Reunion in China

December 14th, 2017

This BBC video about a 20-year-old woman, Kati Pohler, born in China and adopted by a family in Michigan has been out for a while, but I just got around to watching it tonight. Titled Meet Me at the Bridge, it’s powerful, powerful. What struck me most: the stark bigness of the emotions. Fear. Love. Bewilderment. Belonging.

Because that is truth.

Description from BBC:

When Kati Pohler was three days old she was left at a market in China. She was later adopted by an American family.

When she was 20, Kati discovered her birth parents had left her a note, and that every year on the same day, they waited for her on a famous bridge in Hangzhou.

Filmed and directed by Changfu Chang.

Photo above: Facebook

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Antioch MFA

December 11th, 2017

It’s not the most picturesque campus, but oh how I love my low-residency MFA at Antioch LA. I’m here until Saturday, absorbing wisdom and fellowship. My idea of heaven.

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The Ventura fires

December 6th, 2017

Fires along the 101, where I was this morning, driving from Santa Barbara to LA. Only a few yards from the freeway and dozens of them burning. I was alone and taking photos out the window, one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding up the camera, foot pressed hard on the gas pedal.

Long story, but I spent the night in a hotel where all the other guests had been evacuated. After dinner, they gathered around the pool with plastic cups and bottles of wine and I heard one of them say: “Less house, more home.” Which made sense, in all its terrible and profound truth. Everyone so impressively brave.

I made it to LA for school in record time. The 405 eerily deserted. California in flames.

 

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Kallie and Maya

December 4th, 2017

We met Kallie and her daughter Maya in 2003, as we like to say “on the calle” in Antigua, when Maya and my daughter Olivia were babies in arms and Kallie and I each had moved to Guatemala to finish their adoptions.

Now teenagers, Maya and Olivia remain close friends–”oldest” friends, in fact–and Kallie and I share a bond that’s forever. Our families met up this weekend and remembered those days, and our other dear friends who fostered. xoxo

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Road trip

November 25th, 2017

The Friday after Thanksgiving we drove up the California coast from San Diego, destination Santa Barbara. We planned to see the exhibition Guatemala from 33,000 km: Contemporary Art, 1960-Present. I had checked the SB Museum of Contemporary Art website to confirm the museum was closed Thanksgiving Day; however, in my enthusiasm, I may have missed it was closed the Friday after, as well.

The photo above shows us standing outside the locked doors.

But the day was not lost. Santa Barbara is a gorgeous city and the kids loved shopping in the Black Friday mix. We also toured the Santa Barbara County Courthouse, a National Historic Landmark, and surely one of the most beautiful public buildings in the U.S. Meanwhile, we continued up the coast as planned, through Solvang and to Cambria. Today, we toured Hearst Castle.

Thankful. ~

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November harvest

November 19th, 2017

Late November morning harvest of tomatoes, raspberries, and Meyer lemons from our backyard.

I’ll never ever get used to the miracle of going outside, picking a tomato or raspberry off a vine, and eating it. I know, that’s called food and farming and gardening, but, to me, still, a miracle!

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This happened

November 5th, 2017

This happened that hasn’t happened in a while. A cashier at a café looked from me to Mateo and back again and asked: “Where’d you buy him? Macy’s or Nordstrom?”

Sometimes I’m not up for the teaching moment and this was one of those times. Mateo was out of school because of his concussion. A big hot chocolate with whipped cream was going to be his treat for being so brave during the EEG. The best laid plans.

During nights that I’m organized, I write in my journal about what occurred that day, and find I often write about comments made to my kids, or things they heard, that they tell me–about adoption, about being from Central America, about our family and their birth families, about building a wall. These things have become my obsessions because whatever affects my children affects me.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and, speaking for myself, this is my awareness: there is not one facet of my life that is not affected by adoption. Adoption permeates my thoughts, my behavior, my subconscious.

Adoption awareness cannot be contained in a month. Adoption awareness is forever.

BTW, Mateo is fine, recovering nicely. xoxox

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Mateo and Charlie

October 27th, 2017

Two weeks ago, Mateo fainted, smashed his head on a tile floor, and suffered a concussion. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, and when I heard him crash, thought the TV had fallen off the wall. The thud was that loud.

He’s feeling better now–lots of rest, quiet, and hugs with his bestie, Charlie. (EEG said all good; sometimes kids faint apparently.) Mateo will return to school Monday. I’m relieved he’s well enough, but Charlie will miss his good buddy.

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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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