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Friends of FANA News - June 2006

A Note from the President, Laura Capaldini

It is with some sadness that I tell you that I will be leaving Friends of FANA and the Washington area at the end of July. My husband, Mark, has accepted a wonderful position in the Minneapolis area, and we will be relocating after being here over 25 years. I have greatly enjoyed working with the fabulous members of the Friends of FANA Board for the past five years and with all the other volunteers who make our events so successful. The friendships I have developed with all of you, and the connection I feel with your families and your children, can’t be replaced. My children, Lia (14) and Nick (11), have grown up knowing that FANA was a very special place and that they have lifelong connections with all of you. I thank you for that. We will greatly miss you all. 

I leave Friends of FANA stronger than ever. We’ve recently increased the size of the Board and have completed a planning process designed to ensure its continued vitality. Our website is being updated as I write this note. Our relationships with FANA, with the Colombian Embassy here, and with the other Friends of FANA groups continue to strengthen. Our Vice President, Lisa White, will take over as President after our July 22nd Board meeting. Other Board members are Jennifer Cofone, Megan Dennis, Matthew Nau, Ricardo Nunez, Jeanette Ryan, Tracy Stanton, Brenda Ulrich, and Maria Van Wie. If you would like to become more involved, please contact Lisa (through info@friendsoffana.org) or any member of our Board. We welcome your support.

Special Request from Mercedes

We have received an unusual special request from Mercedes Martinez, founder of FANA, to assist a boy in the local community. In a tragic incident, he was shot by a schoolmate while at school and is now a paraplegic. Mercedes knows the family and is trying to help raise funds so that the family can modify their simple home to give him access to a basement room and bathroom. FANA is helping the family with supplies and other needs. A copy of the request is included (in Spanish). If you are interested in helping, Friends of FANA will collect contributions and will forward them directly to Mercedes. Send your contribution, made out to Friends of FANA, to the above address and note that it is for “Mercedes’ special request.”

Report from FANA

FANA continues to care for a number of foster children who are temporarily under its guardianship. It continues to place some children for adoption, including infants as well as older children and sibling groups. The adoption regulations developed by Bienestar, the Colombian welfare agency, first favor Colombians for adoption and after that, young, healthy couples. The rules have changed somewhat over the past year, making it more difficult for older couples or those with certain health conditions to adopt. The Barker Foundation has the latest information (cmclain@barkerfoundation.org).

Hold the Date – September 23, 2006 Fundraiser for FANA

Please hold Saturday evening, September 23rd for an informal, adults-only wine and cheese fundraiser for FANA. This is a great chance to get together with old friends as well as to involve some of your non-FANA friends and families in a great cause! The event will be held at the home of Lisa White in Reston, VA. If you’d like to help with the planning, please contact Lisa at info@friendsoffana.org. We are looking for a donation of major item, such as a flat screen television set, jewelry, computer, or other large item to raffle that evening. We would also welcome donations of wine and food. If you can help us, please contact Lisa (above).

Report from Fiesta and Gold Museum Exhibit

We held two great events this past spring. The first was our annual Colombian Fiesta where everyone enjoyed Colombian food, drink, and lots of crafts and activities for the kids. Thank you to Jeanette Ryan and her committee for the excellent job! The second was a docent-led tour of the exhibit from the Gold Museum in Bogotá, which was held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Over 40 people enjoyed learning about Colombia’s indigenous peoples and viewing the fabulous gold artifacts. Thank you to Brenda Ulrich for coordinating the event.

We would like to hold another “Colombia for Kids” event this fall. In the past, we’ve had workshops for younger kids on what it’s like to live in Colombia, one for older children at Georgetown, and a presentation on Colombian culture at the Ambassador’s residence for school-age children. Please let us know what you would like to see us do! Send an email with suggestions to: info@friendsoffana.org.

Revised Website

Friends of FANA has embarked on a major rewrite of our website which should be up and running within the next month. The address will remain the same: www.friendsoffana.org. The new website will include more information on FANA, Colombia, traveling to Colombia, Colombian culture, adoption information and resources, and of course information about Friends of FANA. We hope to reach not only our members, but also the many children and young adults of Colombian heritage who are looking to learn more about their birth country. We are using a professional design team and hope that you like the new look. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you again to Alan Moshel for continuing to serve as our webmaster! 

Contributions to FANA

The Friends of FANA Board recently voted to send a check to FANA for $3,000 to help pay for a new bottle sterilizer for the orphanage. The total cost of the sterilizer is $22,000 (US). Additional donations are welcome and can be sent to Friends of FANA at the address on this newsletter. Additionally, the Board voted to send a contribution of $10,000 to the Hogar Marguerite in support of the home for young mothers. The Hogar provides food and shelter, counseling, job training, medical care, and emotional support to low-income women needing assistance. The Hogar is affiliated with FANA and run by Mercedes’ daughter, Maria Lucia.

Congratulations to Our Kids!

Two children from Friends of FANA families recently completed service projects benefiting FANA. The first was for a Girl Scout Gold Award, where she collected school supplies for the school-age children at FANA. Many of you contributed supplies to her project at our February Fiesta. She will be traveling to Colombia with her family this summer to deliver the supplies.

Our other generous family member collected donations for FANA in lieu of gifts at his Bar Mitzvah. We’re happy to report that $900 was collected and the contribution is being sent to FANA to help pay for a new bottle sterilizer for the babies. Thank you very much for your commitment to FANA!

Friends of FANA Directory

A Friends of FANA Directory is included in this mailing for any family which has paid dues for 2006. Dues are $35 for the calendar year and can be sent to Friends of FANA at the address on this newsletter. Please also visit www.friendsoffana.org for membership information.


The organization, Kidsave, is dedicated to helping older children find loving, adoptive families. Kidsave now has a program with Colombia, sponsoring children for a six week visit to the Washington area over the summer in hopes that they will find an adoptive family. If you are interested in the “Summer Miracles Program,” please see their website at: www.kidsave.org. We share this as information only; Friends of FANA does not have any connection to Kidsave.

Upcoming EventsPlease watch the website for more information:

  • Saturday, September 23, 2006           
    Wine and cheese Fundraiser for FANA
    Home of Lisa and Paul White, Reston, VA
  • February 2-4, 2007
    FANA’s 35th Anniversary Celebration and Golf Tournament
    Bogotá, Colombia
  • February 22, 2007
    Friends of FANA Fiesta and Anniversary Celebration
    Reston, VA
  • August 10-12, 2007 (tentative)
    Alternative celebration of FANA’s 35th Anniversary
    Bogotá, Colombia