November 30, 2009

Attn Ann Arbor Residents

Proof that I don't let my hatred of Ann Arbor football impact my role at Guatadopt.com...

Folks who live in or around Ann Arbor, there's a cool new group starting up that can give you a connection to Guatemala and way to help folks out there. So click on more for more info....

Ann Arbor Friends of Guatemala Premier Event
This will be our first meeting! We will have a short talk about the goals of Ann Arbor Friends of Guatemala followed by a short presentation and discussion by John Barrie of The Appropriate Technology Collaborative, a nonprofit located in Guatemala, and then the main event:

“The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy: Transforming Guatemala Through Education”

A talk by Steve Mullaney
After being exiled twice during the 36-year Guatemalan Civil War, Jorge Chojolan returned to his country in order to repair the damages. In 1994 he started an elementary school that would get poor children into classes instead of working on the streets. Since that time he has added a middle school and high school, built a three story building and is opening a community clinic and a community library as part of the school. Focusing on leadership development and problem solving, the Asturias Academy uses a curriculum inspired by popular education and the philosophy of Paulo Freire. Come meet Steve Mullaney, the director of development, who will talk about this groundbreaking school and opportunities to engage and make a difference in the lives of Guatemalan children.

The Asturias Academy is located in Xela (Quetzaltenango), Guatemala’s second largest city.

This event will provide plenty of time for questions and answers. Please request childcare ahead of the event if you would like us to provide it.

Please contact john(at)apptechdesign.org with questions.

More on this event will be posted at:

http://a2guatemala.blogspot.com/

Posted by Kevin at 09:34 PM

April 23, 2009

Congressional Meeting Monday - Transition Cases

Posted at the request of numerous transition PAPs:

Representatives from the Department of State and UCCIS will be providing a briefing to Congressional Offices on Monday, April 27. The briefing will be in Russell SOB Room 428A(Small Business Committee Room) from 11am-12:30pm. Subjects to be discussed include updates on Hague implementation and individual countries (specifically Nepal, Guatemala, Vietnam, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia & Liberia).

For more information they can call Rebecca Weichhand, CCAI Director of Policy at
202.544.8500

Click more for a CALL TO ACTION from transition PAPs on how to help

OUR GOAL:
1) Get all our members of Congress, Senators and Representatives, to the briefing. It isn’t that hard to do. We have a rep in govt office to serve our needs. Call their offices in DC.

2) Of course your rep should know your personal story. BUT we as a group and any family or friends who will help put the calls into your reps should be saying that we, the families needing to go thru CNA as transition cases (assuming all are abandonments now) are in need of help from the US government and the Hague.

3) The CNA is overburdened and understaffed, causing the children stuck in this transition to linger. The law was passed in Guatemala with US and Hague backing. The US and Hague need to step up and help the Guatemalan authorities to get through this and allow these children to join permanent families.

5) The US needs to have a point person or team in country to ensure these cases complete quickly. DOS need to assign a task force to do so. (This was done in Cambodia!)

Posted by Kevin at 07:11 AM

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 Guatadopt.com.

Look at the website at http://www.gafe-network.org 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 02:38 PM

October 25, 2007

Raids, Legal Guardianship and Perspective

Opinion/Commentary....
Tuesday, we received quite a number of angry emails from current and past CQ parents regarding 2 CQ children currently staying at Amor del Nino. Kevin and I know that CQ parents have been through the ringer as have the CQ staff. So, I understand the immediate outrage prompted by the statements circulating (and is summarized below). But what is missing is legal and cultural perspective. I'm going to talk about this particular case...but I think this has a wide range of implications to ANY adoption which has been the subject to investigations, raids or increased scrutiny. It is certainly not meant to push sides as much as it is to offer the other side of stories when we can...

What CQ parents heard (CQ's side of the story): I'll try to summarize as best I can.
Tuesday, L & M were supposed to get their hearing aids. This had been worked on for months by CQ with Centro de EStudios Neurosensoriales. CQ talked to the judge last Friday for her permission to go to Antigua with Linda for a few hours.
The director and husband of Amor del Nino "refused" to receive the judge's order. When they "finally" did, Shyrel wanted to take them and Linda said something to the effect of "No, I have to represent them". Then suddenly the girls were sick and they were not allowed to go to Antigua. Both the court judge and Sandra talked with Shryel and she maintained that the children were sick and should not be traveling around. Sandra was upset and felt that they were being "blocked" and raised the point that Amor del Nino had decided to go for legal advice with Casa Alianza....clearly, not historically an adoption friendly organization. The story was then elevated by CQ as "Amor del Nino violating the rights of the two girls".
Whew...

Perspective of Amor del Nino
From a statement made by Amor del Nino, they were asked to take in some of the children from CQ while the adoptions were investigated. They did not request this role nor do they will they have any financial gain (adoption or otherwise) in accepting these children. Most of their funding is through donations. They were assigned legal guardianship of these children. Despite whether the actions were considered justified by CQ or the CQ families, Amor del Nino has the legal responsibility for these children while they are in their home. What exactly does that mean? Well, its a little more serious than a child staying at a daycare and mom/dad picking them up early for a doctor's appointment. But I am going to use it as an example here because a good daycare must follow certain protocol before allowing a child to leave their care. If I authorize my mother to pick up my child from after-school, I have to fill out paperwork to allow her that access. Her driver's license will be checked before she is allowed to even see my daughter. Ironically, a child care professional who takes their job seriously can be perceived at a barrier to a parent making arrangements for their children (justifiably).

According to Shyrel, the order was delivered on Monday. But it was signed on Thursday the same day that Shyrel and Steve met with the judge but had not mentioned this. The arrangements were supposedly made on Friday when the courts were closed. The young men delivering the order Monday drove up in a souped up sports car raised some concerns about whether the order was legitimate. It was accepted when the Judge called Shyrel and confirmed that she had issued it. Keep in mind that there are numerous kidnappings in Guatemala so its no wonder that the order was not immediately accepted. Would you allow a child to leave your care with just anyone? Would you question a court order that did not contain the original signature and you had no prior notification as the LEGAL guardian of the children. I would probably be much more of a pain in the a$% !! It IS appropriate that the legal guardian or a representative from the orphanage goes with them to any appointments when the children need to leave the orphanage (after all they are responsible for these children).

The pediatrician had seen the girls Monday and had prescribed antibiotics. According to Shyrel, CQ was notified of this on Monday night. It has been very damp and rainy in Guatemala and children tend to get sick. Shyrel asked if it could be re-scheduled and was told "NO, that it was impossible". The judge on the other hand, accepted that the children were sick. The fitting of hearing aids is not an urgent matter and is not typically done with upper respiratory infections, as I understand. I would not classify this the same as a rare heat condition that requires immediate medical attention. In fact, the children already HAVE their hearing aids through the same organization (CEDAF). The conditions of the children on the appointment day are DOCUMENTED by the pediatrician and Guatadopt confirmed this and that they have their hearing aids.

As for the function of Casa Alianza, Amor del Nino confirmed that they sought counsel on how to make sure that they adequately represent the children. They maintain that they support the adoptions of the children in their care once the cases have been properly investigated. Shyrel stated that she felt that the legal implications were beyond their scope and sought assistance. Obviously, that does not appear as the most adoption friendly route. But I agree….if I was in the same position, I would most definitely seek counsel….but not from Casa Alianza.

Why I posted this...and my commentary.
It is often difficult to emotionally detach what is a personal affront. The CQ raid, in my opinion, was simply political to make a statement. But without following through and proving these cases are legitimate, it is a disservice to the adoptive parents (who would like to have reassurance that their adoptions are legal) It is also a disservice to CQ who would like to have their name cleared...AND it is also a disservice to the Government of Guatemala who would like to show that they are capable of due process. Cutting corners because someone has been wronged is not going to solve or absolve anyone. That is excrutiatingly hard to accept, when it is most likely going to delay the children's homecoming. In the meantime, these children deserve the best CONSISTENT care and need not be shuffled back and forth without consideration to their ACTUAL need.

It is expected that there will be some butting of heads and some accusations that exagerate the situation. Emotions are very high and certainly, CQ has the right to be frustrated that these children are in other homes if there was no basis for the raid.

Perspective is not always based on belief systems, but on what side of the equation you find yourself. But for balance, it seems prudent to understand as much as we can about ALL sides of the equation.

(Note: We are sorry to not have the Spanish characters in "Nino" but it was not displaying correctly on the page.)

Posted by Kelly at 02:20 PM

October 19, 2007

Guatadopt thoughts on the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference

Right before we left the conference, Kevin and I sat and tried to decide how to write up our thoughts on the conference. At the time, it seemed simple enough to say "Let's just write our own perspectives on it". The point was to get our review on the site quickly….laughable, considering Kevin would be on a business trip the very next day and I would be trying to get the calendar pre-order page working. But alas we have them pretty much ready to go...

From Kelly:

Before I even boarded my plane back to Atlanta, I knew there was a lot that I wanted to talk about. Technically, I guess this could be filed under our respective rant and opinion columns….but considering the current state of affairs, it seems appropriate to file these summaries on the NEWS page.

GENERAL THOUGHTS on the Conference
While I know that many readers would rather jump on down to the review of the Future of Guatemalan Adoptions Forum with UNICEF on the panel, I felt it was important to start with general impressions of the conference. Some things relate to where we stand today with Guatemala adoptions and others do not.

First, I want to thank the organizers for sticking their necks out in so many ways during this conference. It was apparent (and appreciated) that they cared about our conference experience. Linh Song, Executive Director of Ethica, Inc. spent much of her time “working the floor” as did Trish Maskew, President of Ethica. With the diverse range of views, it was a challenge for them to make sure everyone had a chance to express their opinions. I think that they did an awesome job of setting a respectful tone to the conference.

OK….so, lets get to the nitty gritty. As expected, the general tone was rather negative since most who attended this conference have seen the dark side of adoptions and want reform. Along with this, was the typical splintering of perspectives caused a strange tension between the adult adoptees/birth mothers who felt victimized by their adoptions AND the adoptive parents, agencies, etc, who were focused on adoption practices rather than what leads to the need for adoption. Each group, I am sure, would have liked the issues to focus more on their concerns. I was offended by several statements that just rubbed me as being “anti-adoptive parent”….but I decided that I needed time to absorb and analyze. In many ways, it is a shame that parents and children who have good experiences don’t typically feel the need to attend such conferences (I am sure Kevin and I were in the minority as far as our experiences go!). It would be nice to have more “yardsticks” to which one can say “Cool, this obviously, worked well”. Instead, there was a lot of idealistic suggestions and no bridge to get there. I would summarize several major flaws in the collective thinking such as
1. The assumption of infinite resources to fund social programs or ideas.
2. The blanket “one size fits all” approach.
3. Contradictions in philosophy – birth mother rights vs. a system deciding what is best for the birth mother.
4. Sacrificing the best interest of the child in the name of deterring bad adoption practices.
5. Blurring the concept of coercion (human vs. economic)?
6. The assumption that the biological or cultural ties should always trump adoptive ties.
If we were all exactly like “XYZ” would there really be a need for any discussion? IMO, NO. Could anyone really believe that universal laws are appropriate for all situations and all cultures? I certainly don’t. All in all, it was not a “working” conference as I would *like* to define one…ie: having written plans on tackling these issues and coming up with viable ways to implement them. But in retrospect, Kevin and I learned a lot and our minds were spinning with ideas for Guatemala.

I think the most valuable part of the conference were the meetings and discussions between scheduled events. We had the opportunity to meet with a variety of individuals and discuss the issues as WE perceive them. It was encouraging that we were sought out for our ideas, concerns and participation in these ‘private’ discussions. We felt a huge responsibility in our representing our readers and ourselves.

I’ll tackle the UNICEF forum separately or in pieces (as I am sure that Kevin will have more to say on the subject as well). All in all, we felt that the conference was extremely valuable and some constructive lines of communication were opened. Lets hope we don’t close them up to quickly after they read our criticisms (smirk).

From Kevin:

The Ethics Conference

Overall
First off, I think Ethica and the Evan B Donaldson Institute did a great job with the conference. By that I mean that they did their best to pick relevant topics for discussion, they tried to get relevant speakers, and they went out of their way to give equal attention and respect to people of all viewpoints. That wasn’t easy as let me tell you, opinions and positions are very strong in the greater adoptive community.

While there were many in attendance I’d describe as activists and advocates, Guatadopt.com included, mostly it was academics, social workers, and agencies. So in the end, it was a lot of discussion, good discussion, that serves primarily to create frameworks of thought, study and analysis more than it does to enact real change. I don’t mean for that to sound bad, I enjoy intellectual stimulation. The conference was about what I expected it to be and well organized. But if anyone went in expecting to change the world, they’d have been disappointed.

It was a good mix of people whose primary concerns lie in many areas – domestic and ICA. And one thing is clear – there are huge needs for children and there are very, very complex issues for which many haven’t a clear answer. One simple example that comes to mind is this. We all know about the laws that allow a mother to leave a child at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked. This makes sense. We’ve all read the stories about people who hid pregnancies, gave birth, and left the child in a dumpster to die. Shouldn’t she have a better option? But what does allowing that do to the rights of that child to know his/her identity at birth?

In any case, as I started with, it was an interesting experience and did prove educational.

Now for what I know everyone is wondering about…

The Guatemala Adoption Session

In attendance were representatives from Unicef Guatemala, Tom DiFilipo from JCICS, and Elizabeth Larsen, a journalist and mother of a child from Guatemala. Each member of the panel had a few minutes up front before it turned to questions from attendees.

Elizabeth Larsen – upfront, I think she’s a wonderful person. I met Elizabeth when she interviewed me months ago for an article in the current issue of Mother Jones Magazine. Elizabeth spoke from the heart. She told a story about how after reading the Families Without Borders report she made her son not do the Unicef trick or treat campaign for school. But then she also came to see the good that Unicef did in areas like immunizations and clean water and wondered if by not collecting, would those programs be impacted (note to readers or thought on this - why not raise funds for another organization to keep the spirit and good happening…).

I know Elizabeth was nervous and a bit uncomfortable with being on the panel, and I applaud her for her contribution and honesty, whether or not I agree with it all. Elizabeth was lucky to largely be saved from the Q&A, but she was a balancing voice.

Unicef – the real courageous ones for doing this… I’m not sure what I can say other than that they were what I would have expected. The folks were very nice, hospitable, and well spoken. They spoke on human rights, the merits of their organization and problems in Guatemalan adoptions. But there wasn’t anything more than official positions and common jargon. Upsettingly, they would not directly answer question, choosing instead to do what I can best compare to politician press conferences where whatever the question, after one or two sentences they roll into whatever it is they want to continually say.

I was given the honor of asking the first question, on behalf of Focus on Adoption. My question was about how they can support cookie cutter legislation that has failed in other countries. Is the cart leading the horse to enact this type of reform with no structure or social services in place? Well I asked it in a much more complex manner (CD is in my car so I can’t get the exact words), but that was the general idea. Unfortunately, it wasn’t answered. Instead I heard about they really do need more data on what has happened in Honduras and El Salvador, about how Guatemala needs to be Hague compliant, about how Ortega was passed in an old form and now needs to go through amendments (thanks for that newsflash Manuel!). You get the idea.

Unicef in one breath talks about how they don’t legislate but then shows how intimately involved they are in assisting the Guatemala Congress. They want to admit they support these laws but then have no responsibility for what happens with them. Which was pointed out by Tom DiFilipo very we’ll, but we’ll get to him in a moment.

Unicef denies any payments or huge sums of cash for ending adoptions. They claim their annual budget is $5 million, only $60K of which is spent on adoption related activity. But here’s what I wonder and didn’t think of until afterward. That may be Unicef Guatemala’s budget, but what about Unicef HQ? Do they have money to play with?

Unicef also claimed that President Berger never said that in process cases wouldn’t be completed after Jan 1. So, was DOS lying? Or is it a careful choice of words because technically, Berger wasn’t saying that? But if he was saying that all cases as of Jan 1 will need to be Hague compliant and since the US hasn’t yet ratified, no adoptions can be completed. Once again you get the idea – listen close to what they say because sometimes you don’t need to lie to not really tell the truth. In any case, don’t read anything into that statement as it relates to the grandfathering situation. Just read it to see how words can be used. I thank Noam Chomsky for what his work has shown me about linguistics…

But that was really Unicef at this thing. Not directly answering, staying on message, not making you feel any different about them, and worst of all not saying anything to really piss me off and get me fired up! Not because it doesn’t fire me up, but because there was nothing new and they seemed like decent people. The lady on the panel was very nice and just what I’d call a real person. Manuel, the head of Unicef Guatemala, comes across more like a polished politician, but was not arrogant or anything like that. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t change my opinion of the organization. Unfortunately, people don’t always agree and in this case, children are negatively impacted because one side has the prevailing power and influence. Well that’s not fair because in the case of Guatemala, our own DOS’s hands are far from clean.

Another side note: thanks to David K for pointing out DOS’s absence. Actually, DOS was there and was invited to participate. And they intended to. But sad as it seems, it appears as though “higher ups” wouldn’t allow them to do so since it would be on the record. Hmmm. Government of the people, by the people, for the people. How many times did I hear about transparency at this conference? How about some transparency from the folks who represent me and whose salaries are paid with my tax dollars! I’m not asking for top-secret info, just honest info on what they are doing, where they stand, etc.

One last Unicef thought. At one point Manuel stated that we should all be demanding that the Guatemalan attorneys declare their incomes to show that all the money going into adoptions was not supporting a private form of social services. That’s all good and fine but Manuel – how much do you get paid there buddy? Do you do all your fine work for free?

Tom DiFilipo, President of JCICS – I have often been quite critical of JCICS and I still can’t say that I love the organization, but Tom did an excellent job on this panel. He spoke very well about what I will call “our concerns” with good force and energy. There was a lot of back and forth between him and Manuel from Unicef and Tom did not let down his guard. His arguments were fairly straightforward and showed a good amount of frustration over where we find ourselves today in regard to Guatemalan adoptions. Tom was not afraid to go after Unicef’s policies and did so in a voracious but polite fashion.

One great point Tom made, in addition to the one I mentioned earlier, was about the numbers of children adopted. Unicef mentioned figures of 400,000 children born annually. They also mentioned 15% living in extreme poverty. So Tom did the math – that makes 60,000 children born annually into extreme poverty. Does 5,000 (one in twelve) seem unreasonable for adoption? Unicef of course pointed out its bullsh*t that poverty can not be a reason for relinquishment (okay, credit for that b.s. also goes to the Hague). But we all know the reality that extreme poverty is why many mothers are unable to care for their child and choose to relinquish.

On the other end was one question from the audience that Tom could not answer – where does all the foreign fee money go? Tom’s answer was honest that we don’t know that and that the one part of the system we don’t have good transparency with is how the children enter the Guatemalan system. This is a real problem with the current system but it is worth noting that no one in the audience was there to say the system does not need reform.

Other thoughts on the Guatemalan Session:
There were many great questions asked but nothing groundbreaking came from them. We left the room in the same boat as we entered it. Guatemala has passed the Ortega Law like it or not. Changes will need to be made and Guatemala needs to improve its social services. So back to my question to them that started the Q&A, I’d say I left thinking “yes, the cart is definitively leading the horse and no matter what Unicef wants to say, no matter how they try to pretty up their actions and positions, they are largely responsible for what ends up happening to innocent children in Guatemala after this goes into effect”.

After the session ended we went to speak one on one with the Unicef folks. They said they have an open door policy and so Kelly and I were willing to take advantage of it. Admittedly, I was very disappointed by what we got from Manuel. He tried to tell us what we need to do, going so far as to say that we should research and post on our site how many birthmoms only relinquished due to money. That was ludicrous and insulting which I inferred to him. He claimed they had no figures on what has happened in El Salvador and Honduras, suggesting that maybe adoptions are still happening, just not to the US. That was total b.s. Nonetheless, I don’t want it to seem as though he was arrogant or anything like that. It was all quite nice. The other representative was a little more open. I told her that I had officially challenged them a number of times to a formal debate. She said she knew someone in Guatemala that would be perfect for that so we’ll see what happens. But once again, I have to admit that this lady was quite nice and as much as I hate to admit it, seemed like someone I could be friends with outside of the differences in our views on ICA.

Other musings from the conference:

Aaaah yes, the person who was there from Unicef HQ. Unlike the Unicef Guatemala folks who I have some nice things to say about, this lady, Alexandra Yusta, was a fricking moron and the complete personification of what we mean when we claim that they need to get out of their ivory towers. In one of the initial sessions, she was asked a question about how you can push restrictive systems that limit a woman’s right to choose what she wants for her child when there are no social systems in place to help her. This Unicef dope had the audacity to reply, and this a direct quote, “there are no such countries”. In one of the breakout sessions, she repeated the garbage about how it is bad to supply prenatal and post-natal care for women who plan to relinquish because then it is an incentive to do so versus them doing a doing a domestic relinquishment. Excuse me, but how about you guys do something to provide pre and post natal care to ALL women to remove that inequity! How in the world can this huge organization that purports to help children suggest that any woman not receive available care that can help ensure a healthy child be born. Crazy!!!!

I learned a lot about other issues in the world of adoption. There were birthmothers and adoptees who have some real issues with how things work. I realized that we all need to be prepared for what our children may feel or face as they grow older. I call upon all of us to think about these things and be prepared. Our children may mostly be too young right now to have the feelings of loss, questions about their origin, etc. But the day will come when those things become very real and we have to be there for them, equipped to help them through it. I also learned a lot about problems in our domestic system.

Representing!!

So far as you, the majority of our readers, are concerned, the best value of the conference was all of the meetings/sit downs we had outside of the actual conference. Guatadopt was there on your behalf. We met with representatives of the Guatemalan government, CIS, academics advising the country, and of course Unicef to some degree. Please understand that we can not publicly state exactly what we discussed as that would breach confidences. But I will say that Guatadopt’s “agenda” is of course to do all we can to have adoptions continue to be an option for children in Guatemala in need of permanency. We advocated for ethical, pragmatic processes. And to any you out there reading this who have something to hide, we advocated for rigorous prosecution of those who behave in unethical and illegal manners, jeopardizing children and mothers. I sincerely hope that these powers-that-be will continue to realize the value of our experience, knowledge and dedication to ethical adoption so that Guatemala does not become piece of adoption history.

The ego bit

I’ll end this piece with one last thought that admittedly shows some ego but also gives kudos to those in attendance, especially Linh Song of Ethica. We know that folks had some concerns about us. They thought there was the potential for us to be disruptive. Despite this, Kelly and I were treated very well and truly felt like our voices counted. And of course, we remained on our best behavior (okay, realistically Kelly is more level headed than I so maybe it’s that I remained on my best behavior).

One fascinating bit that we kind of already knew but confirmed. You should all know that EVERYONE reads the site. By that I mean Unicef, the US government, the Guatemalan government, academics, etc. Don’t let that scare you as it is a good thing! And please readers, understand that no one is going to signal out your case for posting on this site. Because of your support Guatadopt has become not only a popular blog, but also a voice that is heard and is considered a representative for the community of parents involved with adoptions from Guatemala. That is a role Kelly and I take very seriously. We can’t claim to speak for everyone. But we do promise to push for an adoption system that keeps options open for children and operates ethically.

Last thoughts
Wow, what an experience. For someone whose income is in no way related to adoption, I was exposed to many things I had never thought of. I walked away definitively feeling like I had accomplished some things, though only the future shall show the fruits of this.

It was really wonderful to meet so many people who I knew only through the internet prior to this event. Special thanks to Lee, Kevin, Sandy and Susan because without y’all we wouldn’t have been able to make it.

I left the conference not feeling a ton better about what the future holds for intercountry adoption. While there are certainly offers of “open doors”, discussions of things like concurrent planning, and other positive signs, it still seems to me that there is a major gap in how we view the rights of the child. I think the world community, adoption service providers, social service providers, NGOs, and academia need to take a long look at what the CRC and Hague have become and figure out how to make them more effective in achieving the goals for which they were intended.


Posted by Kelly at 01:19 PM

June 09, 2007

GAFE Event

{Posted on Behalf of GAFE}

Time is running out...register for GAFE Family Event NOW!

Time is running out so you need to register ASAP for the fourth GAFE Family event being held the weekend of August 3rd 2007 at the Sheraton Hotel in Parsippany NJ. This location is only 25 miles from New York City and central to almost all of New Jersey. Prior events brought together families from around the country with ties to different agencies and had more than 170 families attending with ties to 20 different US states & the Virgin Island!

Enjoy meeting with friends - old and new. Activities include "Meet-N-Greet", bingo, reptile show, sing along program, adoption panels, marketplace vendors and various other activities for kids of all ages. One of the highlights is Saturday night - Latin-American Buffet, DJ music, dancing, and other fun. There will be a raffle with an IPOD as grand prize and a raffle for many gift baskets to support the fund-raising activities. Our website has a complete listing of our exciting activities!

Please visit our website at http://www.gafe-network.org detailing more information about the upcoming event. At the website, you can find details on how to download the registration form and about payment information. (This year you can register online and can use PayPal as a payment option! Other payment options are also available for your convenience.)

We look forward to seeing you all at the event!

Posted by Kelly at 10:26 PM

May 29, 2007

ASG Fathers Day Invitation

INVITATION(2).jpg

Posted by Kelly at 09:26 AM