August 15, 2007

Last Thread on Casa Quivira

As this story develops, we seem to have lots of updates. So rather than continuing to have new threads on it, from here on out I will just be editing this one and adding to it. In addition, I am closing the comments on the other threads so that all new comments come to the same place. I think that will make life easier on our readers!

News for today is that apparently the children are staying put for the time being. In addition, the tone of the allegations has been considerably softened. Here are link to two news stories as examples:

International Herald Tribune Story

BBC Story

Posted by Kevin at August 15, 2007 05:48 PM

Kevin, get some sleep. I don't honestly know how you can carry a conversation with Steve. A one day newbie in the realm of international adoption and he's an expert? Please. You are a wonderful person and I hope you and your family are doing well and since you are so nice don't kill yourself with lack of sleep. You give more than enough to the kids and the world. You do.

CQ families I am so sorry you were targetted by authorities who care more about political posturing than the rights and welfare of the children.

UN lurkers.. you failed. The world failed at protecting children. I know its not in the interest of the "greater good" for us to adopt our children and I suppose even though maybe they should not have been born our children apologize to you that its a little too late now and they are here. So now what? We are supposed to walk away from them and its "sad" but for the greater good? And you have the audacity to tell us to walk away KNOWING what this would probably mean to them and WE are the heartless selfish people? We aren't going to do that. I am NOT sorry my children were born. My children and all of these children have names. It's so easy to discuss them when you don't know their names. You don't know what they like and don't like. You don't plan for their futures. It is so easy for you to sit in that ivory tower and sentence children to a life you don't have to live for the "greater good". All I can say on this is there are not enough adoptive parents for the children of the world. We only take a few. It should make you happy there are millions left over we don't adopt to live a short life of misery.

I think I will help the authorities and the UN here in saying WE ARENT THE ONES TRAFFICKING. We are completely being scapegoated because those in power can do nothing against the real criminals.

On the topic of giving money to the country.. you say its corrupt then you say if you want to help why dont you give money? The truth of the matter is not all women can care for their children or may want to. If you don't allow them an out there will be more children deaths. You state some natural parents sell their children for the money then say we should give them money? I am NOT infertile. I decided years ago the world would be a better place if fewer of us had children and adopted children instead. I see children being abandoned and I thought someone who wants to parent and a child who needs a parent are meant for each other. It makes sense. Why you can't see that I have no idea. I never dreamed there was so much anti-adoption sentiment in the world. The worst I ever saw someone said children were better off dead! I don't know our birth mothers situation. I am trusting in the 4 time signoff, mother interview in front of US authorities where she had the chance to stop everything, again in family court, etc I am trusting in all these authorities who are supposedly not there in our "easy" notary process to DO THEIR JOBS. None of this is done in other countries. Why no press? The UN has done press damage in other countries. Guatemala is their target for the day. They would shut down all adoptions if they had the chance and would it stop trafficking no because we aren't the traffickers but for a day the UN would look great to the world. I supposed I could have just found a charity to funnel money into and hope it got somewhere and hope it helped a child (many charities are corrupt too) but with my child I will KNOW whether they are okay. I chose to KNOW. I chose to love them and raise them and if you expect an apology to the children of the world that we are offering homes while you do nothing but sit back and come up with hypothetical solutions to issues centuries old you can forget it.

I'm tired too and I am despising the UN right now. We need an international task force to investigate international childrens issues but my take is the AP's need to do it because the UN is inept.

Posted by: mom at August 15, 2007 10:03 PM

Thank you.

Posted by: JB at August 15, 2007 11:35 PM

Dear Mom,

You have hit the nail on the head. I was crying reading your post. The line about not being infertile (I have no idea if I am or not, my fiance died), the statement about if someone wants to parent and a child needs a parent they are meant for each other. The statement that the UN needs to do their job, that we as adoptive parents are not the problem......

Oh, I could go on and repeat your whole post. Thank you for writing what you did my heart good!

Posted by: Lisa at August 15, 2007 11:49 PM

Clifford Phillips and Hanna Wallace,

You both defend your actions and procedures and are requesting trust of Guatemalan adoptions from CQ. You are outraged at accusations of corruption. Perhaps you could answer some questions that are troubling so many of us and causing us to worry that the police raid is based in reality and not merely political. Guatemala adoptions look shady to the outside observer and questionable by many of us who have experienced a less than transparent process.

What is CQs function? Is it a foster care home only or does it care for unadoptable children too? Does it have legal custody of the children or do they attorneys?

Where do the children in CQ come from? The area, or all over Guatemala? Is anyone paid for them to come there or do they arrive free? How often do birthmothers reclaim their children? Are they expected to pay back CQ or anyone else anything if they do?

What role do finders have in the CQ process and how much are they paid and by whom?

Can anyone adopt from CQ or will it only refer children to certain attorneys or agencies? How is it determined who CQ works with? By what process are referrals made? By date of application? BY quotas to agencies? Who makes that decision?

Is it a private entity? A charity? A US org? A nonprofit?

How much is CQ paid for a child? Does that fee include foster care or is that extra? How much is care per month if extra?

How much are the attorneys' paid for their work? How is their fee determined? Is it what the market bears or is it based on number of hours? At what rate per hour? Do they split their fees with finders?

If you want trust and belief in legitimacy, transparency must be a part of that.

Real integrity includes honesty.

Posted by: Sandra at August 16, 2007 12:30 AM

I don't think that Steve should be allowed to continue to post as he is abusing adoptive parents and quite frankly this site and he is abusing you to Kevin.
I read this site everyday and it is a good place to get information and in some ways lot's of encouragement for those in the process.
Steve, obviously has issue with money (maybe he is a wannabe) and is angry at those of us who chose to use money to adopt. I think Steve would be mortified if he knew what we were spending on adoptions.

We just recently finalized the adoption of our 4 1/2 year old daughter who we have had in our care for her whole life but had to fight her level 3 3X sex offender dad (who is in prison) to adopt her though the BM signed off. We spent nearly 30K in court costs (our American attorney) and he wasn't paying for foster care or anything els for that matter, just his own fee's. Meanwhile our American Government allows the sex offender dad a right to a free trial.....
Once we won our trial (money well spent) and finalized our adoption (now being appealed, by the sex offender dad) free of charge thanks to our AMerican Government and our loyal tax payer's. We started the adoption of a baby girl from Guatemala, who we are now hoping to soon be out of PGN.then... while there on a visit trip we met 2 wonderful siblings 8 and 10 years old whose mother cannot care for them so we adopted them as well and are in process. MONEY WELL SPENT!!! We are not an infetile couple either, we chose to adopt after our first daughter came to our home in a mentor relationship to the mother and we saw the need, the need for a little girl to have a home...a mom and dad. We knew she was only one child of many who would go to sleep hungry, without a blanket without a kiss goodnight from a mom and dad and we felt it was something we could do, something that could maybe change the world in some small way. We may not be able to give our four children fancy cars and lavish weddings or even college but we can give them a home, a mom and dad... we can give them LOVE!! After all isn't thtat all that really matters??? My husband and I paid for our own college and wedding and we are doing fine. We had wonderful parents who gave us nothing bigger or better then love. As I finish typing this post with my laptop in bed, I am looking at my little girl sleeping next to me, she says b/c she just wants to be sure of me :) and I feel exactly the same way!!!!

Posted by: margo engberg at August 16, 2007 01:48 AM

I have a question. In looking around trying to educate myself about the world of adoption and reading up on anti-adoption positions, pro-adoption positions as well as researching allegations made against us I stumbled across something hidden in plain site that anyone LOOKING would eventually find which has nothing to do with Guatemala. I sent two tips through FBI website and two tips through the missing childrens website. Didnt hear anything. Can't see a hint that it's even been looked at. Someone recommended interpol. I went there and after following their child path wound up in the section for the UK taskforce and got rerouted to .. missing childrens which is american. So.. theres a UK taskforce and American taskforce and the rest of the world has nothing? How pathetic is this? I even stopped by the police station. They call the FBI who doesn't bother to talk with me they just tell the police to tell me to look at their website which I KNOW goes to missing children and thats the whole PROBLEM. I called a humantrafficking watch group and think I interrupted a woman out getting a coffee latte. So I wrote satan, I mean Unicef, knowing how bad they are but what I found needs to be looked at by someone even if I don't care for them and cringe on how they might handle, my hopes as a child advocate group that beats their drum so loudly maybe they would pressure the authorities or know who to talk to in order to get someone to LOOK. I get an email this morning about thank you and they are forwarding my tip to another office and then tell me how they support hague laws for adoption. I write them back that Hague has nothing to do with it and current laws against child trafficking and child prostitution ought to suffice someone looking at it NOW. So, I find something sinister and can't manage to get anyone to look meanwhile we and other legitimate families are under constant attack on our adoptions. I am waving a red flag and people want to know how much we "PAID" for our children. I paid nothing for our children. I paid for agency, attorney, translaters, USICS, embassy, labs, courier services, and a Hague government awhile back for a nonrefundable in case the powers that be want to fly over and see our children, and foster care. Shall we continue to discuss this or do people want to DO THEIR JOBS and perhaps look in their tip buckets and actually investigate something. Arellano has a friend in the press who prints garbage all the time and people say oh there are allegations in Guatemala and its the miserable rotten press! They are played like puppets and do nothing when given real issues.

So my question is what now? Nightline?

Posted by: mom at August 16, 2007 07:52 AM

Margo, bless you and your family I am so happy for all of you. Complete agreement on cost. We would do it for free if someone could find probono agencies, attorneys, notaries, labs, couriers, translaters, foster moms, fingerprinting, CIS forms, etc etc etc. There would be more adoptive parents for kids if all the people who scream about money found a way to get everyone else to do this service for free. Free flights would be nice too and hotel stays so we can see our kids in the ten years it takes for all the bureaucratic hoops we go through. Free groceries for the foster mothers. Free medical. All of that is on our christmas list. Maybe the people who scream about baby buying can volunteer their time to stand outside the embassy until we can get an appointment?

Posted by: mom at August 16, 2007 08:04 AM

The only response I have gotten to date on submitting a genuine concern on childrens welfare to fbi (2x), missing and exploited children (2x), police (1x referred to fbi), humantrafficking watchgroup (1x), and Unicef (1x). Unicef is the only group that has responded to date and I thought the below message of forwarding to another office after sitting on this a few more days when someone should be busting down the door of the authorities.. its distressful. And their comment about Hague when what I gave them was so clearly not an adoption matter its a criminal matter. So what are they saying if the children are genuine orphans it would be okay for the people I found to get their hands on them? Its trafficking its not adoption!!!! A blind person could see this.

Helpdesk wrote:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you very much for your email.

UNICEF was really appalled to read the information and views projected by the homepage you forwarded.

UNICEF believes that no child should be adopted from abroad unless it is firmly established that the child has no parents, relative or community members willing and able to care for him/her. In this respect, our efforts to trace families continue for at least two years. We do this because we know from our experience that children who are separated from their families in conflict situations, for example, are not necessarily orphans.

Also all children deserve a loving and caring home and UNICEF works to make sure children are not exploited or abused.

We recommend that if adoption is to take place then the procedure should fully comply with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions.

We have forwarded on this information to our Geneva office.

Best regards

Gillian Morgan
Help Desk Assistant
_________________________________ /
Tel: + 44 (0)870 606 3377 / Fax: + 44 (0)1277 634125
For all the world’s children
Health, Education, Equality, Protection

**** my response ***
Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for looking into it. I have forwarded the information myself to the authorities and I cannot see anyone has looked into it. I am an adoptive parent and ironically I found this while reading articles attacking adoptive parents that its my belief Unicef believes in. I am a little mystified in how little time I stumbled across this it leads me to believe others who focus on childrens welfare don't look. I do not know if the site is legitimate or a hoax. I hope it is a sick hoax and nothing real considering the lack of action I can see being done about it. As an adoptive parent I can tell you the people behind this site are not adoptive families and if you think they are its a sad state. I agree on there being safeguards in place for adoption but I also believe there are current codes against child trafficking and child prostitution so supporting Hague has nothing to do with someone going after this. I sent to you because I thought you were powerful enough to actually get the authorities to look at it.

An adoptive mother

Posted by: mom at August 16, 2007 08:15 AM


Would you please e-mail me privately about the link you sent me and hte other stuff you are posting about. You can do it through the form on Guatadopt confidentially, only I will see your e-mail address.


Posted by: Kevin at August 16, 2007 09:50 AM

This was recently posted on another list-serve, and is not the best news for the poor kids in the group Casa Quivira home.
-Steve S

Hi To All,

I wanted to give you an update on the conditions of the babies and
the conditions of CQ currently. With permission from my source (we
use a different contact than Karen and Kathy)but have been
graciously allowed to be a part of CQ waiter since our first
adoption in 2004. I have also been given the ok from Kathy as well
to report this.

I am reporting this with an extremely heavy and burdened heart and
believe that once again with our collective efforts we will effect
change. Like most of you, last night I felt good that the babies
were being cared for at CQ under their normal caregivers, with
medical attention, their formulas and overall normal routine.
Unfortunately, I received word early this morning that that is not
the case.

The babies are being allowed to stay at CQ under the care of the
original nannies but the Bienstar who has been placed there by the
social welfare dept. has totally disrupted the care of CQ. Supplies
were running low and the attorney's that CQ hired purchased supplies
but were turned away and told that they can only receive supplies
via a Judicial Order. As a result, there was not enough formula
left. I was informed that the Beinstar then obtained their own
supplies and are having the babies fed whole milk.

Also, the babies have not received medical attention since Saturday.
Dr. Juarez is not allowed into CQ at this time. In addition the
Bienstar is interrupting the administering of medicines to the
babies. The nannies may not administer medicine without the
approval of the Bienstar. I was informed that all of these things
combined is affecting the health of the babies.

My concern is that the authorities are trying to decline the health
of the babies as well as the conditions at CQ so they can justify
the transfer of the children. Basically, the word got out that the
conditions in CQ were great and the charges against CQ and Cliff
were unfounded and the tide was turning in CQ's favor so they had
to "spin" their story to make them look legitimate in the media.

In addtion, according to my source is that the bathrooms have not
been cleaned, the authorities are tracking in mud and to quote it
has become a "Pig Stye" in CQ. The Bienstar are playing with the
babies, holding them and moving from one baby to the next without
washing their hands. The conditions have become unsanitary at this

We has past, present and future parents of CQ need to stand up now
for these children and make our voices heard. I was advised that we
need to reach out to the Ambassador, Senators, Representatives and
whoever else will listen and tell our story but it needs to be told
the facility. We don't want the authorities to make it look like CQ
was in any way deplorable before the Bienstar took over. We all
know that CQ is an excellent facility and I am sick to my soul with
this information.

I am sorry to be the one to break it as I was feeling somewhat
lifted this morning before this info. Let's work together to get
this resolved as as possible.

Posted by: steve s at August 16, 2007 11:19 AM

The embassy needs to pressure Arellanos office about the welfare and current state of the CQ children. All authorities need to concentrate on the real offenders and quit targetting legitimate people.

Kevin... here you go. I'm sorry for sharing that with you its just really upsetting me.

Posted by: mom at August 16, 2007 12:37 PM

Mom thanks so much for your dilligence. Steve S thank you for reporting this distessfull news on CQ. Why I can't say whether or not CQ has broken the laws, I can say that the children got excellent care. It so appalling to see the headlines across the world about this with "children rescued from orphanage" After reading Steve S's report, does it seem that these children have been rescued? Does it seem that these children are in a better situation?
For all of you who are so ready to condemn the adoption system, what are going happen to the children of CQ ? Right now in REAL TIME. You all talked about how much money it cost. What about private adoptions in the US? Or what about the obscene cost of Fertility treatments? Are there not corrupt lawyers and doctors in the US? A lot of us enter this process way before all these warnings came out (Feb2007) Even our beloved Guatadopt has issued warnings. But before the warnings, we all enter this in good faith, for a lot of us, we had no choice but to go on to try to bring our children home. It been a very rough road for a lot of adoptive parents since February 2007. I am just so tired of people making adoptive parents feel guilty because they want to complete their family. I hope that children at CQ will get the love and medical attention they need, right now. Not Tomorrow, or next week or until a court rules this or that

Posted by: shawn c at August 16, 2007 01:58 PM

God, bless the babies and most importantly all the corrupt officials. Show them compassion and love! AMEN

Posted by: t at August 16, 2007 02:05 PM

Unfortunately the Hague issue re-surfaced in early 2006 and things were getting rough by Dec 2007. I was panicking in March 06 frantically calling my agency to find out what this Hague thing meant. I, for one, will NEVER feel guilty about adopting my DS. Some folks may try but I won't let them - it's their issue not mine. Adoption - international and domestic - have always been a leap of faith. I had to pay 100% of the atty fee once I accepted the referral and clearly could have lost it all but you know, I would have sold my place and rent if that's what it took. And for many folks they are so tired of holding their breath, waiting for the next shoe to fall ... And yes, I agree with you 100% about corrupt lawyers and drs in the US re: fertility treatments and adoptions. Not the norm but they do exist.

And KEVIN - thank you for ALL you do in keeping us informed/updated etc. You have no idea how much you mean to us all.

Posted by: Barbara at August 16, 2007 05:06 PM

The most recent status from the ground. This situation has the potential to become nightmarish very quickly. We can only hope that the US Embassy or an NGO is intervening on the children's behalf.

16 August 2007
Casa Quivira Children’s Home located in Antigua, Guatemala has been illegally
occupied by personnel from the Guatemalan President’s Office for Social
Welfare (Secretaria de Bienestar Social de la Presidencia, SBSP). The SBSP
personnel have refused to allow supplies, specialized milk formulas or
from being delivered to the Children’s Home by Casa Quivira workers. These
supplies and medicines are desperately needed in order to maintain the level of
healthcare necessary to prevent the 45 babies legally in the care of Casa
Quivira from becoming ill. The Pediatrician for Casa Quivira has not been
allowed access to evaluate the children since Saturday, 11 August 2007.
Lawyers for Casa Quivira have repeatedly demanded that the SBSP workers
immediately leave the premises or demonstrate a judge’s order allowing them to
occupy the property. They have refused to do either. Reports from the Casa
Quivira lawyers are that the health of the children is deteriorating along
with the hygienic conditions of the home and that Casa Quivira nannies and
nurses are being obstructed from performing their duties by SBSP personnel.
Appeals to the Office of Human Rights in Antigua, Guatemala by attorneys from
Casa Quivira have been rejected. Another appeal is being made at this time
to the Human Rights Office in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Casa Quivira
attorneys have also filed a writ of habeas corpus to seek relief of the
detention of the children by the SBSP. So far, these appeals have fallen on
deaf ears as judge after judge recuse themselves. All avenues of justice will
continue to be pursued until the children legally entrusted to the care of
Casa Quivira receive the proper nutrition and medical services and the safety
and security of their lives are restored.
Clifford Phillips
Casa Quivira

Posted by: CQ parent at August 16, 2007 05:34 PM

I don't even know what to say except God be with those babies and the govt' officials making these decisions. Steve shut up!!! Don't you think these parents who have babies at CQ are going through enough without having to hear you go on and on and on. You are wasting your time commenting anymore long posts because my guess is no one is reading it. Kevin, Kelly and everyone at Guatadopt thank you for all you do. God be with us all....

Posted by: Nancy at August 16, 2007 08:39 PM

We have a bear in the corner that maybe thinks it was doing the right thing. We need someone with the appropriate diplomatic connections who can smooth things over and find a win-win for all the parties involved. I think if embassy talks with them and if no foul play has been found and only issue is the document here is what should happen:
The authorities admit after reviewing all the documentation and investigating they determined the kids were okay but agency didn't file the proper paperwork and were counseled and made to get the proper documents. This makes authorities look good for pursuing suspected issues and sends a message out they take it seriously. CQ apologizes for their misstep of not being aware of the law but assures it will not happen again and they get the documents together pronto (hopefully without anyone playing games on whether they can get the documentation). CQ looks good for coming forward and doing what is needed to resolve the issue. Then gov is okay and CQ is okay and kids are okay. Very early on the authorities can let CQ back in while authorities hang out a little while to "ensure everything is okay" but since no criminal activity was found and they think CQ is on the up and up they allow CQ to work on getting the missing documents while they care for the children. The authorities can oversee to ensure the proper paperwork has been handled then they can back away. I have a bad feeling without a win-win the losing side will be the kids. Any other ideas? My prayers are with the children and families.

Posted by: mom at August 16, 2007 10:12 PM

Clifford, how can judge after judge recuse themselves from adressing this horrific situation?? I simply do not understand. And the Human Rights offices also ignoring the pleas?? I am praying for all concerned.


Posted by: Lisa at August 16, 2007 10:30 PM

What can we do to help these poor children? Is there ANYTHING we can do to help prove Casa Quivira innocence? If the officals who initially raided the home took all legal documentation proving the children are in the home legally how can innocence be proven. Is the guatamalan government trying to "make a statement"?? I just do not understand people who can hurt innocent children who want nothing more then to be cared for and loved, they want nothing else- I feel so lost and helpless . Being a mother of 2, one we most recently adopted from guatemala last yr at this time, I want to do more to help. I am thanking God everyday that we were able to bring our little blessing home last year although it was still a stressful time now is even worse. To all adopting parents no matter how thick the forest appears to be you must always see the light- it will happen for you as it has for so many of us, your gift of love and life will be in your arms one day soon you must believe that.

Posted by: Jean W at August 16, 2007 11:14 PM

Thanks Mom, I appreciate all you have to say. You are a huge encouragement as is Kevin. Love this site.

I am just so sad about the situation in Guatemala and the state of our nation in general. I continue to pray....

We all need to pray for our children at home and abroad, they need us to stand in the gap.... All those precious waiting children.....

Posted by: margoengberg at August 17, 2007 01:34 AM

USA Today ran a story yesterday about CQ. You can read it here:

Posted by: Sara at August 17, 2007 08:07 AM

Just to give a sense of how crazy things are down there...
There were two American couples who were down in Guat on the pick up trip, the last hurdle was the US Embassy appt. Their attorney went through the process of validating each and every step of their cases...getting the FC to review and okay that the approval was legit etc...
Anyways, they got a court order from a high ranking Guat judge that their adoption was legal and that the children should be released from CQ to them. When they went to CQ, the Guat Social Workers (I can't remember theproper name for them) refused to give these parents their children, court order or not. What insued was a battle that took place literally on the steps of Casa Quivira. It took a very long time, but very late last night these parents got their children.
The point is that these social workers (the same who are causing serious trouble with CQ)are under the direct "control" of the Guat president (his wife to be specific). If he feels he is above the law to such an extent that he can ignore a court order in his own country...what will/can he not do? If find the situation terrifying.

Posted by: krafmatic at August 17, 2007 08:17 AM

I just find it so sad that no "official" will step up to helps these children! We are 2 weeks out of PGN and are awaiting our pink slip. This is supposed to be an exciting time and now with all this going on we can only pray we get our boy out of there soon. Our son is not in CQ however, whats to say the police will not raid where he is? We will keep all of our CQ parents in our prayers. Gods Blessings to all.

Posted by: Teo's Dad at August 17, 2007 09:02 AM

Does it seem strange that the Guatemala City forces were involved in the raid? I don't know the location of the hogar, but would the hogar be under the Antigua police jurisdiction? Makes me wonder about the motives. The Antigua police may be pro-adoption and may not have allowed the national police as much freedom in the raid.

Posted by: Theresa at August 17, 2007 09:05 AM

Just to let you know that CQ wasn't the only children's home raided last Saturday. There were a total of 30!

Posted by: Praying for ALL babies/nannies at August 17, 2007 11:02 AM

Most recent press release from CQ:

17 August 2007

Two children from Casa Quivira handed over to their legally adoptive parents.
Late last night after much pressure from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala and
lawyers from Casa Quivira a judge’s order was enforced which resulted in two
children being united with their legal parents. For more than 36 hours the
Guatemalan President’s Office for Social Welfare (Secretaria de Bienestar
Social de la Presidencia, SBSP) refused to recognize the judicial order and
illegally detained the children.

Earlier yesterday Casa Quivira attorneys had filed a writ of habeas corpus
(exhibicion personal ) to seek relief for the unlawful detention of the children
by the SBSP only to have it immediately rejected by the judge in Antigua,
Guatemala. Today these same attorneys will seek to file a separate request to
have the legal custody of the remaining 43 children recognized and to have the
Guatemalan President’s Office for Social Welfare immediately cease their
unlawful occupation of the private property of Casa Quivira.

Reports from the Casa Quivira lawyers are that the health of the children is
deteriorating along with the hygienic conditions of the home and that Casa
Quivira nannies and nurses are being obstructed from performing their duties by
SBSP personnel.

Further appeals to the Office of Human Rights in Antigua, Guatemala by attorneys
from Casa Quivira have been rejected. Another appeal will be made today to the
Human Rights Office in Guatemala City, Guatemala. If these appeals fail Casa
Quivira attorneys will seek to file a complaint in the Inter-American Court of
Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. All avenues of justice will continue to
be pursued until the legal custody of the children entrusted to the care of Casa
Quivira is restored.

Clifford Phillips
Casa Quivira

Posted by: CQ parent at August 17, 2007 11:21 AM

The parents with children in CQ had a conference call with Clifford Phillips lastnight in order to help set several miscommunications straight and shed on light on events that have taken place since the raid. CQ has all the legal paperwork needed for all the children at the home!

The President's Office on Social Welfare, which is directly headed by the first lady of Guatemala have taken over CQ. They are directly responsible for blocking the efforts of the nurses and nannies to care for the children. CQ currently has 6 attorney's working on the case with both their in house attorney and notary still under arrest with no charges brought against them (illegal). The gov't as we know doesn't function based on laws already on the books but do whatever they like whenever they like. Cliff does not know the reason for the raid but does feel it is politically motivated. He requests that we all continue to call our Senators and US Reps along with Ambassador Castillo's office. Also, please continue to pray for our children and for the love and peace to enter the hearts of the corrupt officials.

Posted by: T at August 17, 2007 04:49 PM

I must say that I appreciate Steve's presence here. At least he is trying to learn about Guatemala adoptions, and hopefully gaining insight from our perspective. I do not think it's shedding a positive light on us to tell a representative for the UN to "go away" and "shut up." How can we make the situation better if we're not willing to hear each other out? Whether we agree with Steve's opinions or not, it is still something we need to hear. We then can chose to ignore his comments or continue to educate him about our truth.


Posted by: jlr at August 17, 2007 05:05 PM

Where is the ADA in all of this?

Posted by: Nancy at August 17, 2007 07:33 PM

First of all, my prayers go out to all of the children and families who have been affected by this...

One thing that keeps running through my mind in all of these discussions... if CQ, or any other hogar or attorney who processes adoptions, is doing so illegally, why is the Guatemalan government AND our US government approving 4000+ adoptions each year?

I have two children who were adopted from Guatemala and I also work for an adoption agency. I know very well what it takes to have a Guatemalan adoption approved compared to adoptions in other countries. Guatemala dossiers must be reviewed several times to be sure there are NO errors - NO typos - NO bent pages - NO discrepencies in information. Most countries aren't that picky. Yet people love to jump at the chance to call Guatemalan adoptions illegal. I knew the cost of our adoptions UP FRONT. I never carried CASH to Guatemala and I was never asked to pay even a PENNY over the costs revealed to me before we ever began the process. Not all countries are like that.

I am always bothered when people in the US claim that most Guatemalan adoptions are illegal. According to the extensive process and the approvals from the US Embassy and PGN, it is.

Most parents don't sign on with an agency HOPING that they can "buy" a baby or hoping that they can get a baby illegally. Many parents are wooed by photos and timelines on websites and they just hope that their baby is home as soon as possible. I don't hear PAP's asking me, "So if we forge some papers and slip you a few extra thousand dollars, can you get us a baby sooner?" Nope, I've never heard it.

And as for all this talk about money... what about the women in the US who KNOWINGLY lead on PAP's to pay for rent, clothes, food, cars, etc and then disappear when the baby is due to be born? And that is OUR US adoption system allowing that to happen! Those Guatemalan babies can't help that they are born in Guatemala and not in the US... if those babies were carried in the wombs of American women, their fates would be totally different. None of us "earned" our citizenship... none us got to CHOOSE where we were born. So do we punish these babies by shutting down the system or do we find a way to make the system work for the sake of the children??

I pray that these babies and children are getting the care that they need during this difficult situation.

I also pray for those of us who have children home, that they will grow up feeling proud of their country of birth and they don't grow up wondering if they joined our families illegally.

I also pray for the children yet to be born in Guatemala. Last night I watched "Recycled Life" and saw the faces of thousands of Guatemalans who live in the city dump. If you haven't seen it, you should. I couldn't help but think throughout the documentary how easily that could have been the futures for my son and daughter if adoption was not an option in Guatemala.

But thankfully, through the miracle of adoption, they are asleep in their warm beds tonight, with full tummies after a great dinner tonight in our air-conditioned home. Unlike many of the children who live at the dump, they will never have to sniff glue to make the pain of hunger go away. If adoptions close in Guatemala, think of how many other children will be living in that dump, or on the streets, or sadly never survive.

My heart aches for those children... because they aren't the ones engaged in this political battle.

They don't get to choose...


Posted by: Mommy to 2 Guatemalan blessings at August 18, 2007 02:29 AM

I know that what I have to say will not be popular. I make these remarks from a macro-view and do so with respect for the emotional turmoil that is underway in regards to CQ. My comments are based on the previous posts in this thread.
(1) I would suggest that members of Guatadopt (note from Kevin, this should say "readers", not "members" of Guatadopt, just to have a clear delineation between those of us that run the site and those who read it) refer to the mission statement of the US Embassy. Asking them to get involved will NOT happen UNLESS there is extreme political pressure from the highest levels. Since Pres. Bush made his position on Guate adoptions known this past Spring, this will be a tall order. You may ask why, but you need to remember that the children are not YET US citizens. You may say that the embassy should act in the interest of the PAPs, but again your orphan visas have not YET been processed and thus--the same problem. Back to extreme political pressure--you need to find an advocate, but I don't even see how you can start a "congressional inquiry" as there is no US entity involved in the CQ raid.
(2) Earlier in the thread, someone asked about Antigua police vs. National police. National police will prevail...I say that without reservation. I can also tell you that the Mayor of Antigua is historically being groomed to eventually become the President of the Republic. As such, any actions taken in Antigua are linked to the higest levels of decision makers in the nation--with Berger being a lame duck, this extends beyond him & Wendy Berger (my opinion only). By the way, the Mayor position is very powerful in Antigua.
(3) It is likely that the politicians on both sides of the borders are not willing to touch this hot potato because the corruption is so bad (we need to be honest about that). The Hague battle has been lost and what is happening in Guatemala now is the last few months of money-making for the attorneys. There is a frenzy, of sorts. As such, there will continue to be strange developments, including increasing levels of extortion.
(4) who ever stated that CQ may only be the beginning has made an ominious observation about what is possible in the months that lead up to US ratification of the Hague.
(5) I do not know what Guate social workers are doing or not doing at CQ, but I can say without reservation that they are not truly trained to handle this situation. They will handle it by Guate standards, not US standards. Orphanages/childrens homes in the country vary widely and Guatemalans have a MUCH higher threshold of concern for issues like sanitation, "whole milk", medical care, etc.
(6) I'd take everything you hear about CQ with a grain of salt as there are too many agendas involved. The truth is probably in the middle. I know that does not help PAPs involved with CQ.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 18, 2007 12:15 PM

Ok. I have sat quietly long enough-- One of the attorneys arrested has strong ties to Blanca Martinez (the attorney that is ban by the Embassy) So, whether we like the situation or not--in my opinion any tie to Blanca needs to be investigated. I do not know if CQ was or is aware of the connection. I hope for the reputation of CQ and their children they were NOT aware.
"blessed are the children"

Posted by: L at August 18, 2007 04:27 PM

18 August 2007

Guatemalan President’s Office for Social Welfare accusations sink to new low.
With a case against Casa Quivira that is founded on baseless accusations, the Guatemalan government’s tactics have turned to an even lower level of emotionally charged lies. Carmen Alicia Maldonado de Wennier, head of the Guatemalan President’s Office for Social Welfare (Secretaria de Bienestar Social de la Presidencia), stated in a press article released today in Guatemala that Casa Quivira operates “clandestinely” and that the adoptions that have been completed by Casa Quivira are linked to a"sexual exploitation network."

These desperate accusations by the Guatemalan authorities are the latest comments in a week-long campaign by the government to illegally seize the private property and occupy Casa Quivira Children’s Home, in Antigua, Guatemala. During this occupation, these same authorities have refused to allow specialized formulas and other supplies from Casa Quivira staff to enter the home; compromised the health of the infants by not following basic practices of infection control; refused to permit the doctor for the children to examine or treat them; allowed the basic hygienic status of the home to deteriorate; and intimidated the care-givers of the children.

Casa Quivira is recognized as an exemplary program for adoption and social welfare. The reasons for this ongoing and escalating harassment by the Guatemalan government remain a mystery. However, such outrageous comments as those made by Ms. Maldonado de Wennier will not go unanswered. As stated by Estuardo Castellanos, an attorney for Casa Quivira, "The state realizes that they have a very, very weak legal case against us so they are going to try to win a propaganda battle instead." They have picked the wrong target for this type of activity. Casa Quivira remains firmly resolved in its commitment to the children of Guatemala which includes the opening of the children's community health clinic that had been slated for end of this year.

Clifford Phillips
Casa Quivira

Posted by: Stephanie at August 18, 2007 08:12 PM

karen ms,
Please, if you could, explain/describe our President's position/feelings on Guatemalan adoptions. I read everything I could after his visit and still was not clear. I could have read poor sources!

Posted by: Meg at August 18, 2007 08:41 PM

We do not understand the PINA law that Kevin mentioned but we think that according to that law, if the Government of Guatemala had concern that the children's rights were violated by their families, then this law gives the Guatemala Government the right to move in and take custody of the children.

Now, most adoptive families have not wanted to let their minds consider that the birth mother is paid. Those who do mention it, hope that their child's birth mother was not paid for giving her child up, or they support the mother receiving money because in the United States the birth mothers can receive money for related adoption cost or living cost during the pregnancy.

However, what U.S. adoptive families may not understand is that the majority of those running adoptions are corrupt.

Ok, everyone give your stories of those agencies that are the perfect agencies with perfect ethics.

Then answer this question, why would the Embassy tell us that 95%of Guatemalan adoptions involve the birth mother receiving money.

This is a common practice and while most adoptive parents close their eyes to this, the truth remains.


She takes the money and then the baby may be placed for adoption or the baby may be sold again to the individual who will pay the highest.

For those who want to know how much adoptions cost, here you go: first a U.S. family that tries to keep things ethical, may pay $3,000 - $5,000 directly to the agency per child/referral, hoping that the agency is not dealing with corrupt or shady contacts in Guatemala.

Second, the “Guatemala Foreign Fee” can range from $20,000 - over $40,000 per child. Most of that money is not needed for the adoption to be completed. Most of that money is pocketed by those who financially profit off of the adoption of the child. We're not just saying an ethical payment for their fees, but what they make from the deal is a lot of money.

And, if anyone wants to argue this, then all they need to do is prepare a report showing where all the money goes, for each individual case that they do.

A report with documented court fees and other receipts. To date, no Guatemalan children’s homes that we know of, is willing to prepare this report.

Third, the adoptive parent, more than you know, faces having to pay more money ranging from under $1,000 to over $20,000 more in “additional fees/extortion” to get their child home.

If you question this and you’ve already been blessed to get your child home, how many of you were told that your agency or the hogar needed more money, for this or that or whatever.

Those who have dealt with this, most likely will not even come forward because they know they were victims of extortion.

And, to those families who took a stand against the extortion and still tried to get their baby home, how much money did you have to pay to additional attorneys to get involved in your case and get your child home?

This does not include travel related fees, or interest paid to the loans that many families have to take out to finance an adoption in Guatemala.

The point is that the corruption had dominated adoptions in Guatemala and the government has now finally began to Protect Their Children.

If the Guatemala Government is deciding to begin to enforce the laws then, according to that PINA law, I think they have a strong case to argue that the children's parents who took money and handed their child over to an individual in exchange for money, violated their child's rights to not be sold, and the Guatemala Government has the right to do it's best to protect the child, in all hogars.

The reports of the babies getting whole milk and the sanitary conditions decreasing are issues, but who's crying out for the children who have been sold to hogars or other individuals.

Posted by: Protect The Children at August 18, 2007 10:43 PM

So, protect the children. Where exactly is adoption free? Where babies needing homes can be placed with families willing to provide them without any money changing hands? Let me know and I will go that route.
I know that birth mothers are given money here in the US too but are not accused of selling their babies.
And exactly how are the children being protected? Starving them to death?

Posted by: t at August 19, 2007 03:52 PM

Hey Mr./Ms. "Protect the Children",
Thanks for your insightful post. I'm sure it's stunning news to most of us that corruption may be involved in some Guatemala adoptions. Wait, no, I guess you admitted that we know this, but yet we "close our eyes" to it. I hope you're just as tough on the Guatemalan and US governments for "closing their eyes" to the reality of 75,000 malnourished children in Guatemala, 49% of children under 5 suffering from moderate/severe growth stunting due to malnourishment (UNICEF figures from 2005), 5000 street children, etc. I'm not saying this is a justification for adoption, and especially not for corruption in adoption, but I am asking you and all others who attack adoptive parents as "blind" if you'll be just as tough on the government officials who are well aware of the dire situation in Guatemala, and still are not doing enough to help. Adoptive parents are easy targets. Maybe it's time for people like you to take on a bigger challenge.

By the way, we weren't asked for additional fees to bring our child home. Believe me, if our (large) agency demanded additional fees, it would cause a HUGE scandal, and no one would be quietly paying the money and slinking away in shame. We adoptive parents actually talk to each other, and compare cases, and demand information from our agencies. I'm not saying "extortion" doesn't happen. I'm saying it's not the reality for the majority of us.

And seriously, 40K in international fees? Where are you getting your information - Look around at some agency websites - the average for Guatemala international fees is about 20-22K. Not a lot different from, say, Korea, which has international adoption fees of about $17k, and does NOT use individual lawyers to handle each case, and has a significantly more simple government-run adoption system (meaning fewer expenses). Let's just be realistic about this. I don't know anyone who claims that we should ignore the corruption in Guatemala adoptions, or that it doesn't exist. I bet every person who has adopted a child from Guatemala would love to see an end to the corruption. We are with you on that.

Posted by: JA at August 19, 2007 03:55 PM

Dear Protect the Children -

Where does the Embassy (US Embassy?) state that 95% of the birthmothers receive money for their children? It is a shocking statement, but I have not seen it.

Posted by: Theresa at August 19, 2007 03:56 PM

My fear is that Guatemala will end up like Romania. Maybe I am simple, but once the "system is fixed", what happens to the children...? There are thousands of children without families now. There will continue to be poor and shamed mothers who give up their babies. That will not stop. The number of children on the streets will grow. And each and every one of those children is worth saving and deserves the safety of a home & a loving family.
I have seen it first hand in Bucharest. I don't know what to say other than it does scare the living hell out of me to think about this broken system. So many things need to happen.
UNICEF is not the answer...that is the only thing I know for sure. I think they could be if they spent their time and money used to stop adoptions on caring for all the forgotten children.

Posted by: mem at August 19, 2007 04:02 PM


I will assume you are just as actively condemning domestic adoptions in the United States, in which the payment of birth mother expenses is the norm.

I don't pretend to know what goes on behind every Guatemalan adoption, and I can't say for certain that our child's birth mother was not given any money (I can only go by the fact that our agency is well-respected and says it does not pay birth mothers). However, I know for a fact that many birth mothers in US adoptions are given money. Is your outrage reserved for Guatemalan adoptions for some reason? If so, why the hypocrisy?

Posted by: erinberry at August 19, 2007 04:14 PM

During Pres. Bush's visit to Guate this past Spring, he discussed the subject with Pres. Berger and urged compliance with the Hague. You can find that press release under the White House website. The Department of State, headed by Condoleeza Rice, is very clear about the Hague. The US has deemed the State Department the "Central Authority" for US compliance with the Hague Convention (Guate will have to develop its own central autority). For President Bush to even discuss intercountry adoption with Guatemala is highly unusual in the diplomatic world. These meetings are usually reserved for discussions about drug trafficking, immigration, and millions of dollars of foreign aid, etc. Intercountry adoption would normally be too small to even mention, but the situation in Guatemala has been too hot and the Dept of State has the issue as a top priority in the nation.
As for the post from "Protect the Children", in the future(under the Hague) US adoption agencies will be required to be completely transparent with fees--a full accounting of an individual case line item by line item. US agencies that can not do this will NOT be accredited to engage in intercountry adoption with other Hague countries. Also, engagement with organizations in foreign countries in which this accountability can not be guaranteed will be scruitinized by Hague evaluators. Theoretically, this will control the extortion dynamics. Of course, the greatest control over extortion is for PAPs to refuse to cooperate and not throw any fuel on the fire. However, because we are talking about the equivalent of ransom...this is really not a solution for a PAP in the middle of difficult decisions. Unfortunately, every time a PAP gives into unreasonable demands, the problem escalates for the families behind them in line.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 19, 2007 05:13 PM

, and the Guatemala Government has the right to do it's best to protect the child, in all hogars.

Do you really think that this will happen? When have they taken care of their children before. I don't have the gruesome stats in front of me of how many Guatemalan children live in poverty and die from treatable issues, but I know someone does. It sounds great, but it won't happen....

Posted by: Erik at August 19, 2007 05:42 PM

If the Guatemala government had indeed suddenly become concerned with the and protection of children, don't you think it would have been more appropriate to begin providing social services for the children of families of poverty? "About 5 million people, almost 60 percent of the population, live in rural areas, and 81 per cent of rural people are indigenous. About 60 per cent of the country’s households are estimated to be living below the poverty line. The country’s high rates of illiteracy, infant mortality and infant malnourishment are even higher among rural indigenous peoples."I have yet to hear of the horrible problems with the corruption of the poverty stricken indigenous population, but the corruption within the financially secure "goverment officials" is endless.

Posted by: K at August 19, 2007 06:08 PM

Speaking of corruption, the current government of Guatemala seems to be very interested in the money waiting for them from UNICEF. And what is UNICEF interested in? Unfortunately not the children anymore. Their agenda now is very much that of radical feminism, with abortion at the top of the list. They have recently targeted Nicaragua and Columbia with huge amounts of money to try and tip elections there in favor of abortion. Guatemala is yet another country where abortion is not allowed, and just watch UNICEF try and change that if they get the chance. What a solution to save the children from adoption - don't allow them to live. May God save Guatemala from that solution, and may reforms be introduced that keep adoptions open and available for all children in need.

Posted by: Janet at August 19, 2007 08:37 PM

*T - you ask where adoptions are free. First, there are thousands of children in the United States foster care program that dream of being part of a family, most of these children are considered special needs because they are part of a sibling group, they are older, they are of minority heritage, or they have an emotional, physical or other disability. These children can be adopted and each state has a process where they refund the adoption fees or pay the adoption fees, for the child. Many of these children also receive monthly financial assistance to help the adoptive families care for their adopted child's needs, until the child is 18 years of age.

There are some states, such as California, who allow private adoptions, between a birth mother who knows the adoptive family. The cost here would include the legal fees, only.

However, most states require an adoption to be facilitated by a state approved agency. In this type of domestic adoption, the fees include application fee, home study fee, match fee, legal fees, counseling fees, and other agency fees.

AND, when the adoptive family is matched with a birth mother, the agency will let them know if there will be additional fees related to the adoption. Each state allows the birth mother to receive a certain amount in financial assistance from the adoptive family.

For example, when we first chose to adopt, we choose an agency in Ohio that facilitated domestic adoptions. They were suppose to be the best and we were told that most families receive their baby within 1 - 1.5 years. We paid an application fee and $2,000 for the home study fee. We were matched right away and then were required to pay $1,000 for the match fee. We were also told that Ohio only allows the adoptive family to pay, at the most $2,500 to the birth mother. The agency had us pay $1,200 to the birth mother because she was living on the street and needed money for her apartment. The agency was in contact with the apartment complex to make sure the money went for the birth mother's rent for several months. Months down the road, we get a call saying that the birth mother had to move because she got broken into and she was having complications with her pregnancy, and she needed $1,000 more. We had to send the money for the birth mom's medical expenses. The birth mother requested more money, but our agency told her that Ohio only allowed the adoptive family to pay $2,500 towards the birth mother's expenses.

After 5 months of no news and a lot of stress, the birth mom calls and tells the agency that she had the baby and now needed money for a bus ticket to get her and her baby to Ohio, so that she could place the baby for adoption. We pay for her bus ticket. She gets on the bus but does not get off in Ohio, she takes a transfer to somewhere else and we never hear from her again.

We are devastated and search for her full name online. We find that, she was on the news crying to the news reporters that the mean old adoption agency in Utah, will not give her money to get home, because she changed her mind and decided to keep her baby!!! This woman went to Utah, because the state of Utah allows birth mothers to receive unlimited funds and she choose an adoptive family there, they paid for all her and her boyfriends living expenses, they paid for all her medical expenses, and then, she changes her mind. It was a scam and we should have reported her but we were too devastated to turn her in. The news report showed her baby in the report and that was heart breaking.

Our agency told us that we could get matched again, but would have to pay another $1,000 match fee. We lost all the money paid to the agency and the birth mother, when we choose to adopt a child in Guatemala. Plus, the time she wasted, caused our homestudy paperwork to expire.

Yes, birth mother's receive money in the U.S., but here is the difference. The amount is regulated by each state. The state also regulated what the money can be used for. Also, most of the time the birth mother is receiving the money during the pregnancy and every state has their own law as to how many days, must pass before the birth mother can sign the final relinquishment papers.

Meaning up until this time, which is after the child's birth, the birth mother can legally change her mind and choose to keep her baby and she is not financially responsible for repaying any of the money that the adoptive family gave to help her. The adoptive family gave the money as a charitable contribution, knowing that the birth mother legally can change her mind at any time before the final signing over of her rights.

Now, if the birth mother was given any amount of money when she signed over her parental rights and handed her child over, I believe the United States would see this as her selling her child.

This is the common practice in Guatemala or was before the country started their investigations. Basically, the birth mothers get paid between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to hand their born child over to the facilitator. This is a sale, the transfer of a child for money in return.

Children who are taken out of the hands of corrupt facilitators are protected from a corrupt person who already broke Guatemalan law by paying for the child. The government did not enforce this in the past, so many continued to pay for the baby because there was no penalty for their corrupt and unethical behavior.

Even if the facilitator intends to place the child for adoption with an adoptive family who has been determined to be a good law abiding family which the United States has approved to adopt a child, there are also, those facilitators, who break the same law and pay for a child and then sell the child to whomever will give them the most for the child.

*JA - We absolutely agree that the Guatemalan Government has failed its children in the past and we agree that the U.S. Government, has known about many of the problems and they do little about it, at least that we can see. Families who do report are told that they chose to adopt a child in another country and if they want to do something about it, then they need to deal with it in the court of the country the child is being adopted from. Now, if the corrupt individuals are in the U.S., the Embassy will flag all files with their name on it for investigations.

We’re going to be honest; we feel that personally, our responsibility was to protect the baby who was our Guatemalan referral. In the course of protecting the child, our eyes were opened to the corruption, which we chose to fight in the Guatemalan Courts.

This was our part to try to change the system and to try to protect not only our child but also the others, by sending a message to those corrupt facilitators that some adoptive parents will not give in to the corruption.

There are others like you said, who can take on the challenge as their specific situation brings before them.

I know adoptive families talk, but most victims of extortion will not tell anyone, out of fear.

According to the U.S. Embassy Website, “Based on the results of a survey of prospective adoptive parents conducted by the U.S. Embassy in 2005, families should expect to pay an average of $27,000 (in a range from $17,300 to $45,000) to adopt a Guatemalan child.”

*Teresa - The Embassy told us in person that 90 something % of adoptions involves the birth mother being paid.

*Einberry, we are not outraged, just supporting that the Government of Guatemala should Protect its Children from Corrupt Facilitators or anyone who pays a birth mother money and then takes her child and attempts to place the child for adoption or tries to sell the child.

*Karenms1 - you are right; the Hague will help to Protect the Children. We think that is why the Guatemalan Government is beginning to enforce its laws and attempting to create additional laws that will support the implementation of the Hague.

And, you are also right, about PAPs refusing to cooperate and not throw any fuel on the fire. The Embassy, did advise us not to give into the demands.

*Erik - poverty is an issue. Selling a child is too.

*K - Guatemala has huge problems with poverty. The Government may be focusing on the adoption issues because they are trying to get in compliance with the Hague.

Posted by: Protect the Children at August 19, 2007 08:55 PM

Thanks Karen MS. I had read the post on the whitehouse website. I was wondering if you knew of a more personnal stance Bush had on Guat. adoptions. I understand he wants Hague compliance but wondered if you read anything re: what he said about closure of adoptions in Guatemala.
I don't think we will be adopting again with three children already but it breaks my heart with so many children in need.

Posted by: meg at August 19, 2007 09:15 PM

***This is a common practice and while most adoptive parents close their eyes to this, the truth remains.


Seriously? So we are gonna play this way are we? We aren't closing our eyes to this. Adoptive parents are not stupid. It IS real. However....Just Because a birthmom makes the choice to accept money at the time of relinquishment does NOT mean she violated her child's "right to be sold." Why shouldn't she be compensated for doctors bills she may have incurred, special clothes she may have had to buy, money for work she may have missed. Heck....if we are going to fight money exchanging during adoption let us first attack US domestic adoptions where, depending on the state, birthmoms may receive money every month, for many months, before the child is even born. And in the end, if she chooses to change her mind, which is her right, she may not have to return a single penny.

FWIW, I was never a victim of extortion in my adoption, and I have MANY MANY friends who were not as well.

Protect Their that how you are describing the hostile take over at Casa Q? I am ALL for Guatemala protecting and providing for their children. ALL FOR IT. If that means adoptions cease, so be it, IF THEY HAVE A PLAN TO CARE FOR THEM. But they don't. WHere are they going to house, and how are they going to care for ALL OF THE CHILDREN in care right paid for by adoptive parents. How are they going to care for all of the babies born that still can not be raised by birthfamilies. Just because someone decides adoption is no longer okay does not mean birthmoms magically are able to care for babies that are born to them. It is not that easy. In "protecting" these children, as you call it, they are actually VIOLATING THESE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS TO:







**The reports of the babies getting whole milk and the sanitary conditions decreasing are issues, but who's crying out for the children who have been sold to hogars or other individuals.**

WE ARE. If children are being SOLD, lined up with prices on their heads based on skin color, gender, and age, then we ALL agree this is wrong. However, if you are calling mothers receiving payments for expenses "selling" then we have a worldwide problem, not just a Guatemala problem. AND REGARDLESS OF ANYONE'S OPINION ON WHETHER THE MONEY EXCHANGING HANDS CONSTITUTES "VIOLATING THE CHILD'S RIGHT NOT TO BE SOLD".....I THINK THE THING ALL ADOPTIVE PARENTS CAN AGREE ON IS REGARDLESS OF A CHILD'S STATUS...THEY ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL ALL HAVE A RIGHT TO RECEIVE PROPER CARE, NUTRITION, AND LIVE IN SANITARY CONDITIONS. And it is a sad SAD world if people can not see that ALL children deserve this...ALL CHILDREN. How sad when we minimalize children's needs.

I want to thank you for your letter. THANK YOU. Because you are the straw that broke the camel's back. You are the one who has pushed me over the edge. I will not be silent ANYMORE. ANYMORE. I will find a way to advocate for not only my son, but all of these children in Guatemala, suferring for their "protection."

Posted by: mommytoEli at August 19, 2007 10:02 PM

Hmm...This is an interesting post from "Protect The Children".

So, if a mother who may be starving OR have starving children accepts money in order to feed other children while relinquishing her child to what she may feel is a better life...she "violates her child's right to not be sold". But yet to many supposed human rights organizations like UNICEF...the child does not have a right to be fed or clothed. A child certainly doesn't have the right education or any assistance from the Guatemalan government. A child does not have the right to a better life...period. HOW could one say that they are starting to protect their children? (Guatemala, that is) NO, they have never protected their children and do not value these children enough to discuss viable solutions. One only has to look at the streets to see that these children are not "protected".

It is so disappointing to see the children of CQ become pawns in this game. The rights of these children have been violated during the raid. They had no rights to their documents. They obviously had NO rights to formula or sanitary conditions...and what rights will they have if they are not adopted? The press was fed the line about stolen children....OK, then these children should be returned to their birth parents. Oh, but wait, there is nothing to substantiate that claim!

This raid had nothing to do with protecting children. It was a political statement....and there are those who feel that the statement is important enough to violate the rights of the children of CQ. I'm just not one of those. Its fascinating that there is plenty of "concern" from UN, UNICEF, etc... for the child's rights when it comes to OMG...a birthmother payment or adoption. Unfortunately, that "concern" doesn't seem to apply when the child is on the streets, or is hidden away in orphanages.

As for corruption...I find it almost humorous that there is so much sentiment against the attorneys, agencies and parents without a second glance at those who are charged with POLICING the system. What faith do we have that Guatemala will act appropriately when they have let criminals RUIN adoptions there....There was certainly no accountability. Moreover, there was fraud and corruption throughout the government departments that the US expects to "oversee" the system.

IN MY OPINION...I have to add that one of the biggest "FRAUDS" has been UNICEF. Collecting in the name of children in need and not delivering is as fraudulent as it gets! If I had a penny for every $1000 spent on trying to stop Guatemalan adoptions, we could start several impressive programs for the women and children of Guatemala!!!!!

But back to the can bluster about on accusations, but the solution is to stop the abuses NOT to neglect the children.

Posted by: Kelly ( at August 19, 2007 10:25 PM

This is just the beginning of an onslaught of negative publicity and the U.N liberal " we know best" voices crying out for the world to hear how bad it is and we need to fix it now. I have heard from as far away as Santiago, Chile about the CQ raid and how bad the situation is being reported there. Think about this, Guatemala thumbed the U.N and the Hague in 2003 and set a course to receive millions of dollars from that institution if they would just comply. I wonder if this money will find its way to the children now that they have passed legislation to do so. Probably not! Just look at the U.N's track record all over the world.
My first little guy from Guatemala is talking with me as I write this and I can't help but think that I would give my life for him at any moment. For some to say that adoption fees are to much, I have news for them, if it took every dime I have to free my 2nd ( about to enter PGN ) I would. The money is not what drives me its knowing that I have done all that I can to free another from the pain and misery that is cast upon the poor of Guatemala. I do not condone paying extortion or for stealing children. But to help the poor birthmother that bore the son that I am taking home is humane and serves as compassion for her and probably the others that she is trying to feed. Those that equate money to right or wrong need to sweep their own porch before trying to sweep mine.

Totalmente comprometido

Paul and Iris

Posted by: Paul C. at August 19, 2007 11:08 PM

Is Russia a Hague country? My friends adopted and both were told to bring $10,000 in CASH, new bills, printed after a certain date. If a Hague country, how is that accounted for as a line item?
I am sick about the current atmosphere in Guatemala. My agency has told fostering families to act as if they are under house arrest.
I am also tired of people so critical of the adoptions there. I have yet to 'overwhelming' factual reports, with stats based on real data, that confirms it is worse than all the Hague countries.

Posted by: kit at August 20, 2007 12:18 AM

As a recent adoptive Mom of a Guatemalan child, I want to cast my vote for continuing adoptions and continuing reform. I would like to thank the US State Department for initiating the original DNA test and now requiring a second DNA test on the child immediately prior to issuing the visa for immigration to the US. As to why there was very little notice, how best to catch up with someone misrepresenting a child then to give them a short time to be prepared. Yes it will add another fee, but one I believe is necessary. I believe a possible next step would be to have some type of separate representation for the birthmother. I am somewhat bothered by the fact that the same attorney often represents the child, the birthmother and the adoptive parent. Transparency in how the money is managed needs to continue to be scrutinized. I am very sorry for all concerned in the recent raids of private children's homes. Let us continue to keep pressure on the government bodies involved, and pray that these chldren make their way to loving families and are not added to the statistical number of thousands of other children "aging out" in orphanages".

Posted by: supportingreform at August 20, 2007 12:21 AM

I have to urge everyone to ignore the post by Protect the Children. In my opinion, it is the work of someone who is less than educated on the subject of Guatemalan adoptions. If you read the posts you will notice that the writer is simply trying to fan the flames on this site. The post is poorly written, starts with domestic adoptions and ends with "Guatemala has huge problems with poverty. The Government may be focusing on the adoption issues because they are trying to get in compliance with the Hague" Really...OK, Rocket Scientist...what's your next observation?? Guatemala is located in Central America?? Ignore them, they will go away, they obviously don't have any idea what they are talking about!!

Posted by: Stephanie at August 20, 2007 01:04 AM

"Their agenda now is very much that of radical feminism, with abortion at the top of the list."

Janet, that's ridiculous and offensive. Let's stay on topic.

Posted by: erinberry at August 20, 2007 02:06 AM

just forwarding..not supporting

One of our favorite Guatemalan Adoption programs, Casa Quivira, is looking for a PR agency to represent them in the US due recent to negative and inaccurate press concerning their adoption program.

If you, or someone you know, would like to consider being their PR agency, please contact me and I will put you in touch with them.


If you need the email address, Kevin, I guess you could contact me directly and I would be happy to provide it.

Posted by: momtoguatprincess at August 20, 2007 02:38 AM

Protect the Children.

Yes we looked into the foster care/special needs adoption and decided it was not for us. Obviously you decided the same thing. It is not for everyone.

But otherwise you pay, the birthmother gets some compensation. You can split hairs over how and when it is given to her but she gets some money.

However I do not know if it is the same in Russia. I spent a lot of money there and from all I saw the agencies got it all except the very small percentage that went to the orphanage. I would not have minded if some money actually did go to my daughter's birthmother. She was only seventeen and living in severe poverty.

But yes adoptions of healthy children are expensive wherever you may go.

I think if there is corruption it should be fixed but lets not literally throw the babies out with the bathwater.

Posted by: t at August 20, 2007 06:29 AM

I can't believe all of the talk about paying birthmothers in Guaetmala, it is going on here in the U.S. everyday. We pay their mecial bills (understandable), their rent, utilities, food, and even child care sometimes for their children at home(still understandable) that is also what many birthmothers in Guatemala are being paid for also. Many of these women can not afford the bus fair to the attornies office, or have not eaten for days when they arrive, what is wrong with paying for their meal or bus ticket to help complete the adoption. It would be wonderful if she was coming to sign all of the paperwork and then able to pay her ticket home, and then stop and pay her rent, and pick up her other children from daycare also, but this is not realistic, this is why many of these women are putting their children up for adoption. Money is the big issue here, but not how much is being given to birthmothers, it is how little people have in their own country that they are unable to care for their own children. I was once told by our translator that the birthmothers did receive money from the lawyers. It was money for housing,food, and busfares to appointments and work. I still don't think that is wrong. I know, there are facilitators out there actually offering pregnant women money to give up their child, and that is completly wrong. But please don't condem the many Guatemalan birthmothers for doing what many U.S. birthmothers do.
also, I can tell you that many of these women love their children, and many try to keep them. My son's birthmother did not sell him, she put him up for adoption because of love, and because he was days away from death because he was left alone all day with his 2.5 year old sister to look after him with no food and water while she tried to make alittle money working. We need to stop condeming the birthmothers and adoptive parents, and start looking at the Guatemalan governement that has long neglected these children and now feel that they look bad and need to put a bandaid over the wound so the rest of the world can think everything LOOKS better, but the same wound is there and growing bigger under the bandaid that now nobody can see, or should we say care to see.

Posted by: Magen at August 20, 2007 09:59 AM

Just to add more facts, we adopted domestically and paid $31,000! $24,000 went to the agency and $7,000 went to the birth mother for living expenses of $1000/month for 7 months. Now the fees were higher because we only paid “if and when” she signed the papers. The adoption agency takes on all the liability if the birth mother decides not to place her child for adoption. Whether we had paid the $7,000 before or after the baby is born really does not matter. The fact is, birth mother’s everywhere are receiving compensation. Do I understand the issue is that the UN, UNICEF, and those government officials against Guatemalan adoptions do not think it fair that the Guatemalan birth mother receive something? I think the biggest issue here is that these organizations and individuals are just pissed off they aren’t getting a piece of the pie. It’s crap that they supposedly care about the children. If they did, they might help all of the families living at the Guatemalan city dump, or they might be trying to put a system in place to help the indigenous women that are left beaten, raped, and dead along side the road. Or they might even try to go after the criminals truly involved in child sex scandals and kidnapping. Instead, they are fighting against the fact that these children are going to loving homes where they will have full tummies, be tucked in safe and sound, and be unconditionally loved for the rest of their lives.

One other point…if I wanted to, I could PAY $18,000-$25,000+ to have a surrogate. All of that money goes directly to the surrogate and does not include any Dr.’s fees for sperm and egg transfer. I could BUY sperm and I could BUY an egg as well. How about we change the name of the Guatemalan Adoption program to the Guatemalan Surrogate program? Then these birth mother’s would get their fair share for their labor, 9 months of being pregnant, and having to do one of the hardest things in their life because their system is broken. If we called it surrogacy, then most-likely I wouldn’t need a homestudy. And I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t take the US Embassy 62 days to look over my file and give me pre-approval. And I’m 100% sure nobody would give a damn if the birth mother’s cedula had a crease in the corner or was signed in blue ink.

I know this seems a little off-topic, but it all leads to exactly what is corruption. If there are babies who have been stolen and/or a Guatemalan mother has been coerced into placing her child for adoption, then those people involved in that should be charged with kidnapping and all babies should be returned. If the birth mother is simply getting due compensation for what she has endured, then people trying to shut down Guatemalan adoptions need to look again.

Posted by: J at August 20, 2007 11:17 AM

For erinberry -
The current agenda of UNICEF is not off-topic. It is a rather significant part of the puzzle of the situation in Guatemala, in light of the funds offered to Pres. Berger to forge ahead with the UNICEF version of "reform".
That radical feminism has taken over the agenda of UNICEF is not a statement aimed at offending anyone, but a statement of the truth. The battle being waged in Guatemala is part of a larger global ideological battle. Do some research. There is an organisation called C-Fam that documents, and many times opposes, the actions of the U.N. and its various departments. Go to their website and put UNICEF in their search, for over 50 articles on what UNICEF has involved itself in.

Posted by: Janet at August 20, 2007 11:46 AM

I have no idea what President Bush personally thinks about Guate adoptions. Frankly, it really is a done-deal in terms of the impending US-closure of Guate as a sending country to US citizens (HIGHLY likely upon Hague ratification in the US). As such, I don't think that Pres. Bush thinks about this at all. Our US Mission employees at the Embassy and USAID are too well aware of the problems, but this corruption in Guatemala is just a tiny fraction of the problems in the country as they relate to implications for our nation. Drug trafficking, human labor and sex trafficking, etc. are just to name a few. However, the roots of corruption and organized crime are the same--whether in Guate or in Russia or any other nation where intercountry adoption is a major money-maker.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 20, 2007 12:13 PM

I keep hearing attackers of Guatemalan adoptions quoting unbeievable amounts for adoption. My agency's list has 15K to 20K to be paid to the Guatemalan attorney. Now remember, all of the expenses that occur in Guatemala are taken out of that. So the attorney is paying for all fees, foster care, medical, food, clothing, etc... out of that money. This is a far cry from the 40K that some people are claiming. My total expenses (which includes State homestudy, travel expenses, etc..) for the adoption will come somewhere in the low 30K range. Still a far cry from the 40K that some people are claiming.

The people who are quoting 40K make it sound like the Guatemalan attorneys get all of that. Simply not true.

I am infavor of total transparency where each expenditure is shown and tracked. I hope this becomes a reality.

Kindest Regards, Cheryl

Posted by: cheryl at August 20, 2007 12:37 PM

'Protect the Children' wrote: "The Embassy told us in person that 90 something % of adoptions involves the birth mother being paid."

if this is what the Embassy thinks, then it most certainly explains their press releases and official statements for the past 8 months... :-(

Also: what goes on in domestic US adoptions is irrelevant; there is no immigration law prohibiting payments to birthmoms in US domestic adoptions.

Does anyone here have any info on what steps Guatemala is in the process of taking to get a Hague-compliant adoption system up and running by 1/1/2008?


Posted by: Lisa at August 20, 2007 12:52 PM

Janet: No, your beliefs about abortion and so-called radical feminism are not appropriate for this forum. The "reference" you cite, c-fam, is a right-wing, anti-abortion Catholic group.

Please be respectful of your fellow Guatadopt readers by not bringing that propaganda here. This thread is about Casa Quivira and Guatemalan adoption.

Posted by: erinberry at August 20, 2007 01:01 PM

Transparency would be great.
My fees were 20,000 for a female/guatemalan fee (increased mid 2006 from 17,000).
Fees here to the agency were: $5,000 plus the homestudy agency was $3,000.
So: $28,000 before we spent a cent on anything else.
Our pick up trip for the whole family a week before Christmas on short notice cost $6,000.
You know all of the other fees: including a readoption here in the states ($1000 legal fees), tons of mailings, finger print fee, Cert. of Citizenship fees, passports for the whole family and a US passport for the baby, DNA, authentications, etc, etc.
Well worth every penny...even more. I'd love to do it again but just don't know how we can afford it.
THere is not price you can put on a life. Our daughter is priceless and the adoption experience has brought us many blessings..even through the agony of waiting.
ps-we did not do a visit trip...I am not complaining at all about costs...she is priceless

Posted by: Meg at August 20, 2007 02:07 PM

* If Guatemala law says that it is illegal for a birth mother to be paid money for giving up her child, then anyone who gives a birth mother money and then takes her child is breaking Guatemala Law.

There are legal guidelines that determine how much and for what an American Birth Mom can get paid during the adoption process.

Until laws are put in place in Guatemala, that support and monitors a birth mother getting paid during the adoption process, then whether we agree with it or not, if a person takes money and hands her child over then she is breaking the law.

Personally, we feel that the birth mother should get financial assistance, however, it needs to be legally done, regulated and given to her as a “charitable contribution” meaning that if she changes her mind and decides to keep the baby, anytime before the adoption is completed, then she can receive her baby back and she is protected by the law against the facilitator trying to cause her or her family harm.

However, if the birth mother has a history of getting pregnant every year and selling her child, (another thing that the Embassy told us is a way of living for some birth mothers, in that this is how they make money for their family) then the Government should see her taking money for giving up her child as selling her child.

How, to solve the problem, we do not know, we just know that in our experience and year living in Guatemala, we have seen first hand how the child is in danger to being sold by the birth mother and then again, after the birth mother gives them up. This, to us should be the first concern, to Protect the Children. Once the Government takes control and get’s the child out of the hands of those who have paid money to get the child from the birth mom, then the Government should make sure that the child’s needs are taken care of.

Guatemala has it’s own standards for taking care of children in their custody and whether we like them or not, that doesn’t change that their laws may be different than U.S. laws in regards to Minimum Standards for child care.

Do we agree with them? No, we do not but our priority right now is to safely get our baby home. Once our baby is home and we have gotten out of the financial debt this whole process put us into, we will be back to do what we can to help more children.

*Kelly - We don’t know if they are really starting to Protect their Children, but if they are trying to get Hague Compliant, then they are taking steps to Protect their Children.

All children have the right to be fed and clothed, however, if you cannot find them because they were sold and taken out of their country, then how can you feed them and clothe them?

All, we are saying is that there are children who are sold and taken out of the country. Who hears their cries and fights for them?

Also, what is the political move behind the Raid not just at CQ but the others? How do the Raids help them politically?

Also, the Guatemala Government should not neglect their children and they should stop the abuses. If they do not then they will not be Hague compliant and the U.S. will not support adoptions here, anymore.

We don’t want adoptions to stop. We just want those children who have been sold to be protected.

Guatemala is Roman Law. In the U.S., you are innocent until proven guilty. Under Roman Law, you are guilty until proven innocent. That may be why the children’s paperwork was not looked at. Because the Government saw CQ as guilty, whether the paperwork supports it or not. CQ will now have to fight in the courts to prove their innocence.

Again, whether we agree with it or not, this is the law of this country and until laws are changed, this is how this country chooses to live.

*Stephanie - You represent the very type of people who close their eyes to the corruption. You tell people to ignore our post. Why? Are you afraid that what we are saying is true and that if you ignore it, it will go away? “Ignore them, they will go away” that was your statement. Stephanie, you cannot fix a problem by ignoring it.

When we first posted, we did not claim to be Rocket Scientist or even experts on Guatemala adoptions. We’re simply speaking our hearts as everyone else has the opportunity to do.

Stephanie, we actually do know where Guatemala is located. We’ve been living in Guatemala for over a year now attempting to complete our baby’s adoption.

In the process here, we lost our initial two referrals, the agency we started with, and are now financially suffering.

Everything we had to sell has been sold to fight for our child in the Guatemalan Public Ministry Courts. We have had to be in hiding almost our entire time living in the country.

So, Stephanie, we have experienced this first hand and investigations that were done during our court hearings uncovered that our case was not the only case where corrupt individuals were involved in the adoption process.

Also, we thought our case was among the worse and the Embassy told us that while they understand that our case is bad, they can not help us because we chose this country, and we have to go through the courts in this country. They also told us that they had many more families that were worse off than us.

Posted by: Protect the Children at August 20, 2007 02:48 PM

A friendly reminder. Debate is great, all sides' opinions are welcome, but let's remember to remain civil and debate the content, not the people.

I wish I had more time to post my own views now, but I'm out of town and only have a minute on-line.


Posted by: Kevin at August 20, 2007 02:58 PM

To Protect the Children. Your points may not be popular, but I appreciate your clarification about the fact that you are (1) a PAP and (2) living this experience. Your points are important. I think that you are getting "shoot the messenger." Clearly this journey has been difficult and everyone is at various stages of understanding about the depth of problems and corruption in Guatemala. Good luck in finishing up your adoption.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 20, 2007 03:15 PM

I have to agree with erinberry - the posts blaming radical feminism and abortion are off-topic and don't belong here.
All this debate about corruption leaves me baffled. Is there honestly anyone here that denies corruption exists? I doubt it. We may disagree with details about payments, legalities, and the involvement of UNICEF. But that's not the topic of this thread.
Let's focus on the plight of these babies. These poor children were recieving quality care a week ago, now some of them are in the hospital and their lives and future are at stake. If you aren't caught up in this, give your baby/child a gigantic hug and think how close you were. This could be your child, your baby, in the hospital after a week of neglect. Aren't we worried about the children anymore? Shame on those of you that have used this thread to jump on your anti-adoption, anti-Guatemalan-adoption, or anti-abortion soap boxes. Shame. I'd much rather hear ideas for what we can do to HELP these babies instead of how we can further torture the PAPs. Perhaps these updates should be closed to comments out of respect to the CQ families who are probably reading this stomach-churning debate.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 20, 2007 03:45 PM

Erinberry - Instead of saying that I am "off-topic" or that the organisation I quoted is Catholic(what's wrong with that?) please just provide information that what I have stated is not true. What does UNICEF do with their money? How much of it actually goes to help the very pressing needs of children in Guatemala and in so many other areas of the world? How much of it is used to promote an ideology? Just follow the money. The days when children would come around with canisters for donations, and you were glad to give because you knew children would be helped, are over. The fact that UNICEF is poised to give a lot of money to Pres. Berger makes this discussion quite relevant. What will that money be used for, how many children will be helped by it, and what impact might UNICEF have on the future of international adoptions in Guatemala?

Posted by: Janet at August 20, 2007 07:01 PM

Janet, there's nothing wrong with being Catholic. However, the organization you cited is a right-wing group that has its own very clear anti-family-planning agenda. I will not enter into a debate with you about the validity - or lack thereof! - of that organization.

Again, This is not the place for you to complain about abortion and so-called radical feminists (I shudder to think what you may mean by that.) Bringing those topics to the board can only divide the readership and distract from the true goals of Guatadopt. I hope you can understand that.

Getting back on the real topic of this thread! As for UNICEF, I am an adoptive parent myself and am against a shut-down of Guatemalan adoptions. I have been living here in Guatemala caring for my daughter-to-be for almost six months now. I do not support UNICEF's goal of basically bringing intercountry adoptions to an end. We do not disagree on that point.

Posted by: erinberry at August 20, 2007 09:36 PM

"Guatemala has it’s own standards for taking care of children in their custody and whether we like them or not, that doesn’t change that their laws may be different than U.S. laws in regards to Minimum Standards for child care."

The 7 children taken to the hospital over the weekend politely disagree with you. When unsanitary and stressful conditions and whole powdered milk lead to the hospitalization of 15% of the children in the "protection" of the State.....the minimum standards of care are not effective and therefore should be of great concern to all- in the US and Guatemala.

Posted by: mommy at August 21, 2007 01:49 AM

That C-Fam is Catholic is not the problem. The fact that it is an ideologically-driven conservative advocacy group that seeks to limit women's rights around the globe is.

While I disagree vehemently with UNICEF's position on international adoption, it has done (and still does) much good for children and families around the world. To demonize it as a tool of lefty radical feminist baby killers is unfair and diverts us from the real issues at hand, as well as from all the good work the UN does.

Just imagine if the UN and the adoption community could actually come to agreement on some standards for legal Guatemalan adoption. If only we could get past this disagreement and join forces, what a powerful alliance we would be! We could actually work together to press the Guatemalan government to change the conditions that make international adoption a necessary escape valve for so many women here -- like the lack of healthcare, education, and women's rights.

There are tens of thousands of us who have adopted from this country in the last decade, or are in process now. We (and in time our adopted children) are in a position to exert significant political influence on the Guatemalan government. But only if we stay engaged with the country, keep coming back regularly, get to know Guatemalan people, and teach our children about their cultural heritage so they care and feel connected to it.

Walking down the streets of Antigua with our baby, we get occasional dirty looks, especially in the days since the CQ raid. I always flash them a big friendly smile, and usually receive one in return. And whenever I can, I tell the locals -- waiters, cabbies, anyone who'll listen -- that we love this country and plan to return often, to teach our son Spanish, to keep him in touch with his Mayan roots, and to give back whatever we can to this beautiful country that has already given us so much.

Posted by: Antigua Dad at August 21, 2007 03:43 AM

I have to agree with Janet on this. Whether we like it or not, UNICEF would rather see children stay in their native countries, impoverished, or be aborted. Look at Honduras. It is actually relevant to this thread, although some folks might not like it.

Posted by: Kristen at August 21, 2007 07:39 AM

Does anyone know why CQ has been targeted? There seems to be an agenda here against CQ in particular.

Posted by: suann at August 21, 2007 09:21 AM

Janet, This is exactly the point that I was trying to make also.

The problem with UNICEF sympathizers is they will not answer the poignant questions or address facts set before them and instead will attack on a personal level. One only needs to look at the calls for adoption shutdown and the data that UNICEF supplies to feed the fire of justification. If UNICEF is so concerned about the children, then where is their voice concerning the welfare of these children at CQ?

Bendiga de nino's

Paul C.

Posted by: Paul C. at August 21, 2007 01:14 PM

Let me state my point in another way. UNICEF was created after World War II to provide emergency food and healthcare to children affected by the war. They continued to do that, and still do.
But they no longer focus on the needs of children only. A great deal of money goes to other social and ideological projects instead. With their original focus I would be overjoyed to have them help Guatemala. Now, it frightens me. Before coming on here I visited the forum. The Marriott is in lockdown. On another post, a child being released from the hospital was not allowed to return to foster care. And on another post, that the UNICEF windfall has been given to Guatemala. And also that the relinquishment process is not being recognized as legal. I am an adoption grandma, and my grandson just arrived home from Guatemala a month ago today. I pray for all children in process and their families. I cannot even imagine what they are feeling. Please pray for Guatemala, that a genuine concern for the children will prevail.

Posted by: Janet at August 21, 2007 07:17 PM

I am really taken aback about the anti-UNICEF stance of some members of this community.I understand the fustration with UNICEF and their stance on adoption, calling them pro-abortionists, radical feminists, etc. really leaves me almost embarassed by the ignorance. They are not ANTI-adoption per se. They are pro-child rights which have been agreed upon within the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)(signed by every nation but the US and Somalia!). This convention outlines specific rights of children--as developed and designed by numerous delegates from around the world. ALL UNICEF planning is based on this document--every single initiative must be rooted into this convention. As such, I'd suggest that anyone who wants to stand in judgement of them have a look at it. Abortion is NOT on the agenda. As for child rights, the right to live with ones family, a right to country of origin citizenship, right to culture & language is where UNICEF's mission clashes with intercountry adoption. You may say that such ideology is not practical and leaves children vulnerable and there is an argument there about greater good. However, with the corruption as it is in Guatemala, UNICEF has EVERY reason to be involved and outspoken about the issue--some children are being sold! Remember, they did not set the agenda--the UN delegates did when the CRC was designed, developed, and ratified by the majority of nations in the world. UNICEF carries out that mission. Now, if you are anti-UN, that is another position and you may want the US out of the UN. However, Guatemala is clearly "in" the UN, ratified the CRC, and also has signed the Hague (above and beyond the UN). You may not like UNICEF, the pro-Hague proponents, etc. but the democracy of Guatemala has spoken--CRC is and has been agreed to since the early 1990s and the Hague has been pass congressional approval (regardless of Susanna's anti-constitutional rhetoric). Since they are a soverign republic, the "evil UNICEF" discussion is irrelevant. Move on and get proactive--don't be complicit in the corruption and recognize that there are multiple agendas here with millions of dollars at stake. Frankly, the last greed grab is taking place and anyone who is vulnerable will likely be taken advantage of. These final months are very scarey--remember this was predicted/warnings were made. Unfortunately, there WILL BE losers in this time period--but that is an old conversation dating back to Guatadopt's warning, the embassy warnings, etc. Now...everyone will have to play out the cards that have been dealt. Frankly, I'm surprised that the government took so long to crack down on a home and it sounds like CQ was an unlikely target. However, the government of Guatemala is making a point...and if they really start going after the paperwork of the homes, I'm sure that they'll find many problems.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 21, 2007 08:27 PM


Like the Hague convention, the CRC leaves much to the eye of the beholder. I have written numerous long analysis on it (see the Family Without Borders report) so I will try to keep it short here.

One could easily interpret the CRC to promote ICA. After all, a country has the obligation to feed, provide medical care, and educate its children as well as to provide them an evironment free of racism. So explain to me how a country like Guatemala can do that for an impoverished indigenous child outside of ICA. For the record, I am not saying the government should force ICA. I am merely pointing out how the CRC could be interpreted differently than UNICEF.

About three or four years ago I atteneded a conference on the CRC at UC Berkeley. The UN had a brochure proclaiming that one wonderful thing about the CRC is that all rights are equal, without hierarchy. When I asked a UN representative there to explain to me how the right to free media could be considered equal to the right to food, shelter, healthcare, and education, the UN rep could not answer because obviously such an assertion is ludicrous. So if you ask me, a little bit of Maslow needs to be added to their interpretation of the CRC and if it was, ICA would be viewed very differently and IMHO more to the benefit of children worldwide.

I am a huge supporter of the UN, international law, and UNICEF 99% of the time. But when it comes to ICA, I believe they need to get out of their ivory towers and onto the ground.

A story will be published in the Chicago Tribune in the next couple of days. The reporter asked me about how the various humanitarian and human rights groups view ICA. I answered honestly about Amnesty, Human Rights Watch, UNICEF, etc. When she asked if they all are "anti-ICA" I explained to her that the groups who go into the country and publish academic type studies tend not to support ICA, but when you talk to smaller, grassroots level organizations that live and operate in the impoverished, rural areas of Guatemala providing direct aid, those that see what it is like there on a day to day basis, you get a very different perspective. I think that is very telling. After all, they are the ones walking a mile in the mocassins.


Posted by: Kevin at August 21, 2007 09:30 PM

There is always the issue of ideology vs. practicality. As you know and have said, ICA is not the answer to poverty. The UN has taken macro approaches to child rights vs. a more traditional micro approach found at the grassroots level. If ICA in Guatemala was 'clean' then UNICEF would have a very difficult time arguing their case to the press,etc. However, the corruption is such that it is difficult to argue against major adoption reform in Guatemala. At the end of the day, the one organization that can bankroll such a thing is UNICEF. Now, that money may not be used for adoption reform and Guate may never get its act together to be Hague-compliant. However, it is obvious that something has to change.
As for a hierarchy of rights/values. That is always a difficult proposition when dealing with ethical frameworks. At the end of the day, you can set forth different scenarios and test the different principles depending on situation/context. The situation in Guate is dire.

Posted by: karenms1 at August 21, 2007 10:54 PM

What is a "last greed grab"? Aren't we all vulnerable? Why is it assumed we will be taken advantage of? I'm really tired of the "should have known" angle. I had toxemia with my birth son. I guess I should have known that was a risk factor... HELLO, I want to parent a child. I AM a parent of this child. Stop with this "told you so" and "you had it coming" mess. I hope I'm just being oversensitive. My prayers are with all of our families. May they be put together very soon.

Posted by: lauren b at August 21, 2007 11:53 PM

Karen, If it is true that "abortion is not on the agenda" of UNICEF, why were they in Nicargua last October trying to prevent the Nicaraguan Parliament from continuing their ban on abortion in Nicaragua? How does this "initiative" uphold the CRC goals? And the idea that UNICEF can help save Guatemala from corruption is quite amazing. While the U.N. has been helpful with peacekeeping and emergency food distribution and such, they have a track record of creating corruption rather than preventing it. May Guatemala be saved from their "help".

Posted by: Janet at August 22, 2007 09:18 AM
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