Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2002 (10.3)
Page 18

AzerbaijanAdopt ListServ
by Jean Patterson

Public interest in adopting children from Azerbaijan has been growing steadily ever since the country legalized foreign adoptions in 2000. In some cases, the parents had initially tried to adopt from countries like Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Vietnam, but in the end, opted for Azerbaijan. To date, more than 60 Azerbaijani children have been adopted.

Left to right: Matthew Bergman, held up by Ron Trecker; Murad Grayson Hoffman; Gabrielle Barnard and Inara Abernathy.

Other articles related to Azerbaijan Adoptions and Orphanages in Azerbaijan

A Home for Inara - Azerbaijan's First Adoption
Guidelines - Adopting a Child from Azerbaijan
AzerbaijanAdopt ListServ

British Airways Adopts Orphanage
Saving the Children: Mobil Undertakes Orphanage Project
Children's Games Build Bridges: International Women's Club Reaches Out

The Internet has many resources available for those who would like to find out more about adopting from Azerbaijan. By far, the most helpful Internet resource currently available is the AzerbaijanAdopt ListServ set up by Kimi Abernathy in December 2001. This open forum, found on Yahoo! Groups, is specifically designed for families who have adopted a child from Azerbaijan, families who are in the process of an Azerbaijani adoption or those who are considering Azerbaijani adoptions. Less than one year after it was established, the AzerbaijanAdopt ListServ has already grown to nearly 150 members. Kimi and her husband, Bill, became the first foreigners to adopt a child from Azerbaijan in May 2000. [To read Kimi's touching story of adopting their daughter, Inara, see the article "A Home for Inara: At Last, Azerbaijan's First Adoption" in AI 9.3 (Autumn 2001). SEARCH]

Discussions on the ListServ vary widely. The members are extremely helpful and supportive of others who are in the process of adopting from Azerbaijan. They discuss every stage of the process, including the track records and costs of adoption agencies, details of where to stay in Baku, and what kind of toys and food supplements seem best to donate for the children still in the orphanage. Parents who have already completed the adoption process discuss how to explain adoption to their children and how to teach them about their Azerbaijani heritage. Some have expressed an interest in learning Azeri words that would be helpful to know, especially when they are alone for the first time with their toddlers without the assistance of translators - like on the plane, returning to the States. Others seek advice about how best to explain to friends, families and strangers where Azerbaijan is located - Europe? Asia? Caucasus? Middle East? Central Asia?

Recently, there was a very insightful discussion on how to handle the curiosity and sometimes intrusive questions of strangers in regard to the adoption process itself, such as "Are they really your children?" and "Do you have any biological children of your own?" When one family sought practical advice about problems with bathing their children, many parents volunteered solutions as they, too, had found their adopted children to be terrified by tub baths. There has been discussion about how to distinguish between expected behavior of any growing child and what may be related to the process of adoption. For example, some parents felt that their child may have learned to throw temper tantrums at the orphanage to get the attention of caretakers.

While some wrote that their doctors had suggested ignoring a child when he was throwing a tantrum, other parents felt that picking him up and holding him was the best way to build trust. "These children have gone through enormous life changes in their short lives. Imagine being taken away from everything and everyone that is familiar to you. Many of us might be on an emotional roller coaster and need a little extra hand holding if we were in the same situation," one parent offered.

The AzerbaijanAdopt ListServ provides a wonderful resource, offering kind advice, support and comfort for families. Highly recommended: join the ListServ at


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