exposing the dark side of adoption
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Congressional letter to Procurador Porras Ovalle


Dear Procurador Porras Ovalle:

As members of the United States Congress, we represent hundreds of American families who entered into adoptions of Guatemalan children prior to the passage of GuatemaIa‘s adoption reform legislation in December 2007. As you know, a provision of this law allowed for families whose adoptions were in process as of December 2007 to continue processing their cases under the existing law. Since that time, a significant number of families have not only waited several years to complete these “grandfathered" adoptions but also are without clear guidance from appropriate government agencies on what steps are still required to resolve their cases. We write today to respectfully ask that you institute a transparent and predictable process for these pending American adoptions that will allow them to be resolved both fairly and expeditiously.

We applaud the Guatemalan government’s efforts to reform the intercountry adoption system and we share your goal of ensuring that all children in Guatemala and their birth parents are protected from exploitation. We also recognize and appreciate that your government is working to review all aspects of every pending case in light of allegations of irregularities. In addition, we understand that certain cases are currently being decided by the Guatemalan judicial system and we fully respect the independence of your courts.

However, we remain concerned that approximately 400 American adoptions initiated under the old adoption laws have been subjected to inexplicable delays, new legal and procedural requirements, multiple field investigations and birth parent interviews. The lack of a transparent and predictable process has forced many children to remain in orphanages in Guatemala outside the care of a permanent family, which we fear could result in long—term physical, emotional, and psychological harm. Additionally, we are sure you can appreciate the substantial financial and emotional burden these inexplicable delays have had on the adoptive parents, many of whom have been providing assistance for foster care and support services in Guatemala.

We hope you agree that establishing a transparent and predictable process for all pending adoption cases is necessary to protect Guatemalan children, their birth parents, and adopting families. We believe it is possible to establish a process that is both thorough and fair and encourage you to take immediate steps toward the establishment of such a process.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request.


[list of signatures]

2010 Jun 21