Posts Tagged ‘transnational adoptive families’

Back from Guatemala

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

On the plane ride home from Guatemala, Mateo and I sat next to an American business school professor who has consulted on growing businesses in Guatemala for the past 30 years. It didn’t take long for “Professor M” to figure out that I was what he called a “do-gooder”—that is, someone who believes that my small efforts to help a country I love might actually yield a result. Then when Professor M learned I lived in San Francisco! Well, that sealed the deal. M could categorize me as a person with my head in the clouds, you know the type.

Nevertheless, over 30 years, Professor M has, like me, developed a great love for Guatemala. His affection was clear as he spoke about the good work by many in the Guatemalan business community—their efforts to create jobs and income streams, their support of young people in the middle class to become educated and move up the career ladder. At the same time, the professor voiced deep frustration. According to him, the political system is so corrupt that it discourages talented, honest people from getting involved. Violence runs rampant. Drug traffickers have destroyed communities. “They’re recruiting kids as young as your boy,” M said, pointing to six-year-old Mateo. We both shook our heads.

By the time we touched down in Houston, the professor and I realized we held opinions more alike than different. Guatemala had captivated each of us. In our own ways, we do what we can.

That’s why I’ve posted the photo above, taken during my most recent trip. The picture shows a woman named “Dona G,” standing in front of a house built by Common Hope, an organization headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, and based in Antigua, Guatemala. Contributions to Common Hope funded the house. Dona G earned it by putting in the required hours of sweat equity. Finally, Dona G and her family are living between walls that won’t collapse. During the torrential downpours of the rainy season, her new cement floor won’t turn to mud.

No one person can change the world. But in ways large and small, we can try to make our particular corner of it better.


Call for participants in study on transnational adoption

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Lisa “Charlie” de Morais Teixeira (adopted from Korea) and her adoptive mother, Karen Benally, are writing a book on adult transnational adoptees and their American parents. To date, the two women have collected close to 200 surveys regarding the transnational adoption experience from Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Germany, Columbia, and Mexico. In addition, they’ve set up interviews to collect oral histories.  

Lisa and Karen reached out to me because they would like to include information about families who have adopted from Guatemala, as well as other countries. If you’re an adoptive parent to a child who is now age 18 or older,  or if you are an adult over age 18 who joined your family through adoption, please ensure your voice is heard by participating in the study. Feel free to forward this request to any organizations or individuals who may be interested.  Thanks so much.

Research Study focusing on Adult Transnational Adoptees and their American Parents
Korean adoptee Lisa “Charlie” de Morais Teixeira and her adoptive mother Karen Benally are conducting research that explores the manner in which adult transnational adoptees (of all nationalities) and their American parents have negotiated the complex and often thorny issues related to adoptive, racial, and cultural identity. There are two parts to the study. The first consists of surveys of both adoptees and their parents. The surveys are currently available online at:  

   (Adoptee survey)

   (Parent survey)

 The second part involves in-depth interviews that focus on the adoptee-parent relationship and on the adoption experience as viewed both from the point of view of adoptees and adoptive parent(s). To the extent possible, the researchers hope to interview adoptee-parent “pairs,” but they are also talking with adoptees and/or parents whose corresponding “partner” is either unable or unwilling to participate. The interviews began in Hawaii in April; during the summer of 2011, the research team will be traveling to locations in the Midwest, Southeast, and East Coast to talk with additional adoptees and parents. Interviews throughout the U.S. will continue into 2012.

For further information or to follow the results of the study, visit the project website at To participate in the oral history portion of the research, contact one or both of the researchers at or