January 21, 2008
Extended Dateline Stuff on their Site
There's a ton of stuff on Dateline's site. I stil haven't watched what aired because I was travelling. But I did see what's on their website and I am admittedly very proud of Troy and how he "represented". Make sure you don't miss his story on-line as it is heart-warming (especially the "who's the prettiest part").
Click on more to view or to find the link.
Dateline's "To Catch a Baby Broker"
Posted by Kevin at January 21, 2008 10:04 AM
Here is the URL for the Dateline site posting of it: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/22721799#22721799
Anyone out there has any news about the registration of the in process cases with the new Central Authority? They are supposed to start registering them today.
It was a story about a corrupt baby broker, it didn't have much to do with reality and Guatemalan adoptions. I beleive that "Teo" from the story is the exception, not the rule. Also I thought they just glossed over the DNA testing, with 2 mandated tests, before the child leaves the country, Teo was operating before a 2nd DNA test was mandated. Dateline left a lot of the story out.
Meg, Teo is very much a reality and to suggest otherwise is unfair to those who have been hurt by him ... both Americans and Guatemalans. Of course he is not representative of every facilitator out there but I would be very surprised if there weren't others like him. Even if there are not others like him, though, and he is the exception, he still does exist. He has personality hurt members of my family and I know of many, many others. Dateline may have glossed over the positive side of Guatemalan adoptions but one could argue that the fixing the negative side is more important than patting ourselves on the back for the good stuff that has been done.
I have just spoken to my lawyer in Guatemala. She told me that she went to the Central Authority this morning with the " aviso " and the 4page form filled up to register the case and she got a receipt. After that she went to the PGN. But the PGN did not want to accept our case because its registration by the CA was not done on a special register according to the new law.
What a wonderfull mess!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH DOS,UNICEF AND ALL THE OTHERS INVOLVED IN THE APPROVAL OF THE ORTEGA LAW. YOU WANTED A LAW AND A TIME LINE WITHOUT BEING READY FOR THE CHANGE. THIS IS THE WAY YOU
CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN: CONGRATULATION!!!!
No, the *title* was about catching a baby broker. The actual segment covered children in poverty who are not adopted [the children noone adopts.. maybe the viewers thought about the numbers we don't adopt which are much higher than the ones we do], families who had seen children on the streets and heard the allegations about baby kidnapping intentionally trying to adopt an older child only to run into a kidnapping ring, corrupt agenices bilking parents, corrupt facilitators/agencies who also neglected childrens health, andddd families who had happy ethical adoptions who are maligned by nasty article after nasty misrepresentative article. The story covered both the good and the ugly in the time segment allowed with a slightly provocative title which could have been MUCH worse. I've seen news articles with titles that had me seeing red and this title didn't get me very upset. I normally hate the media but have to say the Dateline piece made me think there are still news agencies who have not fallen into National Enquirer mode and still care about informing the public. The truth is there is corruption right alongside legal and good adoptions. The truth should be told. Maybe with this story the corrupt persons who have been darkening the name of adoptions for years someone will finally do something about them. At the same time, hopefully the general public registered more than the title of the program and absorbed the other stories in here. The truth is both beautiful and ugly and what we wanted was fair representation. I think it is too much to ask for to only have the positive told. But unfair to only have the negative told. If they could have done the show in segments it would have been better but too much for your general public to probably digest.
Vince, from what I've heard the attorneys need to drop off the registration forms and they get a stamped receipt. They are told to return in 8 business days and then they will be given a certificate of registration. I think this is what PGN must be looking for. The babies also need to be fingerprinted again on these forms. So its not as easy as they said it was going to be.
Hello, Does anyone know when you register with the CA? Do you register when entering Family Court or PGN? Does your agency register you? Thank you in advance. Janis
Thank you JLT for your clarification.
To Janis: you have to ask to be register after getting the pre-approval by the US Embassy.
Praying Gog for my 5 years old orphane.
Buen dia a todos
I watched. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be. It was about the facilitator that was banned from the Embassy and several families who were taken by him and some other facilitators. It was sad and definetly a reality. BUT, short of Troy's segment, which was the best part of the whole show, and even more so on their website which parts they didn't show, it wasn't about Guatemala adoptions now....I mean it didn't go over the requirments now, what the new law means, etc. Didn't really mention the adoptions that went smoothly or agencies/attornies that are working for the children. They "almost" mentioned the fact that if the government takes over the whole adoption process and does away with attornies, foster care, etc that there is no system in place to take care of the children who will be left. They just focused on the bad, as usual. Troy's story was great and he made the points I would have made. I would have liked to have seen some "good agencies" or advocates on there along with some parents who have successfully adopted and had a good experience. Met the birthmom, etc etc. But good news does not get ratings so we won't get that.
How does one check on the progress of a case that still hasn't gotten pre-approval? If I need PA before I can register with the CA, and it has to be done within 30 days...well, that makes me nervous. Any suggestions?
The questions I have had from friends indicate that their understanding of the Dateline show was that all Guatemala adoptions might well be corrupt, because of the incident involving kidnapped children. I don't think the average person understands the subtleties of Guatemala adoption, and so I think the show came across to them as calling into question all adoptions from Guatemala.
Our attorney called us Saturday and needed our passport numbers in order to register with the CA. I spoke with them yesterday and she explained to me that we were registered, however, PGN would not accept the "time stamp" they received when registered. They had to have a document that the CA would produce. She did not explain what this document would include, just that it would be picked up next week. I sure hope it is quicker than that, but, that is what she told me. Has anyone else heard of this?
If you don't mind me asking,how did you find out all this information already on the Registration process? I am going through an agency and they have not provided us with anything yet, though we have been in PGN since 12/3 and were told we do not need to register.
Only an update on my previous comment not yet pubblicated here.
The document that has to be produced by the CA is a " certification " that the documents dropped by your lawyer are correct and accurate.
Jimmy -- You are not alone. Our agency requested color copies of the photo page of our passports and a notarized letter attesting to their validity. They said our lawyer needed these to complete the registration process. That's the last we've heard.
I chatted with our agency coordinator today. She told me when they knew exactly what was going on with the registrations at the CA, she would pass it along. What she thinks will happen is as listed above with the 8-day turnaround. I think "8 days" seems odd, but I guess that's the time needed to get the certficate printed. It would be easy to over analyze this process...let's just pray we see them cranking registrations out next week and we are all entering PGN!
Will the Dateline show be replayed? Our Tivo taped the second half of the show and we missed the segments about Guatemala.
I'll check the dateline website as well.
Thank you in advance,
Our agency asked for our passport numbers, and occupation written exactly as it was on our original home study, but not notorized color copies of our passports. I wonder if we should go ahead and do this just in case?
Anyone else asked to provide copies of passports?
La Prensa Libre posted an article today regarding the latest on the Central Authority.
La Prensa website (Spanish):
BabelFish Internet translation:
(Title)"Failure confirms to Anabella Morfín in Advice of Adoptions"
(Article)"The Supreme Court of Justicia (CSJ) it confirmed in the National Council of Adopciones (CNA) lawyer Anabella Morfín, when protecting it of provisional way, whereas the Executive resists to transfer the bottoms for the operation of that instance. In a meeting of plenary session, and unanimous way, the 13 magistrates ratified yesterday the appointment of Morfín like representative of the Chancellery in the CNA. "the provisional shelter is granted because the circumstances make it advisable", it shows the decisive part of the failure of the CSJ. The magistrates argued that a ministerial agreement can be countermanded or be modified with another one, and the gubernativas authorities did not do it. They added that instead of the previous thing they emitted two new agreements, one for the representative of that ministry, and the other, for the delegate of the Secretariat of Social welfare, which violates the Magna Carta. Now the resolution of the Room First of Appeals of the Civil branch is expected, in where it is the shelter presented/displayed by lawyer Marvin Rabanales, who was designated by the previous administration to represent the Secretariat. The only representative without legal problem is Rudy lawyer Ovalle Grove, named by the CSJ for the Council. Budget does not arrive Another one from the problems that the CNA confronts is the budget of Q10 million whereupon it must work. The bottoms were given to the Secretariat of Administrative Subjects and Security of the Presidency, while the Council integrated itself, but the Executive has not made the transference, said Morfín. It added that the Q10 million is necessary to contract personal and to buy furniture and equipment for that instance, that temporarily works in the facilities of House Alliance, in zone 1. Morfín emphasized that although has happened more than 10 days from integration of the CNA, already they are had slow in the proceeding of files, since the Law of Adoptions - it took effect the 31 of last December establishes that in following the 30 days the Council must take care of the requests of the 2007 - about two thousand files."
How long is PGN taking recently?
I found out what was going on with our registration directly from our attorney. They called me to get my passport information.
As far as not having to register with the CA...it is my understanding if you are in PGN prior to 12/31 you are okay...however, if you get kicked out of PGN you will need to register with the CA. We were submitted to PGN 12/12 and kicked out 12/27 and we have to register...it seems to me it would be proactive to go ahead and register with the CA as to get it over.
Lets just hope it all comes together and flows quickly!!!
I'm curious to know if the cases are considered registered with the CA the day the lawyers requested it by dropping the 4-page form or the day the CA issues the certificate. It may looks like a useless question but I do not think it is. Because if the case is considered registered the day the lawyer requested it, the CA can issue the certification even after febrary 11th with no problem at all.
Our lawyer has gotten copies of our passport for the CA and for the
PGN. She told us that copies must be notarized.
Once registered with the CA, is PGN processing new cases that are filed after 12/31? Any idea how long of a delay there will be?
Families in limbo over adoptions from Guatemala
by Laurie Stern, Minnesota Public Radio
January 25, 2008
Listen to feature audio
Many Minnesotans who adopt internationally choose children from China, but a close second is Guatemala, a much smaller country. Last year, Guatemala sent nearly 5,000 babies to the U.S. A baby born in Guatemala in 2006 would have a one in 100 chance of growing up an adopted American.
But this year, would-be parents in Minnesota and every other state are finding their pending adoptions threatened, because of a new effort to prevent child trafficking in adoptions from Guatemala. Some families who've started the adoption process are wondering whether the children they have started calling their own will actually come home to Minnesota.
American Radioworks producer Laurie Stern adopted her son from Guatemala nine years ago. She was back in Guatemala over the holidays, and met some Minnesotans caught in the limbo.
St. Paul, Minn. — I arranged to meet the Schoens in the lobby of the Guatemala City Marriott. You'd think it would be easy to spot them, but when I walked in I saw five or six American couples with Guatemalan babies. So it was up to Pam and Richard Schoen to recognize me.
Richard was cuddling a sleepy 9-month-old girl in his arms. It's the fourth time he and Pam have visited since the agency sent them Isabel's picture last summer.
The SchoensThe Schoens live in Minnetonka. Richard has a small software business, and Pam teaches English at Hopkins High School. It's hard for them to leave their jobs and find the money to come, but it's harder to stay away from Isabel.
"We've imagined the what-ifs," says Pam Schoen, "and at this point having met her, held her, and smelled her and kissed her, she's our daughter and I can't imagine losing her."
Isabel is the Schoens' daughter in every way -- except legally. Legally, she belongs to the foster mother who takes care of her while the adoption process is underway.
For years, the lobbies of the tourist hotels in Guatemala's capital city have been full of families like the Schoens -- families who come to spend a few days with the babies they plan to adopt. It's very easy to meet people here, because everybody's got this common bond and everyone's walking around with these beautiful babies.
Schmelz family with nannyBut the big hotels aren't as full of waiting parents as they used to be. The flow of babies from Guatemala to America may be cut off soon.
On Jan. 1, 2008, Guatemala signed the Hague Convention, a treaty meant to clean up international adoption.
No one is sure how that will play out in Guatemala, but the new law means longer waits and more uncertainty for couples like the Schoens -- and the Schmelz family, from Hudson, Wisconsin.
"When we came here the first of July, you'd walk around the village and you'd see all kinds of American families that you could tell were fostering children," says Tom Schmelz. "Today you rarely see an American family with a child or two walking throughout the village -- it's just very rare."
Debra Schmelz lives in a gated community in Antigua, about an hour west of the capital, Guatemala City. Tom flies down to visit one week every month.
The Schmelz home in GuatemalaTom and Debra Schmelz hired a fulltime nanny because they have two babies. They wanted to adopt a sibling for the older one before adoptions shut down. Now, 9-month-old Maria is officially theirs, but 5-month old Eliana's case is still open.
"If anyone in the biological mother's family changed their minds, the authorities here in Guatemala still, at this point, would permit the child to be taken by the biological family," says Debra Schmelz, adding that she and her husband are worried that could happen to them.
Guatemala is one of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. One-third of families here survive on less than $2 a day.
Adoption here started in the mid-1990s, and it's no wonder it's taken off. The price has grown, too -- up to $30,000 to adopt a child born here. Adoption has become big business -- big and largely unregulated.
Nugent and DentonSo much cash sloshing around a desperately poor country has led to allegations of baby-selling and fraud. In a few reported cases, unscrupulous middlemen lied to vulnerable parents at both ends of the adoption -- the birth mother who relinquished her child and the Americans who wanted to adopt.
Minnesotan Shaun Nugent knows what that deception feels like.
"It started off as a very simple referral, just like every other adoption. But as we got down here, we quickly found out that the facts that we were presented with the referral weren't indeed the facts," Shaun says. "We were told she's a two-and-a-half-year-old. Clearly she's not two and a half."
The little girl is really four and a half.
"The woman that was representing that she's her mother wasn't really her mother, and there were all sorts of other problems," Nugent continues. "So when all these problems came out through the DNA tests that were required under the rules of adoption, Chris and I made the decision that we were going to fight back, and we effectively took control of the process."
"Having met her, held her, and smelled her and kissed her, she's our daughter and I can't imagine losing her."
- Pam Schoen, about 9-month-old IsabelLast spring, Shaun Nugent and his wife, Chris Denton, quit their jobs and moved to Guatemala. Nugent used to be CEO of Sun Country Airlines, so the couple could afford to set up a second home.
They fired their adoption agency and hired a new lawyer. Still, after 10 months, because they don't have legal custody, Shaun and Chris see their daughter only on nights and weekends. She spends her days in an orphanage.
"It's been a very, very, very emotional hardship, it's been a financial hardship, it's been very difficult for us," says Shaun. "We are where we are, but it's like our chips were on the table and we couldn't pull them back."
Shaun and Chris say their own experience convinced them of the need for reform.
"There are drivers for adoption, there are discounts for adoptive parents, so it is a business, it's a market," says Chris Denton. "And there's a lot of talk of corruption, there's a lot of talk of women making babies for money."
It's hard to know how often this happens, because there are only a handful of documented cases of birth mothers being coerced into giving up their babies. Most people who work in adoption say they do it for love, not money.
Clandestine orphanageThe United States will sign the Hague Convention on April 1, 2008. So if Guatemala has not reformed its system by that date, the U.S. will no longer approve adoptions from Guatemala.
"The Hague treaty -- the provisions in the Hague treaty -- was designed by the first world," Shaun Nugent says. "It's going to be very difficult to fund, it's going to be difficult to regulate. And it's going to be very difficult to implement the idealistic provisions within the accord."
The Hague Convention reflects worldwide consensus that birth mothers and children should be protected. It seeks to reassure adoptive parents that the process is clean and transparent.
But many families are caught in limbo. The Schoens from Minnetonka -- the family we met at the Marriott -- are among them. They say they will do whatever it takes to be with the child they call their own.
"If there is a delay, we've thought possibly about me moving down here and fostering," says Pam Schoen. "And I'm ready for that. Tomorrow. I'm ready to do that. I guess I can't go to the place where we would lose her entirely. I can't go there."
The U.S. State Department and reputable agencies have issued warnings against new Guatemalan adoptions. But a few agencies are still accepting fees from unwary prospective parents -- and promising a Guatemalan child who may never arrive.
My husband and I are coming to the end of our adoption process in Guatemala. We started last spring and found our daughter in June. She is almost 8 months old. Our process has been long but smooth. Our agency in Minnesota has been an amazing,well-oiled machine. We're out of the Guatemalan courts and have only the issuing of the visa from the US embassy left. This is scheduled for February 6th, we'll be traveling in a week! We're escited and thrilled to be bringing back a sister to our biological son. I was drawn to the adoption in Guatemala from a childhood friend who adopted last year. Her experience was life-changing and beautiful. We followed in her footsteps, using the same agency. We've been very happy with the entire process. I will e-mail again once we are back in the states and settled in. I have only positive thoughts going into the next part of our journey!