March 20, 2007

NCFA Update

The National Council for Adoption has issued an update on Guatemala following its meeting with members of the State Department. You can read it by clicking on more.

We thank the NCFA for their dedication in support of Guatemalan Adoptions.

GUATEMALA UPDATE: NCFA meets with State Department Officials

On Monday, March 19, Tom Atwood and other representatives of NCFA met
with officials from the U.S. Department of State to discuss the
Department's March 14 "FAQs" statement regarding Guatemala adoptions and
NCFA's reaction to it. During the meeting, NCFA reaffirmed our
previously stated commitment to reform - including the establishment of
a government-run central authority in Guatemala, as required by the
Hague Convention, and increased regulation and enforcement of the
adoption process in that country. NCFA again supported State's decision
to impose appropriate added scrutiny to the approval process.

In the meeting, the State Department reported to NCFA that it had
corrected a factual error in the statement, which NCFA had pointed out -
namely, the assertion that notaries in Guatemala act as judges in their
own adoption cases. The State Department strongly affirmed its
commitment to continue processing I-600A applications to adopt from
Guatemala, albeit with added levels of scrutiny, and emphasized that
previously finalized adoptions are not in question. Department
representatives also estimated that there are enough applicant adoptive
parents in the system to adopt the children waiting in Guatemalan foster
care to be adopted internationally.

NCFA reiterated its concern that the statement is so unqualifiedly
negative toward Guatemalan adoptions that it seems to undermine the
legitimacy of adoptions the State Department has approved and continues
to approve. NCFA urged State to consider making other changes to its
statement, particularly to clearly affirm the legitimacy of Guatemala

Lee Allen
Director of Communications
National Council For Adoption

Posted by Kevin at March 20, 2007 08:03 PM

Kevin, we're unclear about the following sentence in the NCFA posting: "Department representatives also estimated that there are enough applicant adoptive parents in the system to adopt the children waiting in Guatemalan foster care to be adopted internationally."

Does this mean the DOS believes that orphaned children will not end up in state institutions rather than in good, albeit, out of Guatemala homes?

We are trying to determine if this is positive news for those of us very close to completing their adoptions.

Dean and Sandy

Posted by: Dean Tomasula at March 20, 2007 09:17 PM

I'm still not sure what to think but it sounds more positive than the other posts on the site recently. My agency is staying positive and trying to keep me positive. Thanks Kevin for sharing some less negative news!

Posted by: Becky at March 20, 2007 10:16 PM

Yes, NCFA considers this news from State to be positive. Our primary concern has always been for the children who might be left in foster care if American adoptions were to dry up. The Department believes that it is currently processing more applications from prospective parents than there are children actually waiting in foster care. As our update reports, State has committed to continuing to process applications, albiet with added scrutiny to ensure the safety of the children and security of the placements.

Lee Allen
National Council For Adoption

Posted by: Lee Allen at March 21, 2007 08:24 AM

Many, many thanks for this update and for your work, Lee.

Posted by: Amy at March 21, 2007 09:16 AM

Lee, thank you for your clarity and your good work.

Posted by: Melissa at March 21, 2007 09:59 AM

I sure feel for the families in the process or the families thinking about adopting from guatemala. We have a 3 1/2 year old boy from Guatemala. We had some delays because of the Hgue also so I know a little of what you are going through.Again I feel for you all and you will all be in my prayers everyday. God is good and this can change. Try to be strong for the children waiting.

Posted by: c at March 21, 2007 10:29 AM

This question is for Lee Allen; when the State says there are enough babies for waiting parents; does that mean parents who are also waiting on their 171H or parents who are further along in the process.

Also, thank you for the information and the update; it is one of the first positive (and commone sense) responses I have seen in awhile......

Posted by: Waiting at March 21, 2007 10:31 AM

What i am confused about is that the phrase "currently in foster care". At what point and time is this viewed?? on any given day there could be more children entering foster care. So does that mean that the foster care system will stay in place Post Hugue compliance or??

also the statement "... including the establishment of a government-run central authority in Guatemala".. what exactly does this include?? if it is state run what does to do to the current foster care system?? or is this talking about the "matching" of the children to PAP or??


Posted by: Pam at March 21, 2007 10:31 AM

Thank you to both Guatadopt and the National Council for Adoption for your hard work and dedication to the beautiful children of Guatemala! AND, thank you for this positive post as well.

Posted by: Kris at March 21, 2007 11:02 AM

I'm trying to figure out how the State Department knows how many children are in foster care. I guess they would know how many adoptive parents are in the process of adopting children in foster care.

In the statement above they said, "Department representatives also estimated that there are enough applicant adoptive parents in the system to adopt the children waiting in Guatemalan foster care to be adopted internationally."

I'm thinking (and I'm no expert)The State Department only knows about the children that are already referred to a U.S. family. So what about those waiting on a referral? The above statement is confusing. Unless they are working off estimates, which is not what they said.

What about children that are in hogars? Some of them will be adopted if the process stays open. Does the State Department know about them? Why did they only reference the children in foster care?

It sounds like good news, I just wish the state department was more clear (dare to dream).

Jenn in PA

Posted by: Jennifer at March 21, 2007 03:20 PM

I just received pre visa approval today!!!!! So things are at least moving in the right direction. It took five and a half weeks.

Posted by: angela at March 21, 2007 03:21 PM

I'm far from being in the know, as I'm just in the early stages (I600A application in, fingerprinting done, awaiting that, homestudy done, dossier near completion). I have not fully decided to move forward, and will likely switch to Vietnam if things seem to really slow down, fall apart, or worse. I'm a single PAP, so my choices for ICA are limited. My interpretation, having read that sentence re: applicant parents, and reading Lee allen's (of NCFA) post, it appears that sentence is relating to NCFA's concern that the State Department's FAQ could cause PAPs to forgo Guatemala, thus leaving current and expected future Guatamalan children caught up in the country's foster care system. For sometime I guess, there has been a constant demand from PAPs for a constant supply of children relinquished. If the demand drops, that does not mean the supply will. Sorry to use such words (demand and supply) but I am simply breaking down my interpretation. Again though, this is only my interpretation, and it really doesn't offer much insight into anything else re: Guatemalan adoptions.


Posted by: Beth Bacheldor at March 21, 2007 07:30 PM

To me, and this is just my opinion, the statement about having homes for children in foster care is pure semantics. Children are referred to famiies right after they are born and placed in foster care. So what does it really tell us?

The one reassuring thing about it, once again just my opinion, is that is seems to be saying that in-process children will reach permanency with their adoptive families.

In no way intended as an attack on NCFA, I do want to encourage all readers to separate their emotions and read all of these statements from an academic point of view. This includes NCFA, DOS, JCICS Guatadopt, etc.

We all choose our words carefully and all readers are intelligent, intellectually capable adults. And we all realize the power those words have.

I can speak only for Guatadopt. But we see how things get misread. When we say "prospective adoptive families" we mean just that - people pondering pursuing a Guatemalan adoption. When we say "in-process" we mean people who have accepted a referal. Guatadopt has no legal authority, so we can't speculate on what "in process" may mean to those with legal authority. I guess my point is to say please please please read carefully and use the smarts that god has blessed you with. I don't think anyone is trying to mislead you. But we all expect folks to realize and analyze the positions all of us entities of "authority" are in, what our objectives are, and use your best judgement to decifer what the reality is.



Posted by: Kevin at March 21, 2007 10:36 PM

Regarding the comment about kids being placed in foster homes after referral. In my two cases, the babies had been in foster care for some time before I was offered their referrals. Their foster mothers were able to describe how they ate and slept, what they liked, what they were doing developmentally. Perhaps there are a lot of babies already in foster homes who have not yet been matched with their adoptive parents.

Praying all of our babies home . . . .

Posted by: SKL at March 21, 2007 11:01 PM

People so badly want to hear."YES you are going to bring your baby home". Truth of the matter is no one can tell you that with 100% certainty. I,too, am one of those people who would love to hear those words, but for now all we can do is pray and stay updated and educated by our agencies and sites such as this. God Bless! CC

Posted by: CC at March 21, 2007 11:06 PM


I think your approach makes a lot of sense. However, I would have interpreted the terms/phrases somewhat differently. I would think that "prospective adoptive parents" includes people that are "in process" becuase you don't actually become an adoptive parent until the adoption is finalized. However, maybe the adoption professionals have pretty formalized meanings for these terms/phrases and you are in the know as to what they mean.

Please let me know whether adoption professionals as a whole have defined "prospective adoptive parents" as those considering adoption.

Best, Cheryl

Posted by: cheryl at March 21, 2007 11:21 PM

Well-said Kevin. It did not escape me that the NCFA statement, in that one sentence that several folks have focused on, that the NCFA's account of what the state department told them used neither in-process or PAP. The phrase that was used was "applicant adoptive parents." Who knows for sure what that means, and I'm thinking it was a state department term. To me, it could mean those that have filed an I600-A, or it could be referring to those I600-As that have been approved by the state department. Or perhaps it refers only to those whose POA has been filed and referral has been accepted. Or something else altogether. My hope is that it is referring to those that have their I600-A application in. But I have no idea for sure, that is just me wishful and hopeful thinking!


Posted by: Beth Bacheldor at March 22, 2007 07:19 AM

We just got out of PGN wednesday- after just over 6 months!! Our agency said we should have our embassy appt in 3 weeks to 30 days. Does that time estimate seem right? I really hope so!

Posted by: gina dove at March 23, 2007 09:55 AM

For those who are interested in how fast things are going. the US embassy received my DNA results on 2/19/2007 and I received pre-approval 3/23/2007. Oh happy day. I'm plugging for all of us to reach pink and bring our babies home.

Posted by: cheryl at March 23, 2007 01:18 PM

To Gina Dove,

You asked whether 3 weeks to 30 days seems right. Before the Mary Bonn fiasco, my facilitator said there would be 3-4 weeks between PGN approval and receiving the pink slip. Hope that helps.

Big Congratulations and keep us all posted on how it goes.

Posted by: cheryl at March 23, 2007 04:11 PM

Cheryl, what did your agency/lawyer give you as a timeline to get thru PGN? We just got our Pre-Approval on the 19th of March and we have been told maybe 2 months to get thru PGN.....maybe that's wishful thinking, we'll just hope for the best. Congrats on Pre-Approval!! :-)

Posted by: Mel at March 23, 2007 05:52 PM


The time frames my facilitator gave me were:

1) 6-8 weeks from pre-approval to exiting PGN
2) 3-4 weeks from exiting PGN to getting pink slip.

However, please note that these timeframes were based on what was happening BEFORE Mary Bonn. Good news is that the preaproval didn't seem to slow down much if at all.

Just in case anyone is interested, I received my referral 11/14/2007. So it has been around 4.5 months to date.

I have a question for anyone that has exited PGN post Mary Bonn. How much time did you spend in PGN and did you file with all or less than all of the required documents?

Gina Dove said the whole process took her 6 months. That is not bad at all. Is there anyone else who has recently exited PGN and can tell us how long it took them?

Posted by: cheryl at March 24, 2007 01:17 PM

Well things still sound up in the air but much more optimistic. I feel more hope that the situation will be resolved. Good luck to all who are processing applications. Loretta Avallone

Posted by: Loretta Avallone at March 24, 2007 02:52 PM

Hi Cheryl. I hope I didn't sound misleading. We accepted our referral in July, DNA was done in August, and we entered PGN in mid Sept. We had four previos and we don't really know why, although we were never asked for more documents. Our agency said four previos were unusual and that most of their cases were not in PGN for so long. Hopefully we will get pink soon so we can bring our almost 10 month old baby boy home!

Posted by: gina d at March 24, 2007 10:40 PM

We got our referral September 28-06 and went into PGN January 18th. We got OUT March 8th and were submitted for pink March 22. We were told they are taking about 3 days to issue pink right now. From pink to pick up is taking a few weeks right now. I think they are scheduling for about April 17th right now. So, for us, it will be about 7 months from referral to pick up for our daughter who turns 1 April 5th.

BUT:we signed with our agency 1-6-06. We are also adopting a boy who turned 4 in December. We got his referral june 8th. He was submitted to PGN october 10th. After 2 ko's he was put back in for his third time on March 8th. His process so far has been 9 1/2 months and we are at least 6 weeks from OUT and then about 6 weeks to pick up, probably. IF there are no more ko's. please God no.
you just never know with Guatemala,

Posted by: jd at March 25, 2007 07:33 AM


We went into PGN the last week of Jan and we still have not heard a thing. Our son just turned 8 months old. We are hoping to hear some kind of news soon. Did it take anyone else this long before they heard anything from PGN? Our lawyers keep telling us that we have not been in PGN that long. When you are a parent waiting to bring your child home it feels like forever. Hope we all get our pink slips soon.


Posted by: Victoria at March 25, 2007 03:13 PM

6-8 weeks from pre-approval to exiting PGN...

That's a very optimistic timeline, but just so you know, PGN can take MUCH longer than that: We have been in PGN for six months with no sign of being released soon. And this is with a very well-respected agency...

Posted by: erinberry at March 25, 2007 03:22 PM

We accepted referral and sent POA in the second week of February'07. Thus far we haven't even received DNA authorization yet.Though I some Feb. referrals recieved it by end of Feb. We were told that until the DNA is matched we cannot even go for visit trip. We alredy developed an emotional attachment with our baby. He is 2 month old now. Can any one tell me how long does take to get DNA authorization?

Posted by: Sam at March 26, 2007 08:46 AM

Sam, we were told that DNA would take up to 6 weeks, but the results came back in 10 days.

Posted by: Mel at March 27, 2007 08:40 AM

When we had the DNA for our son completed it took 2 weeks to get results. We are on our 3rd Guatemalan adoption and understnd the feelings and when you add the wait to it it can weigh heavy on you. The time will be here before you know it. Once you have them in your arms nothing else matters. God Bless you.

Posted by: Mick and Julie at March 27, 2007 11:48 AM


I see you were asking about a timeline to get DNA authorization, not DNA results. We, like you, accepted the referral of our daughter in early Feb. We too have not yet rec'd DNA authorization. My adoption agency said that Guatemala has several Holy days leading up to Easter and that the US Embassy (who issues the DNA auth) is closed for all of those Holy days. We were told not to expect DNA auth until after Easter. Hope this helps! Good luck to you.

Posted by: KC at March 27, 2007 06:09 PM


I received my referral on 11/14/2007. I think my DNA results were taken 2/19/2007. I received a copy of the DNA results on 2/28/2007.

I would imagine that the timing depends a lot on when they can get the bio mom to come in. Does your bio mom live in some remote place?

Good luck, Cheryl

Posted by: cheryl at March 27, 2007 07:38 PM

Oops...sorry Sam I was thinking results. Our Authorization took about 6 weeks. Our son was older too. So I think that has a little to do with it. Would be cool if we all ended up in Guatemala at the same time. :)

Posted by: Mick and Julie at March 27, 2007 10:44 PM

we got our referral on 2/14/07 and just today we got the call and we faxed the DNA authorization. Good luck!

Posted by: jhs at March 27, 2007 11:53 PM

Sam, I think (I could be mistaken though) the 171-H has to be issued before the DNA can be taken.

Posted by: Mel at March 28, 2007 07:38 AM

Hi all,
I very much appreciate all of your responses.
Mel - We received 171-h on DEC-23. I think it is time now for us to get the DNA auth.
JHS-- You are really lucky to get DNA auth. so fast. I am happy for you. All the best. We entered 6th week waiting for it.
Last week our agency told us that our case entered Family court.
Are there anyone from Chicagoland. If so, may be we can have a get together.

Posted by: Sam at March 28, 2007 09:06 AM

Thank you everyone for your comments and timeframes. We rec'd our referral 1/6/07, have DNA results and awaiting US embassey approval. We are from chicagoland area also. Praying for our son to come home as soon as possible. Ann

Posted by: Ann at March 28, 2007 06:04 PM

Those of us in the great state of Illinois need to form a support group.

Posted by: Mick and Julie at March 28, 2007 10:28 PM

Mick and Julie I aggree with you. Ann is also from Chicagoland. I wish everyone all the best in this process. Our prayers are with you all.

Posted by: Sam at March 29, 2007 10:11 AM

This is for Erin Berry.

Are they giving you any reasons as to why you are in PGN for 6 months and counting? That is such a long time.It seems like there is no rhyme or reason as to when you get out of PGN. I'm getting so worried since we are in at least 11 weeks and haven't heard anything yet. Did anyone else have to wait this long to hear anything from PGN?


Posted by: Victoria at March 30, 2007 08:12 AM

To all those who went into PGN in January, 2007--is anyone making progress? What are you being told? We have not heard anything beyond being kicked out 8 weeks ago (and getting back in).


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