Good news for our Guatemala families

At the end of last week we had the very great joy of sending out the following message from Assistant Director Lisa Prather:

I am writing to let everyone know that our last Carolina Hope baby came home from Guatemala this week.  I’m so happy to be able to say that every child is home with their respective families.  Thank you to everyone who has been praying for Carolina Hope and for the children to come home.  Please continue to pray for the children and people of Guatemala. Now that adoptions have stopped, it is scary to think about what will happen to all the children left behind.  Below are quotes from a few families who most recently returned.

“This past trip was very poignant and sad for me. I am thankful she is at home.”

“He is such a sweet boy who loves his siblings and dogs, has learned new English and Spanish words and makes us smile a lot!  We are thrilled to have him home.”

“We are back from Guatemala, Little A is wonderful. Thanks for your prayers. I am very happy, tired right now, but happy.”

We do not know the future of Guatemala adoptions (if you know how to use Google to search for news, you have access to as much information as we do). Any major announcements will be posted to our Guatemala Adoptions page.

Hepatitis A vaccinations: new recommendations related to international adoption

Reported by AP on February 25, 2009. (I can’t find the actual recommendation online — if you do, please let me know, and I’ll post it.)

ATLANTA (AP) – A federal advisory panel is recommending hepatitis A vaccinations for everyone who has close contact with children adopted from countries where hepatitis A is common.

That includes Guatemala, China, Russia and Ethiopia – four countries that are currently the major sources of international adoptions.

International adoptees trigger fewer than 1,000 of the estimated 32,000 hepatitis A infections that occur in the United States each year. But the potentially deadly illness has been a tragic surprise for many adopting families, officials said.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Wednesday. The panel advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

John Stossel on US intervention in the Guatemala adoption system

Over at the conservative website, John Stossel (formerly of 20/20) writes an eyebrow-raising piece called USA Makes Adoption Harder. I want to be very clear that some of Stossel’s statements make me uncomfortable, and this is not an endorsement of Stossel’s article. But much of what he says is a simple reality, however unpopular it is to say. Incidentally, notice that Stossel adopts the language of adoption opponents when he uses the expression “baby broker”; he’s not endorsing the idea that actual baby-brokering is moral.

Here are some highlights from the article:

The State Department says the Guatemalan adoption system “unduly enriches” so-called baby brokers and that “Guatemala has not established the required central authority to oversee intercountry adoption.”

“Central authority”? This from our government? They sound like Soviet apparatchiks.

Continue reading

USCIS: Guatemala adoption law update

Yes, it’s old news now (six-days old!), but I wanted to pass along this notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about the current status of Guatemala adoptions and adoption law. This press release is available from the USCIS website as a PDF.

USCIS Update

January 25, 2008

Intercountry Adoptions Under the Hague Convention

On Dec. 11, 2007, the Guatemalan Congress passed new adoption legislation, which is a necessary step toward meeting the Government of Guatemala’s obligations under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The new provisions are effective as of Dec. 31, 2007. Continue reading

Department of State issues Guatemala adoption warning

On January 11 the U.S. Department of State issued a warning (dated January 9) about the status of Guatemala adoptions. (As mentioned in a previous post, Carolina Hope has put its Guatemala adoption program on hold pending new standardized procedures for adoptions in Guatemala. Of course, cases registered under the old system are still being processed.)

Particularly gratifying is the DOS’s commitment (see below) to all Guatemalan adoption cases that were registered under the old law. Here is the text of the statement in full:

Warning: Adoptions Initiated on or after December 31, 2007 in Guatemala

January 9, 2008

The Department of State advises potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because of the great uncertainties surrounding implementation of Guatemala’s new adoption law.

We do not know when the Government of Guatemala will be prepared to process cases under the new system set forth in the new Guatemalan adoption law that went into force on December 31, 2007. Continue reading

Guatemala 5000 update: status of transitional adoption rules

Today the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) issued an update regarding its Guatemala 5000 initiative:

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: January 14, 2008
Regarding: Guatemala 5000

Dear Colleagues,

As part of our ongoing Guatemala 5000 Initiative, Joint Council has maintained dialogue with USDOS and USCIS and met with them most recently on January 7 and again on January 10, 2008. Meetings were also held with UNICEF on December 18, 2007, and on January 9, 2008. Similar dialogue was held with Guatemalan Congressional representatives and government officials along with members of the US Congress over the past three weeks.

Based on these meetings and in consultation with the Guatemala Caucus Co-chairs, the following represents Joint Council’s understandings and advocacy efforts.

Processing of Transition Cases

On January 1, 2008, PGN stopped the processing of all pending adoption cases including the acceptance of new cases, acceptance of cases with previos and the review of cases previously submitted. PGN has however continued to release those cases in which reviews/approvals had been completed as of December 31, 2007. The processing of pending adoptions will begin with the registration of those cases with the Central Authority no later than 30 business days after January 1, 2008 (approximately February 11, 2008). Continue reading

Guatemala adoption legislation update

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis morning the Joint Council on International Children’s Services issued the following announcement about newly proposed adoption legislation in the Guatemalan congress. Although this legislation hasn’t passed, this is a good step in the right direction, and it’s encouraging to adoption agencies and adoptive families. More importantly, it’s good news for Guatemalan children in need of adoption.

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: November 7, 2007
Regarding: Guatemala – New Legislation Introduced

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you know, Joint Council has continued to advocate for a rational and child centric transition to the Hague Convention in Guatemala. During our recent presentation with at the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference, we called for the completion of adoptions in-process, the implementation of the Conventions core elements, an effective implementation date of April 2008 and funding for capacity building. We have continued to work with our colleagues in Guatemala along with members of the Guatemalan Congress in developing a functional child welfare system.

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted Continue reading

Guatemala 5000: U.S. Congressional letters available to view

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services has posted copies of the letters sent by the U.S. Congress to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and to UNICEF. If you participated in lobbying your congressmen to sign the letters, thank you. The announcement (and link) from JCICS are below.

Dear Colleagues,

Joint Council has posted copies online of the two Congressional letters which were submitted to the President of Guatemala and to UNICEF earlier this week. Over 200 Members of Congress signed each letter!

To download a copy of the letters from the U.S. Congress, please visit our Guatemala 5000 Page.

The Guatemala 5000 Initiative was successful in securing congressional support largely because of your encouragement and advocacy. Again, we thank you for all of your efforts. Have a wonderful weekend!

Best regards,
Adam Schlicht
Child Advocacy Program Manager, Joint Council

Guatemala 5000: U.S. Congressional letters garner 203 signatures

This morning, Thomas DiFilipo, President of JCICS, sent out this update of the Guatemala 5000 initiative. (I’ve previously blogged about this initiative here and here.)

Joint Council Update

Program: International Relations Initiative
Date: October 31, 2007
Regarding: U.S. Congressional Letters – 203 Signatures

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Through our collective efforts, the Guatemala 5000 Initiative has resulted in 203 Members of the United States Congress supporting the completion of all in-process adoptions via their signature on letters being sent today, October 31, 2007, to Guatemalan President Oscar Berger, UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman and UNICEF Guatemala Director Manuel Manrique. [esvignore]The 203[/esvignore] Senators and Representatives represent the largest number in the 22 year history of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and the first time the Coalition has addressed UNICEF. Continue reading