Dear Secretary Clinton:
As members of the United States Congress, we represent hundreds of families who entered into adoptions of Guatemalan children in good faith and with the sole intent of providing a permanent. loving home to a child in need. Due to recent changes in the adoption laws in Guatemala, these adoptions have stagnated for over 18 months, forcing the children involved to remain in institutions or temporary care. Furthermore, many of these cases have been subjected to requests for new information and additional investigation.
We applaud Guatermala’s decision to require that all adoptions meet Hague standards and we share Guatemala’s goal to see that all children and their birth parents are protected from exploitation. We also appreciate the State Department’s efforts to assist the government of Guatemala in its transition to the Hague and promote a transparent and efficient adoption process.
However, we are concerned that extended and unexplained delays in the processing of these pending adoptions and the subsequent extension of the time these children are spending outside the care of a permanent family may have long-term physical and emotional consequences. In several cases, families have been left without the information they need and deserve to protect their rights under the law.
We believe it is in the best interest of these children for the U .S. government to play an active role in ensuring that their eases are completed in a fair and timely manner. As such. we respecttully request that. you take the following steps.
- Direct the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs to meet personally with Guatemalan officials with the purpose of achieving consensus on a standard process for remaintng U.S. cases.
- Direct a senior member of Consular Atlairs to engage in regular conference calls and emails with families who have pending adoptions in Guatemala to update them on Embassy efforts to resolve these cases.
We sincerely hope that you will work to ensure that intercountry adoption reform in Guatemala is being carried out in a way that protects the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents alike. We stand ready to assist you in achieving this goal.
Thank you for your consideration of these important requests.
[list of signatures]