Дом Ребёнка November 2008 Volume XIII, Issue 4 International Assistance Group, 531 Fifth Street, Oakmont, PA 15139 www.iagadoptions.org 412-828-8500 Russia Update By Larisa Mason As many of you are aware, the Ministry of Education has been completing “audits” or “inspections” of all accredited agencies in Russia. This audit is in lieu of the annual re accreditation process that had occurred in the past. So while the accreditations are “non-expiring”, the Ministry still requires regular reviews to ensure that agencies are following the standards and rules set by the Russian Federation. IAG will be having their review in December 2008 and our offices both here and in Russia are preparing for the inspection. We continue to process adoption in all 3 of our current regions (St. Petersburg, Moscow Region and Moscow City). The 10 day wait will not be waived in any region and this was being “hinted at” in the last update and is now confirmed. Therefore, all 3 regions now will require 3 trips to Russia (or a longer 2nd trip to encompass the 10 day waiting period). Russian families continue to adopt and foster orphans in record numbers due to the incentive program instituted by the Russian government. Obviously this is the preferred path for Russian orphans and the local Ministers of Education are trying very hard to increase their numbers in domestic adoption. While this has had an impact on international adoption, it should not dissuade families from pursuing adoptions in Russia. There are thousands of orphans who need families! Guatemala Program Update By Mary Graber The easiest way to update the status of Guatemala adoptions is to print the update from the State Dept. web site regarding Guatemala. This was posted in September 2008: Lic. Elizabeth Hernandez de Larios, President of the Directive Council of the National Council on Adoption (CNA), confirms that CNA will not Continued on page 10 INSIDE THIS ISSUE Guatemala's National Council on Adoption Announces Temporary Halt in Acceptance of New Adoption Cases Link: http://travel.state.gov/family/adoption/interco untry/intercountry_4368.html Russia Update 1 Lend a Helping Hand 2 World Wide Web/ Recipe for Pelmeni 3 Halloween Photos New England Picnic 4 5 Oksana Baiul 6 Annual Holiday Party Announcement 7 IAG Families Share Experiences 9 Page 2 Adoptive Parents Committee Conference Larisa Mason and Mary Graber will be on hand at the 28th ANNUAL APC ADOPTION CONFERENCE held on NOV. 23, 2008 8am-5pm at Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City. There will be exhibitors, book store, 85 workshops throughout the day featuring Preand Post adopt topics. The Adoptive Parents Committee (APC) is a non-profit parent support group comprised of volunteers dedicated to improving all aspects of adoption and interim (foster) care. APC, the oldest adoptive parent group in North America, was formed in 1955 by a small group of people who shared their adoptive experiences. Today, there are more than 2,600 member families who belong to one of APC's four chapters: Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and the Connecticut/Hudson Region. Some of our members are from Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states throughout the country. It’s time to lend a helping hand …..MENTOR! Remember how scary this process was when you began? IAG is in desperate need of volunteer mentors to provide support and resources to families in the process. The preference is for families who have adopted more recently (last 4-5 years) due to the changes that have occurred in the process. Interested families can contact Carol Michaux at IAG. THANKS! WAY TO GO ANNA! Anna Beltowski, adopted from Fryazino Baby Home in Moscow in 1998, qualified this summer in nine events to compete at the Iowa State Long Course swimming championships. Her best swim was the 400 meter freestyle. She dropped over 30 seconds off her best time in this event and finished 13th in the state. She was also able to compete in the 800 meter freestyle at a meet this summer and hopes to next year qualify in this event for the summer state championships 2009. Anna has also competed in three triathlons this summer, the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, the Stevenson’s Youth Tri in Bettendorf and the Lost Island Youth Triathlon in Waterloo, Iowa. Her best finish was at the Lost Island Long Course Tri where she finished third among 11-12 year old girls. She has really enjoyed her summer and even managed to include softball and a local theatre program production of the Beauty and the Beast. Page 3 CHECK OUT THE WORLD WIDE WEB! Here is a great web site that offers Russian recipes, articles on Russian food and culture and the opportunity to purchase Russian items on-line. The article about pelmeni was written by Cheryl Adams Rychkova and was taken from this web site. www.ruscuisine.com The temptations of pelmeni Just ONE is called a "pelemen." But many are called "pelmeni" and they are one of the most traditional (and delicious) of Russian dishes. Making or eating just one is near impossible. Most people associate pelmeni with Siberia, and many recipes and references to the dish call it "Siberian dumplings." Pelmeni probably did originate in Siberia, where hundreds or even thousands could be made, and then frozen and stored outside during the long winters. However, the dumplings became very popular all over Russia. They are closely kin to "pot stickers," "pierogies," and other similar dumplings found in many cultures. The Russian variety traditionally is made of flour, milk, one egg, and salt. The dough is rolled out fairly thin, and cut in circles approximately two inches in diameter. The filling is usually a mixture of minced pork, onions, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pork is often preferred because it makes for a very tender, juicy pelmeni. Pelmeni should never be dry. The most traditional way of making pelmeni is by hand. You simply take a circle of dough, spoon in a little filling, fold the top edge of the circle over the filling, sealing it to the bottom edge very tightly with your fingers. Next, join the ends and pinch closed. Set a large pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling, add two teaspoons of salt, approximately 15-20 pelmeni, and three bay leaves. Boil until filling is completely cooked, remove the pelmeni into a bowl, and serve with sour cream, soy sauce, hot mustard, and pepper. For many generations, making pelmeni has been a fun activity for Russian families. Tradition dictates that the whole family gathers round the table, from Page 4 young to old, and helps to make the dumplings while talking, singing and laughing. It is not at all unusual to enjoy a bit of vodka during pelmeni manufacture! Pelmeni are a popular holiday dish. Many Russian families make thousands of pelmeni and freeze them. There are few more convenient, spirit-warming, filling dishes on a cold winter's day than Pelmeni. Another tradition associated with pelmeni is to place silver coins inside a few of the dumplings. Good luck is predicted to the ones who find a coin in their pelmeni. Also, if you find a bay leaf in your bowl of pelmeni, you will have good luck. For modern convenience, pelmeni-making molds were invented which are really just to press through the two layers of dough and filling, sealing as it goes. Halloween Treats : Left: August Benson searches for buried treasure as a scary pirate. Below: Brady Ellis is putting out fires everywhere! Page 5 position. I still remember a few rounds of a paper on Othello from one kid, and another on the divine command theory from another. The result: Little Susie has made it through four years at her respected university, Phew! She’s ready to launch, right? Not so fast. Many of these helicopter young’uns have absolutely no blooming idea what they should do next. They’ve been so busy with their internships and tests and labs that they’ve missed the essential purpose of all that frantic activity – figuring out their passion, following a stream as it flows into a larger river and then jumping on a boat and seeing where it takes them. Parents, Quit the Hovering And they’ve also been so focused on achievement that they miss the larger point, says Madeline Levine, a San Francisco psychologist and author of The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids. “Authentic success involves character, engagement, wellbeing, emotional intelligence and achievement,” she says. “We’ve got all our eggs in the achievement basket.” Its graduation season, and all our 24/7 helicopter parenting has come to fruition, right? Wrong. Many of our kids still have no idea what they want to do, and it’s all the parents’ fault. ‘Sink or swim’ This is our fault. Our generation of helicopter parents, high achieving baby boomer professionals who have a five-year plan for everything, has failed in one crucial endeavor: letting our kids chase down their dreams and maybe even fall flat on their faces a few times. by Debra Bruno This article is from USA Today, dated Tuesday, June 17, 2008 It’s the season of college graduation, and we helicopter parents are starting to reap the benefits of all that hovering. Think of it: the SAT prep classes we’ve paid for, the early-morning crew practices we’ve carpooled to, the excruciating cello recitals we’ve sat through. Finally, we think, we’ll see the results of years on call 24/7, reading aloud the flash cards for French conjugation and showing up in the middle of a Thursday for parent-teacher conferences. And then when the kids made it to a decent college, many of us remained fixed in hover “We encourage parents in the second half of 10th grade to start pulling out. You’ve got to let them sink or swim,” says Britt Rathbone, a clinical social worker based in Bethesda, Md., who specializes in adolescence. Many recent college grads I know - in the grand tradition of aimless youth everywhere – are taking part-time jobs in bookstores and gift shops, treading water until the next big thing comes along. Some are living in parentsubsidized apartments, while others – many others – have returned home to commandeer the TV remote, pile laundry on the floor of Page 6 the TV remote, pile laundry on the floor of their bedrooms, and complain when the pantry is out of butterscotch pudding. They’re not alone. According to a 2006 survey by the career search company Experience Inc., 58% of students moved home after graduation – and 32% of them remained there more than a year. MonsterTRAK’s survey on the entry-level job outlook found that although only 22% of 2007 college grads said they planned to move home for more than six months, 43% are still living there. That’s a slight drop from 2004 and 2005, says the survey arm of Monster Worldwide, when an average of 58.5% of graduates did the old boomerang. Trying aimlessness Even if the trend is slightly hopeful, it’s still driving us nuts. But is this aimlessness really so terrible? What we’ve done is delayed the growing-up process a little bit more, and probably poured a whole lot more money into it to boot. Now, we have an opportunity to land the helicopters so that our coddled kids can think outside the track. We’ve had these kids going since the very beginning when we put their names on waiting lists for the best nursery schools, pushed them to get lead roles in the production of Annie Get Your Gun and then finally cheered them on as their debate team won the state championship with a killer line of logic. science experiment, or lose their passport in Nice. Or teach English in Japan, or Korea, or even China. While we baby boomers like to think of ourselves as intensely success-focused, we forget that we had years where we did a whole lot of bouncing around. The difference is that our parents didn’t jump in to rescue us when the landlord refused to heat the apartment or when we drove our car into a snow bank. We figured it out, they can too. They’ll make plenty of mistakes. Our role as retired helicopter parents is to let the blunders and absurdities creep in. We can cringe; we can hold our breath. But if we don’t move back to let these kids take the first step on the road to independence, they’ll never get off the ground. In fact, they’ll never even get the dirty T-shirts off the floor of their bedroom. Debra Bruno is a reformed helicopter parent and freelance writer in Washington, D.C. Tracey Lewis and Oksana Baiul in Stripes and Skates. Devra Renner, co-author of Mommy Guilt, says she has heard from some university academic counselors that more students are on the honor roll today than ever before because the professors don’t want to deal with calls from parents when the student gets a B. We need to step back, take a deep breath and watch from the ground level. Maybe we need to let these kids face a few years of dead-end jobs. Maybe they should set up in group houses where the fridge looks more like a Tracey Lewis is featured with Oksana Baiul from a figure skating show that she participated in called Stars, Stripes and Skates. Referral Reversal By, Mary Graber As many of you know, my husband and I are adoptive parents to 2 (now teenagers) who we adopted when they were infants. My son Nick was adopted from Poland while Rina was adopted from Russia. As time has gone by, I have often thought about what kinds of questions they would have had if they had been able to “choose” their parents. And if they could have ‘chosen” their parents, would they have picked us?! I often read over the many questions prospective adoptive parents have on the various on-line chats and bulletin boards regarding their potential referral. Most often the questions are medical or health related as this is probably the biggest area of anxiety for prospective adoptive parents who seek to adopt internationally. But I wonder if those prospective referrals; those little babies and toddlers could ask questions about YOU, would they want YOU as their parents? What if, like me, you have a family history of cancer and heart disease? What if (like me) both of your parents died before reaching age 65? Maybe that baby or toddler would say, “Well I really don’t want to take that risk that my mommy or daddy will die young.” Maybe you or your spouse has high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis or is “older” than the typical parent of a baby or toddler. Maybe that baby or toddler would say, “well I really don’t want a parent whom I may be pushing in a wheelchair when I’m 16 years old so I think I am gonna pass on this referral!” Sometimes the questions and concerns are more superficial and have to do with hair color, eye color or skin tone. When prospective adoptive parents meet their referrals, they might question whether this child is ‘too light” or “too dark” or have the wrong eye color. Perhaps my daughter Rina, who is blonde haired and blue eyed would have taken one look at her half Italian mother with dark brown hair and brown eyes and said, “she’s a bit too dark for me….next!” Page 7 Personality and intelligence is another hotly debated topic. Every parent wants a child who is bright, bubbly and charming (even though these words would NEVER be used to describe them!) They want assurances that their baby will go to college and make good grades as if these accomplishments will be a reflection on them as parents. My husband never went to college and we have every expectation that our children will attend a university. Perhaps my babies would have questioned my husband’s lack of formal education. They might have said, “Well I really don’t want an uneducated father; I mean how would that look to my friends when I am in high school and in college myself?” Some of you may find the idea of this article offensive in some way. You might be insulted to think that your potential referral could or would put YOU under the microscope prior to making that commitment to live with you for the rest of their lives. But, think about it before you are too quick to make a judgment about a baby or toddler that may not be fair. After all, if they were making judgments about you, wouldn’t you want them to give you the benefit of the doubt! Russian Holiday Gathering Please hold the date for IAG’s Annual Holiday Party. This year’s event will be held on January 10, 2009 at the Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, PA. The event will run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. Families in the following states will receive a written invitation: OH, NY, MD, DC, and WV. IAG will post details on their web site if anyone is interested in attending. Questions can be directed to John Wilson at 412-828-5800. Page 8 IAG New England Picnic The IAG New England Picnic was held Sunday, October 5th at Wolfe Park in Monroe, Connecticut. Debbie, Doug & Marina Salvas (Age 5, Saint Petersburg #7) hosted this fun event. 15 families with 26 kids from CT, NY, NJ and MA attended on a crisp fall day. The children had a great time at the playground, getting their faces painted; finding items for the Nature Scavenger Hunt and watching "Amazing Andy" perform. The kids culture center.com had great sweatshirts, toys and books available. We also shared some Russian food including Sirniki (Half Dollar Sized Pancakes) and Russian Tea Cakes. We had a nice time catching up with old IAG friends and meeting new ones. Anyone interested in attending a Creative Memories Workshop to celebrate memories of our children's adoption should contact Debbie Salvas at (203) 452-7395. Additional Halloween Photos Lauren Cella is a beautiful princess today and everyday! Alexander McIntosh is in charge of this train …choo, choo! Page 9 International Assistance Group 531 Fifth Street Oakmont, PA 15139 Phone: 412/828-5800 E-Mail: [email protected] Design by AMF A special thanks to Mary Graber and Debbie Salvas for contributing articles for this issue. We welcome submissions from all of our families. International Assistance Group 531 Fifth Street Oakmont, PA 15139 Guatemala Update (continued from page 1) accept any new adoption cases at this time. The halt is to enable CNA to work on establishing guidelines to use in accrediting adoption agencies for intercountry adoptions and to focus on completing transition cases. The CNA indicates that there were 883 cases that were not submitted by the August 31, 2008 deadline for the verification process. Those cases will be turned over to the Guatemalan courts as abandonment cases. In order to ensure that those cases get quick attention, CNA felt it was necessary to stop accepting new cases at this time. Lic. De Larios does not view the halt as long term and expects that CNA will be ready to complete Hague requirements by January 2009. More information about CNA's decision may be found on its website, http://www.cna.gob.gt.
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