On this day of celebration...

Today my little girl will celebrate being a new 3-year-old with her friends! And I will sit back and marvel at this gorgeous, intelligent, silly, inquisitive, amazing girl I am blessed to call my daughter. This girl charms everyone around her and I have heard more then once this week about how she touches, brings joy to, and loves the people in her life. She is blessed with a wonderful group of family and friends who love her to the moon and back. And she loves them "to the back of the sun" (or at least that's what she always tells me).

But I will also spend time, as I often do, thinking of her birth mother (or her tummy mommy as EJ calls her) and her first family in Guatemala. I know they are thinking of her this week, as I'm sure they often do, and missing her and sending her love and praying that she has a good life here. I pray every day that I am doing right by them and that they know how much we love Elizabeth and that they know how incredible this daughter we share is.

Today I'd also like to ask for your prayers. As most of you know, Guatemala closed to international adoptions on January 1, 2008. The cases that were still pending were to be "grandfathered in" and processed under the old regulations through the new government system. However, at this time there are still 900 cases pending (the Guatemala 900 Campaign site has more info). These children were in process at the same time as our daughter...these children are still in Guatemala...these 900 families are still waiting to be together...these children are celebrating their 3rd birthdays in orphanages and foster homes.

This week there has been news from Guatemala that adoptions will reopen in June. I am truly not sure what to make of this news. In one respect it is good. I mean open (in any respect) is better than closed, but... Guatemalan adoptions were closed due to alleged corruption. And I don't doubt that there was corruption (I'm not completely naive), but I don't think this is the answer. In the previous adoption system, about 5000 children were adopted internationally from Guatemala each year. In the new system, 100 to 150 children will be available for international adoption. What will happen to the other children?

Pressure from organizations like UNICEF helped the Guatemalan government make their decision to close adoptions, yet these same organizations have yet to step up and back their pressure with funding. Guatemala is a poor country...they will need help to care for these children and funding to build orphanages...so far, that help is just not there. I find it incredibly sad that the best I can hope for these children is a life in an nice orphanage, but their other options are so much worse.

So today on my beautiful daughter's special day, I urge you to read this article and open your heart to all aspects of this story (the ones written, the ones implied, and the ones not said). And I ask you to pray...for these children, for these broken families (in the US and Guatemala), and for the people of Guatemala. Thank you!

If you'd like to learn more:
New Dawn Children's Home (a Guatemalan orphanage built in 2008 by our agency & adoptive parents)
Guatemalan City dump (an article about the people who live there)
Safe Passage (an organization helping the families who live in the Guatemala City dump)
Guatemalan 900
Mayan Families (a wonderful group helping the people in the Highlands of Guatemala)
tracie @ {tsj} photography said...

such an important message ... thank you for sharing with us. i've retweeted and "shared" in facebook. will do whatever we can to spread awareness.

we are so blessed to have our little ej, that it's easy to forget the others.

thank you for caring enough to keep them alive and in our hearts & prayers!

Deborah said...

Heather, You are amazing. Thank you for continuously reminding me to marvel in blessings, without forgetting those in pain or are less fortunate. Much love you and Matt. And a very Happy 3rd year to the beautiful EJ--who we are all better for knowing! XO!

LobotoME said...

what a lovely post! thank you for sharing and i will be sure to check out all of that information! as you know, adoption is near & dear to our hearts as well. happy birthday to your sweetie!

xo, jenny

Jackie G said...

That brought a tear to my eye! What a wonderful thing to post to remind us all of the other children. I know I've said it before but what you guys have done by adopting EJ is amazing and wonderful. You are such a thoughtful and loving family. You are so blessed to have EJ in your family and we are so blessed to know and love her as well.

southern daze said...

What a lovely + informative post. I had no idea about these challenges and hope those 900 sweet kids find their way into the loving homes waiting for them soon.

Michael said...

I often filter quickly through my emails an blogs when I have just a few minutes to view them. I was just about to zip through your blog too, when I realized that your message was so extremely important to you. Happy Birthday EJ! You are blessed to be with a family that cares so much for you and all your peers from Guatemala. Thank you Heather and Matt for taking this journey of adoption. I hope it brings you all the joy you hoped for and more.

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