March 29, 2009

GAFE 2009 - Sign up Now

Posted on behalf of GAFE

Guatemalan Adoptive Families Event also known as GAFE will be July 24-26, 2009 at the Sheraton Hotel in Parsippany, NJ. GAFE is a gathering of families who have adopted children from Guatemala. The gathering provides an opportunity for families formed through adoption from Guatemala to celebrate the culture and history of Guatemala. The gathering also provides a time for families to hear from speakers who are working in Guatemala with a variety of organizations and from speakers who work with adoptive families.

This year there is an exciting group of speakers planned for the event. All ages will have exciting programing and there will be many opportunities for crafts and hands on activities.

GAFE is excited that Arlette N. Braman Author of The Maya: Activities and Crafts from a Mysterious Land (Secrets of Ancient Cultures) will be teaching workshops on Mayan Math, Mayan Glyphs and how to make Warrior Shields. The Ultimate Pet Detective will come and share some wild animals with the children.

Teens will have special activities planned for them and the adults will be able to hear from a variety of speakers about Contact with First Families, Incorporating Birth Culture into Family Life, discussing adoption and discussing confronting racism. GAFE will also have speakers from Grupo Cajola, Common Hope, Hands of Hope, Mayan Families, The Rio Negro Memorial Textile, Guatemalan Student Support Group, Pueblo a Pueblo and

Look at the website at and see if this would be of interest to you and your family. Registration is occurring at the present time and hotel rooms can still be reserved at a special rate.

Posted by Kevin at March 29, 2009 02:38 PM

Sounds wonderful....wish it wasn't so far away from home!
Who from guatadopt has found the time to speak? I know its a way off, but is it possible that after the presentation a transcript or video could be added to this site for those of us who can't attend?

Posted by: Suzanne at March 20, 2009 04:19 PM

I will be conducting a session. Still working up a formal description but it will be something having to do with "what happened in Guatemala" and how we as parents can come to terms with all the allegations in our minds as well as in parenting our kids, who inevitably will know they were part of the system.

I'm just excited to be able to attend for the first time. I've wanted to since it started, but this was the first time it was viable.


Posted by: Kevin at March 20, 2009 08:10 PM

This event sounds very interesting, but does anyone know what age your children should be for you to bring them there? For example, our daughter is 2 and so we obviously could not bring her to sessions with speakers; there would have to be on-site child care available for us to attend such sessions. Are there activities that would be appropriate for children this age? If not, is this an annual event that we could attend in the future when our daughter is older? Just wondering; it's probably a long shot that we could go due to finances anyway, but I thought some other families might have similar questions.

Posted by: Gina at March 23, 2009 08:10 AM

Thanks for the info Kevin. We had a discussion about this very issue at our Guatemalan playgroup we attended last weekend. I hope you are able to post your presentation to this website so those of us that can't make it can hear it as well.

Posted by: Jo at March 23, 2009 12:08 PM

This is a wonderful event that we have attended since 2004. That year it was in our backyard (Cherry Hill NJ)They are doing this event every other year now. We brought our daughter in 2004 and she was just a year old then. We met some nice families. They had a play room set up with appropriate toys for kids her age. They have different things scheduled for children of all ages. I had my husband and mother with me so I was able to attend workshops. They have a wonderful marketplace set up as well. It is truly a great event. We now have attended 2004,2005,2007 and can't wait for 2009. It's just great to be part of this event.

Posted by: Shari at March 23, 2009 09:50 PM

Shari, our family lives in Cherry Hill,NJ. We have two boys ages 6 & 4 from Guatemala. Small world!

Posted by: Henry at March 24, 2009 10:18 AM

There will be activities for children of all ages. For younger children there will be a toddler room with age appropiate toys and therewill be crafts and activites for children olderthen 3 or 4. Lisa

Posted by: Lisa at March 26, 2009 11:53 AM

Hello all,
My husband and I are at the beginning of the process of adopting a child from Guatemala. Would there be any benefit in us coming to an event like this? Or is it really geared towards families with children already?

Posted by: Dionne Benjamin-Smith at March 27, 2009 07:18 PM


I believe it is geared towards those with kids.

But your comment troubles me. Right now, I don't think anyone can be at the early stages since there is no system in place to begin a new adoption. Please be careful that your not being taken for a ride by an unscrupulous agency or adoption service provider.


Posted by: Kevin at March 28, 2009 07:49 AM

Hi again Kevin,
Thanks very much for your concern. We haven't begun anything with anyone as yet, so when I say we are at the beginning, we have done nothing other than come to the decision to adopt from Guatemala and to research, research, research.

In another forum I mentioned that I spoke with the legal Counsel at the Embassy of Guatemala in Washington yesterday and he advised that the first step is to find a lawyer in Guatemala to work with. He said that although the inter-country adoptions are not open right now, he anticipates that it will be very shortly. He pointed me to the US Embassy in Guatemala website where they have a PDF of recommended attorneys who work in Guatemala. I have downloaded it but are about to look online to see if others have recommendations for lawyers they have used.

We're just trying to figure out what we are to do. I was reading some of your open letters and they informed me and also made me see how much you have been through in the adoption process. God bless your perseverance.

You have adopted from Guatemala. Do you know if the new process will be very different from what you went through? In this first step, do you have any recommendations for lawyers in Guatemala City? Or do you think we may be jumping the gun too soon?

We would appreciate your input. Thanks!

All the best,

Posted by: Dionne Benjamin-Smith at March 28, 2009 04:55 PM

Dionne, I agree with Kevin's last post. I was at the immigration office last week in Baltimore and on the phone with the USCIS in Buffalo , there is no possible way to get a child into the US right now from Guatemala. In the event that they reopen Guatemala, come and see the beautiful children, get info from parents about the process, the more knowledge about it the better.

Posted by: Jennifer at March 29, 2009 08:55 AM

Dionne, if you decide to join the forum, feel free to PM about the list of attnys, etc. I agree with Kevin and Jennifer, right now it is not possible to adopt yet. You may want to check with the CNA people, they are the best people to give you info on the Hague status in Guate...JMHO.

Posted by: Mariale at March 29, 2009 04:08 PM

"anticipates that it will be very shortly"- not according to the people in the USCIS, they informed me not for a long time. Just wanted to let you know what they said. I say start and hold the paperwork and see if you are set on the great kids from Guatemala!

Have you considered ASG for the attorney to contact down there, they are quite reputable and have a DC branch here in the US. They are said to be coming to the GAFE 2009.

Posted by: jennifer at March 30, 2009 06:08 PM

I am so sorry to have to agree with the several posters here who comment that adoptions from Guatemala won't open anytime soon. The CNA is underfunded, disorganized and spends most of their time making it impossible for orphanages to comply with new and ever-changing rules. Opening up inter-country adoptions isn't going to happen anytime soon. The CNA is, instead, yanking dozens and dozens of children of of wonderful children's homes and forcing them back into homes where they had previously, with court approval, been rescued from.

Posted by: Gregory at June 16, 2009 09:59 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?