More News

Well, we have been in the news here for a week straight, and each day we hope it is the last. Today we were surprised with the biggest space yet. Here is the link.


You can get a rough translation in a number of ways, but what I do is cut and paste to


and find the little box for Spanish to English. It is VERY rough, but if you don’t have Spanish speaking friends who can help you, it will give you a rough idea.

The last paragraph is a comment by the President of the Supreme Court, who pretty much is doing all he can to wash his hands of the action…even saying his role as president is really more administrative, than judicial. He was on TV last night, and when asked about our complaint of the judge having threatened us, said “ Where is the complaint? There must be a formal complaint!” That seems to be the reason for this article, which reviews all of our actions, but then clearly, the reporter has spoken to the Human Rights commission, and have listed the points of Shyrel’s being threatened by this judge in their file.

The Press has really taken to the chase regarding the investigations into problematic adoptions also. It is sad in one way, but so often the case, that the Government institutions are not doing much, but private groups are helping the mothers, for instance, who have claimed to have been robbed of their children.

Do you remember the story when a young woman, Ana Escobar came to our house ( on Shyrel’s birthday) because she was pretty sure one of the Casa Quivira children was her stolen child? She visited us yesterday, because the Ministerio Publico keeps denying her a hearing, and she asked for pictures from us to prove her search efforts. (She should have been able to get something from the JP who accompanied her that night, but he seems to lose a lot of papers…like our arrest warrant) The child who was in CQ may or may not be her child, BUT she had with her evidence of forged paperwork for the supposed mother and that child that was in our home. There is also a rumor that the Physician who signed many of the documents of the children for CQ among other hogares has fled the country. I am not completely ready to say the owners of Casa Quivira manipulated and did bad things, but bad things happened in these cases. I know that the homes and agencies sometimes are at the mercy of the buscadores and behind the scenes "translators" etc. BUT again...who wants to have adopted a baby that might have been stolen or forced from it's mother?

I think the Press activity, and an imminent landslide of uncovering specific examples of illegal activity surrounding notarial adoptions is forcing congress’s vote today on a new adoption law. It is a shame that this law is the most restrictive of the (at least) 3 versions of reform we have heard about. But those who supposedly have defended adoptions in Guatemala have wasted their time and credibility defending a broken system, often saying “There is no proof of any wrong doing”. As the proof is at long last coming out, in spite of the corruption that has protected it so long, they are strangely silent on that point, and are now spending their time slandering anyone connected with reform efforts.


In defense of Amor del Niño

A number of our friends here have warned us to not get too involved, not listen to the advise of Casa Alianza types. One of the chief accusations, as I said before, is a hunger for press coverage. I am afraid that we may soon be subject to the same accusations. As I watched myself stumble though yet another interview on Guatemala television last night, I cringed. Not only at the age and fatness of my true image on screen, (which has only a fleeting resemblance to my unreal internal image…they say the camera adds 10 pounds, and there were 5 cameras there)… but also because it may really look like we are seeking out the cameras, as we have been on TV a lot this last week.

Our nannies asked me this morning if everything is clear, and alright now. That also makes me cringe, as our staff, and even more so, our children here, are dependent on us.

So why are we doing what will undoubtedly be seen by some as attention grabbing, and by others as lawless, and maybe by others as sticking our noses where it doesn’t belong. Our bottom line is that we try to do, moment by moment, what we think is right before God, and let Him handle the results. We really are not smart or experienced enough to calculate with any hope of “winning” an argument, much less a court fight.

Let me give a timeline outline to help our friends who wonder:

August: we received the children form the raid on Casa Quivira

August – October…noticed anomalies, and awaited the audience to present

October: Audience came, the resolution was streamlined in an extremely irregular way, without our participation.

We challenged that, as was our right and responsibility in the system, with appeals and requests for clarifications


This challenge was responded to eventually in a warrant for our arrests. The facts and paperwork both before and after that point are still sketchy. But we are putting together the pieces, and the actual documents do not make sense ( to our admittedly incapable brains).

We have contracted an attorney to represent us in a request (simplified) that the Courts declare the action of the judge to have been wrong.

The judge responded to this by first badgering Shyrel, and then calling and threatening that all the judges in the Children’s court system would side with her in an attempt to shut us down.

Then the press called us to confirm a rumor that we have made a deal with the judge to rescind the request for clarification in the high court.

So we met with reporters again, and said pretty much what is written above.

We are grateful, because the articles and reports have been pretty accurate. Hopefully, our small role will not be a distraction to the major theme confronting Guatemala right now, which is the issue of open and honest adoptions continuing as a way for children who need a family to find one.

We are motivated first and foremost by wanting to Obey our Lord, who deserves our obedience unto death, much less inconveniences like jail sentences. But we are helped to be motivated by the children we are seeing…who were being adopted until an irregularity was discovered. As there has been more pressure on the authorities here to really investigate, there continue to be daily occurrences of falsified papers, and deceived birth mothers. Children at risk are why we are in Guatemala. And As Wendy Berger said: “ the problem with children at risk in Guatemala is more basically the issue of women at risk in Guatemala”. As we hear story after story of poor women caught in a morass that maybe started when they considered accepting money for their child, that rings too truly. But others are just plain deceived.

One example. A girl who came to us because her paperwork was thought to be fraudulent at the PGN review ( It had her age, for instance, as 6 months…she is 5). Her parents explained that they were promised an accelerated opportunity for her, with all sorts of health and educational benefits ( sort of true, I guess) so they went, and had testing done ( including what sounds like a DNA swabbing) of the whole family. The she would go for further testing…and they never saw her or the people who promised these things again. They searched for months, even paying policemen who said they could help.


Thought for the Day, and for Eternity

Just wanted to share what I heard just now in church...It blessed me, and I want to share.

Jesus preached and healed and changed lives for 3 years, all over Isreal. He often was opposed, and even mocked for his actions.

But the worst abuse and mocking he received was at the very moment that he was doing the most important action ever done in the history of the world. People who have not received the redemption His death on the cross provided can reasonably call Christians crazy for the liturgies that week after week remind ourselves of the Crucifiction of this man. It literally makes no sense, for a King to reclaim his kingdom in this fashion. And that was the major mocking point: "If you really are INRI..." BUT one of the names he so richly deserves is "King of Peace" The creative conqueror... Until Christians understand the confounding, unreasonable nature of His Kingdom, we miss our mission. We avoid actions that bring rebuke and suffering on ourselves...buying momentary popularity by denying our eternal heritage, and our Lord who purchased it....

Rev 5:1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?"
Rev 5:4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.
Rev 5:5 And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals."
Rev 5:6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, ......
Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
Rev 5:10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
Rev 5:13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"


In Defense of Casa Alianza

A number of folks have questioned our getting involved with Casa Alianza, and frankly, I was one of them. Their reputation among the evangelical community here is

1) That they are not so much interested in the children, as interested in sensationalism.
2) That their founder turned out to be a pedophile.
3) That there is a sense that they are leftist, Godless Che Guevera wannabe’s

AS we began to meet with them, my thinking was it was a mission field, sharing our motives of following Jesus, and ministering to the least of these in Jesus’ name. I have always enjoyed encouraging Secular Social Workers in the states to re-examine Jesus in light of their work. But as we have spent time with them, I realized we were with really good people. They are not motivated by lucre, and are humble, work well as a team, and are genuinely interested in us as people, and touched by our mutual love for the children. These are not the senses we get from others who are in the arena of Children and adoptions here. I wish we could keep a video running to let our friends, and those who wonder what the heck we are doing see the different interactions. It is obvious moment by moment, but hard to codify after the fact.

But what about those pesky accusations? Here are my thoughts, not having asked them:

1) Ever since the press was first used to Keep their staff alive as they proved that the Police in Guatemala and Rio De Janeiro were systematically killing street children, they have used the press as a tool to
a. Shed light on shady dealings
b. Defend themselves against false accusations
c. Stay alive, as their death after naming a perpetrator would be investigated

2) That is true. I have dealt with three (not including this very disturbed, very bad man) pedophiles who were working with evangelical organizations since arriving in Guatemala….YES, they were the leaders of their respective organizations. No Excuse….but not a reason for Alianza to close up shop and stop defending children. They did fire him, and are vigilant even more to protect children in their care.

3) That is the classic line of the third world wealthy and those who abuse the rights of the least of these. Che was wrong in what the alternative should have been, but it does not mean those who he opposed ( e.g. the CIA in Guatemala in 1954) were right. I wish Che could have met Jesus, like I got to. As for the Godless part of the accusation, here is their Mission Statement:

Covenant House ( and Alianza) Mission Statement

We who recognize God's providence and fidelity to His people are dedicated to living out His covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love. That commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children. Just as Christ in His humanity is the visible sign of God's presence among His people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.

Wish I'd said that!


Press conferences and forensics

Well, we had a press conference yesterday…our Lawyers asked us to put the appeal into the Supreme Court, and to announce it publicly as a defensive measure. It ran in a number of News programs. As each step is in the name of the children, we brought 6 to be a part of the “panel” and included children who had been abandoned, who had been rescued from exploitation, and who had been stolen from parents. We also had our own staff photographer ( Gerson) who did a great job, and a lot of fun interacting with his colleagues

Later that day, as we were trying to catch up with “normal business” in the office, the owner of Casa Quivira showed up with an order for the transference of the last of the 15 children left from CQ at our home. Shyrel answered the gate, and then came back to the office with the order saying this guy was there, and being pushy, and asking “are you going to give him to me or not”, when she asked for the paperwork. I went down to just talk him down while she made copies, and filled out our “egresso” documents, but also got a strange conversation. He asked me why I was doing this. The “this” was not clear, but then he started a little speech recapping odds and ends of the recent events….and as he stepped aside, I realized we were being filmed. Looking back on it, I think he wanted to get a rise out of us. But then Shyrel showed up and I am sure she was worried that he would get a rise out of me. ( OK, I have a tendency to be more boisterous than her) She asked me to move away and let our social worker process the paperwork with the Lawyer. But the guy outside said “ Since you are not going to give me the child, I am leaving.” It seemed that the lawyer who was with him disagreed, not initially moving, and looking in our direction, but he swept her along. It all seemed a little dramatic on his part. It did afford us the opportunity to take our little charge to the medical forensics clinic of the Ministerio Publico prior to bringing him into the court where we handed him over to the official in charge…to have an unbiased evaluation of his actual medical condition. Funny…no lice, fungus, or anything…just a little guy in perfect health.

Since we had just had a press conference, I guess we shouldn’t throw stones at someone wanting to have a recorded record of an event. But even though there are similar activities involved in a press conference, and in recording an encounter, there is a BIG difference. A matter of control. Orchestration. A press conference is ostensibly managed by the press. This man wanted a confrontation and was ready for a nice bit of video. Even the time of day suggests that maybe he was waiting for the sun angle to be just right, for the light to be on our faces as we looked out of our gate. He then left so quickly, it was obvious he had not come to take charge of the child. WHO WE WERE PERFECTLY WILLING TO HAND OVER RIGHT THEN AND THERE, BUT WITH THE PROPER PROCESING OF PAPERWORK! (Which would have taken all of 10 minutes) So we were left with the paperwork, but still had the child, whereas last time, we were not left with any paperwork, and yet 14 children left our home.

This has been and continues to be the main point of issue between us and CQ. It is understandable in many ways that they would want to hurry. Waiting Parents, bad publicity, the state of Limbo in which their program remained. But it just seems to have made matters worse. This pushing to speed up a process that by necessity must involve review and investigation makes one leery.

This brings to mind a number of comments by people who have said that Amor del Niño and Casa Quivira are basically the same. That is just not true. The more we interact, the more the difference is evident. Even though you could classify us both as “Children’s Homes”, and we both offer care recognized as superior by visitors and other institutions, we have profoundly different objectives.
Especially in the area of adoptions, there is confusion between businesses and charities.
If a service or commodity provided is given freely, with no requirement for remuneration, that is charity.
If a service or commodity is given based on a contract for an exchange of money or goods, that is business.
It is not a moral difference. BUT it is different.
Amor del Niño cares for children, and receives no remuneration in exchange for services or commodities from anyone.
Casa Quivira, from what I understand, cares for children, but enters into a contract with prospective parents, and provides care and tramite, for which they receive a substantial remuneration.


I Promise cute pictures soon!

It has been a while! I promise soon to return to our beautiful children, and share what is happening in their lives. Including cute pictures! But the madness continues!

It has been a crazy week! We finally heard definitely yesterday that the arrest warrant was rescinded. Apparently some time last week. It is very frustrating to have been aware first of the arrest warrant, then of its revocation, but have no official notification of either. ( Well, if official notification of an arrest warrant includes arrest, I guess i am not that frustrated!) Interestingly, last week there was an article in the Prensa Libre indicating that in Guatemala, there were 14,000 + arrest warrants in existence, and not being acted on. ( Yes, it did make us breathe easier!)

During the week, I went to the Justice of the Peace to ask for a copy of the order he acted on, and he said he did not have anything. This is the guy who chased Shyrel all the way into her bathroom (Where she asked him to wait while she threw up from fright, and then she would be glad to attend to the transfer of the children) He said he sent all the paperwork back to the Judge who issued it. Not one single copy left in his office to substantiate his actions. Our Lawyers advised not to make a scene by going to the court who issued the order. I still do feel sympathy for her, as she is in a bad position...when the system is corrupt, the people in the process constantly face "Sophie's choices"

But, again, conspiracy theorists would have a field day…threats of arrest, then documents disappear. No answers.

What we do know:

The advice of the Casa Alianza lawyers was correct: this judge has no power to arrest us.

The Appeals process we were involved in was legal, and proper.

We were indeed the recipients of an act of abuse of power.

Lamentably, we must pursue a counter decision form the Supreme court. There is no way we can continue caring for children in an environment where this kind of actions occur without response. So we are starting a process of appeal all the way to the Supreme court. Well, Guatemala is a small country, so "all the way from the 1st court to the Supreme court is a 2 step process, and the appeals court already proved their desire to remain out of the loop.

One more note:

A number of people asked why we defied a court order. WE appreciate the genuine concern that many parents of the CQ babies have expressed, and we in turn feel bad that they are caught in this kind of drama. ( I do want to write soon how we and CQ are NOT at all alike)

It is a bit complicated, and we did dispute the judge’s original decision ( not the substance, but the process) BUT we never meant to “defy” the law, or stand on a principle while being arrested. We really respect people like Rosa Parks, but were not trying to emulate her. Here is the chain of events…actually leaving out much, but trying to leave the pertinent points.

1) Original date for audience for the 5 children in our care was October 19.
2) Rescheduled for Nov 9.
3) BUT in the meantime, the judge indicated she would suspend the remaining audiences, and after the first one ( in which we arrived with the 10 children in our care, but were denied participation) said she would write a resolution to cover all of the remaining children.
4) The Judge’s resolution was written on the 18th, then some more were written (redundantly?) on 29 October, indicating the disposition of the children individually.
5) We had appealed the resolution which the judge had indicated was the basis for the resolution covering the disposition of the children scheduled for the audience Nov. 9. Two points:
a. Appeal in process...meaning…no action until appeal is resolved
b. She had already written a resolution.
6) We had asked that the appeals court notify us if we were to proceed to the hearing. No word from them.
7) We did not show up.
a. Two other homes who had QC children did not show up on the dates indicated.
8) Ostensibly, based on our “no-show”, the arrest order was issued.
9) But as we said earlier, the U.S. Embassy had notified QC “parents” the previous Wednesday of our imminent arrest. That is worth another Blog in itself, and once we catch our breath, we will ask the Embassy about their policies, and get to the bottom of this. then we will let you know!

For those of you who hung in there, I want to present you with one of the cutest children you will ever meet. She is with us now, because there was an adoption inprocess, and something went wrong. There is a hearing scheduled. At this poiint, all we know is she was taken from her parents. She wants to live with them. They have visited us numerous times, saying they hope she can return, and that she was stolen. But the hearing date is still 6 months away. We love her already. BUT we want her to be where she should be. In her name, we want to see EVERY adoption process be clear, and proper, and well investigated.


Mario, the Shoeshine Man.

Joshua and Gabby have safely arrived, and invaded Skye and Fe. Pray for Skye, who now has two 13 year olds, and a 5 year old and a 2 year old…and a “T minus 6 month old” in her tummy... to govern and care for.

But let me share an insight from the airport yesterday. After leaving Josh and Gabby in the hands of the attendant who went with them all the way to the plane, I waited in the Airport central area to make sure their plane took off OK ( and that they were on it!)

As I waited, the shoeshine man introduced himself, and we spoke a while. A really precious brother, who has a project helping the street children in one of the worst neighborhoods in Guatemala City. He is clearly not afraid of the street crime rampaging in that area.

As we spoke, it came out that I was putting my children on the plane, because we were in a situation where we were not certain if we might be arrested. “Why?” was the obvious question ( I seemed like such a nice guy, he seemed to say) When I explained that we were trying to get a due process to occur in a case involving adoptions, he had a lot of advice to offer. He pretty much lumped adoptions in with the more nefarious forms of child trafficking, and I tried to tell him there was a difference. But he trumped me by asking how much money was involved per child.

Guatemalans are very gracious, but very shrewd when it comes to financial matters…and again, a poor Guatemalan man, with a good heart, and honest intentions in his life, could not for the life of him, accept that high cost adoptions were of clean motives. One might ask: “When all the people here seem to think that adoptions are dirty, why is there not more of an out cry?” Well, two answers: the first is that there is outcry…Lynchings in rural areas have been an expression of the frustration felt regarding the movement of children. But this man’s answer was different.

In full sincerity, he said we were wrong to oppose any perceived improprieties by our actions…that we should only pray that God resolve and change hearts. I said, “well, I do that” But then he said the Bible said that just people should keep away from bad people. His point was that was how to avoid danger. Remember, Mario works in a tough neighborhood with street kids. He is not a chicken. But when it came to injustice in the system, he clearly wanted to back off. I don’t think we Americans realize what it means in a less open country to defy the big boys. So he has incorporated a way to not respond to systematic injustice to his Theology with the biblical invective to keep away from wrong doers. There is an inference to that in descriptions of just people, like in the Psalms, but I had never heard it applied that way.

HMMM Is that trusting God, or avoiding action? Hmm…are we, on the other hand, Not trusting God, or are we obeying as we trust? Tough call.

Well, for prudent people it might be. But Shyrel and I both made separate decisions before we met each other that we would do what Jesus commanded us to, and have tried to do that, and have been living the consequences ever since. It’s not that we want to provoke anger in people, it’s that we can’t sit by and see the mechanisms established to protect children ignored, and manipulated. We do not want to stop adoptions. On the contrary, I feel sometimes, we are the only people in Guatemala who would like adoptions to continue if there was a law stating that no money could be made. ( of course, enforcing that law could be as useful as the present enforcement of the present statutes!)


Please Permit some Parental Pride

It is a sad, yet really, really proud moment. I just said goodbye to Joshua and Gabby at the airport. It cost way too much, but we sent them to Texas just to get them out of any altercations. The order for our arrest remains in effect as far as we know. You can understand the sad part, I am sure. But why proud?
Let me tell you.
As he and I checked their tickets, and vouchers and customs forms, I thought: “I don’t know many 20 year olds who could handle all this with the cool and patience, and grace that Joshua is helping and handling” Joshua is only 13, but he is one of the most gracious people I know. He is aware, and sometimes cautious, but not afraid of anything. Did I mention smart, and better at airport procedures and paperwork than his dad? I wouldn’t let any other 13 year old I know travel alone either, much less chaperone my granddaughter. But Joshua really is a person apart. Those who have spent even short periods of time with him know what I mean. We are truly blessed to have this young man living, and working with us. We are blessed and not worthy of this young man calling us mom and dad. Little Gabby…so cute and bouncing all around the airport, and drawing everyone’s attention as she shouts her various observations, and dances on the luggage scales, is also already a seasoned traveler, and really does go with the flow to a level that astounds me. I guess that’s a little of what it means to be an MK. All we do affects these two maybe more than us older guys.

I am sad, and proud, and well, angry, that the circumstances make this trip necessary.
Risk harm to one’s self and one’s family, or cow tow to corruption and “the way things are”.

Hell of a choice.

Addition to post...
I need to add a little here: Just as we sent Joshua and Gabby to the states, there was an article in the Prensa Libre that indicated 4,177 children have been sent forcibly in the other direction this year. 4,177 Guatemalan childen have been deprted from Mexico and the U.S. since January. The article explained that these children were trying to get to the states to join parents or to seek work for themselves. The article said that many return to Guatemala with stories of abuse and exploitation. Our children were at some risk, but nothing compared to the children in this story. And, from our relationship with the detention centers in the article and with families here, that number is only a percentage of the children at risk. We need to pray for these children. And to consider what a humane ( Dare I say Godly?) Immigration Policy might look like. Justice is a universal, and a necessity, and often is in conflict with laws and diplomatic decisions.


Is it the bad old days?

Hope for an advance of freedoms and new transparency in the society here in Guatemala, as spearheaded these last few years by President and Mrs. Berger are tempered by the realities of crime, and violence, and impunity still troubling this little country. To be really honest, a student of history must recognise the interference here from folks just to the north, who have for over a hundred years manipulated and corrupted Guatemalan's leaders and laws to get what they wanted, be it bananas, or land or cheap labor. To avoid complete cynicism, one learns to hope, and to try to do right, but to watch one’s back. Case in point…

First, before you read the rest of this, please pray for Shyrel, as I was told by U.S. Embassy staff, as well as the lawyers of the “adoption consortium” as well as parents waiting for children, that she will be arrested by a vindictive, and oddly behaving judge. She refuses to listen to the advice from all quarters to go into hiding. That’s what I love about her, and that’s what drives me crazy about her.

I am writing this as she is talking to the representative of the Human Rights Commission.

Indulge me as I try to relate the incidences experienced this week…that at first I thought were so NOT connected…but now am feeling like either God is in control, or I feel like the conspiracy theory has a lot of validity.

The first thing is reflected in my earlier post. The precious focus of the whirlwind surrounding us had been on my mind (the CQ children, in case you forgot) I also had thought “ I really need to touch base with folks after a week in Quiche virtually without internet”** (OK, so I had a little internet…can’t live without it!) So you got the picture of ( always picture perfect) Jose, and then a little thought about what Mary had said. Our wonderful pediatrician friend, Mary, is mapping the effects of feeding centers and health promoters who teach hygiene in a few really poor areas of Quiche, and it was my privilege this week to be a little help in a wonderful work, by bouncing back and forth between the city and the (incredibly interesting, and very appreciative, and so very different than me) Quiche Indians.. As I said, I got an earful from Mary about the best thing for the CQ kids. Weird how I just then posted it.

But right after I wrote that post, a friend called, saying that we might be about to be arrested.


I found out that Shyrel had refused to go to an audience this morning involving 5 of the CQ kids. Her reasons had been two fold: She had checked in last night with the appeals court regarding her petition that the presiding judge excuse herself from the case involving these 5 children. She was told it was pending, and no action would be taken on the case. No action: as in no return to the audience schedule. This judge had informally told the homes housing CQ kids that there would be no more audiences, as she had resolved the issue once and for all. And, yes, that was the resolution that Shyrel appealed. The second reason was my late arrival from Quiche, due to road work. [Good analogy there: it is horrible right now to travel west from Guatemala City…because next year at this time there will be a four lane Highway. Yes it is a mess now, and short sighted people will belly ache to no end. But it had to get worse to get better.] I feel like right now, foresighted people who want children to be adopted understand that things are “bumpy” and slow but they must be like this for a while, so that in the future, they will get better. But there are those who want what they want when they want it, and so solid gains are sacrificed to temporary advances. When I got here, I suggested that we take the kids in…but that was disrupted by “the phone call”.

The strange thing was the phone call echoed an e-mail I got from a supposed CQ adoptive parent. ** I had gone to an Internet Café Thursday evening to try to send a design to a man that…well…never mind my reasons…but I GOT a load of e-mails from the CQ parental type folks who ranged from asking in a sincere way what was up with their children…to pretty caustic e-mails telling me I was not right to keep the CQ kids. I really do empathize with these people even though it becomes clearer and clearer that they have entered into agreements with less that credible people. So I ended up spending some time responding to the e-mails. One, though, was odd, and not representative of the majority. This person said, on THURSDAY, that I was going to jail. Then, an order is written on FRIDAY for our arrest, ostensibly due to Shyrel’s action Friday morning. HMMM. Foreknowledge. Either this person was a biblical prophet, or this person had been in contact with someone who felt that they could pull the strings of the justice system in Guatemala.

This reminds me that we had spoken to the other homes who had received the children from CQ and we all had attended an initial meeting regarding the odd behavior at the first audience. This last week, it became apparent that we were going to be alone in crying “foul”. The leaders of the other homes decided the risk of offence outweighed the potential for reform, and asked the judge to remove the children from their homes.

Needless to say, the phone call telling us about the rumored arrests generated more phone calls on our part. I am really gratified in the number of Guatemalan officials at all levels who have said they appreciate our stand against corruption, and appreciate our trying to allow enough time for a thorough investigation. They indicated ( understandably in a system rife with vindictive, corrupt people ) that they cannot say anything officially, but that they would do everything in their power to help us. This gives me hope for Guatemala, as their hearts are right, even as their fear for their livelihood impedes them. I do not judge them, and really do have hope for Guatemala, even though I read an article this week from an economic journal in the US that said that all reform here was window dressing. I wanted to argue against that, but their statistics were overwhelming. I will try to get the link…worth reading to see what we are fighting…and I believe it is WE, including many Guatemalans, and not just Shyrel.

SO…there were other foreshadowing’s making this week feel like an episode from “The Days of our Lives”, but let me cut to the chase:

The same JP who had invaded us on Shyrel’s birthday last month arrived wiht the CQ Lawyers in tow... or vice versa. Banging the door. Threatening jail for all who resisted. Reminiscent of the raid in August on the CQ Home. But the difference was only this: this is our home. Shyrel and I live here with our precious charges. Shyrel called our local police, who arrived quite quickly. There are rules about one’s home in Guatemala, and obviously, the rights of a home owner were clear to the accompanying policemen, who left it to the JP to rant and rave, and push on our doors, and then the private lawyer representing CQ to slam Shyrel’s head with the door. We believe the policemen had in their possession our arrest warrant. They did not act on it, and the JP only served the Judge’s VERY STRANGE release of the children to the CQ representatives. All in all, a strange evening…with nothing really resolved:

We are not arrested, but there is an outstanding warrant for our arrest. CQ “Parent” rant not withstanding. The threatened search and seizure we were warned about did not occur. BUT sadly, the worst thing that could have again happened to the children (according to our pediatrician) … happened. They were again broken from their heart attachments. Our caretakers are heartbroken. We are heartbroken. BUT that is maybe only a dim reflection of what these little ones are feeling right now. We are not heartbroken as if we expected them to stay with us forever, We know our privilege is to care for children at risk for key periods of thier lives, not forever. But I don’t think little Gustavo, and Roberto, and maybe especially Elisabeth, because she is SO aware of the little things, are aware that what has happened is not once again monumental. I guess I would feel better if I felt the lawyer who supervised the judges, or the directors of the home really cared about these children. I hope the children get to their forever families quickly. It makes me wonder if maybe we could have all talked together at the beginning as adults to see if there was a way to best serve the children. But maybe that is my dreamer side. From the outset, we only heard vilifications from the other adults involved… at least those who were here in Guatemala. But maybe we should have turned the other cheek, and sought middle ground. I am sorry it turned out like this, with one more trauma for the innocents…and even as I tried to sympathize with the directors of CQ, we now find out we were being plotted against…not approached ever. The judge’s silly resolution stated that we as a home for children have no voice in what happens to them, but Guatemalan civil code is clear that our responsibility is to provide care and protection, and that we are their legal representatives from the moment their enter our care. Before God, we have done our best.

So who has won? Will someone claim victory? The judge may well lose her post. We might spend time in jail. The JP? He was a bully before, then like a cat on a hot tin roof when the Casa Alianza folks showed up. But saddest: the children have suffered again and again. And the process? NO ONE can say that this was an investigative success with a straight face.

The doubts will continue.

The stigma of adoptions from Guatemala was increased by this unfortunate series of events.

What will it take to say enough is enough, and see that the people who have controlled adoptions in Guatemala have not done a service to Guatemalan children in need?


too cute for words

It’s been a while since I last posted…so to make amends, will share the cutest picture I have seen lately.

Rocky and Adrian had four cute pups, and Jose, who is Adrian’s favorite person anyway, has been hanging with the little cuties.

We have been dealing with the best possible scenarios for difficult situations lately, and especially with the special visitors we have in our care. SO many people have been challenging us to consider in all we do what is best for the children in our care. We have thought that was our priority, but wanted to make sure, and so engaged our friend and prominent Pediatrician for advice. She was appalled at the nighttime movement of the children who came to us in August, but said the worst thing for them now, is to move again. Her assessment was that these children will be better prepared to integrate into their American Families by staying, and not be broken from the new bonds in our home. Interesting point. I am hoping we all can indeed work together, and get these children where they belong as soon as possible…and that it happens in a way that will warrant better things for the children in the future adoptions. It truly is horrible for the legitimate and loving parents waiting for these children. Please join with us and pray for these children and the ones who have so much invested in them.