Posts Tagged 'adoption'

What People Are Saying

“We had given up the idea of adopting until we met David Avilla of Advocate for Orphans International.”


“When we were there an issue came up that he was able to resolve immediately while other families had to stay there for 5 or 6 extra weeks to resolve a similar issue.”

“From the very beginning he was very honest with us about the uncertainly of the process.  He never sugarcoated the truth and never made any guarantees to us.”

“David provided detailed step by step instructions on how to complete all the required paperwork.”

“From the very beginning, David was always honest and upfront with us about the process and the expenses involved.”

“We give David the highest praise for generously giving us his time, always being available and ready to listen to our fears and concerns (often unfounded), always encouraging us, and providing a shoulder to lean on and a friendly ear to vent our frustrations (not with David, but with the length and complexity of the process).”

“I would recommend working with David to my friends and family without hesitation.”

“David had an open door policy when it came to listening to our complaints and frustrations.”


“All the costs were exactly as David outlined in the beginning of the process – there were no surprises.”

He is generous with his time and stays in touch every step of the way, offering guidance with the enormous paperwork process and encouragement in a journey where no two experiences are ever the same.”


“One of the biggest assets that David’s organization has – is their Ukrainian partners.”

“And though we were terrified of making emotional and financial commitments without having any guarantee of what a final outcome would be, we appreciated David’s direct approach and his honesty.”


“When we actually traveled and met with David’s Ukrainian partners – they are courteous, dedicated and professional.  But most importantly, we could observe first-hand how their knowledge and connections made the process run smoothly and completed in record time.”

“We felt safe and completely taken care of.”

“David’s pre-packaged and tested document repository really made the complicated paperwork process as easy as it can possibly be.”


“David and his partners are reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy.”

“In the end, everything occurred exactly as predicted – the process for us was accurate down to the minute as explained to us before we traveled to Ukraine.”

“Each document was the correct document and accurate verbiage as a result of David’s experience with this process. By following his directions, we had the right thing to the right social worker, fingerprinter, translator, courier, and/or government office, foreign and domestic, on time and in the right sequence.”

“I am grateful for the assistance, support, and friendship from David throughout this process.”


“David is a critical factor in our success in this process, helping us meet the requirements to host, introducing us to our daughter-to-be, providing on-tap translators, helping with the paperwork and catching my errors before I shipped the crucial dossier to Ukraine.”

“David was genuinely interested in helping us to go through the process as smoothly and painlessly as he could.”


“Some issues came up recently nearly one year after our adoption, and David helped out even though he had no obligation to do so.”

“David also kept in touch with us while we were in Ukraine.   He was following our blog and was available any time that we needed him.”

“We admire David for what he does.  What a great deed when someone helps to find homes for orphans who would otherwise end up on the streets.”

“He knows his job well and he was able to get us out of the country in a short period of time.”

“The bureaucracy in Ukraine is unbelievable, however he navigated us through the process very smoothly.”

“We would definitely pick David if we decide to adopt again.”


“We are very glad that we used David and would recommend him to other people that are adopting.”

– We had given up the idea of adopting until we met David Avilla of Advocate for Orphans International.

“…we had given up the idea of adopting until we met David Avilla of Advocate for Orphans International.”

My husband and I had wanted to adopt for many years.  One of our previous adoption attempts took us all the way to Kazakhstan, and unfortunately we returned home empty handed.  After that experience we contacted many other adoption service providers, and we felt that we could not trust any of them.  After many unsuccessful attempts we had given up the idea of adopting until we met David Avilla of Advocate for Orphans International.

David was able to earn our trust immediately.  It is not difficult to believe in David’s intention after learning that he and his wife adopted five siblings from Russia.  David is a man of God.  That was what we kept telling each other and convinced ourselves to go through the adoption process, and we were right.  Thanks to him we are now the proud parents of a wonderful boy that we adopted in 2008.

One important feature that David’s service provides is the hosting opportunity for the prospective parents to spend time with the children at the parents’ house.  We are so glad that we went through the hosting program.  We originally hosted a different child that turned out not to be the right match for our family.  After one week we were able to host a boy with whom we had the right chemistry, and we ended up adopting him.  We are very grateful for this opportunity.  If it was not for the hosting program we would not have met the right match for our family.

The path to a successful foreign adoption is long and arduous.  The amount of paperwork and the bureaucracy at both ends is cumbersome.  There are many unknowns throughout the process, particularly in the foreign country.  It is not uncommon for the parents to get frustrated and be worn down by the process.  David had an open door policy when it came to listening to our complaints and frustrations.  He counseled us with his calm demeanor and tried to help us in many ways.  This was truly above and beyond what adoption service providers are supposed to do.  He arranged many telephone calls between the prospective parents and the foreign facilitator to get clarification on our numerous questions.  David was genuinely interested in helping us to go through the process as smoothly and painlessly as he could.

David also kept in touch with us while we were in Ukraine.   He was following our blog and was available any time that we needed him.  Some issues came up recently nearly one year after our adoption, and David helped out even though he had no obligation to do so.

In fact since our adoption we have remained in touch with him, and we send him updates about our son.  He is interested in seeing how the children develop and grow after they arrive here.  We admire David for what he does.  What a great deed to help find homes for orphans who would otherwise end up on the streets.

Although the facilitator in Ukraine may seem pretty rough at times according to our standards,  he knows his job well and he was able to get us out of the country in a short period of time.  The bureaucracy in Ukraine is unbelievable, however he navigated us through the process very smoothly.  When we were there an issue came up that he was able to resolve immediately while other families had to stay there for 5 or 6 extra weeks to resolve a similar issue.

We would definitely pick David if we decide to adopt again.  We are very glad that we used David and would recommend him to other people that are adopting.  In fact every time David brings a group of children to the US, we let our friends know of the children and his program.

A California family, January 27, 2010

– Advocate for Orphans Reports: Adopted For Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches

To read a review of the book “Adopted For Life:  The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches” by Russell Moore, click here.

– They Just Fell Through The Cracks

Use by permission of Kerry Hasenbalg

The date was April 18, 1993 and the place was Taroko Gorge, Taiwan. Taroko Gorge is a gaping rift in the eastern mountains, with sheer marble cliffs, jagged rock and deep gorges rising up from a river bed far below. A group of college student visiting Taiwan on a study abroad program were hiking the breathtaking gorges. One the the students in that program was me. And I can vividly recall being in awe of God’s creative landscape. But my time of awe was abruptly quenched when a group of students came looking for us to tell us that we had to return to the ship immediately because two of the boys in our program had gone off hiking and had fallen into the gorge. And one of them had been found, but one of them was still missing, and we were stunned because he was one of us.

Our university ship eventually left port without him and we continued to receive word that he had still not been found. We were told that this young man was the son of someone apparently very important. His family had great wealth and they were not sparing one dime to search for him and, hopefully, rescue him – helicopters, round-the-clock search parties for a very, very long time. And life seemed to stop on the ship as we just waited for news. Conversations were totally consumed with talk of this lost boy. Many tears had been shed and we all wanted to do something, but we could do nothing but wait and pray. You see, he was one of us and it could have been any one of us that day.

We were keenly aware that this lost boy was somebody’s son, alright – the son of Gordon Crawford. His name was Brett Russell Crawford. According to the LA Weekly, Gordon Crawford, and I quote, “is the guy who once upon a time placed a big bet on what were the blue chip entertainment stocks and made gazillions for a lot of people, including himself. As those show biz firms morphed into big media, Crawford assumed even more power when his investment position became huger by default. None of that is to say that Gordy isn’t a great guy. People love him. Besides, it’s hard to say a harsh word about someone who in 1993 suffered such a huge personal tragedy as the death of his 21 year old son, Brett, during a hiking accident in Taiwan while enrolled in the semester at sea program. Crawford has told his friends, “I would give up all the money I’ve ever made to spend one hour with him.””

Brett’s name, his face, and his story we’ll always remember, because he was one of us. And, yet, for so many sons and daughters who have fallen through the cracks of the earth – lost and in distress and barely hanging on and in desperate need of rescue – no one searches, no one comes, no money is sent, no one prays, no one mourns, and no one even remembers them, and they are as real as Brett. Even though we’ve seen them – their pained faces; their hurting bodies. We’ve heard stories about the scars to their fragile souls – on the streets; on TV. We’ve witnessed them in our own neighborhoods – we’ve even been in their homes; in the places that they live. And sometimes we remember their plight – we think about it, briefly, and yet we just seem to forget. Why? Because they’re not our own children, they’re not the children of somebody we know, and they’re not the children of someone we deem important. If they were a celebrity’s child, you better believe we’d be all about it – reading about it – wanting to know what happened.  You see, they’re nobody’s children, really.  They are the fatherless.  They’re just orphans.

Spend time talking to child welfare professionals about children who are repeatedly abused and neglected in state run foster systems… orphanages… the ones who died on the streets… and you’ll hear them say, “They just fell through the cracks.” A wise woman, for whom I used to work on Capitol Hill, when she was speaking to a group of these professionals she said, “These children don’t fall through cracks, they fall through fingers.” That day she was talking in the context of government workers, but God did not entrust them to governments. God Almighty, the One who calls Himself the Father of the fatherless, entrusted them to us. These fingers through which they’ve fallen are our own.

Exerpt from a speech made at the 2007 “Adoption & Orphan Care Summit III.”  Follow this link to hear this compelling speech in it’s entirety.

– Biblical Grounds to Respond to This Opportunity to Care for Orphans

We are all presented with needs of those around us: our own families, extended families, neighbors, church-sponsored needs, and outward to our communities and other charitable endeavors. Our task is to be good stewards with our resources and contribute with wisdom and prayerful consideration. I am convinced that what I am presenting you with here is a valid need. I encourage you to consider the following scriptures and thoughts and then respond according to your ability to contribute, whether through our project or another similar effort serving orphans.


For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. – Psalms 100:5

Thou art good, and doest good; teach me thy statutes. – Psalm 119:68

The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. – Psalm 145:9


…thou art the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14

A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation. – Psalm 68:5

The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down. – Psalm 146:9


Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. -Psalm 37:3

Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. – Amos 5:14

The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh. – Proverbs 11:17

Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. – Ephesians 6:8

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. – Romans 2:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. – 2 Corinthians 5:10

WHAT IS OUR PART? (Actions and Heart Attitude)

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. – Hebrews 13:16

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. -Proverbs 3:27

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? – 1 John 3:17 (NIV)

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. – Galatians 6:10


And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. – 2 Corinthians 9:8

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. – Philippians 2:13

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work. – 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:21


On one occasion and expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher”, he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself”.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two sliver coins, and gave then to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'”Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:20-21

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. – John 15:16

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. – 1 John 5:14

And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. – 1 John 5:15

David Avilla – May 25, 2008

– An Interview with George Bailey of “It’s a Wonderful Life”

This article is written to provide some encouragement for families who have adopted orphans and found their lives changing in unexpected ways. Sometimes our plans get changed as we live life! Our idyllic family dreams are impacted by an adopted child with unexpected needs, developmental delays, and bonding issues. I thought of George Bailey from the classic 40’s movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” and what he might have to say to adoptive families. This is a fanciful “interview with George Bailey”!…

INTERVIEWER: I caught up with George a couple weeks ago at his office on the main street in scenic Bedford Falls. When I arrived, he greeted me warmly and waved me into his office with his long hand wagging at the end of his wrist and an invitation to take a seat. We jumped right into our interview….

INTERVIEWER: How long have you been at the Bailey Building and Loan now?

GEORGE: “Way longer than I had planned!”

(He leaned back in his wooden swivel-chair and put his feet up on the desk and smiled with raised eyebrows.)

INTERVIEWER: How did that happen?

GEORGE: “That’s a long story.”

INTERVIEWER: I remember you speak in the movie a couple times about your dreams to travel the world and build things.

(George jumped to his feet, stretched out his neck and enthusiastically recited the lines with his arms beating the air.)

GEORGE: “I’m going to see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Coliseum. I know what I’m going to do tomorrow and next week and next year. I’m going to build things. I’m gonna build air fields… skyscrapers… bridges a mile long…Oh, yaw, …and lasso the moon for Mary, too!”

(We laughed together as he sat back in his chair.)

INTERVIEWER: So, how did you come to change your dreams?

GEORGE: “Well, that’s just the thing. I didn’t set down and make up my mind that I didn’t want to do those things. I really believed I’d be happy and fulfilled if I could travel and build things.”

INTERVIEWER: So how is it that after all these years you are still at the Building and Loan?

GEORGE: “Oh, gosh, I guess a lot of little choices along the way.”

(His gaze drifted away and he seemed to focus outside the window on a point far away.)

INTERVIEWER: There certainly were a number of times in the movie where you had a choice. You didn’t have to take over the Building and Loan when your father passed away – that delayed your plans for school. And your brother had agreed to take your place at the Building and Loan when he graduated – you let him take the other job with his father-in-law’s company as a researcher. And then, when there was a panic among the account holders at the Building and Loan, you took your own honeymoon money and paid it out to the people to keep the Building and Loan open. George, why did you do these things? What caused you to forsake your own dreams?

GEORGE: “Well, I never did give up my dream, but other things that came up were more important than what I wanted!”

INTERVIEWER: What was more important than your dreams?

(I leaned forward to hear his explanation. As he spoke, he began getting worked up about the situation he was retelling.)

GEORGE: “Well, for one thing, old Mr. Potter had a lot of this town under his thumb and he was taking advantage of honest, hardworking people. If he had his way, he’d own everything in town and everyone would serve him.  (George was on his feet by now.) As for my brother, I just couldn’t deny my own kin the opportunity that opened up for him.”

INTERVIEWER: You seem pretty passionate about justice for the oppressed and doing the right thing!

GEORGE: “Well, I didn’t set out on no mission.  (He leaned across the desk in a seeming effort to make his point.) These things just came up and one thing lead to another and here I am, still running the Building and Loan.”

(George straightened up and his scowl was replaced by whimsical look that came across his face.)

INTERVIEWER: It seems that every time you were faced with a choice in the movie, something caused you to deny your own dream to help someone else. So, how did it turn out for you?

GEORGE: (He turned and put his chin in his hand, thinking for a moment…) “Well…okay! (He lifted his head and his eyebrows were up again.) After I met Clarence and he showed me what could have happened, why, I saw things differently. It seems to me that all the little choices I had made all added up to a wonderful life after all!”

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything else that you’d like to say to the families?

GEORGE: “Well, you know I’m no preacher. All I can say is that I’m a pretty happy man the way things turned out. I may never get to do much traveling or build any bridges like I had planned. But I’m building something here in Bedford Falls that has turned out to be very dear to me: a family and a community of people I care about.”

INTERVIEWER: Thanks for your thoughts, George! I’ll see you again next year around Christmas time!

David Avilla – May 25, 2008

– How’s Your Investment Portfolio Doing?

The concept of having resources set aside for future use is common. Friends discuss investment tips at parties. Some people form clubs where they pool their money together. Getting the best return on your investment is an acceptable topic of conversation, even among strangers.

But what if wise management and good stewardship of resources didn’t end up just with the instruments of commerce, like money and stocks and certificates of deposit? Bruce Wilkinson, in his best-selling book “A Life God Rewards” offers a perspective of investing for the future that also includes spending our energies and efforts in endeavors that have eternal value based on God’s standards.

Groups of passionate volunteers and team members have made just that kind of eternal investment in the lives of Russian and Ukrainian orphans that have visited the U.S. through Advocate for Orphans Internation (formerly known as Adoption Adventure). The return on their investment won’t be measured in dollars, but will be in the eternal effects on the lives of children and the families who adopt them.

If you were to visit on a typical day our day camps where the children meet each weekday for two weeks, you would see the same kinds of activities going on as in most Sunday school classes or summer YMCA programs – crafts, music, games, free play and field trips. But the difference is this – the objective of the entire Advocate for Orphans team of leaders and volunteer staff is to extend God’s care toward these children by creating an opportunity for each one to meet their forever family.

The stakes in this game are incredibly high. Every year thousands of Russian and Ukrainian orphans reach the age of 16, aging out of the orphanage system, and are released into the streets. The statistics show a staggering saga of misery for these kids – at the end of the first year, half of them are either incarcerated, in prostitution, or deceased. The effort to create an alternative opportunity for these orphans by matching them with families impacts their entire reality by changing their living environment, improving their health and vitality, and receiving the love and guidance from parents that will affect the course of their entire lives! Truly there are eternal matters at stake here! There is a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and beauty to be rescued!

The battle to fight is against the ravages of being unloved and lonely in this world. The Bible says that “God sets the lonely in families” and that “God is a father to the fatherless.” There is a battle going on in the cosmic level to disconnect children from the love and nurture of a family and sever them from the blessings God wants for them. The adventure to live comes from our volunteering to join the battle and then observing with our own eyes how God overcomes circumstances and hurdles to accomplish His objective to reach these children with His effective care through us! And the beauty to rescue is the innocence of childhood that rests in each of the children who participates in one of our programs.

When people volunteer freely to participate in this cosmic battle the forms take on unassuming and small proportions. At our day camps you will witness mothers bringing snacks, high-schoolers guiding the play times, and helpers cleaning up the crumbs on the tables and floor at the end of each day. There will be a photographer giving his or her time to provide flattering photos of the children. There will be families driving the children to and from the day camp and providing meals and clothing for them. There will be translators who will form a vital communication link between the families and the children who are being considered for adoption. All of these people will be contributing in simple ways, but they will have a profound effect when combined together with the other members of the Advocate for Orphans team.

The effect of our programs is that on average well over 80% of our visiting children have families step forward to begin the process of adopting them. Since 2002 we have participated in matching 184 children with families. And, of those 184 children… well, 151 are already home!

So, how’s your investment portfolio doing?

David Avilla – May 25, 2008

~Advocate for Orphans International – Hosting Orphans in 2009

Advocate for Orphans is currently planning for three groups of Ukrainian orphans to visit the U.S. – arriving in the last week of December 2009.  For program locations and other information, please click here.

Ukraine orphans will visit the U.S. for approximately two weeks and families interested in this orphan hosting opportunity should contact David Avilla at

David Avilla, Executive Director of Advocate for Orphans is an approved member of the Registry of California Adoption Facilitators and is not considered an adoption agency.  This registry was passed by lawmakers in 2006 and was funded to commence operations in 2008.

~Older Orphans

Until now, only about 20% of Ukrainian orphans over the age of 7 are adopted.  After the age of 10 that number drops even further.

Why is this age “too old” for an orphan, but considered still young for our own sons and daughters and nieces and nephews?  This is a question that must be asked.

Are they really “too old” or is that an excuse to cover for our unfounded fear?  And, if it is an unfounded fear, what must we do to rectify it?