Rachel Nolan at Harvard Book Store
Until I Find You:
and Coercive Adoptions in Guatemala
in conversation with SYLVIA SELLERS-GARCÍA
February 15, 2024
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes RACHEL NOLAN—contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and assistant professor of International Relations at Boston University—for a discussion of her new book Until I Find You: Disappeared Children and Coercive Adoptions in Guatemala. She will be joined in conversation by SYLVIA SELLERS-GARCÍA—Professor of History at Boston College and author of The Woman on the Windowsill.
About Until I Find You
In 2009 Dolores Preat went to a small Maya town in Guatemala to find her birth mother. At the address retrieved from her adoption file, she was told that her supposed mother, one Rosario Colop Chim, never gave up a child for adoption—but in 1984 a girl across the street was abducted. At that house, Preat met a woman who strongly resembled her. Colop Chim, it turned out, was not Preat’s mother at all, but a jaladora—a baby broker.
Some 40,000 children, many Indigenous, were kidnapped or otherwise coercively parted from families scarred by Guatemala’s civil war or made desperate by unrelenting poverty. Amid the US-backed army’s genocide against Indigenous Maya, children were wrested from their villages and put up for adoption illegally, mostly in the United States. During the war’s second decade, adoption was privatized, overseen by lawyers who made good money matching children to overseas families. Private adoptions skyrocketed to the point where tiny Guatemala overtook giants like China and Russia as a “sender” state. Drawing on government archives, oral histories, and a rare cache of adoption files opened briefly for war crimes investigations, Rachel Nolan explores the human toll of an international industry that thrives on exploitation.
Would-be parents in rich countries have fostered a commercial market for children from poor countries, with Guatemala becoming the most extreme case. Until I Find You reckons with the hard truths of a practice that builds loving families in the Global North out of economic exploitation, endemic violence, and dislocation in the Global South.
Praise for Until I Find You
"A staggeringly brilliant work of the heart and the head. One can’t read Nolan’s story of forced adoptions in Guatemala and not come away both shaken and intellectually challenged. I’ve read many books on Cold War political violence—but never one that pulls you in, that makes you feel as well as think, as much as this tour de force." —Greg Grandin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
"Like a dark historical fairy tale pulled from a bewitched archive, Until I Find You illuminates the Guatemalan international adoption trade’s cruel corruption and heartrending complexities in a boldly original way. Nolan’s meticulous research and her beautifully lucid, empathetic writing show how the seemingly benign event of the foreign adoption of an innocent child leaves behind an invisible trail of personal, economic, political, and essentially imperial horrors." —Francisco Goldman, author of The Art of Political Murder and Monkey Boy
"Important, compelling reading. Nolan has interviewed countless people, obtained access to adoption files, read the human rights reports, and sorted through the legal history. This will become a key, authoritative account of the deeply corrupt state of Guatemalan adoption from the 1970s to the 2000s." —Laura Briggs, author of Taking Children: A History of American Terror
Masks are encouraged but not requried for this event.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!
Shipping & Pickup
We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!Learn More »
Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!
Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.Learn More »