Posts Tagged ‘Jessica O’Dwyer book tour’

Summer 2011 in Missouri

Friday, August 5th, 2011

My husband often teases me that wherever I am is the next place I want to move. Right now, that place is Missouri. We’ve been here for the past week, first for a family reunion of Tim’s family in St.Louis, and now at Lake of the Ozarks for the fifth annual gathering of MOGUATE.

Yes, it’s hot. To put the heat in perspective, 95 degrees feels cool, as long as the humidity is less than 95 percent. But the landscape is beautiful, the people are nice, and the food is outstanding. I hadn’t realized you can fry anything, even ravioli. Now I know you can. We’ve been eating BBQ, brisket, broasted chicken, biscuits, green beans, and corn on the cob. I feel like I’m back in my grandmother’s kitchen in Virginia, where my family spent summers when I was a child.

Here are a few photos, of cousins at the family reunion, the St. Louis Zoo, and the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Illinois. More pictures to come, as soon as I can find my camera.


Good news for Guatemala900 Family; open birth certificate editorial; my reading in Santa Rosa

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

At last! A happy ending for one of the waiting families of the Guatemala900. After four long years, Kinsey Reyher joined her adoptive parents, Brittney and Danny Reyher, and brothers, Kainen and Gabriel, in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Brazil Times reported on May 31, 2011.

Brittney and Danny, along with some family members when they had time, made 14 trips to visit with Kinsey, appeared for two court hearings, struggled through a change in lawyers and went through eight different agency coordinators to try and finish the adoption process.

“There was delay after delay… So many people were out there praying for us. And we could feel the prayers. This process brought our whole family closer together.”

On June 17, 2009, Brittney and Danny and the other 402 waiting families waiting for their children to come home, along with their supporters, marched on Washington to bring about public awareness to the Guatemala 900.


While the Reyher family enjoys their lives together, Brittney and Danny stay in touch with the families still waiting for their children to come home from Guatemala.

“I would like people to know about the remaining 300 cases that are still in limbo in Guatemala,” Brittney said, adding there are at least two other families from Indiana who are waiting for their child to come home from Guatemala. “One family is from Farmersburg and the other Greencastle. We are all friends and a huge support to one another. Even though our adoption is complete, we won’t feel complete until all the children are with their forever families.”

May this be one of many cases soon to be resolved.

In another must-read article, my good friend and fellow adoptive mom Laura-Lynne Powell argues that open birth records benefit everyone–from mothers who place their children for adoption to children who deserve to see evidence of their biological roots. ”Adoptees shut out from birth records” was published in the Viewpoints section of The Sacramento Bee on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Here’s a short excerpt:

My own school-age sons were adopted in open adoptions and we continue to enjoy loving relationships with members of their first families. We visit and exchange gifts and letters. We’re all Facebook friends.

But neither of my sons have a legal right to see their birth certificates. It doesn’t matter that we already know the details of their births. Because we live in California, they can’t see the documents. I can’t see them. The women who gave birth to them can’t see them.

So my question is this: If Barack Obama’s birth certificate is so important, then why aren’t the birth certificates of all Americans – including those who happen to have been adopted – important as well? Why can’t we get past this outdated prejudice?
Read more:

Finally, I’ll be reading from Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir at Copperfield’s Books Montgomery Village, this Sunday at 1 p.m. At the moment, this is my last scheduled reading in the Bay Area. Please stop by and say hello~

Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 1 p.m.
Copperfield’s Books Montgomery Village
2316 Montgomery Drive
Santa Rosa 95404


Happy MLK, Jr. Day; travel to Antigua; and the Mamalita book tour goes East.

Monday, January 17th, 2011

This morning Mateo said that if he lived “in the olden days,” he would have to go to a “little school with no playground.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Because my skin is dark,” Mateo said.

My son then wished me a Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I hugged him and wished him the same. Thank heavens for people like Dr. King and Rosa Parks, and the hundreds of heroes in our country’s history–known and unknown–who have stood up for what is right.

On an unrelated note, I found this article, “Top 10 Things to Do in Antigua, Guatemala” by Nancy Schretter – a list of “greatest hits” known to all who have visited there. But for anyone who hasn’t, the article presents a good overview of what to do in that beautifully restored colonial town, naming activities such as “See the Volcanoes,” “Explore the History,” “Drink the Coffee,” and “Shop for Handicrafts.” The article is geared toward cruise ship passengers disembarking in Guatemala, but presents info helpful to any first-time tourist. Read the article here.

We spent much of this past weekend in our garden, thatching the raspberry bushes and cleaning out the the tomato and strawberry beds. Getting muddy in the garden is one of my favorite activities–the kids run around while Tim and I work, and everyone is tired enough at the end of the day to eat a good dinner and sleep well.

Tomorrow, I leave for the East coast for three Mamalita readings. One in Durham, North Carolina; one at a friend’s home, with her book club; and finally, at the Borders Bookstore in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I’ll miss my family here, of course, but am looking forward to visiting with old friends and making new ones, all while discussing my favorite subject, adoption. On Sunday, I’ll be back in California to read with other contributors to the West Marin Review, at the Red Barn in Point Reyes National Park.

Here are the dates and times:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 7 p.m.
The Regulator Bookshop
720 Ninth St.
Durham, NC 27705

Friday, January 21, 2011 at 7 p.m.
Borders Books-Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Rosemont Shopping Center
1149 Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Sunday, January 23, 2011; 1:00-4:00 pm
West Marin Review Book Release Party
Red Barn, Point Reyes National Seashore
I will be reading an excerpt from Mamalita with other contributors to Volume III of the West Marin Review. (The Red Barn is at the entrance to the Point Reyes National Seashore Headquarters on Bear Valley Road. Look for the sign to parking for the Red Barn Classroom.)


Why I came to New Mexico

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I suppose it would be different if I lived in Ireland, but here in the U.S., I rarely meet anyone with the last name “O’Dwyer.” That’s why I was surprised and delighted yesterday when the couple sitting in the first row of my reading at Collected Works in Santa Fe announced their last name was “O’Dwyer,” too.

The Missus asked, “Do you get asked how to spell ‘apostrophe’?”

“All the time,” I said. How fabulous to commiserate over the disappearance of the apostrophe with two who understand.

Like me, they’re adoptive parents, to a grown son born in Ireland, although for years they’ve lived in L.A. Why they were in Santa Fe at the same moment I was, I don’t know, but somehow it made sense that we were in the same place at the same time, discussing adoption. Later, our meeting made me reflect—once again—how important blood relations are to all human beings, including our children who are adopted. How else to explain why we O’Dwyers were so excited to meet one another because somewhere down the line, way back, we might have shared a great-great-great grandmother? I am my children’s mother, but they have other mothers, as well.

The next time you’re in Santa Fe, please visit Collected Works. It’s everything you hope a bookstore would be: warm, friendly, cozy, and big, with plenty of shelf space to hold thousands of books. Co-owner Dorothy Massey and her daughter, Mary Wolf, were terrific to work with. And bookseller David Waag, who hails from Northern California, rides bikes, and has visited Guatemala, made sure the event ran without a hitch.

Yesterday’s reading including one of the most intense discussions of the book and adoption that I’ve had. This could be because every person in the audience had a direct connection to adoption, and had much to say about it. One of the most important comments came from a physician trained in Chile who practices medicine in New Mexico.  Someone asked whether U.S. citizens should be permitted to adopt children from Guatemala, and how Guatemalans felt about it. After I explained reactions varied, Dr. Herrera said that in Chile, families rarely, if ever, adopt non-blood-related children, and that the situation is probably the same in Guatemala. Statistics prove that it is. Research also proves that children are healthier when placed with permanent, loving families, wherever that family may be, than they are growing up in orphanages. My point is that if one considers the best interest of the child, international adoption makes sense.

I’m grateful to social worker and adoptive mom Nichoe Lichen, who helped spread the word of my reading to the adoption community. Nichoe is the current President of the Adoption and Foster Care Alliance of New Mexico and works to improve adoption laws in the State. Here is a photo of Nichoe, on the right, with Dr. Herrera and me.

Thanks to my dear friend, Bethany Nelson, for hosting me and taking photos. Our time together is a marvelous benefit of the visit. Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. I read at Bookworks in Albuquerque. Hope to see you there.


Beverly Public Library in Beverly, Mass.

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Last night, I got to read at the Beverly Public Library in Beverly, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful building, made with the kind of thick, heavy stones that are designed to last. Outside, the air was frigid, but in the meeting room downstairs, the ambience was cozy and warm. My sister, Deanna, her husband David, and their three girls were there, as were an adoptive mom with her son born in Guatemala, a woman who leads art tours and volunteers at Hermano Pedro in Antigua, and a mother to two girls from China. One couple was considering adoption and wanted to hear what I had to say. Others knew adoptive families. Some people had read the book and loved it. A handful were simply curious. Everyone was incredibly nice.

A local independent bookstore, The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, supplied copies of Mamalita, and my sister Deanna sold every one of them. Thanks, De! Thank you, too, to Anna Langstaff, Assistant Director of the Beverly Library, for setting up the lovely event, for posting it on the library website, and listing it in the local newspaper.

Hearing other people’s stories and thoughts about adoption has been a profound experience. I feel very privileged.


The “Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir” Book Tour

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I’ve added one more venue to the Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir book tour. This one is on the North Shore of Boston, at the Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex Street, Beverly, Massachusetts. The reading takes place on Thursday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m. Details about exact room location will follow. (Thank you, again, Deanna, little sister extraordinaire….) Still working on readings in Iowa City; Durham, North Carolina; and one in the Philadelphia area.

The Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir Book Tour:

Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 7 p.m.
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Book Launch! At Book Passage, Corte Madera.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7 p.m.
Upstart Crow Bookstore
Seaport Village
835C West Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92110

Reading and signing books in San Diego.

Friday, December 3, 2010 at 10 a.m.
Santee Branch Library
9225 Carlton Hills Boulevard
Santee, CA 92071

Reading and signing books in San Diego’s East County.

Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 6 p.m.
Writing Mamas Salon
Book Passage
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera, CA 94925

Reading and signing books at Book Passage with fellow Writing Mamas Cindy Bailey, Jennifer Gunter and Dawn Yun.

Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.
Beverly Public Library
32 Essex Street
Beverly, MA 01915

Reading and signing books on Boston’s North Shore.

Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 6 p.m.
Borders Bookstore-Back Bay-Boston
511 Boylston Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116

Reading and signing books in Boston.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at 7 p.m.
4022 Rio Grande Boulevard NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107

Reading and signing books in Albuquerque.

Hope to see you at one of these venues soon!