Karen Smith Rotabi

United Arab Emirates University

Karen Smith Rotabi is Associate Professor of Social Work at United Arab Emirates University. She has lived and worked in a number of countries. She frequently writes about her experiences in Central America. Her experience includes 2 years as a Peace Corps Volunteeer in Belize and then later training Peace Corps Volunteers in both Belize Guatemala. In 2009, Rotabi participated in the Guatemala Human Rights Commission delegation on Violence Against Women. Openly criticizing the intercountry adoption system in Guatemala, prior to major reforms, became a personal commitment after hearing from many sources about the grave human rights abuses of birth mothers, including one young woman who managed to cease the illegal adoption of her daughter after her highly publicized case of child kidnapping and DNA-fraud. It should be noted that Rotabi has herself worked with families seeking to adopt and her interest is in developing ethical systems which prevent child sales and abduction. Her leadership in this area of practice includes involvement of USA-implementation of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Committed to global social work and human rights, these themes are found throughout her publications. The 2012 book entitled Intercountry Adoption: Policy, Practices, and Outcomes was co-edited by Rotabi with Judith L. Gibbons. You can follow Rotabi’s work here.


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Analysis Family

Child Abduction for Adoption and the Tangled Web of Deceit in Guatemala: A Review of Erin Siegal’s “Finding Fernanda”

Karen Smith Rotabi

Because much of my research has focused on reforming intercountry adoption and most especially Guatemala, I opened Siegal’s “Finding Fernanda” cautiously. By the end of this captivating read, it is impossible to see Alvarado as anything but a strong and resilient woman who is determined to fight circumstances of poverty and oppression.

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