October 17, 2007

Grandfathering in cases....the intent is "official"

President Berger publicly confirmed the intent to grandfather current cases (I assume this means the 3700 cases that are REGISTERED). The Guatemalan press reported this with a statement by Berger:

"I have never said that I want to stop adoptions. What my government wants is full respect for the legislation that is about to be approved and full compliance with the Hague (Convention)" . The Guatemalan Press also reported the following:

Congressman Rolando Morales, one of the proponents of the new legislation, said that the intention with the pending adoptions is a full review to verify the identity of the woman that is relinquishing the rights on the child, that she is the natural mother, and that the child is given for adoption without coercion, and verify that the child was not abducted (stolen babies). Morales also mentioned that the final version of the new Adoption Law which will be published in the following weeks will not affect the almost 3,700 processes in the pipeline.

These changes (even if they delay the process a few days) are in the best interest of everyone in the process, specifically our main concern, the children.

From Guatadopt:
As we have said before, we believe that the instability of the situation and the new law (where the ammendments are still unclear), prompted the Department of State (US) to issue strong warnings.

From our discussions with Guatemalan officials, we are reassured that they are supporting the good faith agreements made with adoptive families.

While legally this is good news, we hold fast that starting the process at this time is risky. In our opinion, there is an increase in unethical practices in order to get an adoption started and "grandfathered". Obviously, these are limited to the unscrupulous providers that have soured adoptions worldwide. We do not know to what extent that further investigations will impact the timelines. While we support the need for these investigations, we hope that the implementation will be appropriate and reasonable.

As a side note: The Guatemalan Embassy has been bombarded with calls and emails. would like to request that you ease up a bit. They need to do their jobs as well.

We will update as we know more.

Posted by Kelly at October 17, 2007 11:05 AM

I am confused. Kelly writes, "From our discussions with Guatemalan officials, we are reassured that they are supporting good faith agreements made with adoptive families."

However, does that support mean pending cases will have to be brought before the Central Authority? That does not sound like grandfathering of pending cases. It sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare where cases may get stuck indefinitely.

I'm anxiosly waiting to hear more details. Thanks for your help!

Posted by: Jenn_in_PA at October 17, 2007 11:29 AM

Kevin and Kelly, welcome home. One quick question, on the JCICS site, they issued a 7 point statement from Berger that sounded like he was only approving in process cases if they meet Hague standards after January 1, 2008. Are you saying now, that we can expect our in-process cases (we have been in process over a year but not quite in pgn yet), to continue under the notarial laws we entered in?

Also, I want to reiterate to any newbies out there, that it is highly risky to continue to start an adoption now if you do not have a registered referral. You have no guarantees that the Guatemalan government might not issue a cut-off date for POA's or DNA etc. This was a huge problem in 2003.

Take it from a family who entered into the process in October 2006 and thought they would have their babies home by summer 2007, you never know what road blocks you will hit. Not just the political ones, but birthmom's have every right to change their mind and they do. Birthmom's often dissappear before DNA is done and then what will you do? It will be too late to get and wait for a new referral. I'm just trying to save some of you the pain we are going through, most of our delays were things we could not possibly have expected.

Peace to all in process, its harder then you can possibly imagine.

Posted by: Melissa at October 17, 2007 11:44 AM

Fantastic!! Am I the first to see this? No comments? I am thrilled, and cautiously optimistic, still!!!

Posted by: Melissa at October 17, 2007 11:47 AM

This update certainly is the most positive thing we've seen in a long time.

However, the "re-investigation" of cases already in progress worries me most. We really need to ask specific questions to the Guatemala gov't officials as to HOW this investigation will be conducted, and IS it really feasible to think it could be done in just a few extra days?

In my mind, I'm seeing some major delays here. I also see family losing their referrals because the birthmothers are feeling pressured to take their babies back. I really hope the means for which these investigations are conducted are fair, timely, and without corruption.

Posted by: c at October 17, 2007 11:48 AM

Thanks Kelly. Can you clarify what "registered" means? Are you referring to the Power of Attorney being registered?

Posted by: Shannon at October 17, 2007 11:54 AM

This sounds fantastic! I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief. I know I am and looking forward to bringing home my Sofia!

Posted by: Brenda at October 17, 2007 12:32 PM

c writes: "I also see family losing their referrals because the birthmothers are feeling pressured to take their babies back."

families may be being told that birthmoms are taking their children back, but who knows if this is the real reason people are losing referrals. It can be a 'handy & believable excuse' for fraudulent paperwork, etc. Who knows.

We can only hope and pray for all the children of Guatemala - and of course write our congressional reps asking them to urge responsible implementation of the Hague by Guatemala, etc.


Posted by: Lee at October 17, 2007 12:37 PM

PTL! The intent is there! Of course we all want the investigations and re-investigations to go as quickly as possible, but as long as the children get the opportunity to join permanent families, I am thrilled with this news!!!

Posted by: Krystal at October 17, 2007 12:40 PM

This has to be good news and we should take it as such. They are stating specifically that:

"the final version of the new Adoption Law which will be published in the following weeks will not affect the almost 3,700 processes in the pipeline.

Will not affect - is the key. Not quite sure how that matches up with the comment about "full review", but as Kevin suggests - a delay is better than a failed adoption. Ethical adoptions should not have anything to worry about long term

I understand people will be worried about endless delays. But at this point, we can hope and pray that any delay for grandfathered cases is short.

Posted by: GDSinPA at October 17, 2007 12:50 PM

I have not yet accepted a referral. Does anyone have any opinions as to take the chance as it may look like in-process may go through or to cut my loses and begin another country?

Posted by: Cyndi at October 17, 2007 01:06 PM

I'm still confused. Are we expecting that the REGISTERED cases (however they define REGISTERED) will be as of December 31, 2007 or some other date (in the past, now or when law if officially signed). Kevin, do you know the answer?

Posted by: mightadopt at October 17, 2007 01:11 PM

Kevin and Kelly,

I have noticed on one of the forums of cases getting kicked out because the PGN reviewer thought the family/birth mother needed more time to consider the relinquishment. they are supposedly doing this randomly. how interesting - what is your take on this new kick out development?

Posted by: karen at October 17, 2007 01:28 PM

Okay, Friday is 7 weeks in PGN for us... is this the "halleluiah" news I was looking for. Please just tell me that I am a pipeline case and will be okay.

THis is all so stressful and confusing. I never know if I am reading it like I should... should I be happy for us or not? :-) Thanks.

Posted by: J at October 17, 2007 01:42 PM

Kevin, Kelly, Susana,

Does the grandfathering include "singles" who are adopting?

Any word/clarification about if these grandfathered in-process cases can be "approved" by a higher than PGN court such as Tribunal Court or Court of Appeals? Or must they only be cases approved by PGN? I guess I am looking for clarification on both the Guatemalan and the DOS sides on this. Seems like everyone I talk to is guessing, but nobody knows for sure.

I too, am worried about in process grandfathered cases, getting caught up in all of the new processes, or being presented to the new central authority, and being stalled forever and ever after January 1st.

Meanwhile, I worry about my little darling getting older and older and how more and more difficult it will be for her to leave her foster family, the only family she has ever known.

Proud Mama to Anarosa
Also Mama to Migdalia, anxiously waiting to hold her, and so completely confused and sad about what is going on!

Posted by: eb at October 17, 2007 02:18 PM

I wondered if Congress still has to vote in November or can President Berger just "make this happen"? Also I wanted to let those of you not in PGN know that we were recently kicked out a second time for a new requirement. If you signed your Power of Attny in Guatemala, you have to sign an affidavit that the document was translated for you and resubmit. This might save those who are about to submit a kickout.

Posted by: Kim at October 17, 2007 02:30 PM

Thank you for posting this info,it calms my nerves somewhat. Even though this has been said I am still going to hesitant until I hear from my agency officially.

Posted by: Marjorie at October 17, 2007 02:41 PM

What does registered mean?

Posted by: Kristen at October 17, 2007 02:58 PM

Try not to get to excited. As a parent of one of the CQ children, Berger has broken his word on numerous occasions. I will start celebrating when our son is home!

Posted by: R at October 17, 2007 03:18 PM

Kevin and Kelly, thank you so very much for all you do on our behalf!

Could you clarify the quote by Rolando Morales? Was it he who said that the in-process cases could be delayed by "a few days," or was that Guatadopt commentary?

I am concerned because I don't know how asking the birth mother whether she was coerced five times instead of four is going to achieve anything besides delaying the process further. I wonder who will be in charge of this extra "review" and how it could possibly only take a few extra days.

If an extra safety net is needed to weed out the corrupt, I'm all for it; however, I don't understand who they're going to "catch" with this extra review.

Posted by: Kathy at October 17, 2007 03:25 PM

I wonder what the date the POA will have had to be registered by to be considered in process. The date (November) that the amendment actually passes? Jan. 1, 2008? OR can they actually make it a retroactive date? I know that noone really knows the answer to this, but would be interested in hearing anyone's thoughts or speculations.

Posted by: michelemk at October 17, 2007 03:55 PM

It's all very nice for the Congressman to say that in-process cases will have the identity of the birthmom verified, as well as verifying that she was free of coercion. But, sadly, I could easily see officials trying to intimidate/shame birthmothers into reversing their decision to relinquish. When the intent of the government is to drastically reduce adoptions come hell or high water, and they have a narrative that most women are forced/coerced/deceived into relinquishing, I fear what the results of this "rescreening" will be.

Posted by: Lee at October 17, 2007 04:21 PM

Thank you both for all that you do! Just wondering how often birth mothers change their minds after a referral, and how often they disappear before the DNA. We just had our POA registered this week. The DNA (according to our agency) could take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to complete after our case enters into family court. I guess that this just occurred to me, but what makes the birth mom show up for DNA after they relinquish their parental rights?

Thanks - Lorri - PA

Posted by: lorri at October 17, 2007 04:28 PM

"Congressman Rolando Morales, one of the proponents of the new legislation, said that the intention with the pending adoptions is a full review to verify the identity of the woman that is relinquishing the rights on the child, that she is the natural mother, and that the child is given for adoption without coercion, and verify that the child was not abducted (stolen babies)"

I just wonder what would happen to the child if they did find out any wrong doing....

Posted by: Erik at October 17, 2007 05:06 PM

What will happen to the cases in Appeals Court? My daughter's case has been in appeals court for six weeks.

Posted by: Jackie at October 17, 2007 05:22 PM

Thank you both for all that you do! Just wondering how often birth mothers change their minds after a referral, and how often they disappear before the DNA. We just had our POA registered this week. The DNA (according to our agency) could take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to complete after our case enters into family court. I guess that this just occurred to me, but what makes the birth mom show up for DNA after they relinquish their parental rights?

Thanks - Lorri - PA

Posted by: lorri at October 17, 2007 05:28 PM

Well Shannon beat me to the question. What is "registered", We sent our Power of Attorney form in, and have a referral, We are still waiting on the DNA testing to be done as well as our 171-H, which I had to resort to calling our State Senator to try to get us answers as to why it is taking them so long to send it to us. I realize that many of you started the process quite a while ago, and I think that any of us who have pictures of the beautiful children are already SO in love with their babies that it doesn't matter how long we wait, it still hurts as bad to think they may not come home at all. It's the waiting that is making me go crazy, the not knowing what the heck to do other than what we've done.

Posted by: Theresa R. at October 17, 2007 05:47 PM

We have our POA in on a little girl who was declared abandoned several years ago. She will not need DNA.
I am kind of confused by all of this. I am wondering if since she was already declared abondoned by the court if her adoption will be easier.

Posted by: Lee Ann at October 17, 2007 07:35 PM

Cyndi - Have you not been paying attention to all that has been going on in Guatemala? The DOS warning? The JCICS warning for adoption agencies to quit giving referrals? You're not likely to find anyone here who is going to tell you what you want to hear. HEED THE WARNINGS and PICK ANOTHER COUNTRY!!!

Posted by: KC at October 17, 2007 08:41 PM

I am wondering how this talk of re-interviewing birthmoms will affect those of us with Certificate of Abanodnments? We lost our first referral after nine months (mom changed her mind) and I cannot imagine going through that again. I don't think I will let out a sigh of relief until my baby is home in my arms.

Faith in Wisconsin

Posted by: Faith Diggins at October 17, 2007 08:47 PM

I'm confused. Berger stated he never wanted to stop adoptions. Well, why wasn't the grandfather clause in the original Ortega Law?

Posted by: Terri at October 17, 2007 09:55 PM

I would think that you could start being alittle bit on the happy side at 7 weeks in PGN. My daughter went in the first-second week in Aug. and was out on Oct.10,so 9 or 10 weeks with no K/O. Hoping to travel soon, good luck it's so hard to wait at this point I know.

Grandmother Cindy

Posted by: Cindy at October 17, 2007 11:28 PM

Thank you for the update. We have been "in the paper chase" since the beginning of 07. We filed our I600A March 07. We did not get our I171 until the end of Sept. We accepted a referral at the beginning of Oct. 1st. Please explain the "increase in unethical practices" comment that was refer to.. Our agency was hesitant to find a referral for us, but knew our desire to complete the almost 10 month long paper chase - wait process. Our child needs a forever home too, we're willing to fight it out for our baby. We don't feel we were trying to "jump the gun" and get grandfathered in at the last minute - it's been almost 10 months. Please don't assume all late-ish referral are just to get "grandfathered in." We accepted for the same reasons we sought adoption: There is a child who needs us to call his/her forever family. If this isn't our destiny, then we'll know our baby was meant somewhere else. Right now, we know it's our path. We now international adoptions are risky. Even in the beginning of 07, it was a risk. We thought we'd have "plenty of time" - no one ever knows what's ahead of them.

Posted by: LMR at October 17, 2007 11:51 PM

I applauad you for your choice in moving forward. Your statement is very true, we do just live day by day without knowing what lays ahead. A long road or not if you want to become a parent it's worth the wait, unknowns, worries, and everything else in between. Hang in there have faith and praying for good results for you.

Grandmother Cindy

Posted by: Cindy at October 18, 2007 09:15 AM

Our daughter has a certificate of abandonment also and will not be affected by the birthmother interview. It's essentially done in the abandonment process. They don't actually interview the birthmother in most cases because they can't find her, even after many attempts to do so. It takes so long to get a COA so that the birhtmother has a lot of opportunity to come forward and reclaim their child. The attorney requesting the COA has to proove to a judge that they made significant attempts to reach any birth family, including running an add in the newspaper where the child was born saying that they are looking for the child's family. Also, a judge is who grants the COA, and it is judges that will have to speak to the birth moms in the new process for relinquishments. The new steps for relinquishments would be redundant for COA kids.

Posted by: Amy at October 18, 2007 10:11 AM

In response to the comment by Cyndi at October 17, 2007 01:06 PM:

With all due respect, if you are working with an agency that would even consider advising you to start a Guatemalan adoption at this point, I would immediately dump them and find another agency. If they would give you such bad advice on a Guatemalan adoption, I would not trust them, period.

Posted by: Gregg at October 18, 2007 10:22 AM

To Theresa R.

I know that to obtain our I-171 I had to find the e-mail address for the adoption unit in Atlanta, e-mail back and forth and finally drove the extra paperwork they wanted ( 5 hours of driving ) before issuing. The good news is,I left them with the I-171 that day, found a Kinko's, faxed it to my agency and had it in Guatemala ASAP. Do things that are somewhat unorthodoxed and you can have success.

Trusting in Him,


Posted by: Paul at October 18, 2007 10:25 AM

Oh thank you SO much Paul for answering me. I will do just that. I will also have to drive 5 hours, and plan on doing just that tomorrow. I haven't gotten any response by email, and will go prepared with all of the paperwork I prepared for our dossier, and hopefully that will suffice. Wish me luck. I also am trusting in him alot these days, but know I am watched after.
Theresa R.

Posted by: Theresa R. at October 18, 2007 04:41 PM

Is this is true, and I'm hoping and praying it is, why isn't it posted on Joint Council's Website?

Any comments?

Posted by: Jo at October 18, 2007 05:56 PM

paul, I am also waiting for my 171H from Atlanta, my appt.for fingerprints is next week, I was assuming that once the fingerprints are done that it was done. In your case did you still require paperwork after the fingerprints and how long did it take after that?

Posted by: susan at October 18, 2007 09:26 PM

To Susan:

I did because of an error concerning my wife's passport. If you would like to e-mail me privately, ask Kevin to blind copy me and I can send you some contact info in Atlanta. Our fingerprints were taken in Birmingham and it took about 45 days before they were complete. Have you accepted a referral yet?

Glad to help,


Posted by: Paul at October 19, 2007 09:28 AM

Where was this information found - Grandfathering in Cases - i have looked every where? I only see it here - where did Guatadopt get this. Thanks!!! I need to get my son home!!!

Posted by: Nicole R. at October 19, 2007 10:25 AM

This info was covered in an article in the International Herald Tribune (Americas). I was able to find the article by searching in Google, but I will paste the link in below since that may help you.

It looks like great news. Lets pray these children all get to come home SOON!!

Posted by: Linda M at October 19, 2007 11:39 AM

We too entered PGN 7 weeks ago Fri. and would love to know when you come out! We would love to know as well that we are a pipeline case!

Cyndi, PLEASE reconsider your choice to adopt from here! I can say first hand that it's no fun to be in the middle of this confusion knowing that your child is hanging in the balance. Truthfully I do NOT understand why agencies are still giving referrals! It would hurt SO bad if you were matched and then lost that child to who knows where. I would hate to see you hurt!

Posted by: luvguate at October 19, 2007 12:23 PM

I'm wondering if this is a smoke screen, you guys. There messages are inconsistent. They know that we want to hear the word "grandfathering" so they are using it but in actuality, what they are talking about does NOT sound like grandfathering to me.

Posted by: r at October 19, 2007 01:33 PM

Channel 7 News in Detroit has coverage at 11:00 tonight FRI on the current nightmare of Guatemalan adoptions.

Can't wait for this local coverage!

Posted by: Janet J at October 19, 2007 02:07 PM

We just got a referral on Monday, have the dossier completed and being verified and trying to get the POA completed. Like others have asked, does anyone have a good idea of what exactly it may take to have your case considered as 'registered'.

We have to decide by Monday to either the referral or switch countries.

Posted by: Mike at October 19, 2007 02:39 PM

I know I'm really nobody to advise you but if it was me I'd stick with it and stay put. A adoption any other time is like riding a roller coaster and now I'm sure it's even going to be a harder ride. Have faith go into it knowing there could be delays, and changes made along the way
but bottom line hopefully you'll have your precious child home next year. There's so many things at question I guess no one really can say for sure on the end results. If your ready to jump in with both feet and wait it out only you can make that decision.

Posted by: C.C. at October 19, 2007 10:50 PM

Mike, I'd urge you to reconsider accepting a referral from Guatemala right now. Guatadopt has been urging people (see warning) not to start for some time as has the DOS. Now the JCICS has urged all agencies to stop giving referrals and if an agency gives a referral JCICS is telling people not to accept one. Right now there are 3000 plus people like me who might be caught in the middle (and I accepted a first referral in Nov 2006). The risks right now to your heart and other things (like money) are just too great....Wait until next year and see how things pan out.

Posted by: Susan at October 20, 2007 12:26 AM

Folks- Regarding questions about PGN submission, timelines, District USCIS offices and other things pertaining to the process please log onto the Forum. There are moderators and Guatadopt staff there who can help to answer your questions, you can also email confidentially your question if you do not want to post publically.

Re: accepting referrals.
I cannot conceive why an agency would give out referrals now after so many warnings. That should be a warning in itself about an agency.

Re: the term "in-process".
It is usually deemed as having a registered POA and the bio-mother's
first signature of relinguishment.


Posted by: Marie at October 20, 2007 06:19 AM

Kevin and Kelly, thank you so very much for all you do on our behalf!Without your tireless efforts and support I would hate to know how things could have turned out for parents. For example read the letter below that my Senator sent to me.

I would like everyone to know how my Senator responded to the letter I sent to him. The letter is dated October 5, 2007, I received the letter today October 20, 2007. Thank you Senator Shelby.... at least the rest of Congress saw our issues and supported us. The letter states..

Dear Ms. ________
Thank you for contacting me. I always appreciate hearing from my constituents.

I understand you concerns regarding the recent remarks made by the United States Department of State addressing Guatemalan adoptions. However, due to the unethical and illegal conduct of the Guatemalan adoption program, the United States will continue to monitor the program with extreme caution until Guatemala shows greater organization and oversight of adoptions. Please rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind regarding these adoptions should relevant legislation come before the full Senate during the 110th Congress.

Again, thank you for contacting me. If I can be of any futher assistance... blah blah blah

A future constituent of yours? Hummmm not likely

This is our second adoption we are in PGN as of October 2, 2007.


Posted by: Debbie Hollon at October 20, 2007 03:33 PM

Hi Paul, I have not accepted a referral, I know of a child to be adopted, but my agency would not even give me the paperwork to sign unless I have an approved 171H. Also this is giving some time to see what is going on and risk involved. From what I am understanding from my agency is that they still have some waiting babies or children left, they are not taking new ones, but are looking for families, that are paper ready, for the last ones they themselves have accepted to take on. It is so unfortunate that there are so many babies and children left with no waiting families, fighting for them. I think it is a very personal decision whether to accept a referral at this time, I know the struggle I am going through within my own mind and doing what is right for myself and the child in mind. I pray that God guides me in the right direction.

Posted by: susan at October 20, 2007 09:20 PM

We went into PGN July 12th, were kicked out August 20. Resubmitted on August 23rd, and were approved Friday, October 19th. It was a long, stressful wait. Praise the Lord, our daughter will be coming home in 4-6 weeks.

Posted by: John at October 22, 2007 09:46 AM

Great news, all good things did come to your family at the end. Now just waiting out this last month and it's all OVER.


Posted by: C.C. at October 22, 2007 07:46 PM

Congrats John!! And thanks- my case was resubmitted on Aug 23 also and I'm REALLY hoping/praying for good news any day now.

Posted by: lauren b at October 22, 2007 09:28 PM


If your heart is telling you tohave faith in the guatemalan process, then go forward with your faith. miracles do happen. just be prepared for it not to work out. The right baby for you will find its way to you. Listen to your heart. There is a greater force at work here. Listen to your heart.

Posted by: mimi at October 23, 2007 06:08 PM

Susan, We are in the same situation as you but we have our I-171 H. Want to accept a referral so bad but just keep waiting and waiting. There are several baby girls that we would like to say yes to. I was told we could fly to Guatemala to sign the POA if we run out of time. Goodluck to all! Praying....

Posted by: Trish at October 27, 2007 09:23 PM
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