Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mikala is here!

We got her, she is here and all is well :)

Mikala arrives from Denmark today!

Today the kid's cousin Mikala arrives from Denmark for three weeks! We are very excited and will be meeting her at the airport as she exits her gate. More soon!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

My sister and her husband are going to be on TV!

Below is an incriminating letter from my sister about her upcoming TV debut on Animal planet... hehehehehe

Simon will kill me for telling you this, but our episode of House Cat House Call airs on SAT, JUNE 27, 2009 10:30am-11:00am (EST) on Animal Planet. Mark it down, then delete the email evidence that shows that I told you...


Sunset beach, Raft Island WA

Zack Graduates High School

When I came into this family Zack was 14, today is his prom. Time sure has flown and he has grown into a wonderful young man, I am so proud of him. Here are a few pics of him in his tux with his date and his friends on their way to a fun night they will never forget!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Boating Summer 2009!

The boat is in the water and we took it for a spin today, man was it fun! We all (except the kids) jumped in the water and it was surprisingly nice! Refreshing...
Love from Raft Island,WA

More anti adoption media... ignorance is everywhere

Attached is a letter I received from Adoptive families:

There is a horror film being released on July 24, called Orphan, about a family who adopts an older girl who "is not what she appears to be." The film is currently being promoted, and the trailer is available at . The adoption message is extremely negative, and plays into the stereotypes of adopted children, particularly older children, as damaged.

Though we have not been able to preview the entire movie, the trailer leads us to believe the movie will send a horrific message about adoption. The adoption community is protesting the release of the film. We urge you to contact the makers of the film, as well as your local movie theater chains, with your concerns. Feel free to copy or adapt the sample letter below.

To whom it may concern:
I want to express my outrage about the release of the movie Orphan. The film plays into the stereotype of adopted children as damaged and dangerous. It discourages families from pursuing adoption, particularly adoption of older children, who are especially in need of loving homes. As an adoptive parent, I am horrified by the line in the trailer that "it must be hard to love an adopted child as much as your own."Adoption has often been misrepresented in the media, but the previews for this film are unbelievably offensive. I urge you to change the promotional materials, and to consider holding the release of the film altogether.

Contact information:

Warner Bros.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522

Silver Pictures
4000 Warner Blvd. 90
Burbank, CA 91522-0001

Time Warner Inc.
One Time Warner Center
New York, NY 10019-8016

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The kids watching elmo in Playa

Worth a read...

written by Anti-Racist Parent columnist Julie Corby; crossposted at the Eyes of My Eyes Are Opened

I applaud E.J. Graff and The Schuster Institute for opening people’s eyes to the corruption that exists in international adoption. I think that it is important that people start talking about this, and start implementing changes to ensure that all adoptions are ethical. However, I believe Ms. Graff does a great disservice by publishing the octopus of an article,The Lie We Love, and its tentacle articles in Slate, The Washington Post, and The Boston GlobeThe Lie We Love is full of generalizations and is rarely substantiated with facts. For a better example of investigative journalism on the subject of corruption in international adoption, I would suggest reading, Red Thread or Slender Reed: Deconstructing Prof. Bartholet’s Mythology of International Adoption, by Johanna Oreskovic and Trish Maskew. The article, with sources to back it up, can be found HERE .

This Slate slide show is indeed devastating, and I believe that one case of corruption is one too many. What about balancing these stories with some of the other international adoption stories?

Here, and in TLWL, Graff infers that the next country that will be closed to international adoption due to corruption is Ethiopia. Graff, asked by an adoptive families group to expound on this, responded HERE.

In this link Graff says, “I am hearing horrifying stories that I cannot publish since we do not have the time or resources to investigate, corroborate and publish these.”

Graff who says in the Slate article, “Orphanages do not necessarily house orphans—at least, not in poor countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America,” might have spoken to some people like Melissa Faye Greene, author of There is No Me Without You, or Dr. Jane Aronson, founder of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, who have first hand knowledge of what goes on in orphanages in some African countries. Dr. Aronson had this to say in response to Graff,

“The opinion piece on the so-called “orphan manufacturing chain” by Brandeis University’s E.J. Graff falsely alleges that birth mothers in impoverished countries are largely tricked into giving up (or selling) their babies to meet a greedy Western demand for healthy infants (”International adoption rife with corruption,” The Salt Lake Tribune, Opinion, Jan. 16). The research fails to acknowledge that poverty, war and societal pressures too often force women to give up their children. After losing a husband to AIDS and facing their own sickness, poor women may turn to adoption in a desperate attempt to secure a brighter future for their children. These brave, selfless and courageous women should not be branded as “baby sellers” or too ignorant or poor to love their children.

While unscrupulous operators may exist, a majority of international adoptions are lawful. Graff’s inaccurate account of international adoption is extremely painful to both adoptive parents and their children. Instead of name-calling, we should invest our energies in sustainable solutions to ending this all-too-real orphan crisis.”

It seems to me that Graff is against any international adoption. I don’t think anyone would argue that the best thing for a child would be to grow up with his birth family, in his country of origin, but what about the kids for whom that is an impossibility?

There are legitimate adoption stories that Graff never speaks of. If I were to produce a slide show based on adoption cases that I have watched from start to finish, it would include an Ethiopian adoptee who was taken out of an abusive situation so horrific that it would rival any US foster care horror story. It would show an infant girl who had lost both parents, and whose maternal aunt could no longer afford to feed her (in addition to feeding her own six children). It would show a healthy infant boy who was relinquished by his father, when his birth mother died. (The child’s two older brothers were not relinquished because they were old enough to work on the family’s farm in rural, southern Ethiopia. This is just one example disproving Graff’s statement that “most children who need new homes are older than five”. In rural Ethiopia it is often the birth of a child that throws a family into the devastating situation of needing to make an adoption plan). My slide show would also include children whose parents died of AIDs. It would show a toddler boy who was confirmed to be days away from death due to malnutrition, (I have seen the video footage of this child’s orphanage arrival. In it, his belly is so distended that he cannot stand upright). My slide show would show a family whose first referred child died before they could pick her up, and whose current daughter requires constant medical attention. It would also show an infant girl whose legs are so weak from languishing in a crowded crib, that she requires daily physical therapy. It would show children, with diagnoses of failure to thrive, rickets, cerebral palsy and seizures. It would include HIV positive children who for the first time in their lives will have access the antiretroviral medicine that will keep them alive. Graff writes, “To use the language of globalization, orphans are sometimes “manufactured”: Children with families are stripped of their identities so that Westerners can fill their homes.”

Orphans don’t need to be manufactured in Ethiopia; famine, AIDs and other diseases do that for them.

I agree that it is absolutely crucial to bring awareness to corruption and unethical practices that are happening in international adoption. It is vital to work toward preventing these situations illustrated in this slide show from ever happening again.

I am wondering if Ms. Graff can come up with something besides what seems to be a campaign to stop all international adoptions. I am hopeful that she can suggest to us a way that we can allow legitimate adoptions of true orphans to continue, while allowing more transparency and less corruption. I am also wondering if she can you do it in a way that doesn’t denigrate, and vilify every single adoptive parent or adoptive parent to be.

Julie Corby writes about her life and her adoption at She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of ten years, and her two pups.  She is a contributor at Her online book club for adoptive parents is Julie has been in the process of adopting siblings from Ethiopia since November ‘0

Presents from the Cohens!

The Cohens sent these beautiful gifts of clothing for Solly and DeDe.  I tied the bow from the box on DeDe's head for effect :)  We are back home on Raft Island and happy to see the weather is nice!  All is well here and today DeDe is 10 months old!  She is working on her rolling over and tummy time but is a bit delayed in that respect due to such a long stretch on her back at the orphanage.  In every other respect she is right on schedule, she has 4 teeth and is laughing all the time and playing with all her toys and brother.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Never will my kids have to endure this, over my dead body.

Below is an attached article:

The New York Times ran an incredibly frustrating, heartbreaking pieceabout a segregated prom in Georgia today, which included an audio slide show wherein students and parents voice their opinions on the segregation and "tradition."

The first student interviewed, a white student named Harley Boone, is quick to point out that the segregated prom isn't racist, in her opinion, it's just "what we know and what our parents have done for so many years." Harley insists that she eats with black students in the cafeteria and that she attends classes with black students, and that the prom is just not a big deal, comparatively. Her mother, Anita Williamson says "this community and this school system is fine the way it is..why change something that has worked, it's not broken?" Kera Nobles, a black student, disagrees, calling the segregation "hurtful," and noting that "I sit beside you at graduation but I can't go to prom with you for one night?"

The prom itself isn't a school sponsored function; the proms are private functions that are thrown by the students. The idea of "it's just the way it's always been" seems to be an overriding theme in why such a backwards tradition is allowed to continue; Terra Fountain, an 18-year-old white student, blames the parents for the continual separation: "Most of the students do want to have a prom together," she says, "But it's the white parents who say no. … They're like, if you're going with the black people, I'm not going to pay for it."

The segregated proms have also forced friends to take a second look at their relationships; many black students feel betrayed by their white friends who have neglected to stand up for them and insist upon an integrated prom. "My best friend is white," one girl tells the New York Times, "She's in there. She's real cool, but I don't understand. If they can be in there, why can't everybody else?" Says another: "You're 18 years old! You're old enough to smoke, drive, do whatever else you want to. Why aren't you able to step up and say, ‘I want to have my senior prom with the people I'm graduating with?'"

"The prom is the least of our problems," says Angel Howard, a black student, "We can't fix the prom until we fix the school. And then when the school comes together and no longer sees color, then the prom can come together and no longer see color."

Voices From A Divided Prom [NYTimes]
In Georgia, Segregation Endures On Prom Night [NYTimes]

Click Here
Click here to find out more!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

For Gam and Pa

They were setting up for a wedding today on the beach, here is a picture of what the seating will be like except a hundred more chairs according to our friends that work there.  Next year Gam and Pa are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary here and it put a lump in my throat to think of them renewing their vows in this heavenly place.  Click on the photo for a better look.

Bugs and butterflies

   The kids woke today before the sun was even up... it was a little rough on Mama who likes to bring her laptop to bed with her now that we have internet in the house.  Anyway, once it was 7:30 KT and I knew we needed to get outta the house before all hell broke loose.  We were at the beach before they were even serving our usual breakfast of huevos y frijoles...  The kids were restless and tired but we managed to have a great time making (and smashing) sandcastles.  There are these weird bugs all over the place.  Actually, they are the shells of what used to be bugs and are now butterflies or pretty moths.  They are flying all over the beaches and roads.  Attached is a pic of an abandoned shell, much like I wish we could do when we felt the urge to fly... Tomorrow is our last day and I am feeling sad to say goodbye to the place for the summer, but happy I can come back.  Hasta Luego,
Tres Amigas y uno Amigo

Friday, May 22, 2009

Obama matters to my children, it is that simple

This photo from the White House Flickr account shows a young boy rubbing President Barack Obama’s head. Reportedly, “The youngster wanted to see if the President’s haircut felt like his own.”

Having a self-identified black man in the White House matters. Yes, it does.

Muertes palminos

Two more daze left...

We spent a lovely day at Ana y Jose beachclub in Tulum and watched them chop down a few dead palms with a machete.  We also ate, swam and played.  Tonight we will watch a movie and hope the kids go to sleep at a decent hour!  Also included is a shot of Solly helping the men clean the palapas, Solly chasing a stray cat under the car :) and DeDe in her biking gear