LNNC September Newsletter page 1
LNNC Goes Digital! September 2004
We have entered the electronic age - the newsletter has gone digital! From now on
you will be downloading/printing your own newsletter if you are on our email list!
Agencies and non electronically-connected members will still be receiving hard copies in
Many thanks to Mark Baran for creating and managing our wonderful new website:
www.lnnc-il-us.org. It looks terrific. We welcome feedback and suggestions for improving
the site, adding links and resources, or other important information you would like to see
on our website. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are NOT on our e-mail group list, and would like to be, please email our
membership director, Karen Schiller, at email@example.com.
Editor: Heidi Grosowsky Membership director: Karen Schiller Web Services: Mark Baran
8540 Keystone Avenue 2355 Silverthorn Drive 39 Stonegate Rd.
Skokie, IL 60076 Rockford, IL 61107 LaGrange Park, IL 60526
Phone: 847 329 9956 Phone: 815 637 6532 Phone: 708 482 4737
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email: email@example.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A complimentary copy of the newsletter is sent to interested agencies, with the hope that they will make
copies and forward it to their clients. Currently, the newsletter is being sent to the following agencies:
Small Miracles International, Midwest City, OK., The Cradle, Evanston, IL., Family Resource
Center, Chicago, IL., Sunny Ridge Family Center, Wheaton, IL., Lifelink, Bensonville, IL., Catholic
Charities, Chicago, IL., World Child, Inc., Oak Park, IL., Lutheran Child and Family Services,
Addison, IL., Families through International Adoption, Evansville, IN., Wasatch International
Adoptions, Ogden, UT., Wide Horizons, Waltham, MA., Ballard, Desai, Bush-Joseph & Horwich,
Adoption and Reproduction Technology Law, Chicago, IL.,
The information herein is intended to be of interest to the reader. It is the reader's responsibility to
determine if the information is useful and reliable. This newsletter does not take the responsibility or
have the resources to investigate any of the material herein nor do we endorse anything described in the
Two complimentary issues are sent to new contacts. Additional issues will be sent only when
membership dues are received.
This newsletter depends on your contributions. Everyone involved in the adoption process has a story to
tell. Why not share yours?
LNNC September Newsletter page 2
Guatemala Families Celebrate Connections!
By Darinka D’Alessio
In late July 2004 the Hilton Hotel in Camden, New Jersey (suburban Philadelphia area) was alive with the sounds
of laughing families and beautiful children celebrating the connection they shared through adoption from
What brought these 160 families together? It was billed as the Fiesta del Quetzal and organized by a few
dedicated souls working with the simple title of GAFE--or Guatemala Adoptive Families Event-- to produce the
get together for second year.
What an undertaking it was!...and kudos to the dedication and organization of the planners!
There being a dearth of activities for families who have adopted from Guatemala, I decided to travel to Philadelphia
with my two children, ages 9 and 7, What we saw was wonderful and disappointing. Wonderful because there
were so many families represented. Wonderful because this is an event that can truly grow and become a
showcase for education about the country where our children grew, a chance to meet other families who look like
us and celebrate our very being, a chance to examine some of the cultural underpinnings of our lives as families
touched by adoption.
Probably most meaningful for us was the session held for older children that featured two adult sisters who had
been adopted from Guatemala at the ages of 10 and 6. Their frankness about the experience and communication
directly with our children was more beneficial than any book or talking that we as parents could do. These were
folks that walk the talk and our kids were so aware of the authenticity of those voices!
The event was disappointing for us as Midwesterners because most participants were from the East Coast and had
children of very young age. We had hoped to connect with some families that we could continue friendships with
once back home and that wasn’t the case---this year at least. Activities were mostly geared to the younger families
and any lectures were slanted to only a couple of organizations. This was understandable given the present
It was also disappointing because folks didn’t seem to know that we LNNC folks exist! They were surprised that
there is a Chicago area group…..so let’s increase our visibility!
I urge you to strongly consider joining this event in the future. It surely is growing. You’ll have fun! There are
even ways to become involved with planning and you will be graciously received. Check out the website
http://www.fiestadelquetzal-gafe.org for additional information and to add yourself to the mailing list for notification
of future activities.
Here is a link to a fabulous organization that provides valuable social service activities within Guatemala
The mission for Behrhorst Partners for Development is to work in respectful partnership with Mayan
Guatemalans to have a positive impact on the problems associated with Guatemala's history of violence against
indigenous populations, natural disasters, poverty, illiteracy and disastrously high rates of infant and maternal
death. Check out the website for more detailed information.
LNNC September Newsletter page 3
By Vickie Doebele
The first week in August, my daughter and I traveled to Lakeville, Minnesota for the La Semana culture
camp. La Semana means “the week” in Spanish. It is a day camp run somewhat like the local Chicago area
Hands Around the World, but is for exclusively for kids adopted from Latin America (and their siblings). There are
over 400 children born in Latin America from day care to high school graduates attending the camp. Because
there are so many children, they are divided into classrooms by their grade in school; there are classrooms for
children entering kindergarten to about 6 or 7 grade. The middle school children are amigos who have some
class work, service projects, hang time and some time spent with the younger children. The ayudantes (helpers)
are the high schoolers. They have attended camp since they were young (the camp has been around for over 20
years), and they spend some of their time assisting in the classrooms, some hang time, some service projects. It is
great to see the teens spending time with the younger children.
Each year there is a specialty country; this year it was Guatemala, next year I think it is El Salvador. The
children spend their time in Life (where they use age appropriate books about adoption and Latin America), crafts,
specialty, dance and playground time. There are some parent sessions for the parent volunteers. The week
begins with a flag ceremony on Monday morning, where all the Latin American flags are carried in, with people
touched by adoption from each country standing up as the flag is carried in. Wednesday is market day, where you
can buy various Latin American items. The week ends with a Friday night Fiesta where the children put on their
costumes perform the dances they’ve learned during the week.
Take a look at the Web site http://lasemana.org/ Think about making the trek to Minnesota next year and
joining us. Most of the attendees are local (Minnesota and Wisconsin) but people come in from other states. One
mom told me her favorite thing about La Semana is that you can’t find your kid. You go to the playground and
nearly all the kids have shiny black hair and beautiful brown skin. The kids say – all the kids look like me and the
parents look like you. The kids also say - I want to come back next year.
Guatemala Adopt Sibling Registry
Ever wondered if your child has biological family adopted elsewhere? Participate in the Guatemala Adopt Sibling
Registry; it's free!
There have been 9 matches in the 2 years since it’s been formed, and there are now over 500 entries in the
registry. You need to submit your child’s birthmother information before you can view the database, then you can
view whenever you want.
The Guatemala Adopt Sibling Registry (GASR) is a database that adoptive families of Guatemalan born children
can utilize when searching for their children's biological siblings or other biological family members who may also
have been adopted. Generally, families who adopt from Guatemala are not told if their children have biological
siblings who were also adopted. Sometimes it is impossible for agencies to know if the birthmother has made
multiple placements because the birthmother may not have used the same attorney. GASR was created so that
there would be a centralized place where adoptive families can give limited birth family information in hopes that
there will be a match.
GASR is not an adoption reunion search engine. It is not a database where someone can enter birth family
information and get immediate search results. Due to the tenuous nature of international adoptions and to maintain
the privacy of everyone in the adoption triad, particularly birthmothers who may face negative consequences from
their families or their communities for having placed a child for adoption, the information maintained in the registry
is very limited and is the least amount of information necessary to identify possible matches. Any further
information shared to ascertain a definite match is sent directly to the registry owners. Families are not required to
LNNC September Newsletter page 4
maintain contact after finding a match, but we do hope that they will experience rewarding relationships and create
birth family connections that their children may find valuable in the future. Membership is free and private.
Organize an Event – It’s Easy!
We need something early to mid April - maybe a gymnastics party? Easter is March 27th and many schools will
get the 28-April 1st off, so April 9 or 16 look like good days. We need to find someone in the south or southwest
suburbs to volunteer to host an event; we hardly ever get down there.—Any volunteers? Contact Heidi Grosowsky
Want to Communicate More with Local LNNC Families?
Yahoo! E-List?: In recent months I’ve found myself with additional information of interest about Guatemala or
questions for the local community and have been unsure how to reach folks. And I’m sure other folks have great
things to say and I’ve missed it! We have a fabulous LNNC website under construction, but, of course, I’d like to be
in touch more!
In the “old days” Ray Dube (thanks Ray!!!!) had a Yahoo! List for LNNC where we would post things and talk to
each other. I think it fell into disuse mainly because folks didn’t really know it was there.
Anyone interested in doing something like this again? I am willing to handle the administration and maintenance
on the Yahoo! end of things if others want to do something like this. Contact Darinka D’Alessio at pearlfu04-
email@example.com to share further ideas.
Chicago City Families?: Would anyone in the city with kids in the age range of 6 – 10 like to get together
sometime for a bit of socialization and fun? My kids are 9-1/2 and 7-1/2 years old. Use the email address above or
Web sites/Groups to Check out:
Guatemala Stove Project, www.guatemalastoveproject.org. They are based in Canada, raise funds and build
cinder block stoves in the homes of Guatemalans. They are approaching their 2,000 stove. This eliminates the
open fires and the smoke and soot they create in the homes of poor Guatemalans. The organization claims that a
basic stove can add as much as 15 years to the life expectancy of women and children. Additionally, since the
stoves use only half as much fuel as open fires, over time, such stoves will save thousands of trees in areas that
are already suffering from deforestation.
1 Can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained.
2 Cans of Mexicorn, rinsed and drained.
3 Tomatoes, Seeded and Chopped (Roma’s work best)
2-3 Avocados, Chopped
3 Green Onions, Sliced
1 Small Red Onion, Chopped
½ Cup of Olive Oil
¼ Cup of Red Wine Vinegar
1 Packet Good Seasons Italian Seasoning Mix
Scoop Chips or Frito’s Scoops
LNNC September Newsletter page 5
Dear LNNC members:
We heard many of the songs on this CD when we saw Lisa-Renee Ackerman last summer. They are quite moving,
so I would encourage all our members to order a copy of this CD.
Best, Alan Marcus
I have finally produced the CD(see info below) from that I presented at the last conference. It's a folk-rock based
album. It's REAL and contemporary, yet timeless. Not sugary sweet and it won't raise questions from your child
before they are ready to be raised. The album is really for us parents, though. Some of the tracks are : tongue- in -
cheek ; while others are tear-jerking; others yet are thought provoking; and I hope all of them make for toe-tapping
good solid listening and enjoying.
I'll be sending a note and CD down to Guatemala to Dr. Montiel...in hopes that someday he will receive some
checks along the way, as well. I hope to be able to make some small contribution through this effort in my own way
--to thank him for keeping our children healthy as we waited with no control over anything. I know that you can all
Thanks for your time and possible interest in this venture.
Sincerely and Musically,
11 Linette Lane
Queensbury, NY 12804
Until I complete developing my website: "INTUNE2ADOPTION"--- I'll just be taking orders at my email address:
Fate Whispers in Your Ear
Music and Lyrics by: Lisa-Renee Ackermann
An Original Collection of Compelling Songs
Inspired by the Journey Toward Becoming a Family
The Waiting Game
Fate Whispers in Your Ear
On One November Evening
aka: Daniel: Interpreter of Dreams
You Are My Son
The Agency Blues
More Than I Ever Imagined
Now You're Here
Soon It will be Yesterday - a lullaby
(used with permission by Kahlil Gibran)
The cost of the CD is $14.95 (includes shipping)
(Please Email or enclose your shipping address )
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the CD will go to benefit Dr. Montiel's
Pediatric Clinic in Guatemala City.
LNNC September Newsletter page 6
New Addition to your family?
Please fill out the following information and send it to Heidi Grosowsky at 8540 Keystone Avenue, Skokie, IL.
60076, or cut and paste this box into an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Child's Date of Birth:
Date of Arrival Home:
Names and ages of Siblings:
Place of Birth:
Homestudy done by:
Name of Agency used:
Please share any comments, special experiences or useful information with our group:
LNNC September Newsletter page 7
Mark Your Calendar!
NEXT EVENT: ANNUAL HAY RIDE
Saturday, October 2nd, 2004
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Randall Oaks Park, 17N350 Randall Road, Dundee, Il.
RSVP by September 28th to Kim or Dean Duley at
847-854-7463 or Ksduley@aol.com
Join us for a 40 minute relaxing hayride through the beautiful open fields of the park. After the ride we will return to
our reserved shelter for a bonfire. The park will remain open until 8 p.m. for those interested in staying to enjoy the
playgrounds and park facilities. Drinks, Papergoods and marshmallows will be provided. Please bring a snack to
Directions from Chicago: take 90 west to Randall Road. Exit and go North on Randall road for 2.5 miles.
The park is located on the left hand side. MEET AT THE FRONT SHELTER.
LNNC September Newsletter page 8
Jumps & Jiggles and Carousel/Pot Luck
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2004
Elk Grove Pavilion
1000 Wellington Ave.
Elk Grove Village
12:30 – 2:30 PM
RSVP by November 7th to Jane Siarny at
630-584-6585 or InterPlayChicago@msn.com
“Day Of” info: 630-584-6585 or Jane’s cell 630-674-8891
LNNC September Newsletter page 9
January Parents’ Dinner + MayaWorks:
Good Food, Good Buddies & Fun Stuff to Buy!
The annual LNNC Parents’ Dinner Potluck will be held on Saturday January 29, 2005 at the home of
Heidi Grosowsky ,
8540 North Keystone, Skokie, IL 60076.
Phone: 847 329 9956. Email: email@example.com.
This event is typically a time for LNNC parents to come together sans kids to enjoy some adult company, great
food and discuss some of the plans and hopes they have for the next calendar year for LNNC.
Besides these great things, this year’s event will have the added attraction of a presentation by MayaWorks staff
regarding the programs and projects of this organization that works exclusively within Guatemala and with artisans
to promote fair wages and education. Come to hear about this successful program and have a chance to purchase
some of the magnificent products which range from CD holders and frames, backpacks and purses to stylish wall
hangings and place mats. Check out the website for MayaWorks at http://www.mayaworks.org and see the brief
article below for more information.
For information about the dinner contact Heidi Grosowsky at firstname.lastname@example.org . For information about the
MayaWorks presentation contact Andra Gomberg at email@example.com or Darinka D’Alessio at
! MayaWorks is about Mayan artisans
! MayaWorks is about partnership and global friends
! MayaWorks is about interweaving lives
! MayaWorks believes that community development happens through the economic development of women
! MayaWorks provides opportunity and financial support for artisans to gain business and leadership skills
Technical Assistance, Scholarships, Micro loans and Grants
Children at the old school in
completed a special fund
drive to furnish classrooms
with desks, white boards,
book shelves and
Funding was so successful
that scholarships are also
in place for a number of
LNNC September Newsletter page 10
Pool Party & Potluck
Saturday, Feb 26, 2005
Elk Grove Pavilion
1000 Wellington Ave.
Elk Grove Village
1:30 – 4:30 PM
RSVP by Feb. 21 to Jane Siarny at 630-584-6585 or
1:30 - Arrive / drop off food
1:45 – 2:45 – Swim
3:00 – 4:30 – Potluck and Play
The Lagoon pool is zero depth to 31/2 ft., great for babies, toddlers, and young swimmers. It has a slide,
basketball hoops, fountains, and play areas. Feel free to bring pool toys. You can swim or lounge on the
sides (loungers, dress in summer wear as it can be warm in there!).
NOTE: You MUST wear a bathing suit to be in the pool area!
For map info, please refer to page 4.
Mark your Calendar:
5th Annual Spring Picnic at John's Park
Great Playground, field area, picnic!
Saturday May 21(the Saturday before Memorial Day weekend). Time: TBD after soccer schedules are
set for the Spring.
Contact: Vicki Doebele
LNNC September Newsletter page 11
Gilberto Figueroa Ceh
May 18, 1964-August 9, 2004
It is with sadness that we report the death of a dear friend and important person to the Guatemala adoption
On Monday August 9, 2004, Gilberto Figueroa Ceh was killed in a motorcycle accident in Guatemala City. Gilberto
is survived by his mother, brothers and their extended family. The funeral and burial was on August 10, 2004.
For 14 years Gilberto worked with attorney Sergio de Leon Morales in Guatemala City providing English translation
services for adopting families, acting as the liaison with the US Consulate in Guatemala City, ferrying birth mothers
to court dates and assisting foster families with details of care for the children waiting their forever families.
Families who worked with Small Miracles International and Children of the World Adoption agencies were lucky
indeed to get to know this very special man.
Gilberto’s sunny smile, sense of humor, joy, playfulness and zest for life were always evident. No question in
country was too crazy or odd. Some Chicago area families will remember the visit Gilberto made here in 1998 or
so “just because he happened to have a visa.” It was a fun filled few days and now an even more precious
Small Miracles International is compiling a memory book of photographs and condolences to present to Gilberto’s
family. In addition, they have decided on two projects in his honor:
1. A "Special Need' Fund" to promote the adoption of special needs children by providing financial
assistance to families who otherwise could not afford it financially.
2. Lending Library in Tec Pan: Small Miracles is establishing a lending library for indigenous families.
Families may donate Spanish language book(s) of any kind-children's books, adult books, or resource
books for the library.
Book, memories or contributions may be mailed to Small Miracles International, c/o Chriss Barnes, 1148 South
Douglas Boulevard, Midwest City, OK 73130
If Chicago area families would like to discuss way to honor Gilberto locally—perhaps planting a tree in a local
park—please call Darinka D’Alessio at 773-588-6142 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org