“The Lost Children of Guatemala,” from Le Temps

By Erin Segal

July 29, 2011 / findingfernanda.com

The Swiss newspaper Le Temps, which is published in French, has a new article out about adoption fraud and ongoing kidnappings in Guatemala. The piece was translated from French into English by WorldCrunch, a news aggregation site.

Here’s how it begins:

“Maria Leticia Ispaché spent just one night with her son, Christopher, after giving birth in Guatemala City’s Roosevelt Hospital. Throughout the night she listened to his small hesitating cries. The next morning, one by one, the women next to her in the maternity ward room were allowed to leave with their newborns. “I was alone with my baby when a nurse arrived,” she says. The stranger asked if the baby had already been vaccinated. She took the child and never came back. Leticia Ispaché alerted the hospital, the police and television channels. One year later, she says sadly: “We don’t even have pictures to look for him.”

It goes on to talk about how Guatemala is struggling to combat child trafficking, even though the adoption industry is officially on hold, insinuating that “children are still being shuttled out of the country under questionable circumstances.”

“…with the help of a UN judiciary body called the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), authorities are working to dismantle the networks that are thought to falsify at least six out of 10 adoption records. The networks are thought to include an army of scriveners, judges, doctors and directors of orphanages who falsify identities, DNA tests and photos.”

“The intermediary American agencies like Celebrate Children International were aware of what was really going on,” says Carolina Pimentel, a CICIG lawyer.”

It closes by discussing how “new tricks” for adopting Guatemalan children have been implemented.”Some foreigners register their babies as biological children thanks to the help of crooked civil servants,” the article states. If I had to guess, I’d imagine that this reference is to the new international surrogacy agencies like Surrogacy Partners that have cropped up in the dust of Guatemala’s adoption freeze. Surrogacy Partners is run by the former Guatemalan adoption Carla Giron Harding (who happens to be in my book, Finding Fernanda) and her husband Jim Harding, former director of the now-defunct World Partners Adoption, Inc. The blog PoundPupLegacy has a breakdown of connections between Surrogacy Partners and World Partners Adoption, Inc. on their website here.

The Le Temps piece also claims that “…certain associations have been accused of sidestepping Guatemala’s freeze on foreign adoptions by taking pregnant Guatemalan teenagers to give birth in neighboring El Salvador.” This part is a bit of a stretch. Though many Salvadoran women came to Guatemala to give children in adoption while the industry was still running, the reverse is a bit more complicated. According to the Department of State, only 10 Salvadoran kids came to the US in 2010. In 2009, the number was 9. Adopting from El Salvador requires anywhere from 18 to 36 months, says the State Department, and every single case is “investigated” because “adoption fraud in El Salvador has taken a variety of forms.”

The English translation of the piece is available on the WorldCrunch website here: “ADOPTION SCANDAL: THE LOST CHILDREN OF GUATEMALA.” The original piece in Le Temps, by Vincent Taillefumier Bogota, is here: ”Le Guatemala à la recherche de ses enfants volés.” 


Same names over and

Same names over and over and over. Funny how the name Celebrate Children International and Karla Giron (Harding), keep popping up, no surprise there. It boggles my mind how people can use agencies with a history of corruption. A simple google could enlighten a few PAPs before they fork over the money. Sadder is that there are APs that defend folks like these. Sick.

Primary links

Pound Pup Legacy