Erin Siegal is an investigative journalist and photographer. Her writing and photography have been published in such publications as the New York Times, Time magazine, Curve, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, and with Reuters. She has collaborated on projects with NGOs such as the Urban Justice Center, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, and, in 2009, her reporting on adoption corruption resulted in a fellowship with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting at Brandeis University. Finding Fernanda is Siegal's first book.
Finding Fernandaby Erin Siegal
What began as Erin Siegal's 2009 Master's project as a Fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Reporting at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism evolved into a complex investigation of $30,000 U.S. dollars, four Guatemalan "orphans," one nonprofit evangelical Christian adoption agency, a family-run child-trafficking ring, one infant cut from her unconscious mother's womb, two tiny missing sisters, and a nine-member Tennessee family who believed wholeheartedly in Christian love and faith-until the dark side of international adoption shattered their trust. Siegal reveals the heart wrenching story of how one poor Guatemalan woman, Mildred Alvarado, ultimately reunited with her kidnapped daughters against all odds-and how the American housewife slated to adopt one of those children, Elizabeth Emanuel, accidentally became a reformer dedicated to an ethical adoption system.
FINDING FERNANDA sheds light on the highly politicized landscape of Guatemala's adoption industry, a multi-million dollar trade that was both highly profitable and barely regulated. Children have been stolen, sold, and placed as orphans in corrupt international adoptions to well-intentioned Western parents ever since the industry began in the 1980s, yet the governments of Guatemala and the United States repeatedly proved unwilling and incapable of regulating the baby trade. Of the 100,000 children adopted into the United States between 2004 and 2008, over 20,000 were Guatemalan.
With help of documents obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, leaked emails, and key sources inside both the Guatemalan and U.S. governments, Siegal's research traces one compelling case of corruption in detail from start to finish. Along the way, the mechanisms surrounding "orphan laundering" are illuminated, including the roles of baby-finders, caretakers, judges, government officials, and more. This cadena perpetua, or perpetual chain, involves everyone from Guatemalan judges to U.S. embassy officials.
Provocative as it is captivating, FINDING FERNANDA an overdue, unprecedented look at how adoption corruption occurs-- and a poignant, riveting human story about the power of hope, faith, and determination.
- Cathexis Press, LLC
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.72(d)
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International human trafficking - Kidnapped babies - Corrupt judicial systems - Sophisticated cartels that ruthlessly protect a huge international criminal enterprise. These are the issues of the day that this book exposes like no other has before. Don't be fooled by the "soft-sounding" title -- it's more like a great "page-turner" crime thriller than simply a story about the adoption aspect. It pulls you in to a world of dark intrigue as you "follow the money"; a very serious and highly professional exposé of an alarming criminal presence that has been ignored and swept under the rug by the powers that be. After reading this book, you will not be able to ignore it any longer...
I had no idea things like this happen in todays world but they do. The stregnth of the families involved could be felt by reading this book.