Archive for May, 2015

The Foster Mother Lupe Garza

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

My essay, The Foster Mother Lupe Garza, is posted today on Brain, Child.

I’m thrilled!


Party for adoptive families

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Sunday we hosted our annual party for adoptive families with children born in Guatemala. Every year, in the throes of preparing for the thing–I won’t bore you with the details, but there are many–I vow “Never again!” Then Olivia tapes the Guatemalan flag to the front door and posts the sign she made that reads “WELCOME FRIENDS” and Tim and Mateo hang the balloons on the mailbox–light blue and white, the colors of Guate–and the first families arrive, bearing their side dishes and drinks, and embracing me with their heartfelt hugs.

The kids run inside–they know our house by now; this is our fourth or fifth year–and if they are in the 8-10 year old group, dash straight out the back and down the hill to the trampoline. If they are older–the 11 to 15 set–they hover for a few minutes and circle, before melding into their own pack, the Big Kids–where they hang in the private spot they’ve carved out, a side deck, until dinner is served. Young adults come, too–still willing to indulge me, the crazed hostess, with a smile and a hug–and I tell them how grateful I am to see them, that their presence is essential. “You are our role models,” I tell them. “You teach us. You pave the way.”

Tim grills dozens of hot dogs and hamburgers and quinoa burgers and chicken apple sausages. Parents greet old friends and make new ones, engaging in conversations long and animated. This is one party where everyone you meet shares a single profound experience. This is one party where everyone you meet “gets it,” everybody understands.

I love many things in this world, but one of the things I love best is my community formed through adoption. To our guests, I say: Thank you for making the drive to our house. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for doing your part to keep our community connected. I hope to see you again, same time, next year. xo~



Thursday, May 21st, 2015

I’m not sure how we’ll celebrate Olivia’s 15th birthday, two years away. But this Quinceanera dress by Guatemalan designer Ernesto Gonzalez of Casa de Modas Fazz is spectacular.

From Modern Quinceanera:

During his almost thirty years in the fashion industry, [Ernesto Gonzalaz] has dressed hundreds– if not thousands, of young girls looking for the Quinceañera dress that would commemorate their 15th birthday. “It’s quite the occasion,” he shared with me during an interview for, “They’re the protagonists of the event so it’s only fitting they wear a show-stopping dress.”

Gonzalez’s Quinceañera designs recently caught our eye after a friend of mine sent us a photo of one of his latest designs.

Unlike most Quinceañera gowns, which are made from chiffon, organza or tulle, the Casa De Modas Fazz dress that intrigued us was made from a traditional Guatemalan fabric that was provided by the family of 15-year-old Daniela Valdez Muralles.

Photo credit: Casa de Modas Fazz


Being complete

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Like me, my 10-year-old son Mateo is a fan of musicals, and Annie is one of his favorites. Yesterday Mateo said, “The ending of the movie Annie isn’t complete.”

“How so?” I asked, surprised. We hadn’t seen Annie lately, and were in Mateo’s room, making his bed.

“Because Annie didn’t meet her birth mother,” Mateo said. “The story isn’t complete unless she meets her birth mother.” He thought for a minute. “Or if the guy she ends up with, Daddy Warbucks, had been her real dad.  If she found out Daddy Warbucks was her real dad.” He looked out the window, pondering. “That could work.”

I smoothed the sheets on his bed and puffed up his pillow. “So meeting the birth parent completes the story?”

“For me it did,” Mateo said.

“Why is that?”

He stared at me with a “duh” expression. “Because now I know who she is.”

And he tumbled across the bed, conversation over.

Both Mateo and Olivia have met their birth mothers, which seems to be key to their feeling “complete.” I describe the experience as a circle being closed. My children know whose features they inherited, and from whom they get their special talents. They’ve felt their mothers’ arms around them. They understand that they are loved.

As Mateo sensed at 10 years old, their stories feel complete. ~






Dave Thomas Guide to Adoption

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

As you probably know, Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was adopted as an infant. During his adult life, Thomas advocated strongly for adoption, ultimately creating the Dave Thomas Foundation, which focuses exclusively on adoption through foster care.

When we started to research adoption in 2002, I knew very little about foster care adoption. In hindsight, I wish I had known more. Not that I want to change our family’s configuration–I don’t! But the information would have been helpful.

I’m sure at some point on this blog, I’ve posted about the Foundation’s Adoption Guide. An updated version is now available.

Here’s the link.


Annual Party for Adoptive Families

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

It’s May, the month of our (now) annual gathering of adoptive families with children born in Guatemala. I’ve sent invitations to everyone I know personally who lives within a driving radius, but if you’re reading this and live nearby, and I haven’t reached out, PM me and I’ll send you details. We welcome new families!

One of the reasons I love living in Northern California is that our children are not alone: We are part of a large, embracing community, all trying to do our best to keep our kids connected.

If you live in an area without an adoptive family community, be with us in spirit. An online community is better than no community at all! ~