May 22, 2007
Hague Passed in Guatemala
In a special session of Congress today, the Hague Convention was passed. New articles of accension must be deposited with the Hague and it will take effect three months after that. The treaty is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 31, 2007.
What this means is that Guatemala MUST pass Hague compliant legislation. In reality, this means little more than reaffirming the US's position that Guatemala is in the Hague and setting a domestic deadline for Guatemala to pass and implement new legislation.
This is no reason for concern for in-process families.
Posted by Kevin at May 22, 2007 05:11 PM
What does this mean for folks who are contemplating beginning the process this fall? Anyone have any ideas?
"in process families" can anyone tell me what this means?
what would qualify "in process" families?
Kevin, is there any correlation between PGN seeming to slow down even more as the Hague made its way through their Congress?
As always, thanks for the updates. You are our lifeline!
"This is no reason for concern for in-process families."
I worry for those of us waiting for a referral. :( I wonder what it means for us, and if there is reason for concern for us.
We've had a hard time finding out what the 'Hague' means and how it may impact us. Are both Guatemala and the US working to pass Hague compliant legislation? Did it just pass through the US congress or the Guatemalan? Any BASIC info you have would be helpful for those of us who are early in the process (I-600A in, just about ready to submit Dossier).
when did everything slow down before when the Hague was threatened. If it really passed now, won't things be put on hold? Is it recommended to not start an adoption there at this time????
Didn't the DOS recommend noone start an adoption there months ago already. I can't believe how many families have even after those warnings? Will things be put on hold like they were years ago when the Hague was a threat? Or now that it passed, will it even be longer to complete than it was then??
As I understand this, it really doesn’t mean much. So now Guatemala domestically knows it needs to make the system Hague compliant. That had to happen anyway or else the US would end adoptions once we ratify, which I believe will be in Feb or March of 2008 though that is not certain.
By in process I basically meant anyone with a referral. There is no reason why this should change the status quo.
With all the Guatemalan press, US gov statements, investigations, etc the writing has been on the wall for quite some time that the system must change.
For anyone accepting a referral tomorrow, my opinion is that your child will come home. I also believe that is true of anyone in the homestudy process. To my knowledge, all legislative proposals have grandfathered in-process cases. That has in the past meant that POA and birthmother’s first acta are registered, which happens shortly after you accept the referral.
What is uncertain is what the average timeframe to complete an adoption will be. The US DOS FAQ is not a joke, it should be taken seriously. And more than ever, people need to careful to hire reputable, ethical agencies and attorneys.
A new statement on this has been posted on the ADA website (http://www.adaguatemala.org/English/news/).
The US passed the Hague many years ago. I believe we have the exact regulations posted somewhere in our archives though in many ways they are irrelevant.
As we get more news, we will post it.
Thanks Kevin for posting these updates and patiently explaining what you know.
You are doing a great service here.
Any thoughts on people waiting out an abandonment? Do we have a chance yet?
Hi Kevin: Thank you for your input. I look forward to hearing further details on this matter as they become available. I read in the ADA "Rejections of the PGN" that the Manual of Good Practices was implemented. It stated, as follows, "The officer adds: The Manual de Good Practices, which has recently been implemented, also helped to have better controls. Now the lawyer has to give an announcement that he is going to initiate a process, even since the conception, says Arellano." Can you tell me when the Manual of Good Practices was officially implemented and what that means to singles in process?
Thanks in advance for your input! - Barbara
Kevin, Kelly, Troy, Marie, and everyone else, thank you very much.
Hi All- I just took a look at the picture that accompanies this story on La Prensa Libre (GT newspaper) and the picture is so inappropriate. Why do they have to show a photo of authorities raiding a casa cuna clandestina(unregistered crib house)? Why can't they show a picture of my husband and myself with our children having fun. How sad that they chose to include one of their stock photos to describe adoptions.
Gives you an idea of how they feel about this and the propaganda behind it all.
Kevin, in the AP article by Juan Carlos Llorca that hit the papers yesterday, it says "Legislators hope to approve the law in the coming weeks." Does everyone think they will pass the new legislation over their summer recess? And do you think they would also make the effective date 12/31/07? Thanks.
Thank you for all you do and all the information you provide.
Susan, we went ahead even after the warnings with much deliberation and heartfelt thought and consideration. We also feel we have a very ethical agency who is/will do all they can with all they know to help us bring our baby home. We understand the risks, but Guat is the only chance we will have to have a baby, so we pray and we move forward with hope in our hearts. It is all we have, it is all we can do.
Should people be afraid to start the process now? When will the slowdowns begin????
Kevin - you are awesome! Thank you for all you do. Can you answer the following question for me: Does Guatemala just have to present legislation by
the Hague deadline (say, February 2008) or does it have to already be
implemented by the time US requires Hague Compliance? Just curious! We are early in the process - just completed homestudy. Thanks for any insight you can give!
My wife and I are interested in agency referrals. It is our understanding that this is the most important first step in finding an agency. We are following the volatile situation and realize the risks. We are, however, interested in exploring next steps. Our email is email@example.com. Thanks in advance. Blessings.
Thanks Kevin, for your hard work and your last statement.
Your brought up a good point, that even thought adoptions will go through, we should expect delays, and not have the idea of having a baby come home in 6 months in our heads during this time.
Kevin - thank you for your vigilance.
My husband and I are not sure where we stand in terms of being in process.
December 12th we accepted a referral of a little girl, wired over 1/2 of country fee, filed POA, received medical info, pictures for 2 months and a birth cert. Feb 19th we were told that our daughter was taken from her foster home by police along with several other children in Zone 5 and placed in an orphanage. She was recently located and is now reportedly with her 2 brothers, one of which we knew about that had already been accepted by a family in another state, before this ordeal. We understand that they are trying to group the 3 children in an abandonment case, making the daughter we hoped and planned for unavailable to us. Our agency is seeking another referral for us.
We are heartbroken, dazed and confused. I fear we may not be considered in process. Any thoughts on where we might stand in relation to Hague??
My husband and I have been following the progress of Guatemala, we are going to be starting the adoption process Feb 09. I know everyone has a different opinion but I was wondering if you thought that with Guatemala passing the Hague that they might be in complaince with the US by next year? Our hearts our really set on adopting from Guatemala. Thank you!
Any comments on beginning the process of adoption this Spring? any info. would be appreciated.
JC, I am very sorry to hear about your lost referral. As far as accepting a new referral, I expect that Kevin can comment on this more authoritatively, but I will say that Guatemala's accession to the Hague is supposed to take effect on December 31. Therefore, I wouldn't think that whether or not you have a case in process as of this week would be the crucial question. On the other hand, the potential passage of adoption legislation by the Guatemalan Congress later this year might be a concern for families whose adoptions are in process at that time, since I don't think anyone can say for sure what exactly will be passed or what its effects will be. This makes the situation unpredictable and somewhat risky for anyone starting an adoption now. Just my opinion.
In answer to Marie's post of May 23 in which she asked: "Why do they have to show a photo of authorities raiding a casa cuna clandestina(unregistered crib house)? Why can't they show a picture of my husband and myself with our children having fun?"
I surmise that there are several reasons:
1) Newspaper editors (who are basically lazy) faced with deadlines take the easy way out and recycle photos they have used in earlier stories.
2) Newspapers are interested in earning revenue, and the primary source of their revenue comes from advertising. Increased readership (i.e. selling more newspapers) directly translates into increased advertising revenue. "Sensational" photos and stories attract readers. Next time you're in Guatemala, buy a copy of each of the several dailies each morning and scan the first few pages, evening if you don't read Spanish. They're all competing to see who can print the goriest and most sensational photos and stories.
3) With 1 out of 100 Guatemalan babies being relinquished and subsequently adopted by a foreign family, adoption in Guatemala is considered a national disgrace. I'd venture that if the tables were turned, we Americans would look at it the same way.
4) Prensa Libre hasn't published a photo of you, your husband, and your child because you've never sent it to them. Want to? Send them a letter too? Let me know if we can help.
By the way, "national disgrace" or not, our Guatemalan family members understand and appreciate our intentions in adopting our child. Our little girl is a true delight to our family, and we love her dearly. I have 2 older children from my first marriage, ages 34 and 29, and given the opportunity, would gladly make the decision to adopt our youngest daughter again!
I concur with Gina.
I’ll surmise my OPINION this way. The only families I think could stuck would be those VERY early in the process at whatever time Guatemala implements new legislation. To date, Guatemala has not passed any new adoption law. As for when that will happen, what the new system will be, when it will be implemented – these things remain to be seen.
My one caution is to realize that the process will take longer. Do not expect to bring home infants.
Good point about sending our pictures and stories to Guatemalan news papers. I'll definitely consider doing that when my adoption has completed. We make their job (the news papers) easier if we take the initiative to send pictures and stories.
Gregg- I have to say I am taken was taken aback a bit by the tone of your post. I am VERY aware of the situation in GT, probably more than others, as I write about it everyday on this website. No need to preach to the choir here. Maybe your energy would be better invested in letting others who are not aware of the situation and do not frequent this site, know of the circumstances surrounding the state and cause of anti-adoption sentiments. It was just a sarcastic remark (tinged with saddness). I am sure you are familiar with those. I supoported you and understood your last comments that caused so much uproar on this website, that readers missed the point of the post all together for the most part. Interesting.
I have a question. Does any one know how many babies are born each year to single mothers in Guatemala?
The statistics I keep hearing is that the US accounts for almost all of the Guatemalan children adopted (approximately 5000) and 1 out of 100 children born in Guatemala are adopted. So based on that there are approximately 500,000 births a year. But what percentage of those are born to single mothers?
This is where I'm going with this. Children born to single mothers in a third world country are very at risk. I strongly suspect that WAY MORE than 1% of the Guatemalan children are born to single mothers. If so, then 1 out of 100 really isn't that big of a number.
Can you explain the feeling of "national disgrace" to me? Maybe I am naieve but I did not get that feeling when I was in Guatemala (we were not there very long). Are the Guatemalans angry at us for adopting their babies or are they embarassed for not being able to raise these children themselves?
I want to understand what Gregg said. Can you help?
Does anyone know what "new changes" there will be in the process,and are they posted anywhere?
We have adopted 2 children and are in the process ....PGN for the third. We have never felt anger or shame from Guatemalans in fact we find them to be beautiful people. We love to visit and we look forward to our return to bring our daughter home. We are 6 weeks in PGN and I heard that PGN is moving a little faster. Hope thats true. The longer the wait the greater the blessing. Hang in there everyone.
At this moment it is difficult to predict what changes will be in the adoption process, because everything depends on which of the two proposals of Adoption Law, the Guatemalan Congress chooses to pass. But in either case, all adoptions already started will be finalized according to the current laws. By "already started" we mean that the child is already born, that the mother has given her consent for the adoption and that there is a person or a couple wanting to adopt that child. The easiest way to start an adoption is to grant a power of attorney to a lawyer in Guatemala, but since that may take some time to legalize, translate and record, the adoptive parents may start the adoption themselves and grant the power of attorney during the same trip to Guatemala.
Thanks for the information,we have 3 children that were born in Guatemala-the last one we brought home just this past January-we actually met you-at La Casa Granda. We are hoping to adopt again in the next couple of years-We were just concerned about how difficult things will be next time around.Thanks so much!!
How much I appreciate your post here!! When you say "already started" - do you mean all those requirements (baby born, birth mother signed, etc) BEFORE 12/31/07?
JC: I am so sorry to read about your referral. This exact same thing happened to me last year. I kept thinkning he would be released from the orphanage, but his case is tagled-up indefinately in the courts. He is unavailabe for adoption. I was just devistated. Even worse, they placed him a terrible orphanage--so much for "good practices.
I accepted a new referral about 6 weeks later and am now in PGN.
Hang in there. You are in my thoughts.
Does anybody have any predictions on the future of Guatemalan adoptions...say a year from now. We wanted to wait until next Spring to start our next adoption since we are financially still recovering from the last. Will this be feasible, or may we see an entire shut down? Does anybody think that the new regulations will drive down the in-country fees??
Thank you Kevin for your time and insights. For families who are still awaiting their POA, but expect it soon, do you think we will be grandfathered in? Our dossier has recently been sent to Guatemala and awaits processing.
Does anyone know how long PGN is currently taking? Thanks, Ann
To Respond to Guatemammato1: The future of Guate adoptions is uncertain, even with the recent move toward Hague compliance. The fact of the matter is that Guate has a LONG way to go before they will be viewed as compliant by the Hague or the US. They will have to quickly build a coherent/consistent national system that values first adoptive placement with family of origin, second placement within the nation, and then after that is exhausted placement in another nation. In order to prove compliance to #1 & #2, systems building will take time. Now, Guate may well pull things together quickly, but as with many things in life--processes almost ALWAYS take longer than we anticipate. If you look at the US implementation/ratification process and timeline--it has taken us years to ready ourselves. And, this is a US system with many strenghts like some guidance from state laws, a history of long-term professionalism in adoption (trained social workers, etc.), and an accreditation system that is scrambling to get 300+ agencies accredited. On trained social workers--I know that many will say that Guate has trained SWers. Well, I can tell you as a licensed US social worker that has worked in Guate--the training is poor and there is no code of ethics (a problem for accreditation because training is an important component). So, there is MUCH to do in Guate. That being said, we can all wait and watch. Guate has an opportunity to become the gold standard for intercountry adoption--lets just hope that the impending legislation is feasible and that UNICEF and other development agencies finally deliver on their promises to fund systems change. Change on this scale is not going to come cheaply--training dollars, accreditation development dollars, etc. will be a tremendous drain on an already poor nation. However, UNICEF has been dangling funding as a carrot.
I just received the following email from SEnator Feinstein. I think you will find it interesting.
> Thank you for your letter concerning child adoptions
> from Guatemala. I
> appreciate the time you took to write me and welcome
> the opportunity to
> Upon receiving your letter, my office contacted the
> State Department to
> inquire further into this matter. As you may know,
> U.S. membership in
> the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions is
> expected to enter into
> force by the end of this year. To ensure
> uninterrupted adoptions of
> Guatemalan children by couples in the United States
> after the Convention
> is ratified, Guatemala will need to pass legislation
> consistent with its
> obligations under the Convention.
> The Department of State is currently working with
> Guatemalan government
> officials to create a transitional process that
> would enable ongoing
> adoption cases to proceed regularly, while new and
> stricter regulations
> would gradually apply to new adoption requests in
> accordance with the
> Hague Convention.
> In recent years, Guatemala has become a major
> partner of the United
> States in the area of adoptions-since 2002, child
> adoptions from
> Guatemala have increased by more than 70 percent. I
> am hopeful that,
> through deliberate and cooperative measures, this
> partnership will
> continue to grow as more children find loving homes
> in the United
> Again, thank you for writing. If you have any
> further questions or
> comments, please visit my website at
> http://feinstein.senate.gov, or
> contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202)
> 224-3841. Best regards.
> Sincerely yours,
> Dianne Feinstein
> United States Senator
I have been in PGN for 11 weeks with no kickouts. I know others who have been in longer with one kickout. I have some friends who were in PGN for 10 1/2 weeks with one kickout and they had their embassy appointment today. Everyday gets harder and harder waiting and wondering when I will finally get out of PGN.
I think I'm echoing a question already posed, but I'm wondering how things have been going in PGN. Our agency told us to plan on 2, 3 or 4 months, but our attorney told us 6 weeks. I realize each case is unique, but I'm looking for a general sense of whether PGN is moving especially slow -- like it was last year -- or if it's back to the normal timeframes (6-8 weeks if there are no previos or problems). Anyone have any idea? We went in on May 4 and have no idea what to expect. We hit every imaginable dely prior to that point, so she was already 7 months when she went in. :-(
What does this article mean? It was posted by the Joint Council on international Children's services.
May 23, 2007
Joint Council is pleased to report that on Tuesday, May 22nd, the Guatemalan Congress held a special session during which the Hague Convention was reaffirmed. The reaffirmation included an amendment creating an effective date of January 1, 2008. We remain confident that the reaffirmation will set the stage for a final resolution to the implementation of the Hague Convention in Guatemala.
I have a friend who got out of PGN before she even knew she was in PGN. This just happened in May, she had PA April 19 and was out of PGN May 31! She even sent me the official PGN document. No previos. Who knows what it means, just thought I'd share that some do get out FAST.~Melissa
My daughter and I just got back from Guatemala, we were there May4-7 so she could sign POA to speed up things and I meet a couple at the hotel that was in PGN 10 days. I also talked to a family that had visited there baby in Jan. and while they were there met someone who was only in 1 week, so seems everyones case is different. My grandson that was adopted last year was in about 3 months though. We're waiting on PA now so hopefully once in PGN we'll be one of the lucky ones too.
My case worker sent me an email this last weekend saying she is just seeing cases exit PGN that entered on March 23. So that means about 9.5 weeks in PGN.
We've been in PGN for 4 months as of June 5th, with no previos. Our daughter was assigned to us last September. We've had no information whatsoever about what the holdup is, which I guess is not atypical. A couple of months ago, our agency had a family whose case spent 3 months in PGN, which we were told then was a long time. Naturally, we are beyond discouraged at this point. On the one hand, it's great to hear that some children are getting through PGN in short order, but on the other, why not us? It's not so much the slowness of the process; it's the complete blackout of information that is unbearable.
Thank you SO MUCH for writing Ms. Feinstein! And your tremendous help in general.
Anything I can do for you?!
I was told that there was no way to contact PGN just to confirm that your case is actually there. But yesterday someone told my husband that there is a phone number, and that they had called. Does anyone know if there is a number we can call to confirm that our case is actually there?
I got this from another group site from another person she said, "The PGN's number is 011-502-2414-8787. When they start speaking on the recording push x2037. They speak english and all you need is your names and the child's name." I don't know if what she
said was accurate, but they supposedly will give you a status on your case.
I just read this on another blog, has anyone heard anything else about this?
"There was a fairly large earthquake (6.8) off the coast of
Guatemala this afternoon, 2:29 pm local time about 70 miles SSW of
Guatemala City. For more info, you can refer to the www.usgs.gov and click on recent earthquakes on the right hand side of the page about halfway down."
Our cases is similiar to Michele's. We got our referral in September and are approaching the 3 month mark in PGN. Nobody can tell us anything about timing. Our agency told us to plan on 1-9 months in PGN. Has anyone else tried contacting the PGN number?
My husband and I were hoping to start the adoption process (Guatemala) early next year. Does this all mean that the Guatemala program will be shut down by then?
If your heart is set on Guatemala and you have done your research and are ready for a possibly bumpy road, I (and I am only one person) would suggest you not wait until next year. You will get grandfathered in if your paperwork is at a certain point. Get your homework done for this too. The children are beautiful. The experience is amazing. The road is long but the end is one you will never regret. BUT you should act soon.
Michelle,Please don't wait and miss out on the best thing that will ever happen to you. We got our baby Gabriella the day after Christmas. Everytime I look into those big brown eyes I melt and I wish that all the babies could get home fast to their parents. Our daughter is such a wonderful blessing. If I had the money I would love to adopt 50 more! Lisa
Please help...this is our second adoption. On my medical letter my dr. stated that i have mild depression/anxiety which is controlled by medication. She then wrote all the rest that was asked....good health physical and mental.. normal life expectancy ect. Could having the letter say I have mild depression / anxiety get me kicked out of PGN????