Posts Tagged ‘Cindy Swatek’

Moguate 2015

Sunday, August 9th, 2015

When we decided to adopt from Guatemala in 2002, I never imagined how profoundly adoption and the country of Guatemala would impact every facet of my family’s lives. Case in point: Two weeks ago, we flew home from Guatemala and drove to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri for the annual gathering of adoptive families with children born in Guatemala, known as MOGUATE. The name blends the abbreviation for Missouri, the home state of founder Cindy Swatek, and the shorthand version of the country we love.

This year was the ninth annual gathering, with more than 100 people attending. The format is casual, with lots of pool time and informal conversation about parenting, family, and travel to Guatemala. Special activities were planned for the teens, who traveled in a happy pack. This year, Dorothy Kilmer gave a fascinating final presentation on the traditions of Quinceanera (which included a crowning) and ALDEA board member Sonya Fultz spoke about the important work ALDEA does to deliver clean water to villages in Guatemala. All proceeds from the raffles and silent auction were donated to ALDEA–nearly $10,000.

My family attended MOGUATE the first time in 2011, when Susan Carter invited me to discuss our adoption story, Mamalita. We returned this year because our kids love being with other adoptive families. As I heard an older teen say, “It’s one place you don’t have to explain anything.” Maybe you can relate.

If you live anywhere near Missouri, check out MOGUATE’s FB page and website for next summer’s confab. And thank you to Cindy and Matt Swatek for creating a place of support for our adoption community. xo

Photo credit: Mark Acker


Dillon International’s Guatemala Heritage Weekend, and Antigua.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

This weekend, Mateo and I will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I’m speaking at Dillon International’s Guatemala Heritage Weekend. I’m honored because Dillon is one of the nation’s oldest, most established adoption agencies, whose stated mission is “providing the best lifetime of care for each homeless child we are privileged to serve.” Mateo is thrilled, too, because he will get to play with friends he met last summer at MOGUATE, a confab of families with children born in Guatemala which was founded by the amazing Cindy Swatek (below left), and held annually in  Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.

In fact, it was another mother from Moguate, Susan Carter (below, far right), who recommended me to the folks at Dillon. (Susan managed the mercardo at Moguate, where, I confess, I undoubtedly numbered among her best customers.) So, as you can see, the world of adoption from Guatemala is small, and every day, gets smaller.

Which I view as a great thing!

Example: In February, my sister, Patrice; Olivia, and I made our annual trek to Guatemala to visit with Olivia’s birth family and experience her beautiful birth country. We’ve done this for the past several years–read a few accounts here and here and here– and each year the trip has been special in its own unique way.

Unique about this trip is that for the first time ever, we met up with two other adoptive families, whom I had met in Boston during my Mamalita book tour. Sharing the experience with the other families–Carly, Christina, and their husbands and kids–made our usual wonderful experience even more so. The kids bonded instantly, and we grown-ups did, too.

I cherish my connections formed through adoption, not only to my children’s birth country and their birth mothers and siblings, but to other adoptive families, too. E.M. Forster once famously said, “Only connect.” If you’ve connected with me in any way through adoption, please know how grateful I am for your friendship. Wherever you live, I hope you’ve also found a community.

See you in Tulsa!~


Affording Adoption Foundation

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This past August, Tim, the kids, and I attended Moguate, a camp for adoptive families with children from Guatemala, in Lake Ozarks, Missouri, founded by one Cindy Swatek. I met Cindy through cyberspace: we’re both adoptive moms, and Cindy had sent me a nice note after reading my book, Mamalita. Later, she invited me to speak to the group at Moguate, which I did.

Everything about Moguate was wonderful—the other families, the resort, the mercado, the friendships among our children—but perhaps the most amazing element of all was Cindy Swatek herself. That woman is a powerhouse. Cindy possesses the same qualities as the rest of us—personality, energy, and a love of life—but to a power of ten. Make that a power of a thousand. After spending five minutes in a room with Cindy, I realized, “This woman can do absolutely anything she puts her mind to.” Cindy is a tornado and a hurricane, at the same time she is a blissful, cloudless, sunny day. And also very funny.

Last year, Cindy and her husband, Matt, started the Affording Adoption Foundation, to help families who may be deterred from adopting because of financial restraints. When I learned this, I actually wasn’t surprised, because Cindy is the kind of person who sees a need, and fills it. If a solution doesn’t exist, she’ll create one. Here’s a description of Cindy’s vision from the foundation website:

What is the Affording Adoption Foundation?

Millions of orphans. People yearning to bring a child into their home. Financial obstacles. Through fundraising efforts and donor support we help close the gap between families considering bringing a child into their home and the moment a child hears “Welcome Home!”

Making an Impact

As of August 2011, $9800 has been given to 6 different families to help bring home 11 children from all over the world!

Considering Adoption?

According to recent studies, more than 50% of Americans consider Adoption, but say that the financial burden prevents them from actually adopting a child. You might want to adopt, but the financial burden may seem insurmountable. That’s where we can help! Apply for one of our Adoption Grants and see how we can help you realize your dream of bringing a child into your family!
And here’s the “Why”:

My husband, Matthew and I have two kids who were adopted as infants from Guatemala and knew that our family was complete but still yearned to help other people either start or add to their families. That led to the beginning of the Affording Adoption Foundation in 2010.

It was one of the most exciting days of my life (besides my wedding day and the days that we found out about each of our kids, of course!) when I was able to call the recipients of our first Grants to tell them that they had been chosen to receive money to help fund their adoptions!!! In one day, I made two phone calls and gave away more than $5000 thanks to donors and supporters!! YAY! That has motivated us to work harder, raise more money and help more families!

During each application period, we will seek donors and have fundraisers to help fund the next Grants. We won’t know the exact amount of each grant, but will give away as much money as we bring in. We are constantly looking at new innovative ways to raise money because we want to help as many children find homes as possible!

Oh, and did I mention Cindy is also the president of her children’s school’s PTA? You can see a photo of her with her beautiful family, above. For more information about how to apply for an adoption grant or ways to contribute, visit the Affording Adoption Foundation website. No individual person can change the world, but Cindy is doing her best to affect one small part of it.