Between Light and Shadow
A Guatemalan Girl’s Journey through Adoption
Author: Jacob Wheeler
Foreword by Kevin Kreutner
280 pages, 27 illustrations
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Veteran journalist Jacob Wheeler puts a human face on the Guatemalan adoption industry through the story of 14-year-old Ellie, who was abandoned at age 7 and adopted by a middle-class family from Michigan.
Wheeler re-creates the painful circumstances of Ellie’s abandonment, her adoption and Americanization, her search for her birth mother, and her joyous and haunting return to Guatemala, where she finds her teenage brothers—unleashing a bond that transcends language and borders.
Following Ellie’s journey, Wheeler peels back the layers of an adoption economy that some view as an unscrupulous baby-selling industry that manipulates impoverished indigenous Guatemalan women, and others herald as the only chance for poor children to have a better life.
“Jacob Wheeler brings some desperately needed clarity to the socially complex, morally and legally confusing issue of U.S. adoptions from Guatemala. He has done the legwork, shown commitment and courage, and the reporting in this book is diligent, heartfelt, and thoughtful.”
— Francisco Goldman, author of The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop? and The Long Night of White Chickens