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Day Three of Three Days, Three Daughters: September 3, 2009

Taken directly from the Three Days, Three Daughters site:

"Daughter 3: Arlene

True Name: Arlene Escarleth Lopez Lopez
Name changed to/adopted as: Cindy Garcia
Taken from the maternal grandmother in Guatemala City on September 27, 2006

Olga stepped out to the nearby store, leaving her daughter in the care of her grandmother. An acquaintance came in and said she was sent by Olga, the mother, to get the baby. The grandmother believed the stranger and gave the baby up. When Olga returned and learned what happened, she knew her baby had been kidnapped and ran into the street to try to find the kidnappers, but with no luck, and she has not seen the acquaintance since. Arlene was only one month old at the time of the kidnapping. It is believed that Arlene is now living in the midwest, having immigrated in December 2006."

Today, I am fasting for Arlene. Today, I am fasting for Olga.

Today is day three, the final day, of the strike. How do I feel today?

I'm not sure.

I'm still angry; I'm still heartbroken. But I've transcended both of those feelings today: I am filled with hope.

Sure, it's easy enough for me to have hope. My children are both at the table with me, coloring in their brand new coloring books, swapping crayons, and discussing snack time. It's easy for me to have hope when, with each and every sunrise, they are here, present in my daily life. The breathing in, the breathing out--the everyday routine craziness, the everyday routine monotony--they are here. Together, we are here. Certainly, it's easy for *me* to have hope, so many miles away from mothers who are waiting endlessly for their daughters.

But even still, I have hope.

I have hope that the unity of our voices will be heard; I have hope that the cry for justice will one day be answered. I have hope that this three day strike will draw the attention and assistance so desperately needed, so rightfully deserved.

Today, I fast for Arlene and her mother, Olga. Today, I raise my voice for a third time in a cry for justice, but it is not the last time I will cry out--it is not the last time I will raise my voice with so many others on behalf of those who have been silenced by injustice.
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
Day Two of Three Days, Three Daughters: September 2, 2009

Taken directly from the Three Days, Three Daughters site:

"Daughter 2: Heidy

True Name: Heidy Sarai Batz Par
Name changed to/adopted as: Kimberli Azucena Jimenez


Taken from her mother in Guatemala City on April 04, 2006

Raquel Par boarded a bus from her town to Guatemala City to visit an Aunt and do some domestic work for money. She was approached by a friendly woman on the bus who spoke to her about God. She trusted the woman, who offered her a purchased drink when the bus stopped. Raquel passed out from the laced drink the woman gave her. When she woke up, Heidy was gone. It is believed Heidy came to the US in November, 2007 and is now living in the midwest."

Today, I am fasting for Heidy. Today, I am fasting for Raquel.

While I was celebrating the birth of my son, long before my daughter was even born, Raquel was less than thirty days out from the kidnapping of her daughter. I was weeping happy tears in the hospital; she was weeping for the safe return of her baby girl.

Today, I am heartbroken. My anger from yesterday has turned to sorrow.

Yesterday, on Day 1 of the strike, my daughter came down with the stomach flu seemingly out of nowhere. As any mother can attest, seeing your child hurting or ill--it's just awful. And it was awful. She was out of sorts all day, but when I tucked her in at night, received my usual round of kisses, and kissed her two tried-and-true lovies (Barney and Ming Ming from The Wonder Pets), I could've cried an ocean of tears for the pure simplicity of the moment. It was our usual bedtime routine, to be sure. Kiss for my girl, kiss for Ming Ming, kiss for Barney, another kiss for my girl, ending with a sweet round of "noseys", "I love you's" and "sweet dreams". Even in her state of being under the weather, our routine prevailed. And my gratitude for the day-in, day-out routines of life...it was overwhelming. I thought of Loyda, Raquel, and Olga, and how desperately they must each long for the routine of the everyday moments--how they must long to be the ones who answer the cry of their respective daughters should one of them fall ill. How long and empty the nights must be for Raquel--for all three mothers--with the memory of their daughters' voices and cries growing fuzzier as time goes by...

Today, I fast for Heidy and her mother, Raquel. Today, I raise my voice for a second time in a cry for justice. For further information, please review the official "Three Days" site here: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com.
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
 
 
Day One of Three Days, Three Daughters: September 1, 2009

Taken directly from the Three Days, Three Daughters site:

"Daughter 1: Anyeli

True Name: Anyeli Lisseth Hernandez Rodriguez
Name changed to/adopted as: Karen Abigail Lopez Rodriguez

Taken while playing in the front courtyard of her home on November 3, 2006

Allegedly a DNA test was administered and the child did not "pass" and she allegedly was placed in Hogar Associacion Primavera. Investigators believe the abandonment process began, and she was declared abandoned by Judge in Escuintla. Anyeli was identified by her mother Loyda Rodriguez from passport photos and documentation, and is understood to be adopted by a family in the midwest who brought her to the US in December, 2008."

I have already begun my fast as of this morning (read as: as of midnight last night). By definition, "to fast" is "to abstain". My strike includes abstinence from all food, surviving on only coffee (essentially for the caffeine) and a TON of water. For three days, I do not feel this is much to relinquish. Show me one mother who wouldn't go without food for as long as humanly possible on behalf of her own child? But this definition of "fast" is of my own choosing. I know many amazing people are electing to fast by giving up the internet, sweets, television, and the like. We are all in this together; we are all fasting as one communal voice.

Today, I am fasting for Anyeli. Today, I am fasting for Loyda.

It has been almost THREE YEARS since Loyda has seen her daughter. Three years. I look at my son, almost three and a half now, and think of how precious each day has been; I think of all the "firsts" I've experienced, all the kisses and hugs I've received, all the love I've been shown by this tiny person. And to think of NOT having that, to think of missing that with every breath in my body...it is almost too much to bear.

Alone, the situation is beyond heartbreaking. But to couple it with the fact that your pleas to find your child go unanswered by the police, investigators, the media, and so forth--it's almost impossible to conceive of the very thought.

About a month ago, I was reading our local "breaking news" site, and there was an article focused solely on a dog-napping. A family canine companion was abducted from a local dog park, right under the owner's eyes. The comments flew in by the proverbial truck load--expressions of sympathy and support from the general public, outrage toward the person who committed said crime. While I consider myself a tremendous animal lover (we have one dog, three cats, two fish in our home), I feel the need to point out that the entire article centered on an animal, a missing DOG. The public outcry had it been an actual child? It would flood email inboxes, swarm the headlines of newspapers, interrupt television programs with breaking bulletins and Amber Alerts. It would virtually remain impossible for anyone to turn a "blind eye" to the fact that a child had essentially been stolen from her mother's arms.

Today, I am angry. Maybe I won't be angry tomorrow--maybe sadness will overtake my fury, but today, I am angry. I am angry for Loyda. I am angry for all three mothers, all three families; I am angry at the heartbreak these women have experienced. I am angry at the sheer helplessness these mothers must have felt and still feel, knowing their daughters are out there somewhere. While I'm sure it is a small comfort to be able to assume their girls are living a life with people who love them--to know their daughters are still alive while so many other missing children have inconclusive lives and futures--I'm equally as certain the heartbreak is still as real, as physical, as tangible as it ever was. Yes, the girls may be treated beautifully and loved unconditionally, but even with the small comfort this probably can provide, it doesn't take the emptiness away from the arms of the mothers who will never cease their searches.

Today, I fast for Anyeli and her mother, Loyda. Today, I raise my voice in a cry for justice. For further information, please review the official "Three Days" site here: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com.
 
 
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
Let's start with the "when" first: September 1, 2, and 3, 2009.

The "where": Your current location--anywhere--worldwide.

The "what" and the "why": The following is taken directly from the official site--

"Three Days for Three Daughters is an international hunger strike to be held on September first, second and third. The strike is named after three girls who were kidnapped from their three mothers in Guatemala. These mothers, like hundreds of other mothers and fathers in developing nations, wait without answers, help or justice.

In continuation of the hunger strike that was started by Norma Cruz and Fundacion Sobrevivientes in Guatemala on July 15, we are striking for three days, one day for each daughter, to seek justice for the mothers in Guatemala, and to bring attention to the problem of child trafficking in international adoption. Your commitment can help bring justice and give a voice to those that have been silenced.
We are asking people around the world to fast for three days, one day for each daughter stolen. We are not gathering physically in one spot, we are gathering virtually through the web. We are asking participants to commit to documenting their strike through words and/or photograph(s) that they will provide to us via email. At the end of the strike, a book will be designed of the strike documentation and given to key governmental officials and journalists in an effort to expose the issue.


We have commitments from people in India, Guatemala, Germany, The United States, Canada and Denmark. Your commitment can help bring justice and give a voice to those that have been silenced."

Please note: the strike organizers explain the "fasting process" with great clarity--please realize it is not suggested that you go without food or drink for three days. To clarify:

"What is Fasting?

Religions around the world practice one form or another of "fasting" for various reasons. Buddhists fast as a method of purification. Hindus fast as a way to enhance concentration. Catholics believe fasting teaches control and solidarity with the poor. We ask you give up something you hunger, for these three days, as a reflection of "going without" in honor of children stolen for adoption.

We ask you to participate in this strike by "fasting" for three days. We do not recommend or require starvation, or any unhealthy practices, nor anything that would put your health or welfare at risk in order to be part of this event. Fasting is defined by the participant, and is at your discretion. For example, you may choose to abstain from meat and dairy, or sugar, or television, or you may choose to abstain from all food for one day, meat the next, and sugar the last day. You define the fast."

Lastly, it's not enough to "just do it".
Please sign up here: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com/threedaysforthreedaughters/sign-up-here/.
Additionally, you should also read this section on documentation: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com/threedaysforthreedaughters/what-do-you-mean-provide-documentation-of-my-strike/.
I've created this livejournal community as a means to publicly document my own strike and provide a place for those here willing to strike three days for three daughters as well.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to send me a message or post them here. My gratitude for the organizers for their permission to create this community.

Many thanks,
Courtney

And in case you're not convinced just yet...

Here are the daughters: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com/photos/the_children/index.html

And here are their mothers: http://threedaysforthreedaughters.typepad.com/photos/the_mothers/index.html
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful