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Monday, April 21, 2008

Spring 2008 Quarterly Newsletter

Spring 2008 Quarterly Newsletter

Letter from Craig Juntunen
Founder, Chances for Children

Quarterly Review

First of all I would like to thank everyone who is receiving this correspondence for your passionate support of Chances 4 Children and the work we are doing in Haiti. We are still in our infancy and we are learning as we go, mostly by trial and error. This quarter saw some successes and some setbacks, but providing hope to the children of Haiti continues to resonate for all of us who are involved. Today, there are more people than ever participating to create a future for these children. One of the more satisfying by-products of our creation of the foundation is the many extraordinary people we have met along the way. The people who have become active participants, have in effect created a Chances 4 Children family, which is now generating a powerful sense of momentum that will propel us forward in the years ahead .

This quarter saw a significant development for the foundation. We diversified and became a multi functional organization. We continue to move forward with our original mission, adoptions, and this quarter we began our initiatives of developing some community infrastructure in the village where our crèche resides.

Overview of the adoption process

We currently have 61 children in the crèche, 57 of the children are matched with families. The 4 that are not matched yet are simply waiting for medical clearances. We have 13 families on our waiting list to adopt. We have experienced a solid interest from prospective families and the demand side (people wanting to adopt) of our process is growing. Of the 60 adoptions we are currently managing, 12 are in the final approval stages, 13 are in the second and third approval phases and 35 are in the early stage of the Haitian paperwork process. We completed 5 adoptions in the quarter, which was a significantly lower number than we had forecasted. Our challenge now is dealing with and trying to influence the Haitian government to speed up the paperwork process. I am not sure what kind of influence we will ultimately have, but we currently have a number of ideas that we will try to implement during the second quarter that may speed things up. Our families have been patient, but as adoptive parents, we understand the toll that the waiting takes, and we are going to do what we can to try to make this process a more expeditious one. Our goal continues to be producing an impressive number of adoptions every year.

Overview of our community development initiatives:


Imagine how different our lives would be if we did not have access to clean drinking water or electricity. These basic amenities are so engrained in us as a way of life we don't even think about them. In the village of Llamardelle (where our crèche is) approximately 20,000 people do not have fresh drinking water or electricity. In March we began the process to drill a number of wells that will provide the community with fresh and clean drinking water and the work has begun to bring electricity out to the village from an ajacent community. You should have seen the construction crews setting the utility poles without a crane, it was quite a sight. A video of the well digging ceremony is now on our web site. Members of the community expressed their gratitude that their children will no longer get sick from drinking contaminated water.

The school is now over halfway built and today 300 children from the community attend classes and receive a hot meal five days a week. Our credibility in the community has been established by our presence at the crèche, and this connection has produced visibility and trust which is allowing us to successfully begin these additional projects. We will continue to expand these three initiatives within the community of Llamardelle, and overtime this community will go through a dramatic alteration The relationship between operating the crèche and the development of some of the community's infrastructure may provide a blueprint for us on a go forward basis in other countries. Obviously you will hear more about these activities in future reports.

Financial Overview

Our goal remains to have the crèche become self-sustainable by the last quarter of 2009. Our current operating model takes us to that goal. However if the Haiti adoption process continues to drag on, we may be required to alter our model by increasing fees and reducing the number of children in the crèche to get to self sustainability. We continue to run a lean organization, none of our corporate officers receive any compensation and Kathi who works full time, continues to volunteer all of her time. We are very lucky that we have many people donate their time and expertise to this cause, insuring that our overhead will be kept to a minimum. All of our corporate expenses continue to be paid by the contributions of Kathi and myself, and our policy that 100 percent of all donations go directly into the expenses of running the crèche and other community development projects continues to be in force.

As I have continually said this is harder than it looks and international adoption is not for the faint of heart. Sometimes the frustrations of working in a third world country take all of us to the boiling point. We are in this for the results, not the recognition, and we continue to focus on our fiscal responsibility, making sure that all of our investors are seeing a substantive yield from their investment in this program. I speak for everyone of us when I say thank you for the support and believing in this cause. Despite the fact that through most of the first quarter we were sailing into the teeth of a stiff headwind, we still had many positive developments and continue to change the lives of many children by giving them a chance at a better future. We also value your active participation. If you have any questions, feedback or input please pick up the phone and call us or send us an e-mail. We would love to hear from you.

Craig Juntunen

Croghan's Heroes

- Volunteer Update
- New Employee
- Kelsen Family

Volunteer Update
We continue to rely on an outstanding team of volunteers to help us accomplish many of the day to day tasks of running our operations. Joan Fredericks (finances), Melissa Holdaway (photo projects), Kathryn Haynes (database admin), Doreen Serio (new profile approval). We could not be successful without all of their efforts. We recently added 3 new volunteers to our team:

April Connors - (adoptive mom to Darline) is now organizing all of the donation programs for the Creche. She works directly with the staff in Haiti to create supply lists for traveling families. As food prices in Haiti continue to escalate we rely heavily on items that are brought by traveling families and visitors. April has made a HUGE difference to our donation program and has already exceeded our goals for March, and April in terms of donated baby formula and supplies. It's hard to imagine that we use over 200 large cans of formula each month.

Elizabeth Molina - is working as our liaison for the village school efforts. Elizabeth is the adoptive mom to Gualage and Wakine and is a school teacher herself. She is currently working on getting donated desks and tables to the Crèche. She needs to find a way to inexpensively get these items from Calif to Florida - so if you have any shipping connections please contact her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Elizabeth is also volunteering for the month of July to help in the village school in Haiti.

Michelle Oswald - the adoptive mom of Deve and Stacy is heading up two new programs we hope to implement next quarter. The first one is a nutritional supplement program RUTF(peanut butter based) which we will be using with all of our new admissions. This will help ensure that malnourished children we admit get off to a very healthy start. She is also setting up a sponsorship program for village school children. This program will allow individuals or organizations to sponsor a child's education on a monthly or annual basis.

A big and heartfelt thank you to each of you!!!!

New Employee
Vivian Aguilera (formerly with Heritage Adoptions) will be joining the C4C team starting April 14, 2008. Vivian has been working as a C4C Agency Partner for the past year and a half and has done an amazing job. Her families can't say enough about her work ethic and commitment to their adoption process. Not only is she knowledgeable about the adoption process she is also extremely detail oriented and passionate about our Haiti program.

Vivian will begin to assume all of the day to day responsibilities of the adoption process and be working directly with our agency partners and our staff in Haiti. Vivian and Amber Cogan will be working together focusing on adoptions and travel. Kathi will continue to work as a volunteer, but now be able to tackle long term projects, fundraising, and donation programs, volunteer efforts and high level issues.

You can reach Vivian at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Samuel Faroul and Joseph Marvelt Finally Come Home
The wait is over and our boys are home. I can't tell you what an experience it has been. It was a rough three weeks adjusting, but now it seems as though our family evolved overnight. All of the things we use to daydream about are finally here.

To see the way they have reacted to the things that we take for granted every day has been fun to watch. When they first arrived home we all had Popsicles, they would giggle as the cold touched there tongues. They have opened our eyes to how simple we can live and still laugh and enjoy even our daily chores.

The washing machine is still fascinating to them. Joseph Marvelt still watches as the water comes out and yells "water, water". As soon as they hear me in that laundry room, they race to see who can help me put the clothes in the dryer. They will tell me who's clothes they are putting in. Then as Daddy walks through the door they run up to there bedrooms to get the papers or projects we've done for the day. Samuel Faroul's English is incredible so he is able to get to him first. Joseph tries to talk so fast that he speaks a mixture of English, Creole and who knows what else. Then he will start to laugh.

I could go on and on about how life is with our boys. We are so thankful that we have been entrusted two more little lives. January 31, 2008 was a new beginning for the Kelsen household!

Mike and Michelle Kelsen

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