Saturday, January 22, 2011

Announcing the Expanded 2011 FRUA Scholarship Program

Four Scholarships only for internationally adopted children,
from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia

Since FRUA’s inception, our organization has focused on education: educating parents about international adoption, about the importance of support and community, about some of the challenges our children may face, about resources available to help our children succeed. Much of this education occurred informally from parent-to-parent in FRUA chapters across the country. Some of this education has been provided more formally through our annual “Focus on Education” conferences. Regardless of the delivery “mechanism,” we have always put a premium on ensuring our members have the information, support, and resources they need.

As part of our education agenda, FRUA’s national board of directors launched its first-ever scholarship program in 2009. To our knowledge, this is the only national scholarship designed specifically for children adopted from Russia, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Our goal in establishing this scholarship was to offer an award based neither on grades, grade point averages, test scores, and class ranking nor on family financial need.

In developing our scholarship program, we recognized that academic success for internationally adopted children comes in many forms. For example, our first scholarship recipient was adopted at age 16 and had only been in the U.S. education system for a few short years. While learning English rapidly, he found his niche playing sports. Despite significant obstacles, he graduated with a B average and with is school’s ringing endorsement of his accomplishments.

Our second scholarship recipient followed a completely different path. Adopted as a baby, he had no language or cultural barriers to overcome. Throughout his school years, however, he struggled to succeed despite challenges posed by his attention deficit disorder. His perseverance, and the supports he and his family established put in place, ensured his high school success and serve him well as he pursues his collegiate studies.

As we launch our 2011 scholarship campaign, we can now realize our dream of offering more scholarships than our previous budget allowed. Thanks to a generous donation from a group of FRUA supporters – none of whom have internationally adopted children – we are offering four scholarships this year! Two scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors pursuing post-secondary education in the fall. One scholarship will be awarded to a student who is currently enrolled in post-secondary education. And one scholarship will be awarded to a student whose parent is a regional/chapter board member. Click here for more information and the application forms.

We are delighted to offer these scholarships to our members’ children! And we are doubly delighted to be the sole organization that acknowledges internationally adopted children as a group of students worthy of their own scholarship program! Please join us in sharing the word about this scholarship program – with your friends, neighbors, school districts, and teachers. The more families that know about this special scholarship program, the more wonderful students we can recognize. That’s what hope, help and community are all about!
Sue Gainor
FRUA National Board of Directors

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hope, Help and Community in 2011

“If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much.”
Marian Wright Edelman

Somehow we've reached the year 2011.
Some of us in FRUA recall that it was in 1991, twenty years ago, that the doors to international adoption began to swing open in Russia as the former Soviet Union ceased to exist. Can it be that long ago? Many of us now have children in college, approaching the age of twenty or even older, who we adopted in those early years. We didn't know what we didn't know.

While international adoption worldwide has slowed in recent years due both to economic and political factors, it is good to pause and consider these questions; have conditions for the children who remain in orphanage limbo improved? What of our children here? What lies ahead?

For those of us who were in the orphanages very early on, you've told us that conditions are, by and large, much better. But material things, while they improve conditions, do not replace a home and family. FRUA has always supported the tenet that the love of a family is life's greatest blessing and the first fundamental right of every child. Much of our early advocacy was focused on keeping the doors of adoption open. It still is.

For many of us, the road to become parents became the road to parenting a child with challenges. For those children given a chance at a home, a family and a future, the outcomes have been, by and large successful. But not, as many FRUA parents know, without trials and tribulations. Our second advocacy role as parents has been and continues to be, to get our children the help they need to be successful.

The extension of FRUA's role in helping parents help our children has always been to support the whole family,
offering much needed hope and a supportive community for adoptive families. The role of the FRUA community, has been a major factor in our daughter's success in overcoming early challenges; and I believe our continued involvement into and through her teen years has helped make her the confident, successful college student she is today.

FRUA has not forgotten the children left behind. Just in the past year, FRUA's active Orphanage Support program have put your donations and bequests to work in orphanage projects in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland, and Kazakhstan. Help us do more in 2011 – both with orphanages and in programs for FRUA kids here. We are now set up to take stock gifts and the more funds we receive, the more we can do together. That donation envelope you got with our annual report? Don't throw it away. This year, resolve to give more – of your time and in donations -- so that FRUA can continue to provide more hope, more help and more community to those it is here to serve.

Jan Wondra
Vice Chair
FRUA National Board of Directors