Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-Border Search for Truth
By Erin Siegal
(Beacon Press, Paperback, 9780807001851, 312pp.)
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
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The dramatic story of how an American housewife discovered that the Guatemalan child she was about to adopt had been stolen from her birth mother
Over the last decade, nearly 200,000 children have been adopted into the United States, 25,000 of whom came from Guatemala. Finding Fernanda, a dramatic true story paired with investigative reporting, tells the side-by-side tales of an American woman who adopted a two-year-old girl from Guatemala and the birth mother whose two children were stolen from her. Each woman gradually comes to realize her role in what was one of Guatemala’s most profitable black-market industries: the buying and selling of children for international adoption. Finding Fernanda is an overdue, unprecedented look at adoption corruption—and a poignant, riveting human story about the power of hope, faith, and determination.
Erin Siegal is an investigative journalist and photographer. Her writing and photography have been published in the New York Times, Time, Curve, Newsweek, Mother Jones, Rolling Stone, and with Reuters. She has collaborated on projects with NGOs such as the Urban Justice Center, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations, and in 2009, her reporting on adoption corruption resulted in a fellowship with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Reporting at Brandeis University. Finding Fernanda is Siegal’s first book.
"Reads like a mystery novel, but the facts it reveals are hauntingly true.... Siegal does a fantastic job of breaking down a complicated story...Finding Fernanda is a gripping read that offers glimpses of hope in what was an otherwise heartbreaking system."—The Christian Science Monitor
"Oh, what a story. It is hard to believe that such things go on in this world of ours, but Erin Siegel has woven a lively, well-researched and cautionary tale that is a must-read..."—Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, Author of New York Times best seller, Carved In Sand: When Attention Fails and Memory Fades in Midlife
"Erin Siegal peels back layers of deception to reveal a twisting and engrossing saga of two deeply wronged mothers and the girl they both claimed. Her brave account is chilling, and should be required reading for policymakers and anyone who cares about children."—E. Benjamin Skinner, 2009 Dayton Literary Peace Prize Author, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-To-Face With Modern-Day Slavery
"Fernanda's story carries us into the darkest regions of the human heart... Erin Siegal has written a saga of seduction and betrayal so sinister that anger pushes you from page to page. Rarely has an investigative reporter unveiled so compelling a narrative of motherhood from Guatemala to Tennessee."—Wayne Barrett, investigative journalist and author of Trump: The Deals and the Downfall and Rudy!: An Investigative Biography Of Rudy Giuliani
"Really will tug at your heartstrings... A moving story."—Dan Raviv, CBS Radio News
"Heavy-duty investigative reporting and compelling personal testimony..."—The Miami Herald
"Finding Fernanda is an incredible piece of investigative journalism. The amount of time, depth of research and commitment to this story is evidenced on every page of this book. The book is a page turner and a jaw dropper as the evidence of corruption runs deep and the story unfolds. Siegal should be commended for her bravery in bringing this story to light in the hopes that adoption processes will be improved to protect both children and families. Siegal took a courageous step to bring this story forward. It is my hope that with this story available for every government official, prospective adoptive parent and anyone involved in adoption to see positive changes can be made to protect children. Finding Fernanda is a must-read."—Adoption Today
"Finding Fernanda may be the most illuminating book about abuses in international adoptions yet written. This is not just fearless public service journalism, but also a moving, acute, gracefully-written work of story-telling. Erin Siegal is an extraordinary young journalist."—Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name and The Art of Political Murder