Archive for April, 2015

Culture Camp in Austin, TX

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

For friends in the Austin, Texas area. I’ve never attended Guatemalan Culture Camp there, but have heard good things. The dates are June 15-19, from 9 AM to 3 PM. I know nothing beyond this, but they asked folks to pass the word, and so I am. Here’s a link to their FB page, and an excerpt:

“We’ve got classes in marimba band, Rupert Reyes will once again have the drama class, the marvelous Jane Wells will lead our heritage art classes, we’ll have the meaningful Adoption Journey classes led by a LSW, and cooking/Guatemalan culture classes, as well as time for the littles to do a bit of running & playing, and the really littles have a rest time built in, too.

“We’re also looking for counselors- we prefer Guatemalan born, but are open to others, too. They should be at least college age. High school students are eligible to be volunteer Jr. counselors and earn volunteer hours. We love parent volunteers, too. All must pass police background check.

“Please pass the word.  June 15-19, Austin, TX. 9am-3pm.”


Some thoughts on adoption

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

I strive to view adoption from multiple perspectives and sometimes focus too hard on the negative. And by that I mean the loss experienced by my children, the inequality that exists in the world, the basic unfairness of life. These issues haunt me.

I sometimes discuss adoption with a long-time friend, an adult who is adopted, and she sometimes ends our conversations with, “You need to get over your liberal guilt.” If you’re reading this blog, you probably understand what she means by this statement.

Recently I read this Huffington Post essay by adoptee, Madeleine Melcher, and while my first reaction was to think, “Too positive!,” I later reflected that the perspective of Madeleine Melcher is as valid as the perspective of anyone else. Madeleine Melcher also deserves to be listened to. This one line especially spoke to me: “Parents: There is no voice on or about adoption that is more important than YOUR ADOPTEE’S.”

And I took that to mean: I need to listen more to my own my children and their experience of adoption–and a little less to other, louder voices that sometimes drown my children’s voices out.

Today, to myself, I say: Yes, remain aware of adoption’s complexity. Yes, keep my eyes open. But don’t allow the negative things that I know and I’ve seen, prevent me from embracing the good stuff that’s right in front of me.


“About” 14 adoption cases pending

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Intercountry adoptions by US citizens are down to the lowest level since 1982, to 6,441 total, reports the Associated Press. No real news there. But here’s an update on the cases still pending in Guatemala: “[Trish Maskew of the State Department] said Guatemalan and U.S. officials were trying to complete the last batch of adoption cases — about 14 — that were pending when adoptions from Guatemala were suspended in 2007….Maskew said it was unclear when Guatemala would be ready to start processing new foreign adoption cases.” An excerpt:

The department’s report for the 2014 fiscal year shows 6,441 adoptions from abroad, down from 7,094 in 2013 and about 74 percent below the high of 22,884 in 2004. The number has fallen every year since then — a trend that has dismayed many adoption advocates in the U.S.

Trish Maskew, chief of the State Department’s Adoption Division, said it was difficult to predict when the number of foreign adoptions might start to rise again after so many years of decline.

“We’re trying to identify places where there’s potential, and work with them to see if we can improve the process,” Maskew said. “It would be great to be as powerful as some people think we are.”

As usual, China accounted for the most children adopted in the U.S., but its total of 2,040 was down more than 10 percent from 2013 and far below the peak of 7,903 in 2005. Since then, China has expanded its domestic adoption program and sought to curtail the rate of child abandonment.

Ethiopia was second at 716, a sharp drop over a two-year period from 1,568 adoptions in 2012. Ethiopian authorities have been trying to place more abandoned children with relatives or foster families, and have intensified scrutiny of orphanages to ensure that children placed for adoption are not part of any improper scheme.

The next three countries on the list showed increases — 521 children adopted from Ukraine, up from 438 in 2013; 464 adopted from Haiti, up from 388; and 370 from South Korea, up from 138.

Russia had been No. 3 on the list in 2012, with 748 of its children adopted by Americans, but that number dropped to 250 for 2013 and to just two in 2014 as an adoption ban imposed by Russia took effect. The ban served as retaliation for a U.S. law targeting alleged Russian human-rights violators.

The last time there were fewer foreign adoptions to the U.S. overall was in 1982, when, according to U.S. immigration figures, there were 5,749 adoptions from abroad.