Sunday, January 2, 2011

I'm wrestling again...

In a New Year's resolve to be a more frequent blogger here is another post. Not unrelated to my last post. It involves one of the conundrums I have with international adoption.

As discussed in past posts, we hired a searcher to see if we could find our daughters' first families. We had our many reasons the most pressing being that we needed to have some assurance of the ethics involved in our particular situations. It's a karma thing. Mari's seemed the most urgent to work on as one of the adoption workers on her case had a sister charged and imprisoned due to illegal actions taken with Guatemalan adoptions...and she was older meaning the leads on her family might be going cold. Nope. Found her family right off and were assured by the birth mother that an adoption plan had been in place since she first became pregnant...just like it had been for the four pregnancies that came before Mari. There were already seven mouths to feed on no income! We still search for Julia's....

Anyhow, in the three years time since we found Dona Josefa we have decided as a family, as our personal choice, to offer nutritional and educational assistance to the first family. In that three years I've evolved on how I perceive my relationship to Dona Josefa and my position in the adoption triad. There is no real comparison...I have a doctorate degree and a job while she 'signs' everything with her thumbprint and there are no real jobs in Guatemala. I have a lovely brick ranch home with central air and heat and a state-of-the -art kitchen while she lives in a stick home with no plumbing or electricity. The ideas I've heard regarding manifest destiny and the like disgust me! The difference between Dona Josefa and myself is nothing more that luck!!! By pure luck I was born to educated, employed Americans who had the means to see that I could attain the same as they. Did I have to work hard to graduate from dental school and pay off the student loans...heck yes! Did we have to work hard to earn the money to buy the home we have...heck yes! But I had parents who sent me to school clothed and fed. I had parents who if they couldn't help me with my homework would see to it that I got to a library or an older sibling for help. Had I been born in Guatemala in a Mayan minority I would  be signing with my thumbprint too. To entertain arguments about Dona Josefa just not "working hard enough" or "being motivated enough" to break out of the cycle of poverty is ludicrous on the face. America is a very unique social experiment where being motivation can actually...occasionally...break the poverty cycle but even then there has to be a middle class to aim for!!

So, again a long preamble to say we got this picture yesterday....

It's Dona Josefa getting the Christmas gift we sent via an NGO that works in the area in which she lives. Initially we get so excited to get a new picture of Dona Josefa...Mari and I both. Even more exciting because we have 'matured' enough in our relationship that I now feel that my 'safe' choices of giving my cash to an organization which then provides the food baskets or pays the school fees is no longer necessary! Dona Josefa deserves my respect not my condescension. We decided that only she can really know what she needs to make her life this year we sent her Christmas gift in cash. But then it strikes me...the relationship is still very complicated because both Dona Josefa and I still felt the need to take and get a photo to document the 'transaction'?!?!? Sigh...I have a stinking suspicion that I will be wrestling with my feelings over this relationship for the rest of our lives.


  1. thanks for sharing. I imagine it is conforting to Mari that she "knows" her first family.

  2. Our stories seem so similar. Isaiah's birthmom... take to her through e-mail. Abigail's.... will probably really ever know the real story. I feel sad that there's not much to tell Abbie and Isaiah's birthmom/family will always be part of our lives and we know everything about them.

  3. How wonderful, even with the complicated aspects, that you are able to have that contact. I hope that you will eventually find Julia's family. I'm so hoping that we can meet Blueberry's mom this spring when we go to Guatemala and get some more answers.

  4. Its all so complicated isn't it? I tried to track down Maya's at one point in hopes of helping with food and education for her sister, maybe in the future we will try again, for now we sponsor another child in hopes that with an education she will ahve a better chance to do more with her life if she chooses. Getting caught up on your blog still 3 days or more off of blogging, been spending my days at the hospital, hoping that my grampy can make it thru open heart surgery tomorrow.