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Mamalita

By Jessica O’Dwyer $16.95; Seal Press



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Mamalita follows Jessica O’Dwyer on the path from innocence to outrage and fear, as she and her husband encounter layers of corruption in the adoption process. When she moves to Guatemala to be with her daughter, and to try to untangle the knot of lies and inertia that has stalled her case, the reader sees glimpses of the beauty of Guatemala—and of the stressful world of the waiting families. As the truths of their situations sink in, the families lose trust in almost everyone and become increasingly desperate to find a way home.

This is a richly written book, part thriller, part love story, part exposé, with a happy ending that still eludes hundreds of families caught in the Guatemalan shutdown. It is a cautionary tale; the factors that contorted the Guatemalan system (war, poverty, racism, and the overpowering effect of adoption dollars) are at work in many countries from which U.S. citizens adopt. The fear of losing a loved child can drive parents to do things they never imagined they would do. You will enjoy this engaging book, and the thorny questions it raises!

Reviewed by TESI KOHLENBERG, adoptive parent of a child from Guatemala.

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