Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10 -- a Perfect 10

This was taken outside St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in Washington, DC.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Annalea is three

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kokor turns 83

My "Kokor" turned 83 last week. I call her Kokor because as a child I wasn't able to pronounce "Morkor" and this name stuck with all of us. She is visiting with my mom for about 10 days, and we are really enjoying their company.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Annalea learns to pedal

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Interview with Annalea

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Home Hospitality"

Last month, a gentleman from the Armenian Ministry of Justice, visited our home with his son and a State Department escort.

About a month before the visit I received an email asking if I would meet with Mr. Argam Stepanyan, who is in charge of international adoptions at the Ministry of Justice in Armenia. I felt honored to be able to do this. When the State Dept. realized his schedule could only accommodate a visit around dinner time, they officially called it a "Home Hospitality Visit."

We served grilled lamb and risotto. My friend Nancy and her daughter Serine (also adopted from Armenia) joined us.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Mr. Stepanyan and his son. And I have been told that they enjoyed spending time with the adoptive family a child from their homeland. Said Mr. Stepanyan, "I do have very pleasant impressions from my visit and especially from your family's hospitality. I greatly appreciate your kindness and the way you treat your children. You can be a very good example for many other families. "

Today I received some photos from them and I am thrilled to share them here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Carolina Beach

Annalea wouldn't even go near the water the day before. That's Serine's mom holding Annalea's and Serine's hands.

Wilmington Outdoor Concert

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Armenian Americans | WLIW21 Productions

The Armenian Americans | WLIW21 Productions

Ryan's Piano Recital

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Annalea's School Portrait

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ryan's 9th Birthday Party

Monday, May 10, 2010

Silly Annalea and Serine

Annalea and Serine both came from Nork Marash orphanage in Armenia...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Keep Your Promise Obama

Today we had a tour of the White House. The timing was unintentional...but today was also the day that demonstrators from the DC Armenian community protested Obama's broken promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is it wrong to seek a healthy child?

Every now and then, there is some discussion on the adoption boards about adopting a "healthy" vs. a "special needs" child. The advantage of seeking a special needs child is that your wait is significantly shorter because these are waiting children. The current wait in Armenia is 3 years for a healthy child whereas you could bring home a waiting child in less than a year.

My husband and I decided that we wanted a healthy child and did not even consider minor correctable needs. We were very nervous about even accepting a healthy child to tell you the truth. You just never know when you accept a referral of a 3 month old. It is risky no matter how you look at it. But we wanted to minimize the risk. We started building our family very late in life, and considering our advanced ages at the time of our adoption (me 48 and my husband 53), we were not prepared to parent a child that required more than we were able to give.

So as we were working on the adoption agency application, the question of what special needs we would be willing to accept came up. A few examples from the application:

club foot
cleft palate
allergies or asthma
impaired sight/blindness
delayed emotional/mental development
seizure disorder
orthopedic disorders

...and on and on...

And one after another we checked no, no, no, no...

Does this make us bad people???

It is a question that comes up in my mind when I read some of the posts from people who have brought home special needs children. Their children where the ones who were passed over time and time again by we people seeking "healthy" children.

I applaud those who embrace those left behind. The world is a much better place because of them. They are the heroes of the adoption world in my eyes.

But we didn't set out to save a child. We wanted to build our family and did not want to put any additional pressure in our lives by taking in a SN child.

Do I feel guilty about this?

Not in the least.

Because I can't imagine life without the beautiful girl who was meant to be our daughter.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Thank God for the Nannies at Nork

The situation on the Russsian adoption front is becoming ugly. Why and how did this happen? Are Americans really that irresponsible as parents? Are we 100% to blame? Or should the Russian government bear some of the responsibility? I think the latter is the bigger problem.

All I can say is thank goodness the culture in Armenia is nothing like that in Russia. Women in Armenia do not drink and do drugs. The orphanages have loving nannies that provide the love and nurturing children need. Even the older children that go home to their adoptive families adapt very well and rarely do I hear of RAD (reactive attachment disorder). The nannies are to be given ALL the credit for this...and these are severely underpaid servants who work 2-3 day shifts.

Here is a blog post from another blog which boldly states the truth. It was lifted from All My Beans.

Catalyst for TRUTH

There is great discussion going on about a little 8 year old boy that was adopted, from Russia, by a single Mom. The Mom, in desperation (and illegally) put the boy on a plane and sent him back to Russia with a note stating he was mentally sick, dangerous and the Russian authorities needed to assume responsibility for their lies. She asserted he now belonged to Russia again.

Naturally, the Russian authorities are angered by this move. They have nothing but degrading things to say about it (us).

I understand that.

Unfortunately, I also understand the devastation when you adopt a child that is damaged...deeply damaged...and dangerous.

I understand what it feels like to be conned and bamboozled out of your life's savings only to have your dream smashed with the sledgehammer of reality.

I understand how heart wrenching it is to long for and strive to be a parent to a child that has no capacity to receive your love, no capability to trust your nurturing, and no conscience to cherish a connection with you.

Love can't cure some of these kids because the damage began at conception. It began with the untimely yet inevitable combination of two destitute wanna-be survivors. It began in the presence of a desperation most of us can never understand..

Russia has the highest rate of alcoholism in the world. Young girls, many orphanage raised, hit the streets in anguished poverty, lacking any skills to survive. They are forced to resort to the fundamental and primitive art of prostitution. Amidst prostitution, to deflect the misery, they bathe their mind in drugs and alcohol . It is a means to sustain their tortured existence. Then the cycle repeats, alcohol effected baby dumped in an orphanage to grow up without the essential needs, compromised already with alcohol soaked brains and then pawned off on unsuspecting pie-in-the-sky Americans for huge dollars. Adoption is a business and Russians feel no shame reaping their portion of the harvest.

Some of these babies aren't adopted as infants, so they get to spend their formative years in orphanages that are not equipped to deal with their needs, even on the lowest hierarchy of needs. Many are sold during the night to pedophiles and returned in the day to look and think like normal kids. The reality is, there is nothing normal about a childhood in a Russian orphanage.

There is no shortage of stories about kids being sold for prostitution while the orphanage director looks away with a greased palm. There are countless stories of kids being tied to beds and whipped for small misdeeds. It is a dog eat dog world and it is ingrained, on a cellular level, to survive, at all costs. But any abuse perpetrated by Russian officials or citizens is excused because you can do unto your own with a perverted legitimacy that wreaks of hypocrisy.

The ones who perish might be the lucky ones...

To be a Russian orphan is a way of life that courses through your veins and is ejected with veracity through your heart. It wreaks of deep seated fear that cannot be undone by love. yet, we Americans, with hearts on our sleeves, try and try again. We pay huge amounts of money to save this forsaken child because we have this primal need to parent.

And when we fail...???

Well, one Mom in desperation sent the child back to the gutters of hell from which he rose.

Russian officials didn't like that much

They claim it was outrageously abusive.

Perhaps they fear exposure and shame?

Admittedly, I don't think it was the best thing to do, but maybe it was the ONLY thing to do.

Ideally, it will draw attention to the plight of deceit and profit that the adoption world seems to breed.

Hypothetically, it could expose the Russian system for what it is...a contradiction in everything it professes to stand for.

Painfully, it will force Russia to clean up their own back yard before they point the finger of blame on us.

Regretfully, it will keep their sickest children in the same old sick hell hole without any hope.

Legally, it will shut down adoptions and stifle the flow of deeply damaged children unleashed on a culture and society that has no means or resources to deal with children with brains who've been saturated in alcohol, children whose emotions are disconnected in the cortex and children who have no concept or desire to belong because they are too busy surviving.

Russia...before you point one single communist finger at the USA, who repeatedly is willing to take your most damaged future, clean up your own back yard.
Respect woman and orphans.
Allow human dignity
Invest in your families--your citizens..your TRUE future.
Support your programs instead of your military
Create a prohibition, if a country ever needed it..YOURS DOES.
Clean up your hypocrisy and be transparent about the demise of your culture.
Don't you dare sell us your most desperate and damaged and then point the finger at us when we fail.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Annalea's Second Easter Bunny

This is Annalea's second Easter at home. You might recall our video of her first Easter Bunny which I show right below this one.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Too Cute for Words


Eye rest my case...

This is Annalea last Christmas, one month before her eye surgery.

And this is her today.

I don't think there is any argument that the surgery was successful!!!!

Easter 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

She's growing up!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Annalea's Pre-Op Interview

If you followed this blog from the very beginning, you may have seen some posts about our concern that Annalea may have stabismus. After many visits to the eye doctor, attempts at wearing glasses and patching, we went forward with the eye muscle surgery.

Here is her pre-op interview:

and here is her post-op interview: