A Waiting Game

Margaret & Tom relaxing in Florida

A year ago in May, I was thrilled to learn that the University of Texas Press had decided to publish my book about our story in their Louann Atkins Temple Women and Culture series. Last summer I got the manuscript into final form. The book was shortened slightly while I formatted it in a certain way for the editing process. Nelson was a huge help to me, as I also needed to scan some family photos to a high standard so that they could be included in the book.

After the book was copy edited, I had to review it all again in early November and respond to the copy editor’s questions about all kinds of details. Then in December, Tom, Derek, Nelson and I “triangulated” with folks in the editorial and marketing departments at the press about the title. We knew that the book needed a subtitle that would contain the most important search terms, but we didn’t all agree on what those words should be. After a flurry of emails, we finally all agreed on Missing Mila, Finding Family: An International Adoption in the Shadow of the Salvadoran Civil War.

In March I was sent the page proofs. I was excited to be able to get my first sense of what the book will actually look like, a 6 ½ by 9 ½ inch paperback of about 280 pages. But I still had not heard anything about the cover design. I was getting anxious. I wanted a certain picture of Mila as a teenager to be used on the cover, but the design process was up to the art department and out of my hands. Finally, just when Nelson was in El Salvador in late March the Editor in Chief sent me the mock-up. You can imagine how nervous I was to see what they had created. Tom, and Derek were standing right behind me, looking over my shoulder at the computer screen as I opened the file to get our first peek. As the editor put it, “ the designer managed to accommodate [my] dreams for the cover in a very successful and sophisticated yet accessible look. “ It is going to be beautiful.

I get asked almost every day now, “When will it be out?” “How can I get a copy?” While my work is now done–going over the page proofs to catch last little mistakes and creating an index–we’re still only in the seventh inning stretch. My book’s spot in their printing queue is in late October. For those who can’t wait, you can pre-order late this summer at the press’s website. Specifics will follow!

Start of Something New: Making a Documentary

Sharing Our Story

In 2007 I started this blog with my sister as a way to record our thoughts and help my mother with her book. Over the past three years we’ve posted almost 100 times and talked about everything from adoption to identity. As well as being therapeutic, it’s been a lot of fun.

One of the best parts about sharing our story has been meeting and reconnecting with people who were touched by our words. I’ve heard from people I’ve never met, thanking us for writing about our experiences. I’ve also been reconnected with people from my past.


One of those people who reached out to reconnect was John Younger. John was my counselor at summer camp in 1990. He still remembers when my little brother Derek came to visit. He says it was striking to see how close Derek and I were despite being so different on the outside. That image has stayed with him for all these years.

John was so moved from reading the blog that he offered to help us tell the story. I have been working with him to improve my writing. He also helped with the lighting and testing the setup for the interview I did with my parents. Over the past few weeks we have been talking seriously about creating a documentary related to some aspect of the story.

Making a Documentary

While I’ve done photography for years, I’ve never made a documentary. John has been explaining the ins and outs of the business. We have been talking about everything from a story line, to equipment, to how we are going to finance it. It has been very interesting and I am learning a lot.

There is still a lot of work to do. We need to figure out what exactly it is going to be about, how we are going to shoot it, and how to finance it. As we work out all the details we will be bring you along for the ride.

Doing Something Different

One of the things we really want to do with this project is include all of you. As this project develops I will be updating this blog about its progress. I’ll be sharing just about all of our ideas and decisions as we make them. This will create a type of production journal that people will be able to follow. Maybe one day it will even become a blueprint that other people can use.

Part of the documentary is going to be a series of interviews with different family members. Just like the interview with my parents, we will be broadcasting over the web so all of you can participate. The idea is not only to share everything, but to allow others to be a part of it. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the project we would love to hear them. This is a new journey and we are very excited to see where it takes us!

Join Our Journey

Its been quiet on the blog recently, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. We are making progress with the book. I can’t say anything right now, but we may have some major announcements in the coming months.

As we move closer to publication, we invite you to be part of our journey by joining our monthly newsletter. Every month we will be sharing our thoughts and experiences about our story as well as updating you about news, special events and the book.

Thank you so much for all of your support. It means a lot to us. If you have any questions or problems feel free to email Nelson/Roberto at: dewittn@anasmiracle.com

Embracing Ana, monthly email from us to you.
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Interview With My Mother About the Book

The other weekend I was visiting my parents and I was able to sit down with my mother and talk about the book. We talked about the research that went into it and how she spent time with my birth family trying to piece together the story.

If you can’t see the video above click here.

The Idea For the Book

Originally it was going to be a project for both my mother and father, but they quickly realized that someone had to take full responsibility. In 2002 my mother was finishing up another book she was working on and she decided that it was a great opportunity to start.

The Research

In 2004 she got serious about starting the book and began by taking Spanish classes. She knew she would have to have difficult conversations with my family and it would be best to do those in Spanish. My mother and brother both took classes in Costa Rica to help improve her Spanish language skills.

In late 2005 she was at a point where her Spanish was good enough to start interviewing people. She spent a couple of weeks living with members of my birth mother and birth father’s families. During this time there was a lot of opportunity for conversation and to dig a little deeper. They started to remember a lot of details that we did not know before, and helped piece together the story. They also helped her dig up old newspapers which provided a context for our story.

We talked about the repression of memory and how we learned a lot of new information very quickly. My mother talks about how her own records reminded her about pieces of the story she had forgotten.

She really wanted people to be a part of the journey we experienced. To go from not knowing, to putting the pieces back together.

We Want to Hear From You!

My mother and I had been talking about the power of social networks and how it relates to the book. I thought it would be neat if people could come back to the Facebook group and leave their thoughts about her work. She would love to hear what people think about it and so would I. You can also leave a comment on this post. Hope to hear from you!