October 05, 2005

Law Update

Sorry for any confusion after this went up yesterday and then disappeared. As best we can tell, the law proposal is not dead. The Third Reading has been delayed, postponed, etc. There seem to be lots of rumors spreading about other options being viewed, how long it has been postponed, etc. All I can say at this point is that everytime it is delayed, that is a positive sign. It appears to me that there is obviously not a clear majority of Congress supporting the bill in its current form. As for what will transpire, I can not say.

Posted by Kevin at October 5, 2005 12:12 PM

We are in the middle of this process, and are wondering if this has happened before. We have heard that the last time something like this occurred, Congress established a "cut-off" date at the third reading. This "cut-off" date meant that if your referral was registered on or before that date, you were "grandfathered". If not, the adoption was affected. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Posted by: Jacki Dudding at October 5, 2005 12:30 PM

Hi Jacki:

No one has been able to say with certainty what would happen if this law passes, but most agencies are taking the posture that if you have received your referral and your Power of Attorney has been filed in Guatemala, then you are "grandfathered" in to the old law. There is speculation that the process would slow down for everyone while reorganization of the adoption process took place.

Everything is up in the air right now so all we can hope for is that the legislation continues to be postponed and eventually dies.

Legislation has been in process before and has been unsuccessful, although I don't know the times or details. All my agency said was, "We've been through this so many times before we don't worry until something really happens."

Hope this helps!


Posted by: Lisa at October 5, 2005 04:44 PM

As I hear more and more about the devastation caused by Hurricane Stan in Guate and El Sal, my heart sinks. (I lived in Honduras through hurricane Mitch and remember how terrifying it was).

But I can't help but wonder if a silver lining would be that the Congress is distracted and movement slows down on this legislation for awhile? (or course, referrals may slow down too...)

Any indications? thanks y abrazos, Liz

Posted by: Liz at October 6, 2005 11:36 AM

We just accepted our referral Friday. Can anyone tell me about how long the process is to wait? I know it could be different and the new law proposal could make it more difficult, but I am just curious how long it has taken other families.

Posted by: Angela Morris at October 9, 2005 08:40 PM

I heard a rumor that the law's third reading is scheduled for later this month. Can anyone confirm this? I know we've all been very concerned about the devastation Stan caused, but if someone has an update on the Ortega bill, it would help us be prepared. Thank you!

Posted by: Vivian at October 11, 2005 12:43 PM

My understanding is that the law was sent back to committee for revision, as its current form had many constitutional anomalies and other problems. Key committee heads in the Guatemalan Congress seem to recognize the great difficulties in implementing this kind of law. The U.S. Department of State recently reported that they thought the law might have its Third Reading at the end of October. However, this was before the Hurricane devastated much of Guatemala, and this also is not confirmed by key Congressional figures, who don't think it will come to a Third Reading anytime soon.

The Third Reading consists of debate, revision etc. before going to a vote. IF PASSED by a majority of congress, the Law needs to be signed by the President and then published in the official newspaper and goes into effect 30 days after publication. There is a clause in the law which states that all adoptions in process before the date that the law takes effect are processed under the old law and procedures.

My understanding is that the ADA and the Instituto will present constitutional challenges IF the law is passed. They will also ask the Constitutional Court to suspend the law taking effect until the court reviews it.

The ADA needs support to maintain their PR and educational campaign so that this law won't pass, and others like it won't replace it. This is a long term struggle to achieve moderate reforms which won't hinder the opportunity for children to have permanent families. Hannah Wallace, Focus On Adoption

Posted by: Hannah Wallace at October 13, 2005 01:51 AM

Any news on the ortega bill lately? I had heard something about the third reading being late this month but haven't heard anything since. An update would certainly help those families that are waiting for a referral or just in the process of applying to adopt from Guatemala. Thanks to all of you who help keep this site going for adoptive families. Happy Halloween!

Posted by: Vivian at October 31, 2005 12:42 PM