After a few years of separation, I am really happy to say that Guatadopt is back and hopefully we can rebuild some of the community and lively debate of times past. Obviously times have changed and as such so has the mission.
Before going into why Guatadopt disappeared, I want to introduce our newest writer, someone that I am sure many old-time readers already know. Sonya Fultz, who drove Moms on a Mission and other great work through FTGA, has agreed to come aboard. Welcome Sonya!
Click on more to get the low down and what happened and where we're going...
What happened to Guatadopt???
To tell the story we have to go back to 2008... We had the new adoption law and the controversies surrounding “grandfathered cases” – cases that are still out there today. On a personal level, the years of work had taken a huge toll on me.
Guatadopt had become more than anyone had ever intended. At times, we overstepped our bounds a bit for certain. No matter what anyone says, we always remained pure and sincere in our intentions. We never profited from anything, to the contrary we spent thousands of our own dollars. We never went on any witch hunts, but we did try to advocate for and support families who refused to be exploited by unscrupulous adoption service providers. We always tried to understand and break down an incredibly complex institution and then lead from our hearts.
As the years went on, the corruption got worse. Anyone paying attention to the tone of my posts could see a huge shift in attitude in the last year or so. We were embroiled in things too big for our knowledge, resources, and sadly safety. Worst of all, I didn’t know where I stood or what I thought should be done anymore. Clearly, there was no way a great law would be passed. Even more clearly, things could not go on as they were. Unfortunately, in my opinion, both sides involved were too busy with their own agendas to do what needed to be done.
When the new law came into effect, I was cautiously optimistic. But at the same time, we lost any real ability to help anyone out. We had no more inside info, valuable contacts, etc. And when no one, not even the people enacting the law, knew what the process really was, we certainly had no idea.
Kelly and I had seen the writing on the wall for a while that adoptions from Guatemala would end, it was just a question of when. We also had known for a while that when we looked long-term, we saw Guatadopt evolving to be a place focused on building community among adoptive parents, offering cultural/historical/etc. information on Guatemala, and most importantly being a force to have the constituency of parents with children from Guatemala give back to help the children suffering in Guatemala. It was with that in mind that we created the Do Good Charitable Foundation.
In 2008 I had a job change. In my new job, I lacked the time to do much Guatadopt or Do Good stuff. I also had children getting older and deserving my time at home. Do Good was going nowhere without someone to promote it and I didn’t have the time or energy. In addition, new IRS reporting requirements were being thrust on small non-profits that would be a challenge for us. Kelly and I decided it was time to admit defeat and end the Do Good Charitable Foundation right around this time of year in 2008. Then something else happened…
In November of 2008 I received a certified letter in the mail that required me to pick it up at the post office. It was notice of a lawsuit that had been filed by Main Street Adoptions against Guatadopt, Do Good, and me personally. It also named two sets of clients and LabCorp. And it was for a huge sum of money. In short, it claimed we were part of some conspiracy to slander and destroy Main Street and contained horrendous accusations and insinuations that we were reaping financial benefits in various ways.
Before going further, let me explain something because WE KNOW OUR RIGHTS AND THE LAW. Federal law is amazingly clear on what we are and are not responsible for and allowed to do in regard to content on the site. Anything that I write, I am responsible for personally. Anything someone not affiliated with the site comments, no matter how malicious, is not the liability of the site, any individual who “approved” the comment, or any person or entity with any affiliation with the site. We even have the legal right to censor and selectively edit comments all we want no matter how it may skew the intent of who wrote the comment. To be clear, we never did this nor would we, but we could if we wanted and we’d be within our full legal rights! All of this is covered under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Unfortunately, the legal system is what it is and if someone sues you, you need to defend yourself and it is not simple to just get a judge to look at the law and release you. In our case, this lawsuit went on for almost five years before the judge granted our summary motion and we were released. There of course was not a single bit of evidence to back up any of the claims against us and the worst thing I had ever written was “Go Get Them” on a post where I was supporting PAPs bravery in standing up for themselves. The case went to trial against one of the clients where the client was found not-guilty. Main Street appealed and I believe that is where it stands today,
I was not really prepared to be sued at the time. We had been threatened before but were shocked when someone actually filed suit and were caught by surprise. The bottom line was that when it happened, it seemed wise not to be adding more content to the site. Plus it took a lot out of me and I just lacked the energy.
Obviously, I would love to do whatever is possible to help those families who have been waiting over six years. I have no idea what I can do, but I am happy to do whatever I can. But the objective remains what Kelly and I had envisioned – to be a conduit to community, culture, and good deeds for those of us with connections to Guatemala through adoption.
This past January, I was invited to serve on the Board of Directors for Behrhorst Partners for Development. Currently I am acting as the Chair of the Marketing and Communications Committee. Sonya, our newest contributor, is also on the BOD and chairs the Fundraising Committee. BPD does great work and you can expect to hear a lot about its activities.
I want to be perfectly clear that there is NO affiliation between Behrhorst Partners for Development and Guatadopt.com. But since Sonya and I are actively involved with it, why wouldn’t we promote it here? You will soon hear from Sonya about how we want to know about what other great causes people from the Guatadopt community are supporting that provide aid in Guatemala.
I want also be 100% transparent that I made the decision to share our old calendar order data with BPD as a way to reach out. When we do, it will be clear that is how your info was obtained, there will be an opt-out, and we will not share that info (just name, address and e-mail) with any other organizations and, needless to say, BPD didn’t pay me for the list.
We hope to have some cool stuff coming in the future and are even talking about a 2015 Guatadopt Calendar!!!
One last thing…
Guatadopt does not censor or edit legitimate comments to the site. All comments do go through an “approval” process that is designed specifically and solely to prevent inappropriate material (i.e. pornography) and other spam from entering the site.
Guatadopt does not endorse any comments posted to this site. The views, writings, rants and opinions of Guatadopt’s writers are strictly their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Guatadopt.com.
We ask that all people posting comments to the site be civil and avoid any libelous statements. However, Guatadopt.com cannot and does not research the validity of comments posted to the site and cannot be held liable or otherwise responsible for them
UPDATE 11/2: No update really. It may be a little while before forums are back up. Sorry...
I was out of commission today from 7 am until now, 10 pm. So I just discovered that our forums have apparently been hacked. I know nothing else on this other than that our hosting service has been having issues with the server we're on (which is why everything went down Wednesday for a few hours).
Once they are back up, I will post it here. Until then my recommendation would be not to go to the URL for the forums and certainly don't click on anything that is there now.
Personally, I don't think it was Saudis at all. I think it is Unicef trying to stop us from posting our annual Halloween handout ;-) For the record, that was a joke.
Time after time, our Guatadopt team has seen the need for having our own non-profit for aid purposes but there were many questions and circumstances that have prevented it. We still are restricted....hey, we have full time jobs and have no intention of giving them up! So, we thought we would reach out to our community and get some idea to see if its doable. So, if you have expertise in setting up or managing a non profit (Georgia is preferrable) and would be interested in being involved.... please contact us offline.