Archive for March, 2014

New book about surrogacy

Friday, March 28th, 2014

A new book about gestational surrogacy, The Baby Chase, sounds fascinating. From an interview on NPR with the author, Leslie Morgan Steiner, which you can listen to here:

Well, you know, for centuries, infertility meant you couldn’t have your own biological children. But today, because of advances in surrogacy and IVF, anyone can have a baby. So two openly gay men who want to raise their own biological children together or a woman who had cancer in her 20s and had her uterus removed or a 50-year-old law firm partner who was decided after menopause that she wants to have her own child – because of surrogacy, all of those people can have their own babies today.

And this video from the New York Times recaps the story of perhaps the most famous surrogate, Mary Beth Whitehead, who gave birth to the child known as Baby M. The case took place in New Jersey in the 1980s and I remember it vividly. Here’s a link to an article about it by Clyde Haberman in the New York Times.




Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Today I’m going to post links to several articles about adoption you may have missed–or not, depending on your level of engagement with the subject. First, from Good Housekeeping about a disrupted adoption. Here’s how I introduced the article when I posted the link on Facebook:

An article at Good Housekeeping about a former attorney, Stacey Conner, and her husband, who adopted a 5-year-old boy, J, from Haiti in 2006 and disrupted the adoption 8 months later. As expected, the story is complicated, and elicited more than 6,000 comments on the GH site. As I read the piece, I remember the words of the adoptive dad in the PBS documentary, “Girl, Adopted,” who said, “I used to think love was enough. Now I know better. Adoption is not for everyone.” Or words to that effect. No judgment from me on Stacey Conner and her situation, just hope and prayers that seven years later, the little boy J and his families, permanent and temporary, have found peace.

Also, the Joplin (Missouri) Globe reports that Encarnacion Bail Romero will appeal her adoption case to the Supreme Court:

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to hear an appeal on behalf of a Guatemalan woman seeking to overturn the adoption of her biological child by a Carthage couple.

Attorneys for Encarnacion Romero filed the request on Monday. The action represents the court of last resort, after the Missouri Supreme Court late last year refused to hear the woman’s appeal. That action unsuccessfully challenged a Missouri Court of Appeals ruling that terminated her parental rights.

“We’ve asked, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll take it,” said Joplin lawyer Bill Fleischaker, one of several volunteer attorneys representing the biological mother. “They hear very few of the cases filed,” he said.

According to information on the Supreme Court’s website, about 10,000 cases are filed annually, and fewer than 80 — less than 1 percent — are accepted for hearings by the court.

Joe Hensley, attorney for adoptive parents Seth and Melinda Moser, said he was notified Monday of the filing. The Mosers have been caring for the child — now 7 — since he was about a year old. Hensley said he has not yet met with the Mosers to discuss a response, noting that he, until Monday, was uncertain if an appeal would be filed. “But nothing surprises me about this case anymore,” he said.


Romero was arrested in May 2007 in an immigration raid while she was working at a Barry County poultry processing plant. She left the child with her brother, who turned him over to a sister. She then left the baby with a Carthage couple who agreed to the adoption by the Mosers.

The mother’s parental rights were terminated based on arguments that the child had been abandoned because the mother made no attempt to provide for the boy during the two years when she was in jail, even though she had the means to do so. The court also found that the mother left the child in the hospital after giving birth, that she failed to keep doctor appointments or obtain baby formula or other help available for the child, and that she made no arrangements to ensure that the infant would be cared for in case she was arrested.

IMMIGRANTS WHO ARE IN THE U.S. without proper documentation and are jailed in violation of immigration law normally are deported, but Encarnacion Romero has been allowed to stay in the country while her case is being appealed.

In Foreign Adoptions by Americans Decline Sharply, David Crary of the Associated Press reports that calendar year 2013 reported the lowest number of international adoptions to the US since 1992, for a total of 7,074. Everyone agrees that reform was needed, no question. But instead of repairing systems, the implementation of the Hague seems simply to have shut them down.

Finally, a program at UCLA to help families with children adopted internationally, called the International Adoption and Travel Clinic. With adoptions sharply declining, I wonder about the clinic’s timing, but better late than never, I suppose. Friends report other clinics in Philadelphia, the Children’s Hospital International Adoption Clinic in Oakland, California (Dr. Nancy Curtis), and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (Dr. Mary Staat).

That’s it for now.



Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Yesterday I found out I was rejected from a writing workshop I applied to, and the news has got me flattened. Not that I expect to get accepted to everything I apply to–I don’t! But I liked the piece I submitted (or did at the time. Now, I hate it, see every glaring flaw), and looked forward to being in a writing environment again. It feels like forever that I’ve been in that luxurious space, of listening and learning, and thinking of what I might create. I’ve been trying to write something new–something long that requires focus and time and quiet and solitude–and life keeps happening, leaving me sidelined and distracted. For every small step I manage forward, ten backward paces follow.

The rejection reminds me that nothing is easy or guaranteed. This particular workshop, clearly, wasn’t the right place for me at this moment. That’s how it goes sometimes, as I remind my children daily. We try, we fail, and we try again.

For me, with writing, I know what I have to do. I have to keep writing. There is no other way. I need to redouble my efforts and not get discouraged. To keep moving forward.~





Lost dog

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

A lost dog wandered into our front yard a few evenings ago as Mateo and I were on the driveway jumping rope. As we waited for the owner to retrieve the pup, Mateo said, “If I were President, I’d build a hotel with a special room just for dogs. But I can’t be President, because I wasn’t born in the United States.” Then, without another word, he flipped his rope over his head, and resumed jumping. Another day in the life of an adoptive family with kids born in Guatemala.

I’m also sharing this article from the Moscow Times, about Paralympians adopted from orphanages in Russia and Ukraine, and the athletes’ reflections on how adoption changed the trajectory of their lives. Forgotten, often, in the debate over international adoption, is the reality of what “not being adopted” can mean–a childhood lived in an orphanage, followed by a young adulthood navigated on one’s own. ~


One of the Guatemala900

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Literally for almost a decade, on various Guatemalan adoption listserves, I have been following the saga of Audra and Les Rice and their quest to finalize the adoption of their daughter Isabella. Today on my Google alert, I see Isabella finally is at her new home! Congratulations to Audra and Les and their family! Wow. WOW! Such good news!

On that note, here’s Antigua Guatemala’s version of Pharrell Williams tune, Happy.

Hoping the remaining families of the Guatemala 900 can sing the happy song, soon. ~