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August 12, 2007

Casa Quivira Raided

Casa Quivira was raided yesterday by the Guatemalan police and PGN. Based on the story, it appears as though the situation was that the hogar itself did not have whatever licensing is required and that there was not proof that the cases had been presented/registered to the government.

There is nothing written in the story on this that would indicate the relinquishments were invalid or illegal.

According the story, the children have been left at the hogar for the time being.

In the story it below, it states that one of the two attorneys arrested, Sandra Patricia Leonardo Lopez, is stated to be the wife of the hogar owner. This is incorrect, the director's wifes name is Sandra but this is not the person arrested.

We have no further information on this. As we learn more, we will share it.

Here is the link to the story in the Guatemalam Press: http://www.prensalibre.com/pl/2007/agosto/12/179542.html

Here is a link to an English Reuters story: http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSN1126522820070812

Posted by Kevin at August 12, 2007 10:51 AM
Comments

The raid of Casa Quivira is another display of abuse of power of the current authorities.
There is no law that states that the children who are reliquished by their parents can stay at private orphanages only if there is a judge who authorizes such stay. The children are safe and sound at Casa Quivira and when Clifford Phillips and his wife attorney Sandra Gonzalez return to Guatemala today, things will be cleared up. ADA will file legal resources to prevent abuses like this from happening again.
Susana Luarca
Attorney at Law
Asociacion Defensores de la Adopcion (ADA)

Posted by: Susana Luarca at August 12, 2007 01:26 PM

this is a very disturbing show of 'authority'

my daughter has only been home a month from CQ and I saw their facilities firsthand only 8 weeks ago - it is an very well run place - clean, bright and the children are well cared for - all staff were professional and caring in my experience

i hope this all gets sorted out very quickly

i wonder if this is a 'message' from PGN to other homes? scary times

MK

Posted by: mk at August 12, 2007 04:40 PM

A story I just found on this states "Over the weekend, the government will decide where the children will be transferred."

I have not heard that the children have been moved and do not know if this story is correct.

Story is here: http://au.news.yahoo.com/070812/15/146g0.html

Kevin
Guatadopt

Posted by: Kevin at August 12, 2007 07:22 PM

I am new to this listserv but I just heard of the story of CQ from another list group and someone mentioned The United Nations was going to suspend adoptions in Guatemala until Jan 1st. This really worries me.
Has anyone heard this??? I dont want to alarm anyone but I am very worried. Any info would be great. Thank you.

Angie

Posted by: Angie at August 12, 2007 08:04 PM

I have been keeping in close contact with Sandra Gonzalez regarding these recent events, and I first want to let Susana Luarca know that we are very appreciative of her above comments, and expressing an understanding that there is increasing need for adoption advocates to be united. *Susana... Sandra & Clifford have asked that I thank you for offering your insight and moral support.*

Although problems such as what Casa Quivira is currently experiencing have ALWAYS been a threat, most of you already know that there has recently been significantly increased scrutiny of all aspects related to adoptions in Guatemala. With adoption stories already being such high profile with the media, as well as this being an election year, numerous officials are making even greater attacks on the adoption community, and manipulating adoption issues to try to improve their political influence.

If you read the report about Casa Quivira that was linked above, you saw that they were reporting that the police found the babies being housed in an "illegal foster home", and that "None of them had the proper paperwork to be given up for adoption.". Casa Quivira is NOT an illegal foster home. When the police arrived at the CQ office, the police were immediately presented with all of the proper paperwork, including the statutes which prove the legality of CQ as an institution and their authority to have the children in their care, but the police just took the papers *without even looking at them*. They yelled at the lawyers, treated them abusively, and demanded to know how the police could know that the lawyers had any right to have any of those children in CQ's care. The lawyers showed the police many more documents which showed that the children had been properly reliquished into CQ's care, also proof of cases legally in process, as well as files which had already been approved by the PGN. The police again just took all of the documents and files without looking at them.

The CQ lawyers were initially told that all of the babies were going to be immediately removed from the home, but the doctor advised that there are many of the babies who need continued medical care, and that it would be detrimental to their health and safety to remove them from Casa Quivira. The police also abusively interrogated every one of the nurses and nannies at the Casa Quivira children's home, and several of them reported hearing comments from the police that "this is a campaign against adoption and that there will be many incidents like this, that there are superior orders to go against anybody handling adoptions". They reported that the police indicated that was why they came to Antigua from Guatemala City, as they didn't want for the local authorities to intervene in the operation.

At least for right now, all of the babies are still safe at the CQ facility. ***BUT***....there is still great concern that the police will carry through with their threats to move the babies to another unknown facility. There are currently a dozen police at the baby home. CQ nannies and nurses are still being allowed to care for the children, but the police are not allowing anyone to come or go.

We will appreciate all of your moral support and understanding through this process. Please keep all involved in your thoughts and prayers.

Thanks much,
Cathy Porter - mother of 2 daughters through CQ, former US Program Coordinator, and continued supporter of CQ

Posted by: Cathy Porter at August 12, 2007 08:07 PM

I too just recently brought home my son from Casa Quivira. It is really shocking to see this responsible, well-run institution represented so wrongly. I was there in mid-July and the place is immaculate. The staff goes to great lengths to ensure the happiness and health of each child.

My heart goes out to all the waiting families, the children and the dedicated staff, who must be very frightened in the wake of this raid and the media's inflammatory coverage of it.

Eliza Kent
Syracuse, NY

Posted by: Eliza Kent at August 12, 2007 08:16 PM

I have twin boys at CQ and the info I got from the program directors is that the children are still at the orphanage. The police were going to move them, but the staff physician at the orphanage informed them that many of the children needed continued medical care (as one of my guys does). It is not yet known if this arrangement will change.

Posted by: krafmatic at August 12, 2007 08:47 PM

I heard from my agency earlier this week that our attorney's office and the homes of the foster mothers that she works with have been "raided" (their term), which meant that the police came and checked to see if they had the paperwork to legitimately keep the children. Apparently, they did, and nothing more serious than wasting our attorney's and her clients' time happened. They made it sound as though this was widespread. Any indication that it was a widespread sweep of foster mothers, hogars, and adoption attorneys?

Posted by: Nick B. at August 12, 2007 09:56 PM

The United Nations was urging GT to suspend adoptions, but GT is not going to follow their recommendation as it is unconstitutional. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the information I received.

JLR

Posted by: JLR at August 12, 2007 10:08 PM

i just came home August 3rd,2007 from meeting my baby girl at Casa Quivira. my baby ,i named her Daisy ,is obviously very loved & well taken care. CQ was impressive in its cleanliness & appeared to have a high nanny to baby ratio.

i am heartbroken over this. i have been showing off my Daisy's pictures all week. how could this be happening?

does anyone have any suggestions or advice on any action we parents can take?


randi strauss

Posted by: randi strauss at August 12, 2007 10:28 PM

The UN has been telling Guat to shut down for years. The fact that they are at it again doesn't mean much.

Yes, some foster moms have been "raided". This happened to a woman I know well in the last week. Once she provided the requested paperwork, the cops left with no problems. But she did say there were well over 10 police officers in her home.

Things are at what I believe an all-time high or low depending on how you want to look at it. My one piece of solace to PAPs is that these things happen every so often, and the kids do come home. There is a legal process in place and as long as everyone follows the rules, the powers-that-be can delay homecomings, but they can't prevent them.

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at August 12, 2007 10:32 PM

Cathy Porter, you note that CQ is not an illegal foster home; is it a licensed hogar?

These raids are scary - which is their objective I am sure. :((((

Lisa

Posted by: Lisa at August 12, 2007 10:53 PM

Cathy Porter,
Thank you for your post! I'm wondering if you or someone else could explain more about the political motivation of those who perform actions such as this raid. (I'm referring to your comment above: "numerous officials are making even greater attacks on the adoption community, and manipulating adoption issues to try to improve their political influence.")
I'm curious about who these officials are trying to influence - certain higher-ups? The general public in Guatemala? The UN?
I'm not doubting your statement - I really do want to know so that I can understand the situation better. Thanks!

Posted by: JA at August 13, 2007 12:40 AM

Thank you for posting this information so quickly! I appreciate it, and I especially want to thank Cathy for explaining what she knows of what happened.

Although it may sound pessimistic, I think it would be best for everyone to prepare themselves for more raids. Adoption is too hot a topic within Guatemala. Unfortunately, this story (even if it is not entirely factual) also serves the US government's interests to warn prospective parents away from Guatemala.

Posted by: Lucinda at August 13, 2007 01:42 AM

I'm currently in Guatemala and find the recent raid and Guatemalan media reports to be shocking and misrepresentative. However, it is part of the on going attempt to discredit adoptions, as well as being an outrageous abuse of power.

Casa Quivera has operated as a licensed Children's Home for many, many years. Reports from Bienestar Social to the contrary are inaccurate.

Josefina Arellano acknowledges that the children had Notarial papers, but state that they didn't have "court" papers. Children who are relinquished are relinquished before a Notary, not a Judge, and do not have court papers. Only children who are physically abandoned or removed from their parents because of abuse or neglect are referred to the children's homes by the courts. The Guatemalan Civil Code protects the Notarial process and birthparent rights to relinquish to a Notary. Despite the existing law, a few months ago, the Attorney General of Guatemala indicated that "they" were going to create new requirements and consider all children, whether in Hogares or private foster care, who didn't have court orders to be "irregularly placed". This intended "coup d'etat" on the part of the Executive branch was discovered and stopped.

However, I believe the Berger government has been enabled in their attempts to take the law into their own hands by the perception on the part of the U.S. Department of State and other governments, as well as Unicef, that they are attempting to abide by "international standards". As long as they are congratulated for defying their own Constitution, what will actually protect adoptive families and the children they are in the process of adopting from further events like this, which makes the rule of law unpredictable and creates chaos and anxiety.?

This, like the reported raid on another Hogar because of an alleged kidnapping, are part of the on going power struggle for control of Intercountry Adoptions.

Hannah Wallace, Adoptions International

Posted by: Hannah Wallace at August 13, 2007 02:29 AM

We adopted from CQ and were very concerned about the way things were run down there. Everything seemed very shady. We are glad we are through with them.

Posted by: David at August 13, 2007 09:18 AM

David, You could easily be in the same situation as all of us whose babies are currently in the shadow of gun-toting police who are screaming at helpless nannies, nurses and babies at CQ. What incredibly terrible timing for your little note. You know that your baby was healthy and happy when you brought him/her home. Everything involving the government down there has a shady element to it and it is most certainly not CQ's fault. How about a little support for the people who took care of your baby until you could get him/her home and a little support for us families who are just praying that our children are O.K.

Posted by: DR at August 13, 2007 11:01 AM

We recently adopted from CQ, and would do it again in a heart beat. All of our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those waiting. You'd bet we will be writing our letters in favor of CQ.

Posted by: Kristy at August 13, 2007 11:16 AM

I'm sorry to hear that David. We adopted through CQ, as has several of our friends. I was very impressed with their facilities and the health of our son. I have no reason to to doubt for one second the legitimacy of this agency. Our pediatrician was very impressed with the health of our son, compared to his other Internationally adopted patients.

This incedent is scary, and our thoughts and prayers are with the children, families and staff of CQ, who love these children as their own during the time they care for them. I can only imagine how frightening it must be for them right now, but I am sure it doesn't diminish the quality of care for the children.

Posted by: Dawn at August 13, 2007 11:37 AM

We adopted three times from Casa Quivira and have no doubt about our childrens care. The care was increadible and I don't believe for a second that anything "illegal" was going on at CQ. Thank you Hannah for shedding some light on the current situation. Although it helps me understand what is going on, it's so wrong and I can't believe this is happening to CQ and all the families involved.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the waiting families, the children involved and the owners and staff of CQ.

Posted by: Michelle at August 13, 2007 12:15 PM

Thanks Hannah for your comments and support as well. They are greatly appreciated.

In response to Lisa's question above, the short answer is yes. Casa Quivira is a Government Ministry approved foster home. CQ is part of a larger project, ADIFINI. Included among the statutes pesented for approval to the Ministro De Gobernacion, was specified the role of Casa Quivira as a facility to house and care for children, including medical care, and to place the children into international adoption. The approval of everything in the statutes, including those related to Casa Quivira, was approved and signed by the Ministro De Gobernacion on December 27, 1994. I have a scan of the signed approval document which I can post, if someone can tell me how to do that.

Posted by: Cathy Porter at August 13, 2007 12:20 PM

We adopted three times from Casa Quivira and have no doubt about our childrens care. The care was increadible and I don't believe for a second that anything "illegal" was going on at CQ. Thank you Hannah for shedding some light on the current situation. Although it helps me understand what is going on, it's so wrong and I can't believe this is happening to CQ and all the families involved.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the waiting families, the children involved and the owners and staff of CQ.

Posted by: Michelle at August 13, 2007 12:32 PM

Just a word of caution/reminder of Guatadopt rules. We do not allow any personal attacks on other's who have commented. Everyone is free to debate and critique the content of any comment, just not attack the person who wrote it. It's also important to remember that everyone has their own adoption story that is based on fact, opinion, emotion, and personal experience. It is important that we all always respect what others say their experience was, even if it does not match our own experience with the same providers.

Nothing on this thread has gotten to the point of me not approving a comment, but I could see it potentially coming and thus wanted to do this reminder.

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at August 13, 2007 12:42 PM

the important thing in any adoption is to find a certified agency. Check out council on accreditation (www.COANet.org) for more information no the hague treaty which requires a standard of care by all involved in international adoptions. Choosing a certified agency is the only way to assure a safe and legal adoption.

Posted by: meg at August 13, 2007 12:50 PM

We adopted three times from Casa Quivira and have no doubt about our childrens care. The care was increadible and I don't believe for a second that anything "illegal" was going on at CQ. Thank you Hannah for shedding some light on the current situation. Although it helps me understand what is going on, it's so wrong and I can't believe this is happening to CQ and all the families involved.
My thoughts and prayers are with all the waiting families, the children involved and the owners and staff of CQ.

Posted by: Michelle at August 13, 2007 12:56 PM

Please keep in mind that good care and clean facilities have nothing whatsoever to do with whether there are legal issues with these children being placed. No one said the CHILDREN were being abused. The accusations were that the adoption system is being abused. The lawyers wouldnt be getting all the business with all the agencies if the facility wasnt good. That's not the issue.

If there's a perception on the part of the UN and State Dept and Guatemalan officials that these children's relinquishments need to be evaluated by the courts, then maybe they have good reason.

There have been serious problems in Guatemala for a long time. Maybe if the lawyers' stopped trying to monopolize the whole process in order to collect such high fees and allowed some oversight this wouldnt be happening. Instead of spending time launching lawsuits defending their turf, maybe the lawyers should be taking these children's papers to court to get them approved so there's no reason for suspicion. What are they afraid of? delays? Surely this will REALLY cause delays or even be the impetus to close down.

Can parents ask their lawyers to have this court review of the relinquishment of their referral if they request it? Can an AP get Adoption supervisors to do this for them? It beats never getting your child home at all or delayed past Hague because the lawyers dont want anyone else involved.

The Judges in Guatemala are not all anti-adoption. They are just PRO-LAWFUL adoption.

Posted by: Sandra at August 13, 2007 01:08 PM

The bbc is running an article online about the lastest news. There is a chance to post your comments. Here is the link


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6944594.stm

Posted by: shawn c at August 13, 2007 01:35 PM

I'm going to make this quick, because the light of my life, adopted from CQ, is currently napping and I don't know how much time I have!

So that I don't sound like a "plant," I'll say straight out that I had my issues - mostly surrounding communication - with CQ during the adoption process. I don't think CQ is shady, but I think that poor communication, especially for people used to a culture of transparency, can give that impression.

But none of my concerns had to do with the quality of care or ethics of the CQ staff. It's ironic that these are the things being attacked, when I saw the hogar license with my own eyes in July, along with the spotless facility and loving staff. My pediatrician said that he has never seen an internationally adopted child in better health!

My heart goes out to the families and hogar staff stuck in this mess, and I pray that those of you not associated with CQ will speak up as advocates against these grossly untrue and unfair news reports.

Posted by: Mari at August 13, 2007 02:28 PM

Because CQ is owned, in part, by an American citizen who resides in Florida, it'll be interesting to see if this raid is part of a larger investigation of adoption fraud. US citizens involved in orphan visa fraud are at risk of federal investigation and prosecution--I am convinced that the US Embassy has federal marshalls investigating in Guatemala. We'll have to wait and see. Frankly, the way things are going, it is only a matter of time before there is an ugly court case. The Mary Bonn situation, as shocking as it was, did not meet the true criteria of child trafficking. So...the hunt is on.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 13, 2007 02:39 PM

"Please keep in mind that good care and clean facilities have nothing whatsoever to do with whether there are legal issues with these children being placed."

I couldn't agree more. A clean, well-run facility does not equal ethical practices. I have only heard positive things about CQ, and know first hand of the unethical practices of Guatemalan (GC) Police. However, nothing surprises me anymore as far as unethical "orphan procurement" for lack of a better term. Are these legit orphans? Maybe, maybe not. Guess we have to wait and see. My heart goes out to those waiting to bring their kids home from there.

Posted by: PearlsMama at August 13, 2007 03:29 PM

Sandra - You are correct in that the cleanliness of a facility has little bearing on the actions of an attrny. There has been, in the press and rumor-wise - question of the state of Casa Quivira's facility and that, I believe, is why there have been so many comments on the physical condition of CQ. I also disagree in that there certainly ARE orphanages around the world (and where adoption take place) that do not have the high standards of care that CQ has, and they seem to conduct planty of adoptions.

Posted by: krafmatic at August 13, 2007 03:36 PM

My heart goes out for the parents involved ...waiting to see what happens at CQ. And to the children involved. And to the mothers involved. In a normal adoption situation, there is a sad story of a young woman who due to circumstances had to relinquich her baby.

It seems like many are defending CQ for what was not the point.

As a few have noted, the health and care of the children was not in question. It will be unfortunate that these children might end up in homes that are not as nicely set up as Quivira. Why? Because the Guatemalan Gov't does not trust the homes that are profiting from the adoptions, and so are looking to put the children in homes that are truly charities. It is sad that people will not support homes that provide care for the children left behind, but will pay (according to the article) up to $40,000 to bring one child home. That is great for that child, but at what cost to the rest of the children? Because of the lucre, in a small country that is corrupt at every level ( but hands down most corrupt sector according to public opinion? ... even lower than the government? ... Lawyers!!!) where there is money to be made, there are people willing to corrupt anyone and anything to make it. If the adoption world had been ready 2 or three years ago to abide by pricing limits ( as Wendy berger and Josefina Orellano had both suggested way back then) there would not be the lynchings and raids like this today. So here is my question, for those who are defending Quvira:

1) what was the total cost to bring your baby home ( from agency fees in states to final appointments etc)

2) what was the per diem you understood you were paying for the care of the child while at Quivira?

Then related:

Do you feel sure about the story of the mother presented to you? I think people referring to shady parts might be referring to origins rather than care of children. How much do you know about the mother? the Father?

Posted by: steve at August 13, 2007 04:17 PM

Sandra asks: "Maybe if the lawyers' stopped trying to monopolize the whole process in order to collect such high fees and allowed some oversight this wouldnt be happening. Instead ...maybe the lawyers should be taking these children's papers to court to get them approved so there's no reason for suspicion."

The current adoption law does not require judicial (court) oversight. The current adoption law does not require children's papers to be "taken to court to get them approved."

Lisa T.

Posted by: Lisa T. at August 13, 2007 04:37 PM

Apparently, the owner's home in FL was searched as a result of this. I hope they get to the bottom of this and get the correct info out in the media. The local news here is of course already sensationalizing it.

http://www.local6.com/news/13877729/detail.html

Posted by: ACS at August 13, 2007 05:43 PM

I just checked their website and it's mostly shut down. It was up this morning.

Posted by: Cathy at August 13, 2007 06:05 PM

Steve,

I am having a hard time understanding your post. So let me make a few things clear. If you want to find a group of people who believe that adoptions should not cost as much as they do, you came to the right place. No one knows that better than we adoptive parents (though $40K is not an accurate figure).

But it is entirely wrong to somehow try to combine adoption with the fate of children in Guatemala who are
not adopted, adoptable, etc. Most adoptive parents are not adopting for humanitarian reasons. And that is not something for which I have any shame. Using my wife and I as an example, we chose to adopt because we wanted to have a family and are infertile. Straight up, I admit it! It’s not as if we would have been donating the money we spent on adoption to a charity had we not been adopting kids. I hope that makes sense.

The poor conditions facing children in Guatemala is shameful. I would argue that adoption is helping, not hurting them. How much do you read our site? Have you seen all the posts we’ve had about adoptive parents doing charity work, donating money, etc in Guatemala? Do you think that if our kids were not from Guatemala that this would be happening? Once again using myself as an example. My wife and I donate to a number of Guatemalan charities. We are also paying to put our kid’s biological siblings through school. I spearheaded my company to become the largest donor to a nonprofit that specifically works to give kids a better future in Guatemala. That sponsorship amounts to just under $200,000 per year going to help impoverished kids. Tthat would not be happening if it were not for adoption from Guatemala.

It is very easy to try to make analogies because of the easily sensationalized Guatemalan adoption process. And as I have written many times – there is way too much corruption and reform is direly needed. But don’t anyone DARE try to say that because we adopted it somehow hurt other kids in Guatemala. If CQ had kids they should not have, them throw them in jail. And throw everyone doing unethical things in adoption into jail. Enforce the laws that exist! But do not somehow try to combine the fact that adults who are infertile or choose to adopt for some other reason should be passing up on their dream to be parents and instead donating the fees associated with it. That is not fair or accurate. It would be great if everyone in this world was more charitable. It would be even better if all the governments of the world rallied to end extreme poverty. But that has nothing to do with the fact that there are good people who only want to live the most natural life in the world – as a parent!

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at August 13, 2007 06:34 PM

Dear ACS,
I read the article and video that you posted from the Florida news. It appears they are referring to the Casa Quivera home being searched and not his Florida home, or am I wrong on this? If the owner of Casa Quivera's home in Florida has been searched it would suggest that the US is somehow involved in the investigation. Could you please verify this?
Aimee

Posted by: Aimee at August 13, 2007 06:58 PM

ACS - no, the owners home in Florida was not searched - the news article is the same one that has been printed in several papers. The Guatmalan government can't search his home in Florida - the article talks about the baby home in Guatemala that was searched, not his personal home in Florida. The article is not worded well AT ALL, but if you read the entire article, it never mentions his personal residence, just the home in Guatemala.

Posted by: Michelle B at August 13, 2007 07:01 PM

Kevin, well put. Thanks for everything you do, its really appreciated. You, Kelly, Troy, Maria and the whole guatadopt team. What would we do without you? Many thanks. ~Melissa

Posted by: Melissa Turi at August 13, 2007 07:43 PM

Parts of the Casa Quivira website are down, but some of it remains up still. All the portions of the site with pictures of the Cliff, Sandra and family have been removed. I assume that is because the Local 6 report that ACS referenced earlier uses a picture that they took from the website.

I am eagerly reading this post and all others I can find regarding this issue, as my baby is in the CQ home as we speak. I cannot describe the anxiety I'm feeling right now.

Thank you for all the information and posts supporting everyone involved. I hope that everything turns out for the best, whatever that is.

Posted by: cf at August 13, 2007 08:07 PM

Ah, yes, it appears you all are correct. It was the home in Guat, not in FL. Wow, talk about poorly written to be clear as to what they were talking about.

Posted by: ACS at August 13, 2007 08:14 PM

Kevin,

Thanks for your clear logic when you argued that paying fees for adoption does not take away from charity. Yes, adoption and charity are two different things. The fees paid for adoptions are not taking away from charity (since adoptive parents clearly want to adopt.) However, adoption may very well be generating more charity because it fosters good will. This good will is not limited to just the first generation or the person/persons that adopted but may cross many generations and to many people who become acquainted with the adoption. That is powerful.

Best, Cheryl

Posted by: cheryl at August 13, 2007 08:29 PM

I am new to the site (wife usually does this)...a shame it took something like this to get me "involved". We have our 2nd one stuck there now...for the non CG posters, has anything simiiar happened like this before and what was the resolve? while i am optimisitic this will work out, i cant help but wonder what the process will look like after this event? My wife, through experience and following many of your cases had gotten pretty good at predicting "gottcha" day for many families...will that process now be forever changed? Remember, prayer CAN change things!

Posted by: Jim at August 13, 2007 08:39 PM

One day ago I had no idea that Guaemala was a major child transit zone. I now sit in the Marriot hotel restaurant in Guatemala City and watch about 8 newly adopted childs with their, somewhat unused but anyway seemingly happy, parents. I then read the news about Antigua, Guatemalan colelauges verified the scary situation in the poor countryside where lives, including childrens' are easily traded. Then browsing the internet I find this rather scary blog where everything is fine as long as authorities stay out. And yes, I work for the UN too... America, wake up!

Posted by: Peter at August 13, 2007 08:53 PM

dear cf,

my baby is also in the home right now. i don't know what to do with myself.

i just sent letters as per my lawyer's suggestion to the following. doubt if it will make a difference, but can't hurt.

ambassador1@guatemala-embassy.org
adoptguatemala@state.gov
guatemala.adoptions@dhs.gov

all you out there with positive CQ experience conversing on this site, it wouldn't hurt if you sent letters as well stating your positive experiences c CQ. randi

Posted by: randi Strauss at August 13, 2007 09:10 PM

Peter,

No one is saying all is fine so long as the cops stay away. I perswonally find that insinuation quite insulting. The average adoptive parent isn't involved in the politics of it all. They only know thay they yearn to grow their family and they entered into a legal functioning system.

I, on the other hand, along with some of our readers, have been actively involved in Guatemalan adoptions. If you notice, my last post called for anyone operating illegally to be thrown in jail. And if Vilma and Sandra are guilty, let them pay their price. I also noted that the system is in much need of reform.

Now, how about the fact that enforcement of laws has been nearly absent. Why hasn't UN/UNICEF ever offered up quetzales for law enforcement to protect children? I have personally been invovled in investogations. I have personally tipped off the US Embassy to unethical practices. And prominent organizations, as one example, called for a second DNA years ago.

Why does UN/UNICEF consider "success" in countries like Honduras to only mean an end to intercountry adoption, not an increase in family unification, domestic adoption, etc? Answer that for me! Really do it!

In fact, consider this a public challenge. I challenge you or anyone from UN/UNICEF to a public debate. Write up whatever you like to make your case. I will write up mine. We can also both write up a rebuttal to the other. I will post it all when that is all done. Or you choose the forum.

I support UN/UNICEF as a whole, but when it comes to ICA, well the simplest way to say it is that "y'all suck". I am e-mailing this comment to you so that I know you got it. Now let's see if you are really willing to have a good, honest debate!

And members of the media who we know read this site. Step up to the plate. You're reading this challenge, give us a place larger than Guatadopt to discuss this. Let's let the truth about ICA, needed reforms, corruption, and the rest of it come out.

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at August 13, 2007 09:16 PM

CF,

I can completely relate as our baby boy is at CQ too. I have left messages with our Program Coordinator who was suppose to be back from Guatemala today. No messages have been returned or emails answered. I'm confident that we will be notified when they have some concrete answers as they (the CQ staff) have, up to now, been VERY communicative. We're watching our emails like hawks and feeling extremely helpless. We do take comfort that the staff is still in place taking care of our son and other little ones.
Kevin, we are so appreciative of this blog and the way you moderate....top notch!

Posted by: CP at August 13, 2007 09:17 PM

As a prospective adoptive parent, who has just received a referral a few weeks ago, I have mixed emotions about the current situation as it relates to adoption from Guatemala. It would be easy for me to be selfish and focus only on our child, but it is easy to see that there is much corruption as it relates to adoption in Guatemala, and it must be addressed at some point.
Having said that, let us not think that the Guatemalan government is in the least bit concerned about the long term welfare of these children. Guatemala is in the midst of a bloody election which over 30 political candidates have been murdered in the last year. If someone can use the current wave of scrutiny by the U.N. and the US, as well as the Guatemalen public, to their political advantage, they will!
I pray that my wife and myself will be able to give this child the life and opportunities that will use all their God-given talents and gifts. That is all I can give and if my motive is wrong than shame on me. I realize the extreme poverty in Guatemala must be solved, but feel that my future child's generation will have to help solve it. I hope that we can go back to the country with our child someday and be a part of that solution!

Posted by: JRH at August 13, 2007 09:43 PM

Even if you are adopting for "humanitarian reasons", no one has the right to judge your "charitable contributions". People donate to all kinds of causes that they know little about. We can and do have bio children but choose to adopt because of the extreme poverty in these countries. Why not donate that $32K to a home? Because I KNOW I can make a difference in the child's life I am bringing home. I know that that child will not be forced to beg, steal, or go to work at the age of 14 to support himself. I know that he will have the educational opportunities to go back and make a difference if he chooses to do so. It is this knowledge that drives me to take out a 2nd mortgage, sell my more expensive car and drive a used one, and go into some amount of debt to make a difference.

Posted by: Lesli at August 13, 2007 09:47 PM

I was positively surprised that you posted my comment!

Now, I wish all the new parents best of luck and have noting against adoptions as such. There is plenty of goodwill and love involved and I appreciate that.

But by adopting internationally you ARE involved in politics - like it or not. And I beleive most parents are fully behind the international (UN, i.e. countries) conventions that protect children. And most would agree that putting pressure on countries that don't live up to this is good. So we all seem to agree to the essentials.

Pity then that anger and blame is channeled towards those that work FOR these arrangements (such as UN and local authorities) and not against the criminals in the trade. It's like blaming the NYC firemen for not getting people out quick enough from WTC.


Posted by: Peter at August 13, 2007 09:57 PM

Kevin,
You rock! Thank you for standing up as a rational, knowledgable source of information. You, and the rest of the guatadopt staff, continue to be a huge help to me.

Posted by: krafmatic at August 13, 2007 10:00 PM

Peter,

You misjudged this site when you called it "scary". We do not censor. We allowing different views. And in the end you are correct that we all want the same thing.

With that said, and don't take this too personally, but you said you're just getting to know about this issue. If you wish to be taken as if you come from a position of knowledge and expertise, then you need to learn your history. Send someone else here to debate.

Mine is not a criticsm about the UN coming late to the table. Mine is a complaint about what they bring to the table. If you want to see why Guatemala is such a battleground, with IMHO both sides of idealists not handling things well, then study what has happened in El Salvador, Honduras, Romania and other countries. Read the report available at www.focusonadoption.com. Realize that the issue is with what the UN pushes for. Realize that it is not a solution for children. Go back and read the recent I posted by Michael Parenti. Look at the "solutions" have brought.

It is true that there is only one way to ensure that there are no unethical adoptions. And that is to end them. But also realize that there many thousands of able, caring adults around the globe who look beyond geography, ethnicity, and all the other things that divide the human race to crate their families. Our families DO serve to breakdown barriers and make people more globally aware.

Enforcement of current laws is the key to remove the real problems with Guatemalan adoptions. That's a fact. If the legal speed limit is 65 mph but I know I won't be given a ticket a policeman if I drive 70, then 65 isn't really the law. Current laws on the books, if enforced, would make Guatemala a benchmark system rather than a battleground.

If your pals who have been filling your dad since you've been in Guatemala could look beyond their agenda, and if the folks on the other side could do the same, things could be done that create safeguards AND keep this sacred option open to children.

I just got done giving my kids a bath and putting them to sleep. As I brushed conditioner through my daughter long, beautful, straight, Mayan hair, I was thinking about all of this.

I know her biological family's history. Typical case of extreme poverty and a mother who couldn't care for an infant while moving from finca to finca.

I know how and why she came to become our daughter. At age four, she's proud to be Guatemalan. In fact, next to Disneyland she thinks Guatemala is the coolest place on Earth. She knows that Notre Dame football rules and that "USC sucks". Ask her, she'll tell you. She also knows where she came from and will tell you all about how her abuela gave her pachas, sang to her, and took care of her before she came home to us. Both of my kids received phenomenal care in Guatemala. And by that I mean physically and emotionally.

Despite the portrayal of Guatemalan adoption the UN espouses and feeds to the media, there is nothing sinister about how our family, our extended family that reaches to Guatemala, came to be. Someone in a position of power, not me, should be thinking about how to make that the norm for ICA globally, There are children in need of families and their are parents happy to rise to that challenge.

Yes, it's simple for me to say all this and there are political realities in this sick world run by selfish adults. Yes, adults who can pursue selfish agendas, leave their children with a fiscal mess, endanger the Earth god gave us, and kill indiscriminately in the name of a flag. But you know what, 1 + 1 = 2 no matter you look at it. Do the math and it's simple to see that there is a better solution.

This discussion have swayed far away from what has happened at Casa Quivira. I only hope it is a welcomed distraction from the stress that is causing some. Peter, your comrades can call that selfishness, I just call it love and stress. No matter how you look at it, these folks have in good faith and intentional sought to adopt a child - legally. We have seen past raids occur where there was nothing wrong. I woman I know and love had her home raided last week when there was nothing wrong. The media rarely covers when everything turns out kosher, that's not good news and your pals sure as heck don't tell anyone. At this moment there are children at stake and there are loving people acting as any parent would out of concern for "their child".

Now I just got an e-mail with a news flash that the children have been removed from the hogar.

I'll be closing this thread and starting a new one.

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at August 13, 2007 10:46 PM