Current Newsletter

Friends of FANA News – December 2010

The Latest News from FANA

FANA continues to care for more that 65 foster children placed with them by Bienestar, the Colombian welfare agency, in addition to those placed at FANA for adoption. Maria Van Wie spoke with Mercedes recently. Mercedes is in good health and is doing well. She still goes to FANA every day and has lunch with the staff. Her daughters are very involved in the day to day operations of FANA. Elena continues to run FANA and Maria Lucia continues to run the Hogar Marguerite the home for birth mothers. We understand there are several waiting families here in the DC area.

Fundraising Update

Friends of FANA DC has sent $30,000 in donations to FANA over the past year. Many thanks to all those that have contributed to that awesome number. We know the current economic conditions here in the US have been tough on many families. There is no amount too small to a child that needs our help.

Board Update

The Board met in November for our Annual Meeting and Election of new Board members. The current Board members are as follows:

Board of Directors:
President – Maria Gugino Van Wie
Vice President – Lisa White
Secretary – Brenda Ulrich
Treasurer – Maria Gugino Van Wie

Board Members:
Jennifer Cofone
Laura Fingerhood
Beth Lambert
Gerry Oliveto

Please note that contact information for all Board personnel is available in the Friends of FANA Directory.

Membership Request

It’s time to renew your membership. Dues go to pay for our ongoing operating costs including newsletters, the website, costs of events not covered by fees, and general expenses. Membership is $35 per family per calendar year. For a membership form, please email

Colombian Embassy

Over the past several years, Friends of FANA has been invited to a Christmas Party at the Embassy by Ambassador Carolina Barco. Colombia has recently elected a new president and subsequently has appointed a new Ambassador. We are working with his new social team to introduce ourselves and our children. We hope to be able to establish a relationship with the new Ambassador so that our children will continue to have a connection to their heritage. Look for more information in the coming weeks/months.


The website for the Embassy of Colombia has a section on “Colombia for Kids” with information on the government, economy, symbols, geography, climate and population. Please visit the site at

Updates from Members

Please check out the updates below from some of our members.

Suzi Bass, is a sophomore at George Mason University majoring in government and pre-law. Mitchell Bass, is a junior at the University of Mary Washington majoring in music. He is a percussionist.

Teresa Bennett (adopted from FANA on 2/18/80): -Graduated with a masters degree in social work from New York University and is now a trauma therapist in Florida, counseling returning war veterans with PTSD. -Married on 12/31/08 to Christopher Pasquale. Maria Bennett (adopted from FANA on 8/25/86):-Graduated from college of Saint Elizabeth, with honors, in May, 2010-Currently working in Americorps in an inner city school in Paterson, NJ. Both girls recently co-presented a workshop with me at NJ’s “Let’s Talk Adoption” Conference at Rutgers University. -Pat Bennett, President, Concerned Persons for Adoption

Alayna Grace is eleven years old and just started middle school. She swims with the local swim team and has found a passion for jazz, ballet and modern dance. In 2008, Alayna started Laynie’s Lemonade and Cookies to benefit FANA. Each summer, she and her friends organize and hold lemonade and cookie stands. So far, she has raised more than $2,000 for FANA.

Alex Craig and Sofie Craig participated in International Day festivities at their school — the Lincoln International School of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 13. Sofie proudly marched with the Colombian delegation, dressed in her national colors.

Christina Giordano (20) is currently in Costa Rica volunteering at an orphanage. She is a junior at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, majoring in Art. Vincent Giordano (22) is the proud father of a wonderful 8-month old son. He and his fiancé are fabulous parents! Our family went on the Barker Homeland Tour in 2006 and attended the Barker Homeland Tour reunion this summer.

Anne Crowley says: Isaiah is in 5th grade at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, near our home in DC, where he’s attended since Pre-K. He’s an avid soccer player (plays on two teams) and loves skateboarding and basketball. He also plays electric guitar and enjoys all kinds of hip hop music. He’s very social and has a great group of friends from both school and the neighborhood.

From the Newmark Family: Milena had a wonderful Quinceanera last year. It was a joyous affair. A calumniation of our Hispanic and North American culture and heritage joining together in love.

From Fred & Marty Kaiser: “I think we were one of the original 5 families who adopted our daughter Kristina through FANA. She is 29, still lives in this area, and is happily married. They have two children Freddie, age 8 and Gwen age 5. We are truly blessed.”

The Fantoms: Michel Fantom celebrated his First Communion May 2010. His older sister Hanna was there to help celebrate.

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Friends of FANA
PMB 256
11654 Plaza America Dr
Reston, VA 20190-4700