Pictured above is Ronald McDonald (left) and the president of Guatemala Oscar Berger (right). Berger is persona non grata among adoption families right now. I can understand some of UNICEF's oppossition to adoption (this could get me in trouble with some guatemamas) because it is at least based on some decent principles. From my limited understanding of Guatemalan politics, this guy is just a creep. His exploitation of the poor in his country is pathetic and tragic. His--and his wife's--opposition to adoption doesn't make sense until you follow the dollar signs.
There were some great comments on the blog that ran this picture, http://guatemala.adoptionblogs.com/:
"I do however find it odd that these two are together since their agendas for children are so different...one wants make sure kids eat garbage and the other wants to make sure they don't eat at all."
I don't really check out the adoption blogs, usually, because I find it suprisingly hard to identify with these people. We seem to be passionate about the same things (children) but for really different reasons. The aforementioned blog had some great lines, however. This blogger, LisaS., is a great writer. Here's her concluding paragraph to her latest post:
When the Bergers retire from office in January 2008, they will leave behind a legacy of social apathy. They will also have secured a notorious spot in the
adoption history of Guatemala because instead of implementing changes built on a
system that had many outstanding features, such as foster parents, they will
completely wipe it out only to replace it with adysfunctional substitute.
A few thoughts:
First, thank you so much for all of you who took the time to contact your representatives. I've never been a petition guy, but there is reason to believe that our state department and elected officials are putting some much needed pressure on the Guatemalan government.
Second, there's a lot of hatred out there for UNICEF among adopting parents. I may not understand the enitre situation, but I don't feel quite the same level of antipathy for them. Here's my two cents:
a) I agree with many of UNICEF's stated goals. We should be uneasy when a wealthy country begins to seemingly plunder children from a poor country. It's not enough to take children out of that situation...we need to rectify the underlying problems that have put children in such a terrible situation.
b) The problem is UNICEF's methodology and perhaps motives are not as pure as might be assumed. They are bribing elected officials in Guatemala to stop adoptions.
c) UNICEF seems blissfully unconcerned with the havoc stopping adoptions will have on the Guatemalan social structure, specifically the children. Do they really think that a country that allows its adoption system to be so corrupt will have the infrastructure to care for the children caught in the middle? It's preposterous.
Anyway, just some thoughts and updates. The sabbatical is going well. Here's just a brief recap:
1. I finished my DMin classwork last week for my current class.
2. This week, I have read about six or seven books on vision casting and the church.
3. I did several other things I will write more about when I come back from sabbatical.
4. I taught the kids how to play chess. This has been pretty crazy, but the kids have been playing chess a couple hours a day the past few days. They can't get enough of it. Now, they're very unorthodox players For example, Austin went on a tear with his king where he brought it down to Hannah's back row and went to town capturing pieces...you don't see that everyday. They really are starting to get the basics down. Hannah is getting very good at seeing several moves ahead. On the downside, this makes her overly cautious. She won't move a piece if there is a possibility you could capture it in 3 moves. Austin, on the other hand, will sacrifice an infinite number of pieces to capture even your pawn. He is also really good at making sound effects. This makes it very interesting to watch them play each other.
5. Whitney and I have been preparing for our half-marathon. I did my 13 miler on Thursday. I tried to just take it easy and go at a steady pace. I'm not going to break any records...my average mile time was 7:35. Whitney did her long run today and is pretty exhausted.