Дом Ребёнка Russia Update

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
Guatemala's National Council on Adoption
Announces Temporary Halt in Acceptance of
New Adoption Cases
Russia Update
Lend a Helping Hand
World Wide Web/ Recipe for Pelmeni
Halloween Photos
New England Picnic
Oksana Baiul
Annual Holiday Party Announcement
IAG Families Share Experiences
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Adoptive Parents
Committee Conference
Larisa Mason and Mary Graber will be on hand
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
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!
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
She has really enjoyed her summer and even
managed to include softball and a local theatre
program production of the Beauty and the Beast.
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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.
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
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
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
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
Halloween Treats
: Left: August Benson searches for buried
treasure as a scary pirate.
Below: Brady Ellis is putting out fires
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
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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
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
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
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!”
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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
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
Questions can be directed to John Wilson
at 412-828-5800.
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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!
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International Assistance
531 Fifth Street Oakmont,
PA 15139
[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,