Pew Research on international adoption

October 20th, 2017

Here’s a link to the annual report from Pew Research about the state of international adoption. Bottom line: “Americans adopted around 5,370 children from other countries in fiscal year 2016 – 77% fewer than the peak in 2004 and 66% fewer than in 1999… (By comparison, Americans adopted about 53,500 U.S.-born children through public agencies in fiscal 2015…)”

My children came to me at a moment in history that no longer exists–in the early 2000s, during a wave of adoptions from Guatemala. They belong to a specific cohort–of 29,805 children adopted from Guatemala.

Everything about my children’s lives is informed by the fact they are adopted.

There’s no judgement in that sentence, just a statement of what is. Change one thing, change everything. Truth.

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Father Stanley Rother is beatified

September 27th, 2017

I’ve posted before about American priest Stanley Rother, who was assassinated in 1981 by Guatemalan military in Santiago Atitlan during Guatemala’s 36-year armed conflict. Called Padre Aplas by the faithful he served, Rother is the first U.S.-born Catholic priest to be beatified.

In this beautiful and moving article, Guatemalan People Celebrate Father Stanley Rother’s Beatification, Mary Jo McConahay (author, Maya Roads and Ricochet) tells the story of Stanley Rother, from his Oklahoma boyhood to his life among the Tzutujil Maya to his death by masked assailants in the parish where he lived.

At the Catholic ceremony in Santiago, one cofradia sacristan said of Rother: “He talked about equality of people and equilibrium, that people should love each other, like the harmony of our Maya cosmovision–he said this was the word of God.”

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The Fosters

September 17th, 2017

We got a TV. A very large one, and cable access to go with. First thing Olivia and Mateo did was download the entire season of “The Fosters.” They’d seen excerpts on YouTube and wanted to watch in its entirety. Not for young children, but my 12- and 15-year-olds and I love it. Mateo said, “I like it because it’s about adoption and has Latino kids in it.”

 

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We got a dog

September 4th, 2017

We got a dog. A three-year-old Wheaten terrier mix, from a shelter in San Diego. Charlie has been with us three weeks, and we cannot imagine life without him. The kids adore him. Tim and I adore him. We’re outside more; we’re laughing more. Charlie brings out the best in all of us.

Why didn’t I agree to this sooner? Mateo has begged for a dog for five years! Here’s a post from August 2014 with a letter wrote in 2012.

My post from August 2014:

One of the benefits of clearing out clutter is that stuff you forgot resurfaces, including this letter my son Mateo wrote me in January 2012. In it, he addresses a theme that remains ongoing: his pining for a dog. Reading Mateo’s letter helped me realize he’s wanted a dog for at least two years, a very long time in the life of a nine-year-old. Not that I’m planning to relent and get a dog. Just that Mateo’s desire is not new.

My son’s writing feels so energetic. His spelling and punctuation could use a copy-editor, but I love his voice.

Mateo’s letter, 2012:

Dear Mom,

I think Olivia an me shood get a DOG!!!!!!!!!!!

BECAUSE it will giv us xrsize.

If she didn’t want to do it I would do it for her.

Il give them a bath evry day.

If it’s a school day il do it after school.

If it’s a weekend il do it after brakefast in the morning.I’l take rely good car of the pupy.

“I promis promis promis”

Please Mommy i beg you.

yours Truly

Mateo

– What can I say? We had a lot going on. But I’m a passionate convert: If you don’t have dog, think about getting one. Yes, a dog requires work, and yes a dog will be another job for you. But a dog will likely give you this as well: sweetness, loyalty, and unconditional love. That counts for something. xoxo

 

 

 

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Visit summer 2017

August 24th, 2017

Last week, Olivia said, “Are you going to post one of those photos of me with ‘Ana’ from the back?” A picture from our annual visit with Olivia’s birth mother, and one of Mateo with Olivia’s Abuela. I love that we all meld together into one family.

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Butterfly house and zipline

August 7th, 2017

In Panajachel, Guatemala, we visited the Lake Atitlan Butterfly Reserve. The kids zip-lined while I remained (happily) earth-bound.

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Trip to El Tenador

August 6th, 2017

I wrote this a few weeks ago, when we were in Guatemala:

We caught the shuttle from Casa Santo Domingo to the restaurant on the hill, El Tenador. (the Fork.) Admired the Quetzal and VW sculptures of Efrain Recinos and the Jaguar mosaic of Roberto Gonzalez Goyri. Toured museums dedicated to Guatemala’s 1967 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Miguel Angel Asturias, and Pope John Paul II, also ran around the grounds and aviary. The view from the restaurant is spectacular. We recommend the tacos. (Today was our third visit. We love this place.) (They also have a zipline: Not as dramatic as in Panajachel, a bit pricey, fun.)

 

 

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Trip to Comalapa and fireworks on the calle

August 6th, 2017

We made our annual pilgrimage to the Comalapa studio of painter Oscar Peren, visited the ruins at Iximche, and ate hand-made tortillas at Chichoy. One night in Antigua, we heard fireworks that sounded as close as our front door and when we ran outside, discovered they were. We’re home in California now, but Guatemala still feels close.

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Ruth Sheehan of the Guatemala 900

August 6th, 2017

Over the years, I’ve posted many times about the waiting families of the Guatemala900, whose cases were stalled when adoptions between the US and Guatemala stopped in December 2007. Ruth Sheehan’s son, “Paco,” was two months old when she filed her first adoption document in 2007. Paco is now ten, and his adoption still isn’t final. I rarely share fundraising pleas–there are so many worthy causes!–but this one feels close to my heart. I’m sure any amount will help.

Even if you can’t donate, please read Ruth’s story to understand her struggle and dedication. If you’re a person who prays, please pray for continued strength for Ruth and her son. If you’re a person who sends positive thoughts, please send those, too.

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Pamela Yates in the Washington Post

July 19th, 2017

In this Washington Post interview, “From Civil War to Civil Protest: A Director Looks Back on Three Decades of Filming Guatemala,” Pamela Yates discusses 500 Years, the third film in her trilogy of When the Mountains Tremble and Granito. I haven’t yet seen 500 Years, but When the Mountains Tremble is extraordinary. Released in 1983, it’s narrated by a young Rigoberta Menchu, whose voice–both literal and figurative–is mesmerizing. It’s fascinating to read this interview and hear Pamela Yates discuss her challenges in making Mountains Tremble, as well reflect on her current work and long-term commitment to Guatemala. What an accomplishment! ~

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