GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 49

wrote a heartfelt letter stating he would be a strong male presence in his grandson’s life. Kara attended how-to-be-a-parent meetings. She had to leave once when a happy couple visited with their Guatemalan newborn; she broke into anguished sobs, afraid motherhood would never be her reality. “Think of this time as your labor pains,” I said. When discussing our plan to be foster caregivers for Karson, Kara, who’d never had a baby, explained to Joe and me, who’d had two babies, how babies think. She’d read it in a book, and she gave us the book so we would know how to care for a baby. “He won’t bond with you,” she said, “The baby attaches to the Milk Provider.” To our knowledge, we were the only U.S. grandparents to foster-care an adoptive around The Boy. It took almost two hours for him to drink three ounces of formula, so we fed him 24/7. Each day began with Computer Time. Karson sucked his bottle, blinking wisely at the computer as he and Joe played Solitaire or Minesweeper. My first task was to handwash Karson’s clothes and then soak them in fabric softener. We had a tiny two-tiered hanger that I hung outside; visitors often said they enjoyed the fragrance of Karson’s clothes drying in the Guatemalan sun. Karson and I watched The Price is Right on television, and then it was Outside Time. We had a beautiful flowered courtyard with a view of nearby volcanoes. Karson and I strolled and discussed important matters: “Are we wet?” I would coo. He blinked. Not yet, but don’t leave town. “How’s my InternatIonal adoptIon: what you need to know Intercountry adoption is in its infancy within the global community. Governments, regulatory organizations and adoption agencies all want what is best for Guatemala’s homeless children; but at this time, U.S. adoptions are on hold. In 2007 approximately 5,000 Guatemalan babies were adopted by citizens of other countries, most of them U.S. families. Reputable adoption agencies worked closely with Guatemalan authorities and attorneys to protect that country’s adoptive children while joining them with families in the U.S. But abuses existed. In an effort to protect Guatemala’s homeless children, a plan was put into place. The plan itself was problematic, and intercountry adoptions between the U.S. and Guatemala came to a screeching halt in 2008. “When Guatemala adoptions worked, it was the best system in the world,” said one adoption agency executive. “When it didn’t…it was the worst.” Sadly, domestic adoptions are almost nonexistent in Guatemala; homeless children do not have much hope for a single-family opportunity. “The whole system needs to become functional,” said another agency representative. “In order to meet U.S. requirements, the Guatemalan government has to implement the new process properly, but at this time Guatemala does not have adequate resources or the funding for that to happen.” NOVEMBER DECEMBER 2008 GRAND 49 I wanted Karson’s birth mother to know that it wasn’t these two old folks who were adopting her son baby in Guatemala. We lived with Karson in Antigua, but his “official” foster caregiver was a Guatemalan woman, Rosa. When Karson attended any adoption activity, we met Rosa at a Guatemala City hotel and she took him to the required event. There is no “price break” from the adoption agency or reimbursement if you foster-care your own child. The agency insists adoptive parents live in agency-approved housing and never take the child anywhere without consent and without the agency driver. Our grandson Karson had been born to a Q’eqchi’ Indian woman from a village near Mazatenango. In the Westin Hotel lobby, Rosa spoke and a translator interpreted: “He doesn’t like baths. He is drinking three ounces every two hours.” She beamed at him. “He’s a beautiful baby.” It was January 2006, and the tiny bundle of Karson weighed barely six pounds. I looked down at the sleeping baby, almost small enough to be a raisin in a blue blanket. I looked up at Joe. “I hope we don’t screw this up,” I whispered. The baby stirred and barely opened his eyes. You got The Milk? As foster grandparents, our lives revolved sweet boy today? Are you Abuela’s (grandmother’s) good boy?” Karson stretched. I’m okay, but where’s The Milk? “Oh, my! Are we poopy? What a stinky baby!” Karson frowned. At night, you and that old man release some toxic gasses yourselves. At his three-month checkup, Karson weighed a whopping 12 pounds. Our driver took us to a Sears store in Guatemala City, because we were looking for one of those crank-up swings you put babies in to get them to drift off. On one shelf I saw a piano keyboard with lots of lights. I held Karson up and hit a switch. The theme to Masterpiece Theatre lit the airwaves like a beacon and Karson glowed. He gurgled appreciatively and bounced. I hit another key. Lights flashed and jaunty “Alouette” played. Karson smiled and reached. Money was no object. I had to get a rock-and-play piano for The Boy. Joe said no. “We came here to get a swing, not a piano.” I gripped the box tighter and shuffled Karson back into his carrier. “If you could just see his face when the music plays,” I begged. “He’s not old enough!” Joe protested.

GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008

Grand Magazine - November/December 2008
Grand View
Contents
Isn't It Grand?
Grand Central
Ask Grand
Grand Gestures
Just So We Know
Full House-Full Heart-Full Time
First, Serve
On the Cover: Vice President-Elect Joe Biden
Incredibly Hip High-Tech Gifts
Foreign Exchange
Home (and Hungry!) for the Holidays
Being the Peace
Reunions
Together Time
Read Aloud
Grand Bazaar
Resources
Grand Finale
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Magazine - November/December 2008
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 1
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand View
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 3
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 5
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 6
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 7
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 8
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 9
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 10
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 11
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Isn't It Grand?
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 13
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 14
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Central
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 16
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 17
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 18
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 19
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 20
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 21
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 22
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 23
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Ask Grand
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 25
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Gestures
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 27
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Just So We Know
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 29
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 30
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 31
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Full House-Full Heart-Full Time
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 33
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 34
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 35
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - First, Serve
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 37
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 38
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 39
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - On the Cover: Vice President-Elect Joe Biden
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 41
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 42
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 43
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Incredibly Hip High-Tech Gifts
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 45
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 46
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 47
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Foreign Exchange
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 49
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 50
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 51
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Home (and Hungry!) for the Holidays
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 53
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 54
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 55
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 56
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 57
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Being the Peace
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 59
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Reunions
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 61
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 62
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 63
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 64
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 65
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Together Time
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 67
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Read Aloud
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 69
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 70
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 71
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Bazaar
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 73
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 74
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 75
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 77
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 78
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 79
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Grand Finale
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 81
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - 82
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover3
GRAND Magazine - November/December 2008 - Cover4
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