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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Local family joins fight in adoption crisis

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rob and Tammy York hold their adpoted daughter Meilani Angelykotella Ajanel during a trip to Guatemala.
A national adoption crisis hit close to home, as it has directly impeded the lives of a Greencastle family.

Tammy York, a kindergarten teacher at Central Elementary School, lives with her husband Rob, owner of York Chevrolet Pontiac Buick in Brazil, and their three boys. Wanting a girl, York sought out adoption options.

Things seemingly came to fruition in November 2007, when they received a referral for a Guatemalan girl named Meilani Angelykotella Ajanel. The Yorks were expecting a 6 to 9 month wait for the newest addition of their family to arrive.

Their plans, as well as the plans of 900 families nationwide, hit a snag just one month later, when Guatemala, due to allegations adoption brokers were pressuring women to give up their children by paying them, or in some instances stealing the children, shut down their adoption agencies. The action has left all prospective parents who were waiting at that time for their adopted children in limbo.

To combat what they considered to be a great injustice, the families formed a group called the Guatemala 900, and culminated their cause with a June 17 march in Washington D.C., going through spots such as the Department of Treasury and the Taft Memorial.

York was in attendance for the march and said it was reassuring to be around people enduring the same plight as her family.

"The experience was amazing," York said. "To meet people in the same situation as (my family and I) are in was a great way to get the word out for our cause."

York also said it was humbling being around people who have been waiting for their children for much longer periods of time than she and her family have been waiting.

"Our wait has been rough, but some of the people I met have been waiting for around 3-and-a-half years," York said. "Their stories are heartbreaking."

After the march, the group was addressed by Tom DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services. The day's activities closed with a candlelight vigil in front of the Guatemalan Embassy.

York also made a personal connection, speaking with a staffer for Indiana Senator Evan Bayh. The staffer, who asked not to be identified, said the Senator would be approached to approve the writing of a letter to Guatemalan officials addressing a speedy resolution in the matter.

The extended wait has not prohibited York from developing a relationship with the now 19-and-a-half month old Meilani. York has gone to Guatemala to visit her three times and has already planned a fourth trip next month. She said she instantly fell in love with the girl, calling her "amazing" and crediting her for "being able to adjust to any situation."

York said she left the rally feeling good about what the group had accomplished. She said she hopes this will bring awareness as it has left the lives of 900 families in limbo.

York's biggest concern, though, was about the young children, who are all more than 18 months old, some of whom are approaching toddlerhood without having permanent families.

"The situation is the toughest on the children," York said. "The longer they go without having a family, the harder their lives become.

For more information, visit www.guatemala900.org. Included on the site is a form letter concerned citizens can fill out and send to their congressmen, in hopes they will take action in the matter.

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I don't care if people want to adopt foreign babies. But, the York's and the other waiting families were more interested in "getting the word out for 'our' cause" than waiting to make sure they were not going to recieve a 'stolen' child! Does their "want" trump a Guatemalan"s parent "right" to keep their own child? I understand that these were just allegations but I,personally, would wait some more to be sure.

-- Posted by Rome on Sun, Jun 21, 2009, at 6:43 AM

UMad, your comment along suggests the ignorance you have for foreign adoption. Do yourself--and everyone else--a favor and research what life is like for some of these kids in foreign orphanages like China, India, and other places. I am sure there are kids who could be adopted here in the states, but I am also sure that we are lucky to live in a country where people are still valued, at least compared to the rest of the world. And there are programs and homes that makes sure those kids needs are met and they are getting education, etc. In foreign countries, adoption can literally save a life. It can also save young girls from becoming homeless or in some countries being captured and made a sex slave. So instead of throwing out your "awesome dig" on a website, realize that families who do adopt foreign children are doing a wonderful thing and saving that child from possibly untold horrors. (And no, I haven't adopted a child from another country. Should I have the means one day, however, I might consider it)

-- Posted by cloverfan on Mon, Jun 22, 2009, at 7:36 AM

I think it is great that these people are adopting these children from foreign countries or here. It is a loving gesture no matter what county the child is coming from.

But, for cloverlady to say it is saving lives because there are programs to protect US children living in foster care is well an opinion at best. Having lived most of my child hood in foster care and in and out of group homes it is no picnic and there really is no one to protect you in those places. Maybe we were not met with death, but you still indure abuse and a feeling of loneliness that some never over come. Oh sure we got to go to school and get and education but it is very assuming for her to think we were in anyway "valued". So I think her opinion should have been better thought as well.

-- Posted by tjchopper on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 5:14 PM

Sorry my mistake cloverfan.

-- Posted by tjchopper on Tue, Jun 23, 2009, at 5:15 PM

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