his campaign, Sasha has published a letter and petition to President Putin. Please sign the petition and encourage others to do so as well. Click here to sign the petition and please forward to others who may be interested.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Thriving As A Multiracial Family" Workshop

Thriving As A Multiracial Family

Pre Adoption Parent WorkshopTuesday, January 29, 2013, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Saturday, February 16, 2013, 9:00am - 12 Noon

Dinner included on Tuesday evenings; Continental breakfast included Saturday
Attendance at all three (3) sessions is required.

Who Should Attend:
International and Domestic Adoption Families waiting to adopt a child of a different race; other families wishing to enhance their parenting

Gain the tools, resources, and strategies needed to parent transracially. This training is essential as you explore the option of parenting a child of a race or ethnic background different than your family. Topics include:
  • How to help develop and support your child’s healthy identity and self-esteem
  • The complexities of transracial parenting, and how to prepare yourself, your family, and your children for the challenges ahead
  • Open group discussions and exercises, community and self assessments, plus panel discussions with adoptees and adoptive parents
Workshop fee (Nonrefundable, and includes three sessions):
$150 per person, or $300 per couple
Note: These sessions are for adults only. The material presented in this training will greatly impact the nature of your parenting and family. Therefore, in two-parent families, it is imperative that both parents attend all three sessions. Please think of this training as a loving investment in your child’s healthy identity and self-esteem.
Please register on-line no later than January 18, 2013.
Eventbrite - Thriving as A Multiracial Family
For more information about this series contact Pam Shepard, LCSW, at (630) 754-4522

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Annual "A Home for the Holidays" TV Special Highlights Adoption


“A Home for the Holidays” is a powerful CBS special. It shares stories of foster care adoption and features performances from some of America’s most popular musical artists. The Dave Thomas Foundation has been a proud partner and participant since 1999, along with Children’s Action Network and Triage Productions. The program is generously sponsored by Wendy’s.

This heartwarming holiday special will air at 7 p.m. CT, Wednesday, December 19, 2012 on CBS, and features all-star talent. See the joy of having a family through the eyes of a child — not just for the holidays, but forever.

2012 talent includes Rascal Flats, Phillip Phillips, Matchbox Twenty, Rachel Crow and Melissa Ethridge. Presenters are Wayne Brady, Kevin Frazier and Jillian Michaels.

You can give the gift of family. Text the word HOME to 50555 to make a $10 donation to DTFA. Standard text and data rates may apply.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Project Zero Releases Benefit CD to Help Children Find Families


Project Zero, a ministry which aims to raise awareness of the need for families for Arkansas’ waiting children, recently released Grafted, a CD with songs featuring artists from all over the country, including Jason Truby, Tiffany Thornton, Willet, Caitlin Evanson, Stu Garrard, Steve Dean, Sonny Sandavol, Phil Keaggy, Cheri Keaggy, Geoff Moore, Sean Michele, The Roys, Jessica Mack, and Hannah Watson. All proceeds from the sale of Grafted will benefit Project Zero, whose motto is 1+1=0, which means that one child plus one family equals zero children waiting. To learn more about Project Zero, please click here. To purchase Grafted, please go to iTunes or click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Book: The Global Orphan Crisis

I highly recommend a new book, The Global Orphan Crisis by Diane Lynn Elliot.  Diane's research, combined with her passion for children has created a must-read not only for orphan advocates but for every Christian.  Diane clearly and concisely provides reasons for the orphan crisis and follows it up with thoughtful and practical solutions. 

The Global Orphan Crisis: Be the Solution--Change    Your World  -     
        By: Diane Elliot
Diane Lynn Elliot is an author, photographer and business administrator. Her interest in the global orphan crisis started many years ago with a trip to a hospital for terminally ill children in Siberia, and later to an orphanage in Mexico. Seeing a small snapshot of the great need started her journey and fueled her passion for orphaned children. While writing The Global Orphan Crisis, Diane also traveled to Peru and Haiti, expanding her vision and passion for orphaned children. She has a BA in Communication from Trinity International University and an M.B.A. in Global Management from the University of Phoenix. Diane, her husband David, along with their Alaskan Klee Kai, Kody, live in Wauconda, Ill., and attend Willow Creek Community Church.

For more information about Diane or the global orphan crisis, please visit its website.

To listen to Diane on today's Chris Fabry Show click here:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Safe Families Training Day

Safe Families for Children invites you to the following event:
For prospective Safe Family Hosts. 
* Start or submit your application
* Schedule a Home Study
* Complete your training hours
* Meet like-minded families who will support you
Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
Saturday, January 26, 2013
8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Evanston
1427 Chicago Avenue, Evanston, IL 60201
For more information and to register, click here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Donate Toys to Clark Howard's 'Christmas Kids'!

  • 'Clark's Christmas Kids' campaign collected gifts for more than 4,500 foster kids last year
  • You can donate in person at participating Wal-Marts or online
HLN money expert Clark Howard is teaming up with the Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services to provide a special Christmas for kids in foster care!
This is the 22nd year "Clark's Christmas Kids" has been collecting presents -- last year the campaign received gifts for more than 4,500 children!
If you live in the southeast, you can stop by certain Wal-Mart locations at certain times to donate in person. Check out for a full list of dates, locations and times.
If you can't make it to a Wal-Mart in person, you can also donate directly to the Salvation Army online.

To check out Clark Howard's video click here:
 Clark Howard shows you how to save more and spend less every weeknight on HLN’s Evening Express 5-7 p.m. ET.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

LifeSong for Orphans: Gift of Purpose


ONE less orphan. Make ONE commitment. Educate ONE student. Change ONE future. Show Christ’s love to ONE child.

LifeSong for Orphans invites you to page through their 2012 Gifts of Purpose Catalog that doesn’t just include ways you can give, but STORIES of real children, families and orphan caregivers around the world, whose lives are waiting for YOUR impact.

Would you consider making a difference in the life of ONE child? A child like…

–Nata, 12-years-old, whose soft heart is open to the Gospel in Ukraine (Give Sponsorship) or
–Cherent, who is experiencing school in Ethiopia for the first time at the age of 13. (Give Education)
This year join Lifesong for Orphans in giving a Gift of Purpose. A gift that will show Jesus to a child in need.

To give a Gift of Purpose, visit the new online catalog.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Two Moms From Portland Changing the Lives of Orphans Around the World

Giving Thanks: Two Moms From Portland Changing the Lives of Orphans Around the World
by Melissa Sher
Huff Post Parents

All Cindy Kaplan had hoped for was a healthy baby. But when my friend and her husband met their 6-month-old son for the first time in an orphanage in Kazakhstan, he was dangerously underweight from severe malnourishment. "Jadyn was slowly dying. He wasn't going to live much longer," said Cindy.

Jadyn's developmental growth, as a result, had been stunted. He couldn't roll over at 6 months old. He couldn't lift his head. His needs were so tremendous that Cindy quit her job to care for him. "It wasn't easy. I was struggling," Cindy said about bringing her precious son -- whom she calls her "gift" -- home to Portland in 2006.

One afternoon, Cindy went to the park to reconnect with a woman she had befriended online. Mishelle Rudzinski had adopted a child from Kazakhstan at the same time as Cindy, and they had been exchanging emails for months.

Mishelle, who had been working as a speech pathologist, had read about a 5-year-old girl's plight on a work listserv. The orphan, diagnosed by some doctors with cerebral palsy and by others with muscular dystrophy, was to be permanently transferred to a special "end-of-the-road" facility if she was not adopted soon.

Mishelle immediately contacted the adoption agency and received videos of the little girl who was to become her daughter. When Mishelle watched the videos, she saw the girl's condition grow progressively worse. As a toddler, Bakha could crawl and climb. But by age 5, she was hunched over, bowlegged and barely able to walk. At the time of the adoption, the agency had Mishelle sign papers acknowledging that Bakha might not live to age 18.

To read the rest of the article click here.

To learn more about the Spoon Foundation click here.