Awards & Honors
- 2013 W3 Gold Award for Web Video in the Public Interest
- 2012 Soros Justice Fellow
- 2012 International Latino Book Award in Women's Issues category
- 2012 Robert Spiers Benjamin Award Citation for best reporting in any medium on Latin America from the Overseas Press Club of America
- 2012 James Madison Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California
- 2012 Gold IPPY Award in the category of Current Events II (Social Issues / Public Affairs / Ecological / Humanitarian)
- 2008-2009 fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism
- 2008 Anne O'Hare McCormick Scholarship Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York
- Recipient of a Irving Lainoff Scholarship
- Co-founding Art Director of $pread Magazine, winner of the Independent Press Association’s award for ‘Best New Title of 2005”
Where to find Siegal
on the Web
October 18-20, 2012.
Erin Siegal will be the keynote speaker at the Biennial Adoption Conference, St. John’s University, Manhattan, N.Y.
May 15, 2012.
Erin Siegal will speak about her book “Finding Fernanda” at the Institute of the Americas, La Jolla, Calif.
March 15, 2012.
Erin Siegal attended the NorCal SPJ award ceremony where she received a James Madison Award. San Francisco, Calif.
March 9, 2012.
Erin Siegal talked with Donna Montalbano about the recent bust of a Mexican child trafficking for adoption ring, Adoption Discussions, WOON 12.40AM.
December 6, 2011.
Erin Siegal spoke with Jeff Schechtman about her new book "Finding Fernanda," KVON-AM (ABC), Napa Valley.
December 4, 2011.
Erin Siegal talked with Henry Tenenbaum about "Finding Fernanda" and international adoption, KRON 4 Weekend Morning News, San Francisco.
December 1, 2011.
Jeff Whittington interviewed Erin Siegal about her new book "Finding Fernanda," and corruption and fraud in international adoption between Guatemala and the U.S. KERA Radio, Dallas.
November 29, 2011.
Madeleine Brand talked with Amy Costello about international adoption, Guatemala, citing Erin Siegal's work. 89.3KPCC.
November 18, 2011.
Erin Siegal talked about her new book "Finding Fernanda" and the fraud and corruption she discovered in one complex case of international adoption between Guatemala and the U.S. NBC 30 Connecticut TV.
November 17, 2011.
Erin Siegal was featured on "Think" for an hour-long discussion about international adoption problems between Guatemala and the U.S. KERA-FM, Dallas, TX.
November 12, 2011.
Erin Siegal, Schuster Fellow, launched her new book "Finding Fernanda: Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-Border Search for the Truth," Powerhouse Arena, Brooklyn, NY. Meet the author. Open to the public.
Listen to the interview:
(All times are Eastern Time unless otherwise noted.)
As a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Erin Siegal has completed an investigative reporting book in which she examines fraudulent, criminal, and corrupt practices in international adoption between Guatemala and the United States. Her award-winning book, "Finding Fernanda," (Beacon Press, May 8, 2012; Cathexis Press, November 1, 2011) examines those large issues by detailing the criminal network involved in one case of child kidnapping for international adoption. Her second book, "U.S. Cables: International Adoption in Guatemala, 1987-2010," (Cathexis Press, February 1, 2012) is a compilation of diplomatic cables between the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. These cables reveal irregularities in the international adoption system in Guatemala at a time when there were thousands of adoptions by U.S. families taking place in that country.
Siegal was a 2008-2009 fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where her Master’s thesis earned honors. She is a recipient of the 2008 Anne O'Hare McCormick Scholarship Award from the Newswomen's Club of New York and the Irving Lainoff Scholarship.
In 2006, Siegal co-directed and co-produced a 13-minute documentary, “Taking the Pledge,” exploring the impact of a Bush administration rule within USAID that stipulated that organizations receiving U.S. funds for HIV/AIDS prevention must sign an "anti-prostitution pledge." The effects of this Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) clause is told by sex workers from around the world in Khmer, Thai, French, Portuguese, and Bengali (with English subtitles). “Taking the Pledge” has been screened at the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, the 2007 World Social Forum in Atlanta, and the 2007 International Conference on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Mali. It was produced in collaboration with the Network of Sex Work Projects and funded by the Urban Justice Center of New York City.
Since 2005, Siegal has worked as a photojournalist. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Time magazine, Rolling Stone, and many other magazines and newspapers. Her clients include Reuters, Human Rights Campaign, the Urban Justice Center, RollingStone.com, the United Nations, and more. Before beginning her freelance career as a Reuters contract photographer in 2005, she worked as photojournalist James Nachtwey’s studio manager and also assisted photojournalist / author Susan Meiselas with her book “Kurdistan.”
Siegal was the co-founding Art Director of $pread Magazine, which won the Independent Press Association’s award for "Best New Title of 2005." She has also worked with various grassroots media collectives, including the New York City Independent Media Center, Boston Indymedia, and the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition.
"The U.S. Embassy Cables: Adoption Fraud in Guatemala, 1987-2010" (Cathexis Press, February 1, 2012) is Siegal's second book about international adoption in Guatemala. During her research, Siegal combed through 2,000 pages of records and cables that due to delays in the State Department’s response to her 30 FOIA requests (filed between 2008 and 2010) were not given to her until after "Finding Fernanda" was written. Siegal published these raw-source documents in a 718-page volume to make this valuable information available to journalists, policymakers, adoptive families, and adoption advocates. Read excerpts>
"Finding Fernanda: Two Mothers, One Child, and a Cross-Border Search for Truth," Beacon Press, May 8, 2012; Cathexis Press, 2011. Siegal’s first full-length nonfiction book expanded on her master’s thesis, which reported on her investigation into one case of child kidnapping for international adoption—and through that story details some of the criminal networks and corruption that afflicted many U.S. adoptions from Guatemala. Read more>
Selected Reviews for "Finding Fernanda"
Siegal does a fantastic job of breaking down a complicated story, and gives voice to the distinct players involved in Guatemalan children being adopted by US families. “Finding Fernanda” is a gripping read that offers glimpses of hope in what was an otherwise heartbreaking system.
—The Christian Science Monitor
Siegal's work rings true, and is the most in-depth and compelling treatment of the topic I have ever read.
—Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing (who put "Finding Fernanda" on their Holiday Gift List)
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"
Siegal's photography has appeared in the following two anthologies:
||“American Youth,” by the photographers of Redux Pictures, published by Contrasto, June 2009.|
|“Shut Them Down: The G8, Gleneagles 2005 and the Movement of Movements,” by various authors, edited by D. Harvie, K. Milburn, B. Trott, and D. Watts, Autonomedia, January 2006.|