Saturday, October 25, 2008

Becoming Cooper...

22 years before the picture below was taken, my paternal grandmother traveled with her son to pick up his new baby. My dad had received a phone call that a baby girl was available in mother was not home at the time. From what I understand it was a "need an answer right now" type situation and naturally my excited dad (without much thinking) said YES!

There was not much time before I came to my new country, my new family, my new home! So my brother and mom stayed home and awaited my arrival while my grandma and my dad came to fetch me.

My grandma Cooper was the first woman in my new family to hold me :) This is always a bond that I have always treasured with my dear grams...Pictured below are Aaron, Myself, Grandma Cooper and Grandpa Cooper- may he REST IN PEACE :(

After I arrived home the whole court adoption process started. Apparently you do all the home studies, get approved, organize lawyers in BOTH countries, pick up your baby and THEN petition to the courts. The whole thing seems odd to me to be honest. I wonder if they consider the interest of the baby if the judge were to deny the petition? Take the baby from the original family, send it off with a prospective adoptive family- "hoping for the best"...but what if "the best" does not happen? What a devistating loss for the prospective parents and yet ANOTHER loss for the innocent infant. is how I came about! Below, I have posted my adoption officially become Rachel Cooper....

Petition For Adoption
To The Honorable, The Judges of Said Court:
Comes now your petitioners, Rebecca S. Cooper and Gary D. Cooper, by and through their attorney, Leslie Scott Auerbach, and respectfully represents unto this Honorable Court as follows:
1. That your petitioners reside at....(Address in which I am not posting).
2. That your petitioner Gary D. Cooper is an adult, white male, and is currently employed as an executive for his own corportation.
3. That your petitioner Rebecca S. Cooper is an adult, white female, and is not eomployed.
4. That your petitioners were married on (Date in which I am not posting).
5. That your petitioners have one other child, Aaron, who was adopted by the parties and finalized in 1981.
6. That the adoptee herein is a female infant, born July 2, 1983 in Chile (South America). The biological mother of the adoptee voluntarily consented to the guardianship and adoption of the adoptee by your petitioners by personally appearing in the Second Court of Minors on July 18, 1983.
7. The adoptee had been placed with foster parents since the adoptees birth and until the adoptee was placed in the care and custody of your petitioners, which occurred on August 1, 1983.
8. The name and location of the biological father is unknown, the adoptee being the product of rape.
9. That the petitioners were awarded temporary guardianship if the adoptee by the Second Court of Minors in Santiago on the 22nd of July 1983. The petitioners are finacially able and willing to provide for the support, welfare, and education of the said adoptee. They are of good moral character and are qualified persons to have the care, custody and control of the said adoptee, and the petitioners further desire to adopt the said adoptee as their own child, to make the child their heir at law, and to have conferred upon the said adoptee the same status as if she had been born unto the said petitioners.
Wherefore, your petitioners pray:
1. That the petition be granted and a decree be issued establishing the adoption of the said adoptee by your petitioners Gary D. Cooper and Rebecca S. Cooper, and making her their child. The same as if she had been born unto them.
2. That the adoptees name be changed to Rachel Ellen Cooper.
3. And for such other and further relief as to which this Court may seem fit and just.
Everything was signed and approved. And then I became the second little established Cooper. My parents had two children of their own...and we grew! and we GREW! and we GREW!

Aaron and I were both converted to Judiasm as infants. We were both BLESSED to have traveled to Israel twice in our lives thus far....Below we are pictured standing infront of the Western Wall in Israel. I was 8 in this picture and Aaron was 11 :)

We were both Bar and Bat Mitzvah'd at the age of 13...For those of your who aren't familiar with the Jewish religion, A Bar Mitzvah is the Jewish right of passage into adulthood. (BAT Mitzvah is for women, while the BAR Mitzvah is for men)....Pictured below is me reading from the torah, at my Bat Mitzvah...age 13 :)

And then the "COOPERS" split up. Our parents divorced when I was 15 and Aaron was 18. BLAHHHHH.
My dad remarried and there became a new "Mrs. Cooper." I didn't really like that at all but what was I to do. Nothing but TRY to embrace my new family that came with my fathers new wife.
My husband, son, fathers wife, myself and my dad are pictured below.

My mom changed her name...back to her maiden name. I HATED the fact that she had a different last name then me. I did not like the separation of our family in the first place but the different last name thing REALLY threw me off made us REALLY seperate :(
Luckily, my mom found herself in a happy relationship years later :) My mom, brother and my moms boyfriend are pictured below...

I will be back soon to talk about "Returning Sarria"...which is almost as odd as "Becoming Cooper."
I used to think I needed all the answers...I used to think people owed me some type of explanation. I have come to LEARN that all of that is not my problem. I have come to a place where my parents history is just that...their HISTORY--- long gone.
Despite any abnormalties, THIS is my life. THIS is what I have grown to somewhat understand. Although I am NOT alright with my families disconnections and imperfections, after 10 long years I am proud to say we can all sit connected together around a dinner table...putting aside the breaks between us.
Espero que duerma bien = I hope that you sleep well :)
And to you all...A GOODNIGHT!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

To Dominick...

I have mentioned my son briefly in previous messages. But with my trip fast approaching I feel the need to talk about him more.

Dominick will not be making the trip to Chile with me. My husband and I have decided that he does not really need to be subjected to the uncertainty of emotions that may be experienced on this journey. He will be 6 years old at the time of my travel. I don't feel it is "age appropriate" right now to bring him BUT I look forward to having him come with me on future visits.

Anyways, I have had thoughts racing through my head...what if something happens to me while I am away? I hate flying and am terrified of a plane crash...well, what if my plane crashed?!?! Am I being a bad mom to take this experience for myself? Ughhh, I can't even begin to explain the concerns I have about leaving my little boy at home...DESPITE the fact I know he will be well cared for by my mother :)

Meet my son...this is Dominick as an infant...FRESH out the womb!!!!

And below is Dominick with my husband at only ONE day old! He was so alert, even as just a little guy...

And finally, I am going to post what I wrote for Dominick today while my thoughts of my and my love for him were racing through my mind all day long.
I decided to call this "Years Gone By"...
Because one day you will read this...
I remember the first day I found out about you. You were a surprise, the most pleasant surprise I have ever received.
I remember watching you grow through the eyes of medical technology. I loved hearing your little heart BEAT...I loved watching you on screen in the doc's office.
You were such a STAR- always showing off and flashing the fact that you were a male to the camera...or perhaps I should say sonogram machine.
I remember watching my belly roll around as you moved so tightly inside. I HATED how everyone always felt a need to give your little domain a "pat" but I poked at you ALL DAY LONG...just so I could see you squirm :)
And there began our relationship. You would kick me in the rib, and I would poke you in your little gut...or whatever part of your body it was. We played like this for a few months.
You grew to the point that I could no longer fit in my desk at school. Your kicking got to the point that it was painful...but I still poked you back- softly.And then you were born.
On Friday the 13th...and your enterance was just as frightening as the day itself. After 13 hours of labor and pushing, you managed to tangle yourself in your annoying umbillical chord. I was forced to get an epidural and birth you via c-section. I didn't like being sliced opened or being num from my neck down BUT once I heard you screaming...nothing even mattered.
And so began our lives together...out in the open- out in public. You weren't hidden under my clothes, you were no longer a "bump." You became visible. Not only to me but to the world.
You were handsome. You were beautiful. You were my baby.
I LOVED the way your eyes would light up as I nursed you. I loved the fact that your only food source was ME. I loved crying because my breasts hurt SO bad. I loved fighting through my pain and your frustration together. I loved it when our nursing routine became "routine."
I remember how you would cuddle close to my heart. I LOVED your toothless little grins. I remember how you always would kick your feet at the sound of my voice. I loved every inch of you. I loved every minute spent with you.
I remember your first birthday. You came walking down the hall. I had never seen you walk were so proud of yourself. Your toothless grin had turned to a 4 tooth smile. You were so darn precious.
I remember the days when we counted your age by weeks. I remember the first time I said, "he's 18 months." It sounded so old. I cut you off from nursing...our relationship changed, and although you didn't depend on me for food, I loved you even more.
I remember watching you walk to restaurants for lunch dates with my friends. You were always so happy. I remember how hard it was to watch you cry the first time you fell down on the sidewalk.
You never drank from a bottle, never wore "pull-ups" and you never went pee sitting down. Thanks to your twin cousins, and your Aunt Kira's investment in your potty, you were potty trained by age two.
And then you started school. You wore a uniform everyday. You LOVED the montessori program...and the montessori program loved you. You learned so much. You had blossomed beyond my belief, reading and writing after only 2 years in the program.
I remember your first picture. I remember your first project. I remember that you drew make believe siblings for yourself in EVERY single picture you created.
I love your imagination. I love your sense of self.
You are about to turn 6. You have been a dream come true. You saved my life from darkness as I made vows to myself the day you were born.
You challenge me to be more than a better mother but to be a better have compassion for ALL people because everyone has a mother, somewhere, that loves them just as much as I love you.
You have transformed from my little peanut, into my Big D-Rock. I love the way you argue with me and I love the way you look in your REDSKINS jersey.
I love the jokes you tell and I love the way you call me "Babe."
I love explaining things to you. You listen so cautiously to everyone and everything. You ask so many questions.
I love how you are so inquisitive.
I love YOUR love for others.
Recently you questioned about illness and death. I explained that medicine does not have a cure for everything. I LOVED THE WAY YOU ASKED ME, "Hey babe- why does it have to be like that? does not seem fair."
At only 5 years old, I love YOUR vision to want better for the world. I love the way we pick children to sponsor together. I love the fact that you ASK to give up a Hanukah gift so we can repair the cleft pallet of a child less fortunate.
I love that you see past just yourself.
The years have gone by and I just continue to love you more and more each day. I love you so bad it hurts. I am scared of not being with you. We have always been so "together."
But one day you will read this. One day you will remember all our memories and the first time I really traveled without you. It will be nothing but just another memory.
I am so looking forward to the rest of our lives together. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you.
You bring smiles to the saddest days and you shine light on all dark voids that exist within my life. I am appreciative for the memories we have created and the ones we have yet to create. I love you with all my heart, soul, and of course-- with all the gushy guts in between :)

Ohhhhhhh Dominick...Mommy loves you more than you will ever know!!!!!
Mi angelito...mi vida..mi hijo = My son :)
Buenos Noches Y Cuidese!!!! (Goodnight and take care).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Note From Aron...

Meet my brother Aaron...for all intensive purposes we shall call him "Aron" !!! And it is also ok to yell out..."ARON, ARON, VENGA, VENGA"...when you want to call for him to come.

My brother is a MASSIVE pillar in my life. He has been the ONE stable thing in my world and for adoptive children, stability is crucial.

With no further to is ARON! He is pictured below...

Aron just recently returned from Costa Rica. He spent 3 weeks there studying and learning to speak Spanish. My brother is a NYU grad. student pursuing a Masters Degree of Social Work. I have no doubt in my mind that my brother will make an incredible social worker. He is almost a year and a half into his program and doing great. I couldn't be more proud and brother is the most unique and caring individual I have ever met in my life.
While studying in Costa Rica, my brother learned a lot. Pictured below, you can see my brother interacting with some children but the program he was a part of was more about learning things himself...

My brother learned a whole bunch of stuff in Costa Rica, all of which I was eager to hear about. But there has been one thing that has really caught my eye.
Aron learned about the Hauge Convention. He taught me about it and I think you all should learn a little bit about it too! Check out the link below to find out more about how the Hauge protects intercountry adoptive children.

ALSO!!! My brother wrote a fantastic paper on the hauge and its details. I have posted the paper (with my brothers permission) below.
A Note from Aron

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, to which the United States became a party on April 1, 2008, is a powerful international policy that has had rattling effects on all parties involved in international adoption. The convention endeavors to consolidate international policies, creating standards and accountability. This is not a small undertaking considering the involvement of over 70 countries. Additionally, the underlying issue of children needing care draws an emotional tie the convention, that is not conflict free. In this paper I will examine how and why the convention was created and outline its goals. Using several case studies from different countries I will also highlight some effects, negative and positive, of the Hague convention, on children, families and countries.
The Hague convention on intercountry adoption is one of over 30 conventions the Hague Conference on Private International Law has adopted ( Other conventions adopted by the Hague Conference include the Conventions on the protection of minors and the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction ( The Hague Conference first convened in the Netherlands in 1893, aiming to “work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law” ( To achieve this goal, the conference negotiates and drafts multilateral treaties or conventions. Hague has established and maintains relationships with other international organizations, including the United Nations, UNICEF and the Committee on the Rights of the Child ( These associations solidify the Hague Conference as an encompassing international group.
How do counties become involved with the Hague Conference? According to the Hague website, “States which have already participated in one or more of the earlier Sessions of the Conference may become Members of the Hague Conference by accepting its Statute. Other States must be admitted by vote,” a right executed by a majority of Member States ( According to these rules, a state (country) can follow or be affected by a Hague Convention, but not be a Member of the Conference. India, for example, has participated in Hague Conventions, including Intercountry Adoption, for decades but only became a Member of the Conference in 2008 ( While Hague seemingly aims to achieve cohesion, there is inevitable confusion and lack of conformity or universal participation by many countries. Still, as is the case with the Convention on Intercountry Adoption, Hague treaties affect these countries.
Beginning after World War II and up through the 1970’s, there was an international adoption boom, brining international babies into the U.S. (Summerhill, 2008). It wasn’t until 1993 that Hague responded to the international complexities and human and legal problems that this boom created. According to the Outline of the Intercountry Adoption, the 1993 Convention aims to make, “the rights and interests of the child paramount and to respect and protect the rights of the families of origin and adoptive families.” The “best interests of the child” is listed first in the principal features of the Convention. Furthermore, the Convention describes the “Subsidiary Principle”. This principle sates that a child “should be raised by his or her birth family or extended family whenever possible” ( This idea, while it may have the child’s best interest at heart, may impede the adoption process, leaving children in institutional care. Or, it may prevent willing and suitable parents from adopting children in need.
Another operative of the Convention is to promote “Co-operation between States and within States” ( This aspect of functioning is easier said than done for many states. States that already have the private sector involved in intercountry adoption may have complex bureaucratic systems already in place. Existing political or social relationships between states might also interfere with co-operation on an international agreement. If a relationship between two states changes, it affects other relationships involved in the Convention.
The Hague Convention also calls for “competent central authorities and accredited bodies” ( While this aspect of Hague creates standards and accountability, is not an easy switch to implement. Confusion has been created with changing policies that are far more complex than older standards. Also, many agencies have had to face overhauls to comply with Hague standards.
The Hague Conference seems like a suitable agency, with its multi-lateral approach, to handle and effectively regulate intercountry adoption. However, different countries have different strengths and weaknesses. Developing countries have different needs and resources than established countries, yet they all must comply with a single convention and Hague places a heavy burden of responsibility on the states. Hague did consider this issue of diversity by implementing The Intercountry Adoption Technical Assistance Programme, which employs international consultants and experts dedicated to needy states. But what other needs, economic and social, do states in developing countries have, that Hague had not addressed? With the U.S. only fully adopting the current Convention in 2008, only time will reveal how effective Hague really is at unifying international policy and addressing individual countries needs.
To understand what intercountry adoption was like prior to Hague, I examined an article from Business Week, When It Come to Adoption, It’s a Wide, Wide World, published in 1988. The author, Suzanne Woolley describes concerns that are indicative of how different intercountry adoption was before it was regulated by Hague, “Rather than wait years for a U.S born infant parents are looking overseas…many adoptive parents can get babies a year after applying, less than half the average wait for a U.S. born baby.” Woolley also gives prospective parents a heads up that in some countries orphanages may “ask that you bring gifts, ranging from cloths to microwaves when you pick up your child.” Under current Hague regulations, both of these aspects of intercountry adoption are completely different. Intercountry adoption can take several years to complete with waitlists and much complex paperwork involved. Today, the presentation of gifts during the adoption process may be seen as payment or even coercion, both documented corrupt practices that Hague fights against.
So what is intercountry adoption like today, under brand new Hague regulations? In an article published in the New York Times in June, Mireya Navarro notes that experts have described the process as, “tortuous to pursue.” Navarro documents the process through the experience of the Casserlys, a family from Minnesota waiting to adopt a girl from Guatemala. Julie Casserly explains that her first adoption, in 2005, was easier than the current one, “this time it is a matter of ‘if’ not ‘when’.” Navarro lists child trafficking scandals and Hague as the reasons why countries such as China, Russia and South Korea are turning toward domestic adoptions instead, making international adoptions harder to complete for couples like the Casserlys. Guatemala is an extreme example of this difficulty in complying with standards. Although Guatemala signed the Convention treaty, they have not yet established federal control of adoption leading to a temporary moratorium on adoptions (Summerhill, 2008). Navarro also reports on another family from Minnesota who has been trying to adopt a Vietnamese child for 2 “gut wrenching” years. Vietnam stopped accepting adoption applications in 2008 after an investigation by the American embassy found that poor birth parents had been paid or deceived into placing their children in an orphanage (Navarro, 2008). The media is another hurdle, not related to Hague, that prospective adoptive parents face. Publicity surrounding celebrities like Madonna, who did not go through the proper process, leave people assuming that Americans are coming in and taking kids from their parents (Navarro, 2008). Because the Casserly's began the adoption process 11 months ago, prior to the U.S. implementation of the Hague Convention, it should theoretically not affect them. Nevertheless they fear the fate of the girl they wish to adopt if the process continues to be delayed or does is not completed.
Similar complications are described by Kirk Semple in, A World Away, New Rules Put an Adoption on Hold, published by the New York Times in 2008. Semple reports on the miraculous case of a Latvian immigrant, Ilze Earner, to the U.S. who was contacted by a social worker in 2005 and informed that a baby had been abandoned in Latvia who was linked to the immigrants U.S. phone number. The abandoned child was Earner’s 3rd cousin. Earner, an assistant professor at Hunter, decided to adopt the child, who is now 5 years old. Earner complied with all international adoption regulations current at the time. However, when she traveled to Latvia with her family to retrieve her adopted cousin, she was denied by American consular officials who told her that international adoption regulations had changed that that she would have to return to the U.S. to restart the process (Semple, 2008). The Earners were unaware of the changes and had not filed a document before April 1, 2008 that would have allowed them to adopt under old regulations. Semple deems the Hague Convention as the “crux of the Earner’s problem.” Only after much press coverage of the story and the Earner’s own lobbying to the Latvian and American governments, were they granted an expedited adoption (Semple, 2008). At the end of the article, a spokesman for the immigration agency admits, “Given the complexity of immigration law… policies are not simple, the omission of one piece of information can result in the wrong answer.” Since the ordeal, the Earner’s have switched to al licensed adoption agency, leaving a social worker they had originally contracted (Semple, 2008).
In, Doors closing on foreign adoptions; As China pulls back, families look to countries such as Vietnam and Ethiopia, published in the Toronto Star in 2008, Leslie Scrivener documents Chinas tightening adoption policies and the resulting effects on other countries. In the past China had a “golden standard” of adoption because of how it expedited healthy children through the adoptions process (Scrivener, 2008). The wait in Canada to adopt a baby from China has increased from approximately one year to between five and seven years (Scrivener, 2008). The effect this has is felt in countries like Vietnam, Ethiopia and South Africa, where international adoption has increased. Scrivener blames partially attributes this change to “increased compliance with the Hague Convention and its slew of mandated documentation… a burden in impoverished countries.” This phenomenon reflects how a powerful nation, like China, that has the ability to change their policies to suit their changing needs, effects other countries that may or may not be able to cope easily becoming intercountry adoption hot beds.
Ethiopia is an example of a country experiencing backlash due to an increase in adoptions. Jane Gross reports on Ethiopia’s current adoption system in, Surge in Adoptions Raises Concern in Ethiopia, published in the New York Times in 2007. Since 2000, Ethiopia has moved from 16th to 5th place in number of adoptions by Americans (Gross, 2007). Due to this popularity there has been an influx of new agencies to in Ethiopia to facilitate the growing number of adoptions. Gross quotes the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which oversees adoption, as saying, “We don’t have the capacity to handle all these new agencies, and we have to monitor the quality, not just quantity.” The head of child protection at Unicef in Ethiopia has also voiced his concern with the growing number of private companies that are not properly regulated by the government (Gross, 2007). While Ethiopia may be a popular and effective alternative to countries that have tightened their adoption regulations, will they be able to maintain Hague standards amidst an international adoption surge?
The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is clearly well intentioned. As an organization, the Hague Conference has a history of experience with multi-lateral projects to protect human and specifically children’s rights. But is the Convention prepared to deal with potential bureaucratic pitfalls? How can such a large-scale endeavor cater to the needs of its many diverse constituents? How will the differing economic and political powers of the states involved in Hague balance out? In order to protect children and put their best interests first, Hague must face these questions and be prepared to modify if necessary. If there is too much red tape exists, even if it’s due to tightening procedures, perhaps children’s interests will be compromised. If a child’s adoption is put on hold and they spend time institutionalized, are their interests being met? I believe the Hague Convention is a very important step in combating atrocities like child trafficking. But the Conference must be prepared, and perhaps they are, to deal with the many effects of such a large and ambitious international policy.


Conners, W. & Gross, J. (2007, June 4). Surge in Adoptions Raises Concern in Ethiopia.
The New York Times.

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (2008). Outline of the Convention.
Retrieved on September 20, 2008, from

The Hague Conference on Private International Law (2008). What is the Hague
Conference on Private International Law? Retrieved on September 20, 2008, from

Navarro, M. (2008, June 5). To Adopt, Please Press Hold. The New York Times.

Semple, K. (2008, June 17). A World Away, New Rules Put an Adoption on Hold.
The New York Times.

Scrivener, L. (2008, September 13). Doors closing on foreign adoptions; As China pulls
back, families look to counties such as Vietnam and Ethiopia. The Toronto Star.

Summerhill, Laura (2008). Lecture, New York University.

Woolley, S (1988, June 20). When It Comes To Adoption, It’s A Wide, Wide World.
Business Week, p. 164
...thanks Aron. For the information and for being the best brother anyone could ever ask for :) And to all--- a goodnight! PEACE!!!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adoption Annoyances...

In my life I have come across many things that annoy me about adoption. The private international adoption system does NOT give adoptees much information about their birth families. ANNOYING!

My parents were given a written report about my mothers "history." The report included NOTHING about my mothers REAL history - who my mother is as a person etc. No physical description of her, nothing about her medical history or her character in general. Just the fact that she was a stripper and that she got raped but it DID mention she had denied being involved in prostitution...because I am sure that was more important than whether or not cancer ran in my family.

The system ripped away ALL record of me being born to my mother. She has NO birth certificate of me. She has no hospital picture. She has nothing. Infact, when I called the "carabineros" or (Chilean Police) - they have record of my mother being an unwed mother of four. Four?!? Why only four when we are FIVE?!? THERE ARE FIVE OF US!!!!!

The system erased all public record of me being born to my mother when I entered the private adoption system. What makes the system think they can take that away from my mother and I ?!? It bothers me. Annoyes me! I want to see what time I was born at. I want to see the signed paper...with my mothers signature...and my little footprint.

For the last 25 admission into this world has been questionable. When I go home- I plan to visit the office of vital statistics AND the hospital in which I was born, erased and then RECREATED. I want to see my original birth certificate...I want to see the beginning...the REAL beginning.

Which brings me to my second annoyance that I will talk about tonight. ***Sighhhh***....

I have a "fake" birth certificate. A certificate of "live birth" from the State Of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. It says I was born July 2, Rebecca and Gary Cooper. However, the DAY (of the week) is left blank and the hospital name and time of birth both say "------." Gee, I gotta be honest- that certainly has NOT helped me in my search to establish a sense of self. Well, whatever.

And finally, the last annoyance for now... the adoption advertisement! Yes, that is right- my mom and dad's first notification of me came via mail as a cute little pamphlet advertisement. (Insert: EXTREME sarcasm).

The pamphlet cover has a small baby hand grasping a womans hand. The womans hand has a wedding band on her ring finger. The pamphlet reads as follows:

"Dos ojitos que brillan...Una tierna y preciosa sonrisa...y una debil manito que se celga suavemente de tu tu nuevo bebe. Es Maravilloso! Mil felicitaciones."

(Two little eyes that sparkle...A tender and precious smile...and a weak little hand that hangs softly to your is your new baby. It's Marvelous! Millions Congratulations.

Inside the pamphlet are two pictures of me. Stapled inside. And that was the introduction of me to my new family. A freakin pamphlet. One that probably all perspective adoptive parents received with photographs of their babies. I plan to soon scan and upload this standardized pamphlet that was mailed to my parents for you all to see.

In closing, I try to remember one is not about how I got here, it is about what I plan to do with myself now that I am here. One of those things being telling this story...ALL of this story. The good, the sad, the painful...and most importantly the TRUTH.

Wishing you all a goodnight, for now, DUERMA BIEN = sleep well :)


Saturday, October 18, 2008

My American Mother...

I was adopted as an infant. I came to this country in August 1983. I was only one month old. I entered a really loving and wonderful American, Jewish family...which brings me to the introduction of my American mother.

My mom was born in December of 1951 to the most loving couple you could ever meet. She is the oldest of two and both my mom and her little brother are still living.

My Bubbie (grandma in yiddish) is the heart and soul of my mothers family. She is so vibrant and incredible. Below is a picture of my Bubbie on her 82nd birthday...

As I mentioned my Bubbie gave birth to my mother in 1951. My mom was born to be a mother despite the fact she could not birth children from her body. Her love and patience are admirable...especially with children like my brother and myself. I have personally always had a hard time letting people really love me...or maybe I should say trusting that people love me. My moms love for me has been pretty trustworthy. There has only been one time in my life that I questioned it. Although at this present time in my life, I have absolutely no doubt that my mother loves me...a lot.

Meet my mother- isn't she so beautiful?

My mother is well educated. Before I was born she received a BA in education. She has been a teacher her whole life and LOVES working with children. My mom is GREAT at what she does. She has since went on to receive a Masters in elementary education- she says she wants to leave the classroom but the children NEED her!
Below are a few more pictures of me and my mom. In the first one, I love how you can see everyone sitting in the background...everyone except my mother! She is the one RIGHT behind me, keeping a close eye and protecting me.

And the last mother and I on the beach. I love this picture because my mom once again is so close to me and loving me. Despite my sassy little attitude towards the camera.
My mom has always been so active in our lives. I have millions of pictures of my mom and I BUT I only had time to upload these few.

I am off to spend some time with my mom! We are taking my son to go see a play. I already saw my mom once today...she came to my sons football game this morning. We spend A LOT of time together- so much that my son once asked me, "do you and grandma have to see eachother all day every single day"?!?!
My answer: I dont have to...but I sure would like to :)
That's all for now...PEACE!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Couple Quick Chile Facts...

The sight of Santiago's skyline often brings tears to my eyes...I cannot express how many times I have flipped through random pictures of my homeland and cried histerically at my computer. Below is a picture of the BEAUTIFUL city of Santiago, which I call HOME...

The history of Chile is rather complicated. Although Chile declared her independence on September 18, 1810 ("Fiesta Patrias" = Independence Day) the country has rarely been considered stable.

In 1970 Salvador Allende came to power. After only 3 short years Dr. Allende was killed, his government was over-turned and his entire family was exhiled from the country.

In 1973 General Augusto Pinochet came to power with his right wing government. He ruled the country with military like principles and although he was liked by many- it is SAID he was an evil man, ruling the country with an unfair iron hand.

Since Pinochet lost power the country is said to have flourished. Chile is becoming one of the richest countires in South America as they have the appropriate climate, land, and geopgraphic location to be HUGE exporters in their region.

In January of 2006, Chile elected their FIRST female president :) Michelle Bachelet has been leading the Chilean government for the past two years. One of her main goals as President, is to close the gap between the wealthy and poor people of Chile. Below is a link to an article from when she was first elected...explaining some of her ideas and plans for the country.

For more detailed information and OTHER interesting facts about Chile, please check out the link below...

Before I went on to talk about my American mother, I figured it would be cool to post a few things relating to the homeland of my first mother...I hope you explore and enjoy the above links.

Be back later, until then-- PEACE and VIVA CHILE!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mi Mama Chilena...

I am going to start the introduction of my mothers with Mi Mama Chilena...or "My Chilean Mother"....because she is indeed my first mother.

Mi mama Chilena was born in May of 1963. 20 years before I was born in 1983. Mi mama was the youngest of 4 children...3 of them, my mother included, are still alive.

My mom was raised by her mother...her and her siblings did not have a male figure or father figure in the household. They were rather poor and lived a difficult life, to say the least. Mi Abuelita (my dear grandmother) is no longer living but she is pictured below and will always be the heart of my Chilean roots and family.

Mi mama completed only grades K - 5 in the Santiago school system. I am not very educated about the school system in Chile but from what I have heard from my Chilean family, it is not very good.

She began working at "un club nocturno" (which is the equivalent of a strip club here in the US) at a very young age. She needed to work as she had given birth to her first daughter when she was 18 years old. She was often placed in unsafe situations but she did her job and sent money home to help with the expenses of her oldest daughter.

When I initially opened my adoption paperwork in 2005, I read the story of how mi mama was leaving work late one night when she was attacked by 3 drunk men that had been in the club that evening. She was repeatedly raped by all 3 men as they used her body for SICK enjoyment.

At 19 years of age, the traumatic experience left my mother with nothing but fear for life in general and an embryo sprouting in her womb. Chile is a VERY Catholic country and my mom refused abortion opting to birth me, her second baby :)

Abuelita was NOT supportive of another mi mama was already an unwed mother to my older sister Scarlett. Mi mama felt as though she was forced into relinquishing me. She did not want to let me out of her arms despite the circumstances under which I was conceived. I truely believe her when she tells me this.

She made what was TOLD would be the "best decision" relinquish her rape baby to the adoption system. Mi mama found a social worker to assist in getting me the best care.

Below is a picture of mi mama with Telma. Mi mama is on the right and Telma is sitting on the left. Telma is the social worker that assisted with both my brothers and my adoptions 28 and 25 years ago...respectively.

When I first started the search for mi mama, I had to contact Telma to help me contact her. She did not have a working telephone line and my friends did not feel comfortable knocking on her door. Telma sent me these first two pictures of mi mama via email when I first reunited with my family...Mi mama HATES these pictures because she was crying and claims she looks ugly. In my eyes, she is the most beautiful thing.

Meet MI MAMA!!!! Maria Eugenia Sarria Diaz....

And of course, I could not end this entry without mentioning my sister Scarlett. Although she refers to Abuelita as her mother, she grew in the womb of "nos mama" ( OUR mother )...and when I left Chile 25 years ago, not only did I lose mi mama, but mi hermana mayor (my big sister) as well. In less than two months, two sisters will rejoin hands after 25 LONG years. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Pictured below is my beautiful big sister sleeping peacefully....

And with that, I shall close out this entry. Wishing you all an evening as peaceful as my sisters slumber ;)

A Couple Cool Links...

Hey! So it was suggested to me by my brother to post less about myself and more about other things relating to adoption etc. to help get people interested in my blog. I am new to this world of blogging and perhaps a little frightened by it BUT I am always looking for GOOD advice from those that I trust the most.

With that being said, I encourage you to check out these couple cool links :)

Troy Dunn aka "The Locator" has a new show that comes on WE TV on Saturday nights. He helps humans who have lost touch reunite with one another. I cry through the whole entire episode of course and I watch the marathons OVER & OVER again. He reunites mostly adopted adults with their biological parents or siblings BUT he also has reunited long lost friends. Really, Troy Dunn is just AWESOME! And I think you should check him out. Below are two links. One to his homepage and one to his blog :)

ALSO!!! My dear American Mother, who has SO supported me throughout this "search, find, and finally reunite process" mailed me an article that she read in our local Washington Post Newspaper. It is about a woman who found her long lost siblings after being relinquished to the adoption system in Germany at the end of World War II.

OHHH I am soooo greatful that my mom ALWAYS thinks of me when she reads things like this....I LOVE YOU MOM :)

That's all for now but I will be back later to tell you a little bit about my mom's...both of them. My American Mother and Mi mama Chilena (my Chilean mother for those of you who don't speak Spanish).


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rachel Staples...

Some things everybody should know about me (As if this photo does not accurately describe me) :

* I am animated. You may not always understand the way in which I speak. Got questions? ASK.

* I am quiet but I love expressing myself...hence the reason I have a "blog"...

* I am shy until I am comfortable.

* I am LOUD! when I am not being shy ;)

* My excitement is often emphasized with CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation points!!!!

* I satisfy my lonely soul with GOOD music.

* I like all GOOD music...from Robert Nesta Marley to Rick James :)

* I think musicians are geniouses...

* I think all humans have genious potential...just not all of them use it.

* I am a free spirit with a sensitive soul.

* I keep my distance from those who leak evil through their visual character.

* I am never mean, but you WILL know if you are one of the "distanced"...I shut down the once open emotional connection.



* I have a hard time loving others with all my heart.

* ...and I have a hard time letting others love me.

* BUT!!! I will never lose the capacity to laugh at myself.

* I make myself laugh often.

* I MIGHT be my own best friend.

* I eat, sleep, and bleed Santiago, CHILE!!!!

* SOMETIMES I feel the need to randomly yell "VIVA CHILE"!!!!!

* I like to make my own sound affects...DING! PING! SEEP! NEEP! HEEE-HAWWW (just to name a FEW)!

* I am abnormally honest.

* I like honesty.

* I like to horse around. A LOT.

* I spent YEARS of my life addicted to BAD things. My son saved my life.

* I now see the world from a much more beautiful perspective.

* I like to say the word PONY for no reason. Emphasize the P!

* I could live off string cheese and triscuit wheat crackers.

* I will NEVER return to the dark world of poisons that once ruled my life.

* The birth of my son and the formulation of my family has SAVED MY LIFE.


* I am normally always late. Which reminds me...I gotta get to work...!!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

25 Years Ago...

25 years ago I was relinquished to the private adoption system in Santiago, Chile. I was the product of a brutal rape, my mothers family was poor and not supportive of the pregnancy. This "forced" my mom to hand me over to the adoption system. I came to this country in name was quickly stripped from me. Ninoska Andrea Sarria Diaz became Rachel Ellen Cooper. My native language and culture became as foreign to me as the soil from which I had come.

I had wondered about my roots since as early as I can remember. I am an inquisitive individual and remember asking frequent questions but receiving SHORT answers from my parents here in the U.S.

I have a brother who is also adopted from Chile. We are not biologically related BUT he is my "REAL" brother... (I am always disturbed when people question the "reality" of my sibling...OF COURSE HE IS MY REAL BROTHER but no, we are not biologically from the same gene pool).

My heart was lonely- for it missed the heart that it once was beating insync with. After birthing a child of my own and marrying, the desire to find my mother grew stronger than ever before. Although I knew an international search was going to be difficult- I set out on my journey, determined to find my mother that I had left behind years ago.

...I found her! My mother and I have been in contact for the last 3 years. We speak frequently and I have overcome the language barrier by learning to speak fluent spanish. I left behind 4 siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. To have them back in my life is a feeling I cannot describe.

....25 years later I am going HOME. In 2 months I will finally reunite (in person) with the loved ones I left so long ago. I am scared, anxious, excited...probably a little bit of everything...but I am going HOME!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to my blog. Enjoy my journey.