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!

Video From My Interview With My Parents About My Adoption: Enjoy!

On Sunday I interviewed my parents about what they went through to adopt me. They shared how they were just beginning the adoption process when a mysterious phone call changed their lives forever.

Please feel free to leave questions or comments. We have already received a few and we will do our best to answer all of them!

You’re Invited! Join Us As We Celebrate 27 Years of Adoption

You’re invited to join us as we celebrate adoption day and 27 years of being together Sunday May 30th at 7:00pm on our Facebook Fan Page.

We’ll be broadcasting from our home in New Hampshire and sharing our memories and thoughts on adoption. We will be sharing our memories, talking about larger adoption issues and answering your questions.

Details here: http://bit.ly/apGybN

We will have some major announcements about the book soon. Join our journey and we’ll keep you updated with the latest news. http://eepurl.com/mlQr

Derek’s First Post

Okay, so Nelson/Roberto has been getting on my case to actually contribute here. I promised I would in January, but then I got into my last semester of college and things were crazy and hectic. But I digress. For those who don’t know me, my name is Derek, and I am Nelson’s brother. My biological parents are his adoptive parents. I was born on May 30, 1985, two years to the day after my parents took him from the orphanage in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

For this post I’ll deal with the beginning, at least the beginning for me. Obviously I knew from early on that Nelson was ‘different’ and my parents explained to him and I as best they could about who he was and what they knew, which wasn’t much. At that age, it doesn’t really matter. Family is family. Nelson was and is my brother in every meaning of the word. He has always looked out for me and I knew that he cared. We were very close, even though he was four years older than me.

My brother has already written about the night when he found out that he had family looking for him, so I won’t repeat the basic events. I don’t remember any other time, before or since, that my parents sounded so serious when they mentioned that they needed to talk with us after dinner. Right now I’m sitting no more than thirty feet from where I was that night, and I can still remember the look on my their faces and on my brother’s. Obviously, when you hear those words as a kid, you think about divorce and my parents were quick to explain that that was not the reason for this talk. In hindsight, Nelson is right to say that it didn’t make sense, but as I will reiterate later, the first thoughts of a 12 year-old on anything are not always rational.

As they explained the situation, I probably must have turned as white as a sheet, which is impressive for me considering my normal pallor. My first thought was that now that Nelson’s real family had found him, they would want him to live with them and I would never see him again. Looking back, it sounds silly, but I really felt scared for a bit that I would lose my brother forever.

Pretty soon, it will have been ten years since that night and instead of losing a brother, I’ve gained an entire second family. I can understand the apprehension that somebody might feel in this situation. I experienced a lot of new things and it wasn’t always easy, but I’m glad now that it happened. Everyone has been so welcoming, from the very first letters that our parents read to us that night through all of the visits and the other correspondence I have never once felt like an outsider, always like a member of the family. That’s enough for now, I’ll relate some of my other thoughts later.

Moving out of the house I lived in for 19 years

Today I moved out of my the house I have been living in for 19 years. Its an odd feeling to see the room that you most of your life growing up in empty. As I walked around the house a flood of memories came back from various parts of my child hood. I have so many memories both good and bad here. More good than bad. Part of me will miss it and part of me won’t. I know that everything changes. No matter how hard we try to fight everything will change.

I still have a vague memory of driving up to the house for the first time. I remember looking out of the car window at the stone wall fence across the street. As we drove by my parents said “here we are.” I remember having a funny feeling as I looked up at the house. I had a funny feeling again this morning as I drove up to the house for what might be the last time. This was a different feeling however. I can’t describe but it was strange looking up into what has been my room for the past 19 years and knowing probably would never see it again.

Its strange to think how much has changed in our lives since we moved there. When I moved in I was just starting the first grade. Now I am all grown and on my own. Half the time I spent there I had no idea I had family looking for me. The other half I spent visiting them.

I find the way people deal with change interesting. So many people are afraid and fight it. But change is like a the great river of life. You can try as hard as you want to stop the river or swim against the current but it does no good. You will most likely drown. However I think the thing we forget is that we need change…we demand it. Its a tricky situation however. We change too much and we lose ourselves. We don’t change enough and we become board and lazy.

In the end I guess this is a good thing. In order to be our best we need to forget everything we know and start over. so now…I will start over.

My thoughts on the Virginia Tech shootings

I thought I would take a sec a reflect on yesterdays events. I know its a little off topic for this blog but at the same time I think its important and its been on my mind.

Last night I was watching news coverage on the events and they had this “expert” from NY talking about how this should have been handled like a terrorist attack. He was saying that the school should have been shut down right away as soon as the first bullets were fired.

That’s easy to say now. I’m sure the school responded as they thought was appropriate. I don’t think it handling it like a terrorist attack is the right thing to do either. Just look at what happened here in Boston a few months ago with the bomb scare. The city of Boston over reacted and created a huge mess.

My dad was, right Americans need to blame someone. I think blaming the school it to easy. In these situation you can ALWAYS do something better that MIGHT have saved more lives. But really there is no way for the school to know that this guy was going to start shooting people. Its not there fault he went psycho.

If you must blame someone blame this coward to senselessly attacked people and then took the easy way out by killing himself. I can just see it now. There is going to be an investigation into Virgina tech to see what when wrong.

I’m sure the school could have done something a little better but this guy was determined to kill people. He had it planned out. He chained the doors and had spare clips. I mean how do you plan for something like that? You can’t and trying to have some plan in place for an event like this isn’t going to help either.

What are you going to do have everyone in every school walk through a medal detector? No you train for the worst and pray it never happens. Its a tragedy and its horrible but sadly these things happen and they happen all over the world.

In fact I find it interesting that we as Americans are so upset about this when these things happen everyday in Darfur. If 33 people were killed in a tiny African village would anyone care?

I don’t really have a point. I just think the whole thing sucks. Its sad that these thing happen both here and around the world. My heart goes out to the family and students.

One a side not this is a pretty bad week in modern American history. Things that happened this week:

Columbine Shooting – April 20th 1999
Oklahoma Bombing – April 19th, 1995
Woca Texas Fire – April 19th, 1993

I’m not suggesting there is a connection its just interesting that they happened around the same time.