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A Child Waits
Fall 2010 Newsletter for All Blessings International

Dear Friends,

I can hardly believe school has started again and the trees will soon begin to shed their multi-hued leaves.  Our children grow up so quickly and so do the children in orphanages. Research has consistently demonstrated the negative impact of institutionalization on the brain development of children and certainly interactions with post-institutionalized children serves as a convincing reminder of the negative impact on relationship building and attachment for children in orphanage care.  It is heartbreaking to me that all this knowledge has had minimal effect on the way children are cared for in many countries.  Efforts in developing nations are often disjointed, uncoordinated and do not revolve around post child welfare development leading toward permanency planning for children outside of permanent parental care. 

 The Families for Orphans Act, introduced in 2010 seeks to close this gap in service provision and to seek accountability for the myriad funds sent overseas to be directed toward child centric efforts toward multiple care options for children.  The answer for children in need is not either - or; it is not either orphanage care OR international adoption.  There are additional alternative care options, ranging from family preservation support services to kinship care to foster care, etc.  I urge each of you to support the Families for Orphans Act which is an important step toward more cohesive and common sense approaches to serving children!

I recently attended the Canada International Adoption Symposium in Ontario, where I served as both a mediator and a presenter.  This conference sought to bring together academics, researchers, practitioners, journalists, adult adoptees, advocates and government officials to dialogue more about the issues facing international adoption and to make recommendations for the future.  During the course of this event I was exposed to multiple views from around the world - many of which could be characterized as negative toward international adoption.  The best way to counteract negative and inaccurate perceptions is through sharing the truth of our adoption stories - both the good and the bad.  As we feature a family periodically in our newsletter, we look forward to receiving your stories.

Blessings,Find us on Facebook

 

ABI Staff is Growing!!!
 
We are pleased to welcome several new staff members to All Blessings International, Inc. Please check out our new website, www.allblessings.org, to meet our newest additions. Welcome Tonya McKinnney, Erica Phillips, Lynne Payne, and Lori Wence!

Our agency has experienced a few recent staff changes that may affect families currently in the adoption process. Maria Gocke, Tracy McBrayer, and Ellen Henry have recently moved on to new endeavors and are no longer employees of All Blessings International, Inc., formerly Kentucky Adoption Services, Inc. We wish them the best of luck in future.
Raise Funds For ABI With GoodSearch
Internet Searches & Purchases
 
We have something new and exciting we'd like to share with you! It's the new All Blessings International GoodSearch toolbar. Downloaded for free, this toolbar is a fundraising genius. The toolbar has a search box and each time you search the Internet, a penny is donated to All Blessings International. There is also a feature in which each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to All Blessings International - at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!).
Please pass this along to all of your friends and family. The two minutes it takes to add this toolbar to your browser can make a lifetime of difference!

Get the toolbar NOW!
http://www.goodsearch.com/toolbar/all-blessings-international
Thank you!!!

We would like to thank the following individuals for their donations to All Blessings. Your gift is very appreciated by all those who benefit.
Michelle & James Hieb 
Pam Morris
Jane & Denny Hughes
Karen Collins
Samuel & Judy Bruntz
Microsoft Matching Gift Program
Terex Corporation
Kimball Jr/Sr High School
Fannie Mae
Melissa Gensic
Steven & Ellen Nelson
Welcome Home!

The ABI staff would like to congratulate these families below on their recent new additions to their family. May God Bless each of you as you begin this journey with your child.

Brad & Laura welcomed Ayden from the US
Renee welcomed Divya from Nepal
Chris & Christy welcomed Briley from the US
Chris & Ashley  welcomed Danny from Hong Kong
Robert & Melanie welcomed Allyson from China
Greg & Cathy welcomed Hayden from the US
Patrick & Lisa welcomed Jayden from the US
Kevin & Penny welcomed Olivia from China
Tom & Ashley welcomed Harrison from Korea
Kristopher & Vanessa welcomed Theo from Korea
Scott & Susan welcomed Isaac & Levi from Ethiopia
Troy & Angela welcomed Max from Korea
ABI Kids Calendar

It's time again for the ABI Kids Calendar to begin production and we need your pictures. We are asking that families wishing to have their child's picture in the calendar review the requirements below and email your pictures to mandy@allblessings.org no later than November 1st. We look forward to completing this project and having these available for pick up or delivery no later than December 10th.

Picture specifications
:
  1. Locate 3 photos you would like to submit. One for cool weather, one for warm weather and one holiday picture (Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving/Fall, Easter, 4th of July etc.).  See photo requirements below for more information about your pictures.
  2. RENAME THE PHOTO: ChildsFirstName_ChildsLastName_C.jpg for cold weather, ChildsFirstName_ChildsLastName_W.jpg for warm weather and ChildsFirstName_ChildsLastName_H.jpg for Holiday. 
  3. Resize photos to be between about 500 and 1024 ultimately.
    We can take photos up to 3MB, but your email system may not work well with such large photos, but would prefer them to be under 1MB.
PHOTO REQUIREMENTS:  
  1. You may submit up to 3 photos per child ( 1 in Winter/Fall clothing, 1 in Summer/Spring clothing and 1 in holiday dress). If you have 2 or more children, we encourage photos of the children together. 
  2. The submitter must have custody of the child or be able to obtain and provide written permission from the parent if requested.
  3. Rectangular shaped photos only. Please do not use digital frames or effects that change the edging.
  4. Color photos only. Please refrain from unusual digital effects (mild enhancements are OK as long as the photo looks normal).
  5. Pictures should be proportional to standard photo size and print without space or distortion on an 8 x 10.
  6. Each picture should have *space* around the main subject so that if lightly cropped, it will not affect the picture's content. Please do not crop photos to odd sizes.
  7. Minimum size for ANY photo is 75kb in size.
  8. Picture should be perfectly clear.
  9. If you submit an artistic photo where the child is looking away, make sure that you also submit one that is looking straight ahead.
  10. Pictures must be in a JPG format.
 
Deadline for Submission: November 1st, 2010.

Cost:

Calendars must be pre-ordered and we will be taking orders from now until November 15th. They will be $20 each and $2.50 for shipping and handling. If you order multiples, your shipping will be different.
 
Photo Release: When submitting photos for use in the ABI Calendar you are also giving permission for ABI to use photographs of yourself, your child, and other family members to be displayed in the office or to be used in information sessions, as well as, on occasion to be used in various media publicity and promotional efforts on behalf of All Blessings International , Inc.  No financial compensation will be available for the use of photographs or images.

COPYRIGHT PHOTOS:
** Please note that most professional studios own the copy right on photos.  By default, we will not accept studio photos.  However, if you are the photographer, please make a note in your email.
Call for Volunteers
 
ABI is currently looking for volunteers to assist and organize upcoming fundraisers for the agency. Without volunteers our fundraisers are not possible. We are beginning to plan for next years fundraisers including Orphan Walk 2011 and WE NEED YOUR HELP! 

A fundraising planning session is scheduled for October 26th at 5:30 pm at the Owensboro ABI office. Refreshments will be served and we hope that you can come out and participate in this planning session. We need volunteers who will be able to help with all aspects of this event and others that we are looking to organize.
If you are planning to attend, please contact the office at 270-684-2598 or email Mandy at mandy@allblessings.org

We look forward to seeing you on the 26th.
His Hands His Feet Mission Trips 2010

In keeping with the Lord's calling to serve the Least of These throughout the world, ABI's mission team division, His Hands His Feet, has scheduled a number of mission trips to several countries for the remainder of the year.

Guatemala - October 21-26
Please keep the volunteers making this trip in your prayers as they serve God's children in Guatemala.

Haiti - late fall 2010 or early 2011
Dates for this trip have not yet been GT Mission Trip 2009decided. Please contact ABI if you are interested in taking a short term trip to Haiti in late 2010 or early 2011. The primary purpose of the trip will be building projects and ministry to orphans.

If you are interested in participating in any of the above mission trips please contact our Missions and Outreach Coordinator Jenni Ramsey or contact the office at 270-684-2598.
Talking Tips

Adoptive mom and author Carrie Krueger offers these ten tips for talking with your child about adoption, getting him or her to talk to you, and preparing him or her to talk to others, especially in school.

 

1) It's important that kids know it's okay not to answer questions. Parents can model this when a friend or stranger intrudes with a question. A calm "I don't care to discuss it" is fine. When my daughter was asked why she didn't have a dad, an option would have been to say, "That's just the way our family is." There's no need to go into detail.

  

 2) Role-play possible questions and answers.

In one family where brothers are of different races, the boys hear, "Is he your REAL brother?" a lot. The children's father has them practice an answer: "He sure is!" End of discussion. Be proactive, don't wait for the ugly or intrusive comment to discuss responses. Talk through the kinds of things children might hear on the playground and help them think of how they might reply.

 

 3) Just because your adopted child doesn't stand out doesn't mean you don't need to keep talking.

For some children adoption is "written all over their faces"; for others it would be easy to "pass" as a birth child. In either case, the need for communication and developing a competence in adoption issues is vital. "All children who are adopted need to feel comfortable with their adoption story," says Nancy Kaplan, child and family therapist and adoption social worker. "You can't assume that because your child looks like you that he or she will never have to answer questions about adoption in a public forum."

 

 4) Silence is not golden.

It's wrong to assume that kids who don't bring up their adoption are not dealing with adoption issues. To help your child prepare to face the public, those private discussions are vital. Some experts recommend a "once a month" approach. If the child doesn't initiate discussion, you bring it up once a month or so in a safe, easy way. For example, I said to my daughter on the eve of her birthday, "I bet your birthmom is thinking about you tonight." Though she never would have brought it up, it led to a wonderful and emotional conversation.

 

 5) Allow and be prepared for school situations to bring up sadness and grief.

Kaplan counsels schools on adoption issues and tells of one boy who was devastated when his class played a "guess who?" game with baby pictures. "He was adopted at five, and not having a baby picture is very painful for him. He was relieved to discover that there were a number of other children who also couldn't produce baby pictures. It was an opportunity for him to grieve some of what he has lost in life. He needed a tremendous amount of support during this time. In the end he decided to do a beautiful picture board of his favorite pictures of himself. 

 

6) Never force your kids to share adoption information with others.

'Nuf said on that. Likewise, help your child feel proud of his or her roots without making the child a poster-child for adoption. For example, many parents are tempted to do some adoption education in their child's school. While this is a noble intention, it sets up their child for additional attention he or she may not welcome. A different idea might be to swap schools with another parent to get the adoption education done without forcing the personal connection on your child.

 

7) Know that adoption will come up again and again-and when you least expect it.

A unit on Martin Luther King, Jr., caused my daughter to ask me, "Mommy, are we white?" She cried when she realized the "Whites Only" sign in her book on Martin Luther King, Jr., would have applied to her. For an adoptive parent with a child of the same race, the issue was brought home in high school when his child was asked to trace a genetic trait through the family.

 

8) Don't take one success (like the star of the week) as a sign that you're done.

Adoption is a lifelong process. The kindergartner who freely shares his adoption story with the classroom may well be the second grader who refuses to go to a Tet celebration because he is "not Vietnamese."

 

9) Allow your child to experience a range of emotions surrounding his or her adoption.

Just because the adoption has been a wonderful thing for you doesn't mean it isn't a bit of a mixed bag for your child. Giving your child a safe place to express those feelings including anger, sadness, and loss, will make it easier for him or her to face a curious classmate or a tactless teacher, because the child will be in touch with feelings rather than caught off guard by them.

 

10) All kids are different.

Some kids talk about adoption all the time; some never bring it up. Some connect every piece of school curriculum to adoption; some never draw a connection, or if they do, they don't talk about it. Different children require different approaches, but all adopted kids deserve parents who support them in understanding their adoption. Like sex education and drug awareness, all children need early and ongoing adoption education.

 

2000 Copyright Adoptive Families Magazine.  Reprinted with permission from Adoptive Families Magazine. For more articles like this one, to subscribe or to sing up for the AF e-newsletter, wivist Adoptive Families online, www.AdoptiveFamilies.com.

In This Issue
Lucy's Letter
ABI Staff is Growing
Raise Funds For ABI
Thank You!!!
Welcome Home
ABI Kids Calendar
Call for Volunteers
Mission Trips
Quick Links
 

Our Mission

Families For Orphans Act

To Learn more about how to support the Families for Orphans Act mentioned in Lucy's letter, visit the JCICS website.
Updating Your Information

It has been a while, since we have updated our client contact information and we are asking for your help with this task. By going to our website and entering your email address in the box to sign up for the newsletter you will be asked to edit your profile information. This will allow ABI to make changes to your information in our databases.

If you do not have access to email or the web, please contact our office via telephone to update your information. 

Thank you!
USICS Fee Changes
 

The fee for I-600A / I-600 and I-800A / 

I-800 will increase from $670 to $720 on November 23, 2010.

 

The fee for biometrics will increase from $80 to $85.

 

Please note, if you are anticipating filing either an initial or grandfather I-600A or I-800A under old fees, your completed applications, payments, and supporting documents will need to be received at USCIS prior to Nov. 23, 2010.

I-171H Update Reminders
 

In order to be able to assist you with reminders about expiration dates and most recent information about the renewal procedures, you must have provided our agency with a copy of the approval.

 

If you have not sent the approval previously, if you have only sent the approval for the dossier requirement, or are not certain if you have sent a copy of your most recent approval, please fax to 270-663-0423.

 

We are happy to help you with this process, but cannot assist if we do not have the information.

 

Please note, ultimate responsibility for maintaining the currency of immigration approval falls to the prospective adoptive parents. You need to stay well aware of your 171H expiration date. It is suggested that you put the expiration date on your calendar, and possibly set an automatic reminder notification maybe two months in advance to begin preparation for the immigration approval renewal process.

Orphan Walk 2010 a Success

This years Orphan Walk was a success. ABI raised over $3500 with this event.

 

We want to thank everyone who particpated and most of all our volunteers, who put their time and effort in to make this event a success.

 

See the Call for Volunteers article to learn how you can help make the Orphan Walk a success.

Find us on Facebook
Talking Tips

Be sure to read the Ten Tips for talking to your child about adoption taken from Adoptive Families Magazine.

 

This article provides some great points for talking to your child about adoption, getting him or her to talk to you, and preparing him or her to talk to others, escpeciallly at school.

We need Your Stories! 

We like to provide personal stories in our newsletters to provide strength and hope to families no matter where they are in the process. It is always nice to read about a family's adoption process and how their child has been a blessing to them.

 

If you would like to have your family's story featured in an upcoming newsletter, please forward to us your story and atleast 2 photos. You can send these to mandy@allblessings
.org

Finding Families for God's Children