Saturday, August 28, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian- consultation on Adoption Issues at RA Foreign Ministry

The photo above is quite startling, it is from the Armenian orphanage in Lebanon that was run by the Turkish government. This was a Turkification camp where these dear little orphans were indoctrinated into Turkish culture and nationalism. Many were adopted out by Turkish citizens where they forever lost their identity. Today there is news out of Armenia on their latest discussions of what to do with foreign adoptions. As always, when all local efforts are exhausted to find permanant and loving homes for the children adoption should be in the best interest of the child, not the best interest of the adoption facilitator$
2010-08-27Consultation on Adoption Issues at RA Foreign Ministry
: RA Justice Ministry’s Agency of Civil Status Acts Registration and RA Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department held today a working consultation on issues of adoption of Armenian children by foreigners. An official from the press and information department of RA Foreign Affairs Ministry told Armenpress that Argam Petrosyan, deputy head of RA Justice Ministry’s Civil Status Acts Registration Agency, as well as a number of representatives of RA Foreign Ministry’s Consular Department and consular offices, accredited in Armenia, partook in the consultation.

The Republic of Armenia joined 2007 the Hague Convention of 29 May, 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. The RA Government adopted the procedure of adoption and calculation of children – citizens of Armenia – adopted by foreign citizens and RA citizens, living abroad, at RA diplomatic representations and consular offices by the 269N decision of March 18, 2010. In the result of thorough discussion the participants came to an agreement to establish cooperation for the regulation of the procedure of adoption, for acting in the interests of children and following their future after the adoption.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian-Armenia preventing blindness in babies

L.A. doctors help prevent blindness in babies in Armenia
Southland physicians visit Yerevan to train local doctors to treat an illness that can strike premature infants.
By Bill Kisliuk, Los Angeles Times

August 19, 2010

Reaching from Los Angeles to Yerevan, local doctors are healing the eyes of Armenian infants who otherwise would go blind.

In June, the doctors performed surgeries at a neonatal clinic in the Armenian capital, delivered key equipment and trained about 200 Armenian doctors in how to treat retinopathy of prematurity.

The illness strikes premature infants whose eyes have not developed enough to be exposed to the outside environment, said Dr. Thomas Lee, director of the Retina Institute at the Vision Center at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, which partnered with the Armenia Eye Care Project on the mission.

Lee said the condition was unknown until recent medical advances helped save the lives of premature babies who in earlier times would not have survived. Serious cases are more likely to surface in developing countries, he said.

If the condition, which often corrects itself, becomes serious, doctors have only about two days to save a child's eyesight.

"It is a very time-sensitive disease, not like cataracts or glasses, when you have all the time in the world to take care of it," Lee said. "If you don't get to the kid in a brief, specific period of time, that kid will go blind."

Inspiration for the visit came from Dr. Roger Ohanesian, an Orange County ophthalmologist who founded the Armenia Eye Care Project in 1992. Ohanesian has spearheaded more than three dozen medical missions to Armenia and brought several Armenian eye specialists to the United States for training.

What started as a brief training sortie turned into a major effort in which the Armenia Eye Care Project provided two digital retinal cameras, each worth as much as $100,000, to the Malayan Ophthalmic Center in Yerevan.

The doctors offered lectures and then worked side by side in the neonatal intensive care unit with Armenian doctors.

Now, Lee and others are conducting weekly video conferences in which the Armenian doctors send photos of patients via the Internet, then offer diagnoses with the counsel of American advisors.

Ohanesian's group will pay to continue the effort for 2 1/2 years, then the Armenian Ministry of Health will pick up the tab, said Ohanesian.

"They felt they could do that because the cost of treating blind children is enormous," he said. "They felt by paying for early treatment and prevention, there is an economic benefit for the country, in addition to the social benefit."

Lee said the trip has blossomed into a full-fledged partnership with the Armenia Eye Care Project, Childrens Hospital and clinics in Yerevan, with plans to expand assistance and training well beyond what the eye can see.

"This is just the beginning," Lee said.

Over the years, Ohanesian said, doctors trained through the Armenia Eye Care Project have performed 10,000 surgeries and seen more than 300,000 patients who could not afford to pay.

"That's 10% of the whole country," Ohanesian said. "And it is the Armenians that are doing it. We trained them, granted, but once trained they shouldered the burden and are treating their countrymen for free."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian- Adoption Irregularities in Armenia

in English
Prosecutors Probe Reported Corruption In Armenian Child Adoptions
By Emil Danielyan
State prosecutors are investigating a recent RFE/RL report which exposed apparent government corruption in the adoption of Armenian children by foreigners, it emerged on Friday.

The story, which appeared on the web site of the RFE/RL Armenian Service on June 23, suggested that the adoption procedures involve thousands of dollars in informal expenditures, apparently bribes paid by adoptive parents and their agents to Armenian officials administering the process.

An official in the prosecutor’s office told RFE/RL that Prosecutor-General Aram Tamazian has instructed his subordinates to look into the matter and report their findings to him. The official said the order followed a written request sent to Tamazian by Social Security Minister Aghvan Vartanian who was apparently alarmed by the report.

It is not yet known whether the preliminary inquiry will result in a criminal case. The prosecutors may question some government officials involved in the foreign adoptions.

The report in question is based on information collected by Ara Manoogian, an Armenian-American based in Nagorno-Karabakh. Posing as a U.S. woman interested in adopting an Armenian child, he has communicated by-email with Americans knowledgeable about the issue. Several of them told him that the entire process cost them between $9,000 and $13,000 per child and that most of the expenses were bribes paid to local officials. They all acted through Yerevan-based mediators.

A foreign adoption in Armenia typically takes between four and six months and requires a chain of positive decisions by several government bodies. The most important of them is a special government commission made up of high-ranking officials, including the ministers of justice, education, health and social security.

Its day-to-day affairs are managed by Aram Karapetian, a senior member of Prime Minister Andranik Markarian’s staff. Interviewed by RFE/RL in June, he strongly denied that any government official might have accepted kickbacks in return for facilitating foreign adoptions.

The final decision to allow a foreign national to adopt an Armenian orphan is given by the full cabinet of ministers. Officials say the government made about 30 such decisions in the first half of this year.

Vanessa Kachadurian- Adoption irregularities

For years it has been known that there are adoption irregularities in Armenia. There is sadly many people who are waiting for healthy babies rather than taking on the more challenging tasks of a special needs older child. Armenian officials are especially troubled by the arrogance of American Armenians who have no prior interest in the Republic of Armenia but set out to adopt a healthy infant.

Prior to the current Hague Convention laws, independent adoptions were allowed in Armenia where couples circumvented the adoption authority and dealt directly with physicians in Armenia. One of the Physicians was arrested in Armenia who would arrange the adoptions with the birth mother. This is why another layer of safeguard has been added to the adoption procedures, it is an investigative arm headed by Argam Stepanyan.

The current law provides that the children be registered on the national registry. The person in charge of this is Karine (a very old friend of mine). Each relinquishment case must be investigated by Argam's office, verify that no relinquishment was coerced or bought as in the past. The orphanage directors are apprehensive about putting the children on the registry BEFORE there is an expressed sincere interest in adopting that child. They are aware of the advertising frenzy such as the attached online auction that will occur. The orphanage directors who control the adoptions are not happy with this attitude of entitlement and have been slow to registry the children. Understandable they prefer that the interested parent(s) meet the child in Armenia, instead of falling in love with a photo and becoming emotionally and financially attached by the adoption facilitators.

Argam was recently in the USA, a trip paid for by the US State Department. Argam brought his family as well for a working vacation. He met with several adoptive families and the children previously adopted under the old non-direct independent procedures. None of these parents should be cocky or feel they have any influence on Argam loosening up the adoption protocols for their adoption agency. It doesn't work that way. Because someone pays a "hospitality visit" and shares a meal doesn't mean they can or will make special favors for a particular agency that has been on the radar for many years in Armenia.

This was confirmed by a phone call to Tom DiFilipo of the JCICS, who met with Argam. Tom understands that the only children available in Armenia are the sickly and is dedicated to working with Armenia to help facilitate protocals. Tom understands the challenges of adoption agencies and how many work in obscure niche countries because there is a percieved "flexibility". Tom also mentioned that in 2004 there were 600 adoption agencies in the USA conducting International Adoptions. Today there are 200 adoption agencies in the USA, he further explained that the old way of conducting adoptions will not work in the current Hague adapted countries.

The first goal of Armenia is to adopt out the special needs children, in 2009 on 20 adoptions visas were allowed to the USA from Armenia (slightly higher to the preferred Italy) approximately 80% were special needs ranging from correctable to severe. Currently as of August 1, 2010 there have been 7 visas granted to the USA, 100% have been special needs ranging from limb differentation to down syndrome. One American woman who has 14 children in the USA just left Armenia 3 weeks ago with 2 adorable Down Syndrome children. I am told that the 2010 total Orphan Visas to the USA will be 10-12 which will close it's fiscal calculations September 30th.

There is an active foster care program in Armenia as there is in the Republic of Georgia. However, a my source in Georgia informed me that a mean-spirited Adoption Agency was recently stiring up trouble in the country. Making absurd claims that there are adoption agencies working with fake Hague acreditation. Shortly afterwards, the police in Georgia conducted a raid on the foster families who were arrested. It seems it is not in the best interest$$ of a particular Adoption agency to have a foster family in country care for children that could be auctioned off and adopted to unsuspecting parents 4,300 miles away.

These same people in the Republic of Georgia shared with us stories about an American Adoption Facilitator that had a "close" relationship with the son of one of their orphanage directors. They also gave the name of the man this Adoption facilitator is "close" to in Armenia. They are asking "Does the American Husband know?"

Sadly Georgia has had their share of arrests and adoption scandals, they are leaning the same way Armenia is. To adopt out the special needs children and adopt the healthier children to locals and Europeans. The Europeans have a great program, adoptions are subsidized by their government because of a zero population growth. It takes longer as there is a short list of government social workers assigned to cases but the end result is it is the government of Italy, France dealing DIRECT with the government of Armenia. Not some too bit adoption facilitator in the country that claims to be an attorney and drives a higher end Mercedes (a rarity for the economically strapped country of Armenia)

Our friends in the Republic of Georgia informed our Armenian friends that recently they had 2 adoptions after a 3 year hold on adoptions. We were saddened to learn that the one child died shortly after his adoption never reaching his forever home in America. There is an investigation on this child's medical history and what information was withheld.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian- Our boy turns 4

On July 23rd, Narek turned 4 years old, we had a celebration at a local pizza parlor. Narek and his mayrig (Anahit) have been in the USA since December 2009 getting radiation and chemo treatment at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte, CA.

8 months later there is an improvement to the tumor growth. Narek remains a happy loving child full of hope and positive behavior. A grown adult would crumble at the pain of chemo - this child is one brave little warrior.

Anahid is a strong loving mother that has sacrificed everything for her child. Our community is behind them 100%, the Armenian media, the Armenian Churches, businesses, schools and individuals.

Anahid is a Social worker in her native Armenia, where she ironically dealt with many sick children. Nothing can prepare you for your own personal heartbreak, but it will certainly make Anahid more understanding of the parents in Armenia that deal with the stress of an illness.

Say your prayers every night for Narek. God I love that kid!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vanessa Kachadurian Welcome Followers!!! Katchkar

Here is what a Katchkar looks like. Katchkar=Cross
There are over 100,000 of these in Armenia
hence my last name "of the Cross" or "Christianson"

Armenia was the first country to declare Christianity in 301 AD.