Letter from Enrique Urízar Maldonado, Asociación Defensores de la Adopción
Guatemala, May 12, 2003.
Dear Director of Adoption Agency,
The adoption professionals of Guatemala, regarding the accession of Guatemala to the Hague Convention in Intercountry Adoption and the allegations of one of the members of the board of directors of JCICS, express the following:
Adoptions in Guatemala have been under attack for many years. The ignorance of many people lends credibility to those who want to close adoptions, as they have done in many other countries. Self-appointed child advocates and persons who are involved with adoptions for any reason, feel entitled to add their voices to those who accuse the Guatemalan adoption professionals of reprehensible acts in the adoption process.
Until very recently we believed that we had an ally in Joint Council for International Children Services. The White Paper that Joint Council posted on its website and the fact that Trish Maskew is on the board of directors of JCICS makes us wonder.
Trish Maskew, as president of Ethica has appointed herself as a critic of adoptions, under the pretense of “making adoptions ethical”. With that, she is implying that adoptions are not ethical, and therefore, that her intervention to fix that is justified. Since this is the same tactic that UNICEF and Casa Alianza have been using for years, to press our government to pass laws that more than restrict abuses, will close down adoptions, we are worried about the true intentions of Ms. Maskew.
We rely information to the US adoption agencies about the changes, the strategies and the political climate regarding the implementation of the Hague Convention and the proposed adoption law. Sometimes that information, being just the impression of someone here, is for the adoption agencies only, as we believe that if it is delivered to the adoptive parents before it is timely, it will cause unnecessary panic. However, Ms. Maskew takes advantage of her position on the listserve of adoption agencies to disclose that information to the parents, to demonstrate how well informed she is. An example of that, is when she posted on the St. Johns listserve that “the proposed law of Dr. Valladares could be passed before Congress goes into recess, on May 15th. ” That was unnecessary, since a threat of a hostile adoption law has been in Congress since the 80s, thanks to the efforts of the adoption professionals who have succeeded in keeping adoptions fluid, and one bad project after another, has been rejected.
We want that the adoption agencies be duly informed of the situation in Guatemala. But our battle against a shut down will be useless if the prospective adoption parents, scared away by Ms. Maskew who strongly suggests via her website “that those interested in adopting from Guatemala should consider switching to another country”, will not be interested in adopting our children. Since she relies on the information that she obtains from you to post her opinions, we urge you to take proper measures to withhold from Ms. Maskew any information regarding Guatemala’s situation, or to talk sense into her, to make her realize how detrimental her campaign is to our efforts to keep adoptions open.
Enrique Urízar Maldonado
Asociación Defensores de la Adopción