Archive for January, 2015


Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

On Sunday, Olivia and I attended our annual potluck for adoptive families with children born in Guatemala. Mateo wasn’t feeling well, so Tim stayed home with him while Olivia and I drove over the Richmond Bridge to the East Bay to join the group.

What Olivia probably would tell you about the day is that it solidified her belief that I must get an iPhone or GPS, because we wasted our usual half hour driving in circles, lost, with me freaking out. The reason we got lost is that I, yet again, relied on unreliable directions downloaded from the Internet. And a paper map. We only got there, finally, because I flagged down a truck driver in a gas station and asked for directions.

But what I’ll tell you is that some of the children in this group are now teenagers in high school, and their parents have been meeting since the kids were toddlers. What I’ll also tell you is that many of those kids consider one another “BFFs,” although they may meet just a few times a year. What I’ll also tell you is that the minute I met several members of the group, my gut told me: These folks are committed! To their children, to Guatemala, to the idea of learning all they can about adoption, at every stage and in every phase.

Finally, what I’ll tell you is that an “adoption group” is really about friendship. We listen and we talk. We laugh and we eat. Our annual potluck is not a big, special deal. Simply a bunch of adults sharing casseroles and stories at long tables in a recreation hall, delighted to watch our children run around or do crafts or hang out listening to the same iTune or YouTube video. We’re happy to be together.

I know I’m lucky to live in an area with an active adoption community. Believe me: It’s the main reason we can never move! If you’re reading this, and haven’t yet connected with a larger circle, I urge you to reach out. To do the research. To make the effort. To show up. To find your way there, somehow. ~





BBC report on Korean adoption

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

I admire adults like Jane Jeong Trenka, adopted from Korea, who have returned to Korea to try to change the laws stigmatizing single women who become mothers, and to lobby for adoption in-country. Her cause seems noble to me, and one that is to be supported.

However, cultural mores are slower to evolve, as shown in an article by the BBC. Here’s an excerpt:

“The problem is that adoption in Korea is taboo, so the gap left by the fall in foreign adoptions has not been filled by adoptive Korean parents. Those who do adopt sometimes do it in secret.

When Choi Hyunjin was adopted, her new, adoptive parents kept it secret even from their own close relatives.

The couple sit on their sofa in a high-rise apartment near Seoul and say with one voice: “We didn’t even dare tell our own parents because we knew they would disapprove. They would only say ‘Why are you bringing up other people’s children’?”
The taboo arises because the importance of blood-lines in Korea is ancient and deep-rooted. Korean Confucianism places great emphasis on ancestors…This means that orphans – who cannot explain their familial past – have a hard time of it.”

Find the article here: Taking on South Korea’s adoption taboo


NY Times article on Korean adoptees returning to Korea

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Maggie Jones is the adoptive mother to one child born in Guatemala and another born in the US to mixed-race parents. She writes often and well on adoption issues. In this article in the NY Times, Why a Generation of Adoptees is Returning to Korea, Jones reports on the wave of adults born in Korea and adopted to the US and other countries, who have moved back to Korea.

I think it will be interesting to see how our Guatemalan-born children continue to respond to adoption issues as they grow older. Many of us maintain contact with birth families, visit Guatemala, live in diverse areas, and count among our friends many adoptive families. Yet with all this, our children still must endure profound loss–that of their (birth) mothers. Will there be an exodus to Guatemala by our children? If my children wanted to move to Guatemala, I would encourage them. (That is, if I haven’t moved there first.) In the years we’ve been in contact, some members of our kids’ birth families have migrated to the US. Will the reverse also be true?

Here’s the link to the Times article. If for some reason it doesn’t work, Google “Maggie Jones Korean adoptees return to Korea New York Times” and you will find it.


Response to the Karen/Anyeli case

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Today I heard a fascinating radio interview on PRI about the Karen/Anyeli adoption case, which included comments by Erin Siegal McIntyre and the lawyer for the Missouri couple who adopted Karen/Anyeli, Jared Genser. The piece is titled “One girl’s controversial adoption, and what it says about Guatemala’s broken adoption system.” If you haven’t read McIntyre’s original article in Guernica, click on the link in the PRI story to do so. I also urge you to click on the link to Jared Genser’s comprehensive response to McIntyre’s article. Reading Genser’s complete response filled in some blanks, for me, about the saga.