US DOS Update: Casa Quivira, Semillas de Amor and Santa Lucia de las Flores cases
According to our records, adoption petitions are still pending for 16 of the original 46 children who were taken into custody at Casa Quivira. For six of these cases, the Attorney General’s Office (PGN) has identified irregularities. All six will have to be processed as abandonment cases; however, the Guatemalan government has agreed cases can be processed as transition cases and will not have to wait for the new procedures to be drafted and implemented. On March 13th, the Family court at Chimaltenango published its decisions on the adoptability of the children. The PGN has appealed the judge’s decisions, citing administrative errors in the judge’s decree.
Semillas de Amor
Guatemalan officials have agreed that children whose adoptions have been completed, and who already have U.S. visas, should be allowed to leave the country. However, both the MP and PGN must complete their investigations, and the Judge must lift the travel restriction that requires the children stay at Semillas. (Simply having a completed adoption and an immigrant visa will not automatically allow the child to leave Guatemala.) Hearings have been scheduled for all remaining cases and are moving forward. Once the judge determines a child is adoptable, there is a mandatory wait of three days to allow for appeals. On March 10, travel restrictions were lifted for 11 more Semillas children, allowing them to immigrate to the United States. According to the MP, only five cases of the original 54 cases have irregularities; these likely will have to be processed as abandonments under Guatemala’s new laws.
Santa Lucia de la Flores
The Embassy has learned that a third hogar, Asociacion Santa Lucia de la Flores Silvestres was investigated by Guatemala’s office of the prosecutor in May 2008. According to the Ministerio Publico (MP) six of the seven children taken into custody at that time (and subsequently placed in another home) may be matched for adoption to prospective adoptive parents from the United States. The Embassy has been in contact with two of these prospective adoptive parents.