Buenas from Costa Rica!

Buenas from Costa Rica! It’s so good to be back here. Every time I visit, I feel more and more at home and closer to my family. And let me tell you, I’m so happy to be out of cold, gray New York. It’s 72 and sunny right now. Expected to go to 94!

We start shooting today and although we’ve received yet another rejection from grant funders, we are pushing forward and staying positive. When I say we, I’m speaking about the wonderful women who have agreed to share their stories with me and my generous friends and family who have been supporting me throughout this whole process. I would not be here without them.

On this trip I’ve assembled a mighty heart-filled guerilla crew. They have volunteered their talents and time to help with publicity, production and translation. “Gracias a Dios,” as Mayela, my sister would say. She and her husband, Jose, are my biggest supporters here in Costa Rica.

Jose has offered his car for transportation around the country and he has filled the pantry with lots goodies to sustain us during production. He’s also hilarious and always keeps our spirits up.

Viva Jose!

The Survivors Foundation in Guatemala

I will be visiting Costa Rica and Guatemala in a few weeks with plans on completing the final production for this film and I am feeling really nervous about this phase. This time, I will be going alone without a translator and without a production team, but my apprehension mainly comes from the decisions I will need to make as director of this film. Finding the ‘truth’ in this documentary is much harder than I expected. I’ve felt pressure from all sides of the adoption community – pressure to protect adoptive families in the U.S. and pressure to protect the valid adoption industry.

This recent article from The Surviors Foundation in Guatemala helped clear my mind of all the rhetoric and focus my thoughts on my initial purpose. The U.S. Department is continuing to ignore the human rights of mothers in Guatemala and the rights of their stolen children now living in the U.S. How will these children feel in 10-20 years when they realize the U.S. government was complicit with the corrupt adoption industry and kept them from their families in Guatemala?

My loyalty stays with mothers and families of Latin America and all victims of this corrupt system.

Fundacion Sobrevivientes
November 3, 2006, the lowest for Anyeli Lisette Hernández Rodríguez, two years old was stolen from residence in the municipality of San Miguel Petapa, to be given in international adoption networks trafficking children. From that moment, life changed drastically for her mother, Elizabeth Loyd Rodríguez Morales.

Loyd promotes a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office and seek a stay any adoption process and to be allowed to review the forms of the adoption order being made at the time, to verify whether the photographs the children who appeared in the files was the daughter.

Although the authorities of the Attorney General’s Office and the National Adoption Council knew and were well aware of the search for the girl they let this file without stop the departure, which was held on December 9, 2008.

It was not until March 2009 when Loyd was authorized to review cases of adoption, could find this time a picture corresponding to that of her daughter Anyeli

Until the day the case is criminal and remains unresolved, sadness engulfs each of this family, not to be exceeded while the child is away and not return to his true home. Unlikely.

(I used google to translate. Please email me any corrections)

Open Records Event at the Hard Rock Cafe NYC

Learning the RIGHT Lessons about Adopton: What the Oprah Winfrey Reunion Story Teaches Us

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute held an event on March 10, 2011 at the NYC Hard Rock Cafe to heighten public, media and policymaker awareness about the need to restore adopted adults’ right to access their original birth certificates.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21048007]
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21066693]
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21111539]
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/21119116]

New Trailer for film

Hellen Xiomara and Crescencia Castro are two of the twelve mothers we interviewed in Costa Rica last year. They were forced to relinquish their children for adoption. Please support the continuing production of this film by donating at ImaginaryMothers.com

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/19748570]

More Adoption Myths and Realities…

Thank you Pound Pup Legacy for continuing the conversation:

“Personally, I believe when it’s all said and done, three factors influence which voices get picked-up by popular news-media and which hard-core adoption issues, (and the many concerns that go with them) get promoted as serious and significant enough to discuss more openly. First, as it is mentioned in Russia’s most recent news-release, there is a powerful adoption lobby, and these people make a lot of money protecting international adoption, which happens to be a very profitable business. Second, people don’t like to be forced into a stereotype that projects a negative connotation or image, especially if the negative stereotype is used to describe adoptive parents, adoption agencies, or religious-motivated adoption advocates. Third, unless an adoptee proves to be a credible witness, meaning the adoptee owns a measure of academic success, and has volumes of documented proof (in his/her possession) supporting his/her beliefs, the opinions of the adoptee who dares to criticize a parent or condemn the adoption experience will not be taken seriously, rendering the opinion of those hurt and angry, not at all statistically significant.” read more

A Birth Mother shares Oprah’s mother’s shame and pain

I feel like I just found a goldmine. I came across Lorraine Dusky and Jane Edwards blog, Birth Mother, First Mother. They are powerful voices in the fight for the rights of birth mothers and adoptees.

An excerpt from article in USATODAY by Lorraine Dusky of Birth Mother, First Mother:

When Oprah Winfrey’s mother was asked on why she had not told her family about the daughter she gave up for adoption, I could have answered for her: shame, humiliation, the sense that you did something gravely wrong. Not wrong in the eyes of the law, but in the natural order of things.

Read more

The Ethics of Adoption in the 21st Century

I’m attending this conference on the 14th of this month. It looks promising. I recommend it and hope that it does bring a broader approach to the traditional adoption discourse.

Here are a few topics that will be discussed:

Racial Politics and the “Business” of Domestic Private Adoption

Relinquishment Hindsight: What We Wish the Professionals Had Told Us

Conceptualizing the Ethics of Transracial Adoption: Colonial Imperative, Reconciliation, and Anti-Oppressive Framework

Let’s NOT Talk About IT: White Privlege and Racism in Transracial Adoption

Conference Details:

The Ethics of Adoption in the 21st Century
Open Arms, Open Minds:

October 14-16th 2010
(Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon)
The 6th Biennial Adoption Conference will be held at:
St. John’s University in Manhattan.
The conference will take place in lower Manhattan at
St. John’s University
Manhattan Campus
101 Murray Street
New York, NY 10003
To see information about this location at St. John’s University, click here.
For directions to the St. John’s University Manhattan Campus, click here.

Article in Brooklyn The Borough

read more at Brooklyn the Borough

As an adoptee, how did making the film affect you?

I had the opportunity to meet my biological mother only once before she passed away. And since her death I always wondered what our relationship might have been like if we had spent more time together. I always wanted to hear her version of the story and to have a honest conversation about what she went through. I didn’t get that chance. However, as I interviewed these mothers in Costa Rica, I felt like my mother was speaking through them. I was asked repeatedly if I resented my mother and to describe what my experience being separated from her was like. I felt an unexpected connection to these women. When I began this film I wondered if it would bring me closer to my birth mother. I was skeptical at first, but it did in the most unexpected way – through the constant declarations of love and expressions of regret I heard from these mothers.

Photos from our last shoot in Costa Rica

These photos were taken by Velvet Salas a wonderful actor and a great mom of child actor Gala! What an ambitious day! Thanks for all your help. It was a perfect way to end our work in Costa Rica. I can’t wait to see you all again.