CICIG will investigate one thousand adoption records who are in-process

February 22, 2009


The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) today signed an agreement with the UN Foundation for Children (Unicef) to investigate a thousand records of adoptions who are in process.

According to the director of CICIG, Spaniard, Carlos Castresana, the research sought to know if the files were created to perform adoptions with false papers, it is believed that there are an international network in trafficking of children.

Last January, the National Council for Adoptions (CNA) asked courts to order the Child protection measures for a thousand children whose cases were not concluded by the lawyers in a verification process conducted by the institution with the birthmothers of the minors.

February 13, 2009
Spanish Version:
Cicig investigará mil expedientes de adopciones
La Comisión Internacional contra la Impunidad en Guatemala (Cicig) firmó hoy un convenio con la Fundación de Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (Unicef) para investigar mil expedientes de trámites de adopción.
Según el director de la Cicig, el español Carlos Castresana, la investigación buscará saber si los expedientes se crearon para efectuar las adopciones con papeles falsos, pues se cree que hay redes internacionales de tráfico de menores.
En enero último, el Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (CNA) pidió a juzgados de la Niñez que ordenara medidas de protección para mil niños cuyos expedientes no fueron concluidos por los abogados en un proceso de verificación que llevó a cabo la institución con las madres de los menores.
13 Febrero 2009

Posted by Marie at February 22, 2009 12:55 PM

Enough already. Let our kids come home. I have been in PGN for 11 months. My daughter was seized, I have been in an out of the courts and my birth mother was reinterviewed. Every time they look it's found to be legal and then another group decides they want to investigate again. Why can they just let these adoptions finish - like their congress ordered over a year ago.

Posted by: Heather Burton at February 22, 2009 01:53 PM

We are in process, too, since June, 2007. I don't care how long it takes if it equals a legal, clean and ethical adoption. Part of what caused the closure and system breakdown, is that PAPs desired speed over ethics.

So I say, bravo for the CICIG and UNICEF for doing this! For far too long, the adoption system has been tainted by corrupt attorneys, facilitators and other profiteers (US agencies) who have corrupted the system so terribly it had to be shut down.

Money laundering, kidnapping, coercion, forgeries and paperwork falsifications have been invasive, and those taking part in these crimes still lead a life of impunity due to their close ties to government officials and fat wallets. Sadly, that’s the way it works in Guatemala, and what the CICIG and others are working to put an end to, including their work with prosecuting war criminals and perpetrators of the genocides (of the 1980s) who also have benefited from Guatemala’s system of impunity -- for the elite and connected.

This is a clear acknowledgement in my opinion, that 1,000 of the 3,000 in-process cases (that’s 1/3) had illegalities in them. This is a good (but rough) indicator to me of a percentage of illegalities/corrupt cases in general. How many of these 1,000 PAPs know their cases are going into abandonment procedures and the MP? What have they been told by their agencies?

I used to be one of the adoptive parents who disagreed with Unicef. I believed that the DNA tests were sufficient proof that kidnapping could not be in the system, and that adoptions should continue as they had been. To not do so, would jeopardize children, put them in institutional settings and leave mothers in Guatemala without adoption as an option for an unwanted pregnancy. Like most adoptive parents, I agreed there was fraud, but not to the levels that should cause a shutdown.

My opinion could not be more different today. I have the utmost respect for the work of Unicef, and fully support and believe in their endeavors 100%. Now that there is confirmation that many DNA tests aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, and after freezing our adoption case for investigation after blatant “par for the course” fraud (and other things more sinister) were uncovered, researching extensively on the adoption “market” and the truth about the number of legitimate “orphans” my views have radically changed.

I cannot close my eyes, or turn my back to the blatant corruption I have personally witnessed on our case (one of the 1,000 cases now investigated by the MP, our agency closed down), and I will not dismiss the complaints of Guatemalan women who have been systematically silenced for years by the notoriously corrupt and marginalizing government of Guatemala. To do so, in my opinion, is dismissing my daughter’s heritage, origin, and identity. We owe our kids acknowledgement of our own roles, self-examination, taking the TIME to complete ethical adoptions, and working together uncover the truth. Through this, we can hold accountable those that were responsible for these crimes.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 22, 2009 03:04 PM

Obviously "Not Miss Popularity" has not experienced first hand the severe danger delays, traumatic moves, inconsistent caregivers, etc. can cause a child.

We were lucky enough to have been able to bring one of our children home 6 months ago (still fighting for our 2+ year old child stuck in the system). We have experienced "post-traumatic stress syndrome" first hand. Not good by any stretch and certainly horrifying to know that my child's suffering was/is for nothing.

There was nothing illegal about our child's case, as the MP, PGN, courts, PGN again and AGAIN were able to determine. The birthmother declared again and again and again. She was all but ignored by authorities...what about her rights? Do not think or kid yourself that UNICEF cares one minute about the birthmothers or any of the 160,000+ children in Guatemala living in the streets or in underfunded orphanages.

The remaining "pipeline" 1000 children all have homes and loving families to go to---including yours. Let them. I challenge UNICEF to do some REAL good in Guatemala and rescue the 159,000 children who have no one and no place.

P.S. These children DO NOT have TIME, this has been proven over and over with enormous amounts of research. Your child included, get your daughter home NOW.

Posted by: Nancy at February 22, 2009 04:02 PM

To Not Miss Popularity

I am wondering because you speak of the vast amount of fraud that has gone on in approximately the 1,000 cases that you refer to out of the 3000-have you withdrawn your application to adopt this child that you are in-process for?

I do not believe that the vast majority of PAP's would say that they would want an adoption that contained fraud-whether it is birthmother coercion, baby stealing, paperwork fudging or whatever fraud is uncovered in a case. The fact remains that there is a child's life at stake. With all of the safeguards of the Hague (or perceived safeguards)there will still be corruption. However, right now there is no system in Guatemala to speak of-the baby has been thrown out with the bath water as they say. Essentially adoption in Guatemala is NOT an option and will remain that way for some time.

Although UNICEF may do some good things as far as vaccinations etc in developing countries, I can not understand why they want to basically halt cases that are in-process to continue with more investigations where clearly no wrong doing has been found. These children are being denied the right to a permanent family. I have never believed that adoption is a cure for any countries social issues but at least it was an option. That has been taken away and many children are left hanging in the balance-including our son. By the way, we have a daughter from Guatemala(2004) and I can assure you that her adoption was/is legal and no fraud in the paperwork as we have birthmother contact.

Posted by: Mary at February 22, 2009 05:07 PM

If you are going to bust the scum bags, then bust them already. The international community will need to answer to these children who were held hostage by endless red tape. If you are not going to develop a reasonable system in a timely manner, then have the chutzpuh to say so.

Oh yes, it's complicated. Oh yes, it takes time. Oh yes, this is serious business. Of course it is. So is rehabilitating a child wounded by institutionalization, malnutrition, or simply the lack of a family.

Posted by: Jennifer at February 22, 2009 05:50 PM

Well, "Not Miss Popularity", if you want to try and ease your mind somehow by convincing yourself that you've done your civil duty by notifying officials that you thought there was some sort of problem with your childs paperwork, then good for you, you've done that. If it's all right with you that your daughter spends an indefinite amount of time away from you then I think your are in a very very tiny minority. I for one want my little girl home now. What good do you think another "investigation" is going to do? Probably about the same good the second birth mother interviews did. Because of the requirement of the second BMI, after our birth mother wasn't located, our little girl was taken from a loving foster home and placed in an overcrowded hogar with no plumbing. I don't know about you, but I haven't seen a lot of care or consideration from UNICEF for the forty some children who are housed in that nasty hogar. If you want to sing the praises of UNICEF, you certainly have every right, but in the instance of Guatemalan adoptions, I'm afraid you might be singing a solo!

Our Foster Mother spoke with our Birth Mother on more than one occasion and she made it very clear, she couldn't and didn't want to try and raise the child she gave birth to. Could she have possibly forged a cedula so she could place her child for adoption? It's very possible, and if that's the case I say bless her heart. She did what she could do to give her child a chance at a life she couldn't offer.

Posted by: Pam at February 22, 2009 06:02 PM

Dear "Not Miss Popularity":

Thank you for your candor and reflection on a process that clearly has deeply rooted problems. I have watched and participated on Guatadopt for quite some time now and find that the perspective you offer is often attacked and sometime viciously by in-process families and "professionals". As you know, in-process families typically have their blinders on and are focused on their single case. However, it is clear that MANY people KNOW that Guatemalan adoptions are highly irregular and child trafficking is a real problem. I am a firm believer that the truth eventually prevails and the 30,000 children who have been adopted from Guatemala since the year 2000 will have much to unravel as they learn about the highly flawed system from which they were adopted. Sadly, some will learn that their DNA tests were bogus and, in some cases, there will be great trauma when it becomes clear that they were purchased. Yes, birth mother payments became routine in recent years. Birth mother payments make the adoption fraudulent (is a violation of Guatemalan law and US orphan visas), however everyone has been proceeding with a blind eye and relying on their adoption agencies for the "truth"--a group of "professionals" who have lost sight of the truth in order to continue to write their own paychecks! The information that has been released in recent years is nothing less than a kind of propaganda used to deny problems and protect a multimillion dollar industry--not a solution to child poverty! As a result of the messages and the tactics at hand, people such as yourself are attacked. So, I applaud you for your honesty and clarity related to the issue at hand.

Posted by: karenms1 at February 22, 2009 09:11 PM

Adoptions are alive and well in Guatemala, just not International ones right now. Domestic adoptions are gaining speed and popularity, and I for one am pleased to see that. Guatemalans have a right to be raised in Guatemala. Call me crazy....which I'm sure I will be. :)

To those that are judging me and my family without knowing us (or esp. our case) is sadly not surprising, but isn't serving any greater purpose. It only causes division in a community that would benefit from being more united. Overall, I believe we all have the children's interest at heart, but those ideals often seem to get lost when personal attacks fly.

Whose needs are we serving by putting speed ahead of ethics and needed investigations? If a child is in a bad situation in Guatemala during an investigation, they can be moved through legal channels. Ethics don't have to be scrapped in order to provide a loving, stable environment for a child in Guatemala.

When the fraud got out of hand, adoptions got shut down. No one wants that... but somehow, no one can see that it is exactly the attitude of entitlement pervasive in the above comments that brought us to this point--closure of IA.

Imagine how different things would be today, if everyone had pointed out fraud in their cases, educated themselves on the legalities, demanded transparency from their agency and in-country facilitators, etc.... do you think the fraud would have gotten out of control? I doubt it. My bet is IA would still be open, and children needing homes may be able to find them today.

By demanding ethical and legal adoptions, IA will continue. We're the ones who hold the purse strings, and ultimately, are the "consumers" and can drive the process however we wish. If we collectively demand ethics, IA stays open, and children will find homes. I believe it's that simple.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 22, 2009 09:39 PM

A gentle reminder, please no personal attacks on those posting.

The Guat Team

Posted by: marie at February 23, 2009 08:07 AM

Started reading this post and had not planned on posting but got to the bottom and simply could not help myself. While this is not a personal attack, I do find myself completely astounded how "not miss personality" can be so completely naive to think that we can simply demand transparency and get it. My husband and I are honest people. We hired a reputable agency that we investigated, checked out, interviewed prior clients etc...and signed a contract we thought protected all parties. We proceeded along and ran into a previo. We pushed and pushed and requested information from our agency on every single detail. We wanted to know everything possible about the process. We did everything above board. We made inquiries about the attorney representing our son and learned that he was never one who was thought to operate on "the wrong side of the law" and that because of this, we were going to probably be delayed. We would have to complete going through the steps because we didn't have someone "paying people off". Well...that was ok with us. We of course weren't happy about the delays, but we were at peace with knowing we were doing it right. We have been in process 27 months to date. We have complied with everything asked of us and so has our attorney and still we wait. We will wait as long as it takes because we love this child. You seem to leave this very important factor our of your posts miss unpopular. Us PAP's love these children. Perhaps without meaning to, your posts are disrepectful and hurtful to the many loving and honest pap's who have sacrificed everything for a child. We are not out there trolling the black markets to buy children and this is how you make it sound. Be careful being so you are not the ultimate judge....God is.

Posted by: Lynn at February 23, 2009 08:48 AM

Lynn, I'm in process too, since June, 2007. It has been the most emotionally and financially draining experience of my life. We haven't given up, despite the costs and toll it's taken, to care for and best provide for this child. I find your comment hits below the belt to say we have not sacrificed for this child. Believe me, we have. Everything. Our savings, our time, our hearts.

I have chosen to keep our details private on this board (for now) for many reasons. But to insinuate we don't love our child because we believe in ethical adoptions, and have changed our opinion and support Unicef? I'm sorry, but that's just outright cruel. What are you gaining by saying such things to another mother?

If, as you say, your god will judge me, fine... I'm ready.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 23, 2009 10:02 AM


I am sorry you feel that way....but I never insinuated you didn't love anyone. I said that I found your statements disrespectful and hurtful to PAP's. My post was mainly about our case and our feelings. You chose to make a very public and in my opinion a very one sided statement. These are you beliefs and so be it. You are entitled like everyone else. But when you come out making strong statements, you will inevitably invite strong responses. I don't know you and would never presume to judge you as a person and most certainly never presume whether or not you love someone or not. I would think the opposite of anyone most likely who is brave enough to undertake international adoption because it is not for the faint of heart.

I normally don't get sucked into these debates...I read, try to take it all in and honestly try to learn, but yours really got to me. Your posts in my eyes do not seek to see all sides of things. Maybe you do, but it is not very well reflected. These are my personal two cents. Just as you are entitled to post, as am I. This will be my last as I really don't like to make anyone feel badly nor do I like to get drawn into what I consider unproductive drama. I just know that my heart and my conscience are clear when it comes to our process and I know there are thousands that are as well despite our inability to actually own crystal balls. All the best to you truly and your process.


Posted by: Lynn at February 23, 2009 02:36 PM

I wanted to pipe in with some comments.

I was living in Guatemala during the BM interview time, and know of situations where Birth Mothers showed up at PGN one day after the deadline and were turned away. Some had issues with mudslides, others were found at the last hour by the attorneys.

If the child's best interest was truly taken into account, these children would not be left to languish in orphanages because their birth mother showed up one day late. On the other hand, if this is all political BS, then it all makes perfect sense.

'Not Miss Popularity' asserted that because 1,000 cases were being investigated, that "This is a clear acknowledgement in my opinion, that 1,000 of the 3,000 in-process cases (that’s 1/3) had illegalities in them. This is a good (but rough) indicator to me of a percentage of illegalities/corrupt cases in general."

There is no evidence that these 1,000 cases have illegalities. These represent the cases where the birth mother did not come for the interview (let's remember they had already been interviewed at least once earlier on). There can be many reasons for this (other than simply illegality). Some birth mothers, no doubt hearing rumours of the intimidating interviews, were afraid to come. Some may have been sick, and unable to make the trip. My birth mother almost didn't come because she couldn't get off from work...and because she'd made the 16 hour trip to PGN six months earlier because they requested an interview with her. It also may be true that some were not aware of the severity of the consequences of not showing up (if they didn't show up, it could jeopardize the adoption.)

Some of these cases may represent true corruption, but nobody knows how many, and it seems it will be virtually impossible at this point to investigate each of these cases to that depth. We all know how picky and detailed PGN has been. If there was something
amiss, one would think they would pick up on it, especially since they look for any possible reason to kick out a file.

I'm not suggesting that we turn a blind eye to corruption.

But the truth is, the system has been corrupted for some time. And these cases have been languishing in the system for too long.
I am concerned that at the end of the day all that will result from this latest announcement is
a) children being made to wait even longer
b) adoptions being denied and children being stuck in orphanages.

Of those 1,000 precious children, I have little faith that any of those not ultimately united to their adoptive families will have a fate better than "option b" mentioned above.

It just feels like more red tape and delays, lacking any real promise of legitimizing the ethics of any of these cases. Too many people (including those in PGN) can be bought off.

If the system needs fixing, I wish they'd get busy and fix it. Instead of looking backward and picking apart adoptions already in process under the old system, they need to spend this time working on setting up a new, improved system, to take care of all the 'new' orphans being born in Guatemala every day.

Without strong, involved, outside oversight, I'm not sure this is possible. Corruption is too deeply entrenched in the culture -- even if the system starts out clean, somehow, someway, corruption will be reintroduced. That is just how things work.

Praying for all of you who are still waiting. Hang in there. Keep fighting for your babies.

Posted by: anonymous at February 23, 2009 04:17 PM

I know that this news has freaked out in-process parents and I sincerely hope that all the questions regarding these 1000 adoptions can be resolved promptly.

"Not Miss Popularity" stated

>> Imagine how different things would be today, if everyone had pointed out fraud in their cases, educated themselves on the legalities, demanded transparency from their agency and in-country facilitators, etc.... do you think the fraud would have gotten out of control? I doubt it. My bet is IA would still be open, and children needing homes may be able to find them today. <<
Boy oh boy have you touched a raw nerve....I adopted my child from Guatemala in 1995. Even way back then the DOS website was full of warnings of numerous improprieties in Guatemalan international adoptions. There were fewer than 500 children issued orphan immigrant visas in 1995 - in 2007 there were 4728 issued. Did the Guatemalan birthrate or the poverty rate increase ninefold during those 12 years?? Um, no...

"NMP" asks how things would be different if suspecting PAPs had spoken up - but I myself place very little blame on the PAPs. In my view the Guatemalan "adoption professionals" (attorneys, facilitators, buscadoras) and the US agencies are the ones to blame. It was they who were well aware of what most of us PAPs were not - the ever-increasing payments to birthmoms, the economic and other coercion of birthmoms, the fraudulently-issued documentation...

Back during the 2003 Hague crisis, a US agency employee told me in so many words that the director of her agency was trying to cram as many adoptions as possible into the system because he feared a shutdown. It was explained to me that this was why this agency director was working with a facilitator who later became the focus of a Dateline "expose" - to obtain access to more referrals (dare I surmise it was so he could make as much money as possible while he could?).

I am truly not sure that there is anything to be gained from placing the "blame" on anyone, but I firmly believe that we are where we are - and worse still, the needy children of Guatemala are where they are - because of the greed of those who profitted from the system. I am not condemning all, but the more one learns the more troubling it all is...and of course it is the children who suffer the most - the ones who rely on us adults to provide their voice.


Posted by: Lisa at February 23, 2009 04:54 PM

Not Miss Personality:

I must say that a nerve would not be so raw if there were not some truth in what you have said. Keep speaking truth to power...

Posted by: karenms1 at February 23, 2009 07:08 PM

To Not Miss Personality and Karenms1.

First, to NMP, you must be a UNICEF plant (I say this half-jokingly). Look, you can be all for ethics but to say that UNICEF is doing any good is a joke. Where are the UNICEF funds so that children are not warehoused in inadequate orphanages? Have you no awareness of the developmental damage being done to these kids? Second, no one objects to investigations and doing things by the book, but you know that these things are being dragged out by people oblivious to (at best) and maliciously (at worst) the impact on real kids. Third, PAPs have no recourse in this - those waiting have no legal right to the kids they hope to adopt and can't get them moved to a better setting as you implied.

As for domestic Guatemalan adoptions, it's great that they are beginning but to pretend that there are enough of them is being blind at best. Have you not heard of all the babies being abandonned on the streets? This is the result of the new system.

To another poster who suggested that the huge spike in Guatemalan adoptions was proof of fraud, it may well be but is not the whole story. Try this hypothesis -- the spike in adoptions was caused in part by women having an option other than watching their children die from malnutrition or living in an abusive situation? The growth of abandonment of babies in the street more than a year after the shutdown (in other words, more than the 9 months of a pregnancy since January 1, 2008 when the system shut down) strongly suggests that kids were not manufactured for adoption, other than in anomolous cases, but rather there was crushing need for adoption in the absence of any social safety net)

To Karenms1,

Glad to see you back! I love how you're continuing to drag all Guatemalan adoptions through the mud. What about those of us who have birthfamily contact, know the stories of our kids' first families, and know the circumstances of our kids' adoptions (including paperwork that was accurate but for one detail - the address our son's birthmom resided at during the adoption)? Are these all lies? You're driven solely by anti-adoption ideology, rather than facts. The facts are mixed - yes, there was real corruption, yes there was corruption under the crazy definitions of anti-adoption groups like UNICEF (false address = corruption in their view), but in the vast majority of cases (33 percent corruption rate, if true as Not Miss Peronality asserts), adoptions were legit.

Posted by: Lee at February 24, 2009 08:53 AM

Oh... you figured me out! I'm a UNICEF plant. Good grief. Accuse someone of being a fraud for having a differing opinion? How open minded of you.

I agree Karenms1. There is an obvious reason the nerves are raw.

Unfortunately, once again when the holy ground of adoption dare be tainted with seeds of doubt (or truth), the dialog degrades to low blows and insults. How sad.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 24, 2009 11:29 AM

My wife and I,and our 2 children, were very lucky

to have completed our adoptions in 2003 and 2005 before the shutdown. I have however remained interested in the adoption situation in Guatemala and feel very sorry for both the PAP's and the children

Accusations of widespread fraud are frequently made on this forum. What is the actual proof? I am not claiming no fraud exists but I question why there are so may accusations but seldom are the names of agencies and lawyers provided.Someone says the birthmother didn't show up for an interview then concludes the adoption is fraudulent and the PAP's ,agency etc are all guilty.

Regardless of how much good UNICEF may do their goal is not "fraud free" adoptions. Their goal is to stop IA's.Fraud whether real or exagerated is the smoke screen to cloak their agenda.A Guatemala adoption system free of fraud will never happen and they know it. Domestic adoptions in the U.S.are not free of fraud.I have family members who were shaken down for cash by a birthmother and attorney.

UNICEF and others who claim adoptions can't proceed until the process is invulnerable to fraud have set a standard they know will never be met.They will place so many burdens on birthmothers and PAP's that they will simply give up.Of course the folks from UNICEF will remain behaind and take care of all the orphans.

Posted by: hENRY at February 24, 2009 11:56 AM

how's THIS for a reason that nerves are raw?: PAPs are standing by helpless as their children are being damaged, in many cases for stupid bureaucratic reasons that have nothing to do with fraud. I can certainly understand how that would make one's nerves raw. It makes my nerves raw and our child is already home.

Posted by: sjbj at February 24, 2009 12:01 PM


I guess I am going to become "Not Miss Popularity #2" because you are wrong about one thing. Until the child is legally adopted, they are NOT your children. They are citizens of Guatemala and, as such, the soverign nation has a right to regulate a system that has been full of fraud--including bogus DNA tests, child theft (unknown and small %), and birth mother payments (unknown and large % of recent adoptions). I applaud the advocates been trying to get control over a system that at the very least charged $25,000 for a child--that's absurd in a dollar-a-day nation but not a surprise in a nation known to have some of the most serious graft and corruption in this hemisphere. Anyone who cannot see the obvious problems in one Guatemalan attorney facilitating an adoption for all involved and requiring wire payments from PAPs and agencies to offshore accounts--well, you are not being honest with yourself! You may have gone through a nice and clean appearing agency here in the US with a fancy website with compelling photos, but the underbelly is the underbelly! You can fall prey to their messaging, but...get real! Some of these children were manufactured and they are not ORPHANS as required by US orphan visa requirements! That's FRAUD and everyone should be concerned about that!
Lee, you and I will likely never see eye-to-eye except that this situation is grave. The roots of the issue definately get their nourishment from a (previously) unbridled system of individuals (attorneys, facilitators, etc.) who then interfaced with US adoption "agencies" (some of them run by con artists due to limited regulation in weak states like FL). All of this culminated in one of the poorest nations in the world with a high birth rate, high rate of child mortality and morbidity, and dire circumstances for women and their families. It all came together in a train wreck for those who have been taken advantage of on both sides of the border! I am saddened for all in the triangle and when it is all said and done, the truth will prevail. This CICIG initiative is the beginning of the truth and reconciliation process which will be painful, but necessary when there are human rights abuses.

Posted by: karenms1 at February 24, 2009 12:30 PM

Ok I just HAD to comment on karenms1 remark about then NOT being our children. While that may be true according to law, it is not so in the hearts of us adoptive parents. The minute we see these children in pictures we love them, actually before we see them we love them. Then factor in going to visit them, hold them, feed them, kiss them...yes we do consider them our children before the process legally says they are.

True love, real love, cannot wait for a signature, or another interview. I am not down playing that yes there has been corruption but anyone should be able to see why nerves are raw...these are children involved...OUR children that we pray for, love, and hope will be home soon.

Posted by: dd at February 24, 2009 01:27 PM


You're right that we will never see eye to eye. Talking about adoption reform as a truth and reconciliation process a la the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa is just obscene -- the abuses don't begin to compare to the systemic abuses of apartheid.
Moreover, you of course ignored my point about the many people who have actual birthfamily contact and have heard the story of their kids' adoptions firsthand, not through sensationalized press reports or distorted UNICEF advocacy. There are many people out there, Karenms1, who know that their kids' adoptions were perfectly legit, but you and the folks in UNICEF don't care about the truth -- you're out to paint all Guatemalan adoptions as corrupt.

As for you, Not Miss Personality, my comment was tongue in cheek. As I wrote earlier, it's one thing to be for adoption reform, it's quite another to say, without any qualification whatsoever, that UNICEF is perfect and wonderful.

Posted by: Lee at February 24, 2009 02:29 PM

KARENMS1-You say that Guatemala is a Sovereign Nation. So, can you explain me what unicef is doing in Guatemala? The Guatemalan Authorities can't decide on their own what to do?Why is unicef pushing ( forcing ) for more investigations? Why they bribed the Congress of a soverign Nation ( Guatemala ) to pass the Ortega Law? Unicef is up to fight corruption? Give me a break!!! Unicef is part of the most corrupted international organism: The UN. Have you have heard of the " oil for food " scandal? And if corruption is at the UN, what makes me think that there is no corruption at unicef too!!! I am convinced that the people in charge of unicef ( not the volunteers on the field ) have no interest of having a world free of children in need. As I have said several times, I am convinced that as long as there are children in need in the world, the people in charge of unicef can keep their job and can have an exuse to panhandling on your front door in behalf of the orphans.Vince

Posted by: vince at February 24, 2009 05:59 PM

There is one thing I think we can all agree upon, on both sides of the fence of the debate going on here.
WE truly care about these children.

UNICEF...not so sure. Guatemalan government...doubt it. PGN officials...unlikely. Attorneys...only if there is a dollar sign attached.
Although those waiting want their children home with them, this is not an entirely selfish desire. I believe that even more than that, they want the best for these kids. When you love your children, you would put your life on the line for them without even thinking twice.
So, let's come together at least on the fact that those of us who are adoptive parents and PAP's really love our children, the children of Guatemala, and care about what is going to come about as result of all that is going on. Regardless of our opinion on the best way to go about that.

Posted by: anonymous at February 24, 2009 06:18 PM

Rather than giving karenms or not miss popular the satisfaction of a response, since they seem to like to stir the pot, I just have a few questions:

Can someone who knows - for a fact - explain exactly what this means for in process families who DID have a birth mother interview? I am unclear on if those with BMIs are included in the thousand adoption records. Also, what will this entail? How long will this investigation take? In process PAPs may not have any say in new regulations that are thrown our way, however, we should be given the courtesy of information - and some idea of what this means for our case.

Not looking for speculation. I am looking for facts if anyone has any.


Posted by: waitingmom at February 24, 2009 06:48 PM

Hi to all,just one comment, I am a guatemalan citizen, and i see and live the adoptions for so many years, including now, why ?? because i am and was working in a family court, and i work with the adoptions with the new law and the past law; Well with these clear my arguments and opinion are: Is a BIG LIE that the solution to the problems with the adoptions are fixed with the new law, BIG LIE; why? because the spirit of this law, is don´let some person sale, and win money at cost of adoptions, ja and the CNA what´s doing the same thing and worse, you can´t see the post of the director Wendy Cuellar, she say why compare the adoptions now and before, of course the adoptions now is more expensive???...; and she ask for increasement of 50 millions of quetzales, and only with that amount, they can work, sealy. This by one side, but the other side the results of the new law one year later, for example in Mixco, in 2006 and 2007, the approve adoptions number are for both year 700 adoptions, and these year from 2008 is just one adoptions, and let me clear something, the reduce in numbers not are because the good practice in th adoptions NO, is because that´s the imagen that they want to have in international comunity and is so sad, that some organizations like UNICEF and many others help they or force at the guatemala goverment, Really you don´t know how bad is the situation to the children in my country, malnouration, desease, abbandoments, the violence againt the children and family is so huge, but these the media don´t print. Almost all the post that webpages give is PRENSALIBRE, not a trustly media, or the news or television, that forced to give just one side of the corner and bad side of the adoptions, All this is so sad to me, but is necesary all you know what is truth, i always say sometimes some people post a comment here, i think is people of the CNA, that want convinced you from all the lies, I really thanks to guatadopt why because give to all the oportunity of post the comments, I THINK we, all have to find a solution for the children because the victims from the actions of the adults are they, the adoptions are not a obligations is a right from the children and depends from all us, can help and find a solution.

Posted by: chapinstudent at February 24, 2009 07:00 PM

Hey, anonymous, nice to see you back to comment. Did you bring your child/children home yet? Vince.

Posted by: Vince at February 24, 2009 07:13 PM

APs - make no mistake about it, YOU are the only one at this point that really cares about the LIFE of your child. Whether corrupt or not, your child and every child needs someone in their “corner,” and that will ONLY be you. Those concerned about ethics and/or perception are not stakeholders in your adoption or the child waiting to be adopted in Guatemala.

I can tell you from “first hand” accounts (not newspaper or magazine articles), that you MUST be the advocate for your child. Quite honestly, if our birthmother gave up our daughter for money to migrate to the US, or to spend on drugs, or the pay off gang debt – or whatever, OUR child needed an advocate. If our attorney paid off family court and added money to his/her file at PGN, so be it. OUR child still needed and advocate. Right or wrong, virtually EVERYTHING in Guatemala centers around the dollar and its exchange for services. It is a cultural mindset that will not change anytime soon. Those preaching the “miracle” of reform and the blessing of the Hague are stakeholders in “reform and the Hague.” They will not and are not advocating for the child in your photos and videos.

Keep up the good fight, because no one else is.


Posted by: Troy at February 24, 2009 08:27 PM

Troy- Amen.

Posted by: Vince at February 24, 2009 09:01 PM


you are absolutely correct, until the adoption is complete they are not legally our children. But,as someone pointed out, they are our children in our hearts, assuming, perhaps in error, that one has one.

As for your comment about our "nice and clean appearing agency" and its "underbelly", and my fooling myself, you have no idea what you are talking about. In fact, we have ongoing contact with our son's birthmother and our adoption was and is "nice and clean".

Speak for yourself!

Posted by: sjbj at February 24, 2009 09:39 PM

"If our attorney paid off family court and added money to his/her file at PGN, so be it"

Well, here's proof positive how the system got out of whack and the corruption took over. Pair this with crooked attorneys, crooked facilitators, greedy agencies, you've got what we ended up with: a cesspool of fraud and subsequent adoption closure.

Ever stop and wonder what those pay offs are for, Troy? Or are asking these questions causing too much delay in getting "your" kid home from a country you have obvious disdain for?
So, thanks, buddy! Thanks for looking after your own personal interests and ignoring something called THE BIGGER PICTURE. Now, there are no adoptions! Terrific for you! Way to advocate for those kids!

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 24, 2009 10:37 PM

I think that all of us want legality in our adoptions, but let’s be honest; Neither Unicef, or the Guatemalan government care for what’s best for the child. Adopting a child from Guatemala was the most stressful, sick process we ever went through.

From the browbeating of some agencies, to the ridiculous previos from PGN for having a letter in the wrong casing, as we all watched and continue to watch our children live in horrid conditions in orphanages with malnutrition, sicknesses, and in our case even a hernia that nearly ruptured if we did not show up in person and take the baby for a operation.

Yes, many of the orphanages do care for the children but have no funding nor means to care for them correctly. And the government only makes more legislation to keep these kids in orphanages or worse on the streets without proper care.

Out of the some odd 30,000 adoptions over the last few years, probably 1% or less were fraudulent, and so the 99% suffer due to the 1% who are corrupt. This whole thing was not about helping the children, it was about destroying the free adoption system in Guatemala with the US, and bringing in UN global control, as they are doing with everything else in this world.

I wish there was a way to help each PAP who has not received their child and we continue to pray for you all, but make no mistake, the only thing that will bring your child home besides the grace of the Almighty Creator is your continue fighting for the life of that child. UNICEF and all other government agencies will only hinder the process and cause countless many more homeless children and overcrowded orphanages. If UNICEF really cared, why don’t they open their pocket books and start to pay for food and shelter for these children who are still in limbo?


Posted by: Don at February 25, 2009 12:28 AM

Nicely said Troy. Nice to hear from you again.

My husband and I read these posts and can't help but think:

You wanted reform, adoptions are closed now, and reform is coming - for better or worse.

The kids left in the pipeline that have loving waiting families need to come home. They are merely political pawns at this point apparently sadly, for both sides - Guatemalan and U.S., as if stalling the cases for several years without proof of fraud somehow makes everything 'fixed'.

All this does is further traumatize the lives of innocent children, not to mention the PAPs that love them - and we DO love them, and it fixes nothing nor makes me feel any better 3 years later to have someone finish yet another investigation and tell me that they still haven't found any evidence of fraud in my adoption as my child sits languishing in temporary care.

Sorry, I really find it difficult to believe that anyone who is truly a PAP and whose adoption is being stalled for no apparent fraud, would say that they did not care how long the process took as long as they were 'sure' it was clean. You will never be 'sure' your adoption was clean - unless you were witness to the process from birth on. It might make you feel better to convince yourself that it is clean, but you will never truly know.

These kids need to come home. Troy is correct in that we are their only advocates and we need to continue to fight for their rights to a loving family in a fair and reasonable amount of time. Enough already. Put all the new guidelines and protections in place for the new cases, if and when adoptions start up again, but let these children out!

Posted by: waitingmom at February 25, 2009 06:08 AM

The main item being discussed here and hopefully not lost is that there has been fraud in cases. What one does not know is how many. We cannot bury our heads in the sand about this any longer.

For certain, the cases like Ana Escobar and Mildred Alvarado, which we have carefully followed (use search engine on our forum) prove that the system is flawed. Happily, these children have been returned to their biological mothers. There are others as in the case of Enma Galicia, who still have not been found and that of Jonathan, a newborn, who was reunited with his birthmother who never relinquished him in the first place, and there are others.

It is very sad for biological mothers who have changed their minds during the process and their wishes were not respected, so many children may well be here whom this is the case.

One cannot be certain what aspect of the documentation was forged or paid for, or if any. We certainly at Guatadopt do not support the paying of any entity so that an adoption can be pressed through.

Like always, we suggest that you hire a private investigator to verify the identity of your child and that of the biological mother and to collaborate the true birthstory.

To reiterate the main story posted on this thread, 1032 cases show that a birthmother was not interviewed. Numerous extensions were allowed, there was no cut off held, as the CNA website stated, just bring in the birthmother.

In cases which still no birthmother has appeared, these cases will be investigated. Attorneys are not informing PAP who are in process of this and that many cases have turned into abandonement.

We urge you to verify the information that you are receiving.


Posted by: marie at February 25, 2009 06:58 AM

Bottom line is a theory that the majority of the 1000+ cases were bogus from the beginning. The theory goes that: PAPs in the US were clamoring to get in under the deadline wire and attorneys in Guate were go going for the final greed grab while also greedy agencies in the US were being less-than-honest about the problems/risks/and fraud issues in Guatemala. All proceeded to get their paperwork in--a tidal wave and THEORETICALLY some babies never existed (but the $$$$ were not going to be turned down!). Maybe there was some scheme to switch in a child later or maybe it was a fraud from the beginning carried out by some very unscrupulous types. Whatever it was, something VERY WRONG happened here and it is far beyond the old bait and switch tactics. I remember the posts on this forum as the deadline was looming and even with GUATADOPT and Embassy warnings, people were rushing to get their paperwork into the queue. Now, the heartbreak of heartbreaks... I find this whole thing incredibly fustrating as it was SOOOO PREDICTIBLE! The fact that agencies set families up in this way with their complicity and worse(continuing to work with shady people, etc.), just annoys me to no end and now they will HIDE BEHIND their waivers of liability! Of course, by the end of the year they will be out of business (if not already) and some of these "professionals" will go back to flipping burgers as they have no better credentials than working at McDonalds! Of course, some of them are setting up office in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW!

Posted by: karenms1 at February 25, 2009 07:23 AM

Sadly enough Karenms1 and NMP,

you are forgetting about those cases that have been in process for 2 years or more....who didn't rush to get their paperwork in under any deadline. Who had some stupid mistake occur and have gotten stuck in all of this political nightmare that you so champion. That is my problem with the two of are so one sided. You can't even bear to admit that there are other sides other than yours...because your at the peak of the rightous mountain...right up there with Unicef. Lee thank you for your posts and many others as you have stated things much better than I. How two people can say they advocate for children to the degree you try to make us all believe and yet ignore what this all is actually doing to the actual children of Guatemala is such a blatant contradiction it is beyond comprehension.

Posted by: Lynn at February 25, 2009 09:29 AM

If Not Miss Personality wants to put her faith in UNICEF and the Guatemalan gov't to get her child home, I wish her lots of luck!
Posted by: Lee at February 25, 2009 09:38 AM

"Right or wrong, virtually EVERYTHING in Guatemala centers around the dollar and its exchange for services. It is a cultural mindset that will not change anytime soon."

Troy, let me just say how what you just wrote is offenssive. I would assume that you would have learned to show some respect to the birth country of your children. This type of statements hurt more than help. You are just confirming our belief that Americans feel it is their right to judge the world and that somehow you are so much better, so much transparent, and the only real advocates of the children of Guate and the world.

"A cultural mindset"? what century are we in? XIX?? It seems to me that you are missing a big chunk of your childrens' birth country recent and not so recent history, and that is a shame. What about the "cultural mindset" of Americans that turn a blind eye to the abuses and crimes against civilians in the Middle East in order to justify their primacy in World politics? Are you part of that "cultural mindset"?

Blanket statements never help. Never.

Posted by: Mariale at February 25, 2009 10:14 AM

Please say a prayer for the birthmothers in Guatemala who have had their children stolen for adoption. Please say a prayer that the tiny, tiny minority who had the strength to come forward to report these crimes will one day be heard by their government, and one day ours. Say a prayer that they can find peace in their hearts and they will not suffer in silence.

Say a prayer for stolen child "K", born August 2006 and immigrated to the US in November 2007. Think of her adoptive parents in the midwest, who may have no idea of her actual history, and that her birth mother is desperately wanting contact with her baby girl. Say a prayer for all the lives here that have been forever damaged by greed.

Say a prayer for stolen child "C", who was also born August 2006 and immigrated to the US in December 2006. Think of her adoptive parents also in the midwest, who may have no idea of her actual history, and that her birth mother is still wanting her. Say a prayer for all the lives here that have been forever damaged by greed.

Say a prayer for all of us who looked the other way while this went on, believing what we were told to believe, and thinking we were doing benevolent things or the work of God.

Say a prayer for all of us who minimized the problems, denied the truth, and turned our backs on women who have had their children stolen, with our money as the motivator.

Say a prayer that this will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN in any country of the world. Say a prayer that adoptive parents will gather together, face the truth, and stand beside each other to correct the damage we in fact innocently helped create.

Say a prayer for us to instead of fighting each other, we will fight those that misled us, those that profited on our hard earned dollars, while preying on our vulnerabilities, giving spirit, and deep desire for a family.

Say a prayer that we will one day turn our anger not on each other, but on those that misrepresented themselves and misled us: the agencies, the lawyers, the facilitators, and our own government who failed to do due diligence in processing these adoptions.
Say a prayer that we will find the strength to put aside our differences in the name of our children, and we will work together for justice for what has been done to Guatemala.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity at February 25, 2009 10:29 AM

Marie: I'm so thankful to see your post. I've been reading this thread hoping to see some concern or mention about the mothers in Guatemala, and I don't recall seeing any significant concern expressed until your post. I understand the urgency for children to be in a forever home, however, we cannot forget the women who should have never been separated from their children in the first place, or from the women who were never reunited with their children when they wanted to be.

As ineffective and/or inept as the "powers" may be, on both sides of the border, we must do everything we can do protect these womens' rights. Before the adoption is finalized, the woman who gives birth to the child takes precedence as THE mother. Her grief over the loss of her child will never go away. So many people express concern for the children. I'd like to encourage people to think of those children as teens and adults and to realize that we have violated THEIR rights if we do not ensure the rights of their first mothers.

Posted by: Elizabeth S.(adoptee & a-mother) at February 25, 2009 10:45 AM

Lynn, I COMPLETELY agree with you! "NMP" has chosen that name for herself as she obviously lacks social skills. Some people try to make themselves feel better by bashing others for their opinions. NMP has gone for the jugular with her post, shame on her. To all those PAP's still waiting with broken hearts, your children will be coming home. Life in fear or live in Faith.

Posted by: Linda at February 25, 2009 10:55 AM


Yes, we are FINALLY home with our two daughters after 2 long years (9 months of that I spent living in Guatemala) and almost losing one of them. To all of you who are still waiting, take heart. I know the pain of the uncertainty. But it is worth the wait.
Let's keep up the fight together until every last baby is home.

Anonymous (Mom of two miracles)

Posted by: Anonymous at February 25, 2009 10:55 AM


The one thing you fail to mention in your previous post is that many of these adoptions have been in process for YEARS, and long before the warnings came of pending closure.

Not everyone still waiting rushed in to try to adopt a child, at any cost, before the floodgates closed.

If you weren't so accusational in your tone, perhaps more PAPs would care to engage in a discussion of the issue of corruption and fraud.

Posted by: waitingmom at February 25, 2009 11:51 AM


I couldn't agree with you more. When would you like to discuss the American mindset?? We aren't much different in many respects. My point is that most deep-rooted issues such as this are driven and motivated by reasons/entities outside our control.

Please tell me you do not believe that the government of Guatemala, the agencies involved, or anyone else in Guatemala(minus a very small number if individuals) will take care of these chidren if current adoptive families give up the fight!!!

I have stayed off the "bandwagon" for a long time, but when innocent(doesn't matter the reason for adoption) children's lives are at stake, relying on transparency and ethics to guide (at this juncture in these cases) is ill-fated at best.

No one supports or has supported birthmother rights more than me. Even to the point my life and the life of my child was threatened. "Disappear" was the word used. And, this was coming from the "elite" class of citizenry that you rest your faith in.

I'm sorry, but I am a "doer." Always have been.

Karen - I almost totally agree with your last post. We all saw it coming. It was our method of change that has always gotten in the way.

Posted by: Troy at February 25, 2009 02:12 PM

Once more, Troy, I am amazed at your assumptions...What "elite" class would you be referring to? If by "elite" you mean the people that do the footwork in rural areas and in the slums of Guatemala city, then yes, my faith rests in that elite. Or perhaps the social worker that does her work despite a misery salary and takes the time to navigate PGN so that a desperate grandmother can find the grandchild that got lost in the system. Yep, I have faith in that elite, too. Truth is, most Americans would turn down any of the jobs people here do to try to make a difference. Bad salaries, bad work conditions, life-threatening situations.

Do you really think you are the "doer" and no one else over here is? Before ICA became popular people were already working for these children, finding homes for them (yes, Guatemalan homes! -gasp-), doing their best to help mothers in need. Is it or was it enough? of course not. Is something ever enough in a poverty-stricken country? no. The world order would have to be reconfigured for Guatemala to be 100% poverty free. We would have to go back 55 years to fight for the system that would have resulted in a better life for all of us, but alas, bananas predominated.

In my life I have met many Americans who honestly believed they were the only "doers" and wondered where they got their bias sunglasses. Where did you get yours? I just hope you realize that with your blanket statements you are insulting a group of people, living and dead, who are and were the real, daily doers.

Posted by: Mariale at February 25, 2009 02:41 PM

Accusations and denials of fraud are constantly being made on this forum. Does anyone have any valid data to show the extent of the fraud?How many lawyers or agencies have been involved in Guatemalan adoptions and how many have been prosecuted or convicted? How many birthmothers have made credible claims that their child was stolen?

The posts seem to range from no problem exists to everyone ever involved in Guatemalan adoption is guilty of something.Are there any hard numbers?

Some PAP's whoses adoptions are stuck in the system are understandably angry.Can some of their rabid accusations of fraud be motivated by envy of those able to complete their adoption?

Posted by: Henry at February 25, 2009 02:45 PM

"As ineffective and/or inept as the "powers" may be, on both sides of the border, we must do everything we can do protect these womens' rights."

Thank you, Elizabeth S.

Please say a prayer for the birthmothers in Guatemala who have had their children stolen for adoption. Please say a prayer that the tiny, tiny minority who had the strength to come forward to report these crimes will one day be heard by their government, and one day ours. Say a prayer that they can find peace in their hearts and they will not suffer in silence.

Say a prayer for stolen child "K", born August 2006 and immigrated to the US in November 2007. Think of her adoptive parents in the midwest, who may have no idea of her actual history, and that her birth mother is desperately wanting contact with her baby girl. Say a prayer for all the lives here that have been forever damaged by greed.

Say a prayer for stolen child "C", who was also born August 2006 and immigrated to the US in December 2006. Think of her adoptive parents also in the midwest, who may have no idea of her actual history, and that her birth mother is still wanting her. Say a prayer for all the lives here that have been forever damaged by greed.

Say a prayer that we will one day turn our anger not on each other, but on those that misrepresented themselves and misled us: the agencies, the lawyers, the facilitators, and our own government who failed to do due diligence in processing these adoptions.

Posted by: Not Miss Popularity/Lacker of Social Skills at February 25, 2009 03:29 PM


Since we are exchanging privately, I'll keep this short. We ALL have bias, and yours are as clear as mine.
Don't turn my comments into "blanket" statements for the sake of argument - please.

Posted by: Troy at February 25, 2009 03:42 PM

Say a prayer for all the children and PAPs caught as political pawns, undergoing investigation after investigation with no evidence of fraud and yet no progress.

Say a prayer for adoption professionals, in Guatemala and in the US, who do their jobs ethically and carefully, only to be lumped in the same category as those who have no concern for ethics.

Say a prayer for children adopted from Guatemala, under ethical conditions, who are smeared by those who make blanket statements about fraud in all Guatemalan adoptions.

Posted by: sjbj at February 25, 2009 04:08 PM

HENRY- You will never get an answer. I have asked the same question also on the forum. No one answered me. Vince.

Posted by: vince at February 25, 2009 06:19 PM

I will give you an answer.

We have consistently posted on our main site and forum the searches for missing kids, with photos and details.

We also posted about the successful reunification of two biomothers with their children. We have posted of families searching for years, some adoptees are now in their late 20s and have met their birthfamilies once again.

He is just a short list:

Enma Galicia- Her parents reported her kidnapped along with her two younger sisters. She was referred to an American couple, as were her two younger sisters who were also referred to American couples.

The two younger sisters were reunited with the biofamily.

Dateline did extensive coverage on this story.

Regarding Enma: kidnapped, currently still missing, now an Interpol case.

Mildred Alvarado- whose daughter was kidnapped. The child was referred to an American couple and DNA done. We posted the story of the kidnapped child on Guatadopt, the PAP saw that it was her referral and reported it to authorities. The court ordered a new DNA that was a positive match, meaning that the first DNA test was a fraud. The child is reunited with her birthmother.

Ana Escobar- please use our archives and google her name for extensive coverage.

And there are many others.

Consider the case of Ana Escobar, a young Guatemalan woman who in March 2007 reported to police that armed men had locked her in a closet in her family’s shoe store and stolen her infant. After a 14-month search, Escobar found her daughter in pre-adoption foster care, just weeks before the girl was to be adopted by a couple from Indiana. DNA testing showed the toddler to be Escobar’s child.

In a similar case from 2006, Raquel Par, another Guatemalan woman, reported being drugged while waiting for a bus in Guatemala City, waking to find her year-old baby missing. Three months later, Par learned her daughter had been adopted by an American couple.

Still Missing: (just listing a few)
Enma Galicia -currently around age 10, now an Interpol case.
News stories: See MSNBC and Dateline
Heidy Sarahi Batz Par
Birth mother: Raquel Socop de Batz
Stolen April 04, 2006
Currently residing in the US.
news stories:
Arlene Escarleth Lopez Lopez Currently residing in the US.
Please note photos of Enma, Heidy and Arlene are in our archives and  forum, as well as articles of missing children.

Posted by: marie at February 26, 2009 04:48 AM

Vince, thanks for your reply. I can not claim to know the extent of fraud in Guatemala adoptions. I simply do not have the information. In the post above Marie was kind enough to report several cases which seem to be well documented.The point of my post was that the comments range from no problem exists to all Guat.adoptions are fraudulent and all AP's are complicit.

Was fraud so extensive that a complete shutdown is required to reform the system? Thousands of adoptions were being completed every year.Where the vast majority legal and ethical? Without hard data I just don't know.

I think most PAP's were like my wife and myself. We were eager to complete our adoption but would never do anything unethical to do so. We hired a reputable agency.We made no "special" payments and did not ask or expect special treatment.When we were in the process of our adoptions I was unaware of accusations of fraud and I am unsure of what I could have done other than to obey the law and follow through with the process we were given.

In these situations emotions run high. Some PAP's want their adoptions completed and may not be as receptive as they should to the necessity of appropriate reform. Others hear of fraud real and/or unsubstantiated any overreact by accusing everyone of being guilty.

My opinion(at least until I receive contrary information)is that most people were ethical.I don't think most AP's,adoption agencies and Guatemalan lawyers are criminals.I think the type of fraud that most likely occured was a lawyer paying a bureaucrat to put his clients file at the top of the heap. This would be wrong but its not baby stealing.I also think there is enough evidence of wrong doing to necessiate a review and reform of the system.I don't think it was necessary to completely halt adoptions to achieve this end.Various parties seized upon the fraud reports to halt adoptions.

The type and extent of the reform should be appropriate to the extent and severity of the problem. This can only be done by people looking at the facts available.Of course a fraudulent adoption should never occur but no amount of regulation can ever guarantee this.

Posted by: Henry at February 26, 2009 08:36 AM

HENRY- I agree with you. I have said several times that you don't fight corruption by closing down the international adoptions. If the old system was not working, or was working very bad, then, fine, you close it. But at the same time you have to be ready with a new one that works better for the children.At this time there is nothing in place to give a forever family to the Guatemalan children in need. There is one thing that bothers me a lot: Anytime the adopting parents complain and ask questions about the problems they have being having adopting, there is someone that tells them that they have no right whatsoever to complain and ask questions because the adopting children aren't yet their children and Guatemala is a sovereign Country and nobody can interfer or tell the Guatemalan Authorities what to do. Are may be the Guatemalan children unicef's children? It looks to me that for someone Guatemala became a sovereign Country 01-01-2008. For sure for someone Guatemala wasn't a sovereign Nation when unicef was pushing ( bribing ) the Guatemala Congress to pass the Ortega Law. For sure for someone Guatemala wasn't a sovereign Country when diplomats from the US Embassy in Guatemala City were present at the voting sessions of the Guatemalan Congress, taking note of the congressmen voting in favor or against the Ortega Law. Where were the people that today tell the adopting parents that Guatemala is a sovereign Nation when that very same sovereignty was humiliated by unicef and our DOS? If Guatemala is a sovereign Country, what unicef is doing there? Vince.

Posted by: Vince at February 26, 2009 10:57 AM

Marie and others,

The cases you mentioned are horrifying. But here's the real problem - the approach of UNICEF and people like karenms1 is absolutist. They would rather have no adoptions and have real children suffer consequences, than for there to be some adoptions and have some children and birthfamilies suffer real consequences. There is no other endeavor where such an absolutist approach is demanded -- do we demand that banks be prohibited from existing or for stock markets to be permanently shuttered because you have improper or criminal activities from some institutions and/or individuals? Of course not. Even in our own country, we do not forever ban foster care or adoptions because there are horrific cases where kids are abused or even killed. We recognize that these cases are anomolies, strengthen enforcement, and move on. But when it comes to ICA, people like karenms1 are prepared to sacrifice great numbers of real children in the name of a utopia that can never exist.

Posted by: Lee at February 26, 2009 11:31 AM

Check out focus on children and what they did in Somalia (its in the yahoo news today, google it), now those APS are faced with returning their children. FOC, lied and stold these children from loving families, with the false promise of an American Education and return to their families. The courts dropped the charges to misdeaminors from the felonies they are. When are the laws going to protect the children and the PAPS/APS? Why are these agencies getting away with this? When will the agency owners end up spending real time in federal prisons?

My two toddler "daughters" from Guatemala were NEVER orphans, but instead bribed away from their families, families who could ill afford to feed them, what choice did they have but to "play the game" that Main Street and their corrupt facilitator created over and over again?

I'm not saying all the adoptions are corrupt, I'm saying I know first hand that it happens and things have to be done now to protect these birth families.

Unicef is not the answer, stopping adoptions all together is not the answer. I wish I had the answer. For now, we push on with our lawsuit and pray that we have a judge who will set the bar high by throwing the book at them.

Praying for all in process, I can't imagine the pain of each new delay.

Still dreaming of the daughters I lost.~

Posted by: Melissa at February 26, 2009 02:06 PM

On GMA today story about Samoan kids who were adopted being returned to their birthfamilies. Thus far, only one AP has returned their adoptive daughter to her birthfamily after it became clear she had loving parents and siblings and there was an agency (mentioned in the piece...that also does Guate adoptions) that duped the Samoan families into thinking it was a chance for their children to get educated and that they would be returning and could visit their families. Apparently there are quite a few families in the same situation.


Posted by: marie at February 26, 2009 02:19 PM

Lee: I am not an absolutist. Rather I am realistic and practical. And, you are wrong about me being anti-intercountry adoption...I regularly help people with making adoption plans! Because Guatemala troubled me--after I lived there and SAW THE CORRUPTION--I became vocal and told inquiring people NOT TO ADOPT from Guatemala! I have regularly told people that countries like China, the Phillipines, and other nations have relatively clean processes and WHY WOULD YOU RISK it?!? Get real Lee! The truth hurts, but is necessary to move forward and essential if Guatemala is ever going to reform itself and reopen the doors to intercountry adoption. Something that I VERY MUCH hope happens! God knows that there are more than enough children there who would benefit!

Posted by: karenms1 at February 26, 2009 06:41 PM

I have to agree with Ms Not Miss Popularity. Our children have to live with the consequences of this. I want to be able to look my child in the eye when I explain how we came to be together. How could anybody choose to turn a blind eye to the allegations being made and proceed to plunge their child into years of potential uncertainty and doubt? How would you feel if you had discovered as a young adult that there were anomalies and falsifications in the processes which led you to your adoptive parent/s? How would you feel if your child were taken from you and you had no rights and no money to pay for the legal advice to get them back? This is the kind of allegation that's being made. Try putting yourself in the shoes of your child's birth mother - it'll be useful in the future, because the chances are that you're child will do exactly this.

Posted by: yummy mummy at February 26, 2009 08:20 PM

Although not the primary motivation, yummy mummy, your post is why we searched. We wanted to reassure our son's birthmom that he was happy and healthy and open the door to contact but we also hoped to learn more about the adoption itself - which we did - especially in light of all the allegations going around.

Posted by: Lee at February 27, 2009 05:57 AM

Esta gente con tal de tener un hijo no les importa el dolor que puedan causar a sus padres biologicos, en Guatemala esto se volvió un negocio, hubo un tiempo de terror en el que yo cada vez que tenia que salir tenia que dejar encargada a mi hija por el miedo a que me la robaran, pero uds. cierran los ojos, piensan que todo lo pueden comprar con dinero, como pueden vivir con la duda que el niño/a que tienen en su hogar pueda ser robado.

Posted by: ana pilar anleu at March 9, 2009 02:53 PM

Ana Pilar, lo que mencionaste es exactamente el meollo del problema...para alguien que no es de Guatemala es difícil comprender todas las formas "creativas" de coerción y corrupción que pueden existir. Desde hace más de un año tratamos de explicar esto a las personas que participan en este foro. Algunos lo entienden, otros no. Hace algún tiempo decían que "ningún guatemalteco adopta niños guatemaltecos", cosa que se sabe no es cierta. Lo que traté de explicar varias veces, es que ningún guatemalteco iba a adoptar a través de los abogados que tramitaban adopciones internacionales. Tú y yo sabemos por qué. Ninguna pareja que quiera un proceso transparente iba a arriesgarse en un sistema plagado de dudas.

Algunos papás de este foro se preguntan y de verdad se esfuerzan por luchar contra la corrupción y por averiguar la historia real detrás de su adopción, pero como tú bien decís y como te habrás dado cuenta, hay otros que jamás lo harán. Ya les quedará dar las respuestas a sus hijos, cuando estos crezcan y les pidan cuentas.

Gracias por participar!! los y las guatemaltecas somos una minoría en este debate y es bueno involucrarnos.

Posted by: Mariale at March 9, 2009 04:43 PM

Ana Pilar- Si usted se refiere a todas la parejas que adoptan de Guatemala, el comentario que usted hace no es veridico. Hay muchos padres adoptivos que se preoccupan de conocer de donde vienen los ninos y quienes son los padres biologicos. Nuestro hijo fue encontrado abandonado en la calle a los tres anos de edad. El fue asignado a un orfanato. Por orden del juez las fotografias del nino fueron publicadas par un ano en periodicos y television, esperando encontrar a los padres biologicos. Cosa que no sucedio nunca. Despues de un ano el nino fue declarado para adopcion. Dos meses despues nos refirieron sus fotografias y quedamos encantados con el nino y empenzamos el processo de adoption. El proceso de adoption tardo' casi un ano, el nino vivio en el orfanato dos anos. Ahora que las adopciones internacionales estan cerradas, cuantos ninos son adoptados por guatemaltecos? Sabe usted que en el 2008 solamente 25 ninos fueron adoptados por guatemaltecos? Cuantos ninos considera usted que necesitaban familia? Solamente 25 in toda Guatemala? Ahora que las adopciones internacionales estan cerradas, usted deja su hija sola? Sin cuidado alguno? Vince.

Posted by: Vince at March 9, 2009 09:11 PM


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