April 12, 2014

Petition for DRC Adoptions

It wasn't so long ago that many of us were in a similar boat. There are current many adoptions in a legislative limbo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I do not claim to be an expert on the situation there, but please take a minute to sign this petition.

(I apologize it won't hyperlink, something not functioning properly but you can cut and paste).

Here is a press release:

Posted by Kevin at 08:44 AM

February 11, 2013

Petition to Aid Adoptive Families

I was recently sent this petition and hope anyone still visiting the site will sign as well. It involves providiing post-adoption assistance to children with R.A.D. (Reactive Attachment Disorder). I've known families wiht a child suffering from this disorder. So please sign,.


Posted by Kevin at 03:17 PM

May 05, 2011

Thank You Letter for Senator Landrieu

On the heels of her recent trip to Guatemala the Guatemala900 has created a Thank You letter to Senator Landrieu for her amazing advocacy work for the children and families with pending adoptions there.

Please take a moment to sign the petition and also put the word out to all family, friends, and supporters!


We have had many Senators and Congressmen make inquiries, attend meetings in D.C., sign letters to the Guatemalan entities and even write individual letters. We, waiting parents are very very grateful for all the support and advocacy from our Members of Congress. However, not since Senator Coleman (MN) went to Guatemala in 2007 have we had a Senator or Congressmen visit Guatemala and meet with all the pertinant players.

Senator Landrieu is a longtime advocate and voice for children all around the world living outside of parental care. She is truly a person with an open mind and giving heart.

Signing the Thank You letter takes a minute and we ask that you consider sharing with your friends, family and supporters.

Thank you

Posted by Ann at 05:09 PM

October 29, 2010

ACT on Adoption Petition

By clicking on more you can find the full e-mail I received from ACT on Adoption. But if you want the quick and easy, you can go to http://bothendsburning.org/ and sign their petition in support of ethical adoption, not shutdows.

International Adoption Under Attack

International Adoption continues to be under attack, with disastrous results for children. The numbers of such adoptions are dramatically down in recent years, dropping by more than half since the peak in 2004.The following chart illustrates:


In addition children lucky enough to be adopted are being held in institutions for longer periods prior to adoption, putting them at higher risk for lifelong damage.

We urge all ACT for Adoption members to consider taking action as indicated below:

(1) Sign the online Petition circulated by the new Both Ends Burning Campaign. This is a grassroots, multimedia campaign to promote reformed methods of regulating international adoption that would enable it to better serve the needs of unparented children. It is producing a film, Wrongfully Detained, which will demonstrate the depth of the damage done by the current international adoption crisis. It has also launched a petition campaign on its web site, with the goal of taking a million-and-one signatures to the UN to demand change. They need your help! To check out this organization, view their Petition, and sign on, go to their web site Both Ends Burning .If you agree with the goals of this Campaign, you can both sign the petition and urge others to do the same by forwarding this email.

(2) The United States recently announced that the U.S. will not participate in the new Guatemalan Adoption Pilot Program. Previously the U.S. had participated, along with UNICEF and others, in closing down Guatemala's adoption program, so that new adoptions from Guatemala stopped on Dec. 31, 2007. Thousands of adoptions in process at the time have been delayed over the last 3 years, and still hundreds are being obstructed. Little has been done to provide decent alternative care for those children who are not being adopted. Nothing that either the Department of State or USCIS has done so far has been effective in moving this logjam. Governments like the U.S., which insisted that Guatemala endorse the Hague Treaty, have an obligation to do the maximum possible to help develop acceptable and child centric international adoption systems. You can help by emailing your concern, and your demand for action to help children in need of adoptive homes, to:

- Department of State : ASKCI@state.gov
- UNICEF Director Tony Lake: alake@unicef.org

Posted by Kevin at 06:06 PM

October 28, 2010

Important Photobook project

Several Guatemala900 executive committee members met with Ambassador Susan Jacobs, US Special Advisor to the Office of Children's Issues, while in D.C. a few weeks ago. In discussing her advocacy plans it was decided that the families of children who are home and of those still waiting could create a photo book. It is an opportunity for everyone to help us make a difference.

At the request of Ambassador Susan Jacobs we have been issued the task of creating a photo book which highlights our amazing families with both the children that they are waiting for and the Guatemalan children they may already have home.

We aim to create a pictorial which displays the love and joy which will surround the awaiting children - all of which is being made possible by international adoption. We will include children already home - safe and loved - with their parents, grandparents, siblings, pets, and friends. If you would like for your family to be included in this project, here is what we need from you:

* family name and child's birthname–waiting time and/or time your child has been home
* 3-4 photos of your family, child, visits with your child, or your home (note : please ensure each photo has a file size is 1.5mb or higher)
* a short 1-2 sentence memorable moment between parent and child which speaks to the bond you share.

These books will be hand delivered by Ambassador Jacobs to the various adoption offices within Guatemala and will help to show the commitment we as parents and a community have made to our children. Let these pictures speak much louder than our words!

Please send to Carri Kern via email at kern75@hotmail.com by November 1, 2010 to be included in our book. Be sure to put G900 Book in the subject line.

The cut off for submission is November 1, 2010 to ensure the book gets to Susan Jacobs in time for her trip. Copies will be available to purchase online after completion. We will provide purchase information at that time.

Posted by Ann at 09:10 PM

August 04, 2010

Optimistic News from Guatemala


Guatemala Minister Counselor Fernando de la Cerda is returning to Washington, DC today after an intense 10 day trip to Guatemala which included 2 meetings with Guatemala President Alvaro Colom. Fernando is reporting significant progress in finding solutions for moving the adoption cases of the Guatemala900 forwards towards resolution. Fernando's efforts in Guatemala also included individual meetings with the PGN, CNA, Court of Appeals, MP, and with his own Department of Foreign Ministry.

On Monday, July 26th, President Colom hosted a meeting with the highest level officials from the PGN, CNA, MP and several high level lawyers. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss adoptions, including the resolution of the grandfathered cases. The same group along with the Deputy Secretary of Interior and high level officials from the Secretaría de Bienestar Social (SBS) convened again on Monday, August 2nd and will do so again next Monday, August 9th. Fernando reports that President Colom was sympathetic to the children who are in limbo and spearheaded discussions with the other officials about how cases can start to accelerate towards resolution. Fernando is optimistic that end result should be some significant measurable progress in the coming weeks and months.

As a condition, the officials in Guatemala are requesting information on the remaining cases. Specifically, Guatemala is asking for :
* Adoptive Family's Names
* Child's Name
* Biological Mother's Name
* PGN or CNA identification Number

Fernando de la Cerda said "I cannot stress enough how important it is that we have this information. There is no way for us to try to help without it."

Families can ensure that their information is provided to Guatemala by completing the JCICS/CCAI/GUATEMALA900 survey. Over 125 families have already completed the survey, and their information has already been sent to Guatemala. Fernando de la Cerda indicated that the Dept. of Foreign Ministry has already started to process the families information that was provided. Guatemala indicated that they need to have ALL of the families information for the next meeting with President Colom on Monday, August 9th. JCICS, CCAI, and Guatemala900 will send any addition family information that is obtained this week to Guatemala at the end of the day this Friday, August 6th. IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT FAMILIES COMPLETE THE SURVEY!

To participate in the survey, visit the following link : http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Guatemala2010

Posted by Ann at 04:23 PM

July 31, 2010



We need ALL families who are awaiting a child from Guatemala to fill out the JCICS/CCAI survey. It is VITAL.
Both the US government and Guatemalan government are going to rely on the data. You and the child you are adopting need to be counted and our DOS can not advocate properly without this information.

The Joint Council on International Children Services (www.jcics.org) and The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (www.ccai.org) are two organizations that are tirelessly working for the grandfathered cases every day. JCICS and CCAI recently approached the Guatemala900 and expressed a need for a comprehensive database of remaining grandfathered cases. JCICS and CCAI expressed that having this information will maximize the effectiveness of their advocacy work.

We know that the waiting families are no strangers to surveys. So why participate in another? The reason is simple - it will give our powerful allies the best tools to advocate for all of the children in Guatemala and families in the United States that are awaiting due process. The database created from this survey will supersede all previous databases, so it is important for all waiting families to participate.

To minimize the chance for data transfer error from our current database, we respectfully ask ALL In-process families to please participate in the the new survey asap. It should only take 10-15 minutes to complete. JCICS and CCAI will email to their extensive contact database in an attempt to find more in-process families, thereby expanding our voice and making us that more more effective in our efforts to to obtain “due process, due now!”

To participate in the JCICS/CCAI/G900 survey use this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Guatemala2010

At this date the number of respondents is at 150. We know there are at least 400-500 waiting families. Please tell all waiting families to go to the survey at Guatadopt or at www.guatemala900.org or at www.jcics.org

As a waiting family who has been literally fighting for our child to come home for over 3.5 years, we know you are weary. We know you have been complying with the sea of documentation for the USCIS and Guatemalan governments (which never seem to end!). We also know you have filled out surveys before, but, don't let that keep you from completing this survey. As JCICS and CCAI have expressed, this survey data will supersede all other data.

One important piece of data they are collecting is the length of time a family has been "stuck" in a particular point in the process. For example we have families that have been stuck in a step for over 2 years...2 years with zero advancement. The DOS often does not believe us when we express these extreme delays, so, stand up and be heard.

Personally, our family will fill out surveys and make calls and send emails and go to Washington DC and go to Guatemala until the voices of these innocent children are heard. Will you join us?

If you are already home, please tell your friends who are waiting to fill out the survey. Thank you!

Posted by Ann at 12:41 PM

July 05, 2010

Meetings in Guatemala with Guatemalan Embassy

Fernando de la Cerda has returned from Guatemala and is back at his position at the Guatemalan Embassy in Washington, DC. He reports to the Guatemala900 that he attended a meeting with the following entities to specifically discuss the grandfathered adoption cases :

PGN (Gladys Giron, Deputy Attorney General)
CNA (Elizabeth de Larios, Director)
Court of Appeals
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Though he could not provide specifics, Fernando feels that the meeting will have a positive effect on the grandfathered cases moving forward.

In addition, Fernando has provided a list to the Guatemala900 of families that submitted their information that provides a short response to each family that provides a brief status of their case. The list is being kept by the PGN and will be updated and sent every month. The Guatemala900 is translating the document and will notify each of the individual families via email just as soon as we can.

Posted by Ann at 01:13 PM

June 23, 2010

Update on Congressional Letters: Lautenburg Press Release

Senator Lautenburg has sent out a Press Release regarding the Congressional Letters to Guatemalan President Colom and high-ranking officials of CNA, PGN and the courts. The release even has the letter and all signatories.

If you see your Member of Congress on there, don't hesitate to send a thank you. Even if you are home it is important that our members know this is still an important issue to you and your children. Thank you.

For full Press Release go to:


Posted by Ann at 03:38 PM

June 21, 2010

Congressional Letters Sent to Guatemala

The Congressional letters have been sent to Guatemala with 76 Senators and Congressmen signing on. Seventy-six congressional signatures demonstrates the importance of the issue to resolve the "grandfathered" transistion adoption cases from across the United States. Amazing! Our Senator's office said that a bi-partisan iniative with this many signatures proves that this is an issue that Congress is taking seriously. Typically you would not have near this many signatories.

The letters are going to President Colom and 3 high ranking Guatemalan officials from PGN, CNA, and the courts.

I am proud of the in-process families and all their hard work to obtain the signatures. Of course, "shout outs" go to friends and family members who also made calls and sent emails! The physical letters were mailed down with copies being hand delivered by our US Embassy.

You can always count on adoptive families to work hard---what a tenacious group! Someone once said that it was the adoptive families that continue to shed the light on the cracks. We will continue to do so until the cases are resolved and the children have permanant families. Thank you!

Posted by Ann at 09:36 PM

June 17, 2010

Petition for Guatemalans in the US

I know this won't be popular with all so if you disagree, then don't sign. But I was sent this from family in Guatemala and IMHO it is a minor move to help some people get out of fear and be able to help their families back home get things back together.

In short, the storms have been horrible and the country is far from recovered. There is still widespread flooding. This is a petition to ask President Obama to lay off on deporting Guatemalans for the time being. You can read the details yourself on TPS.


Posted by Kevin at 05:12 PM

June 13, 2010

Deadline for Congressional signatures extended

Hello everyone, this is Ann. First of all I would like to say thank you to Kevin and Kelly for all you do and have done for adoptive parents, PAPs, and the children and people of Guatemala. On a personal note, there were many, many days when Guatadopt helped me through some very tough times. I am positive I am not alone in saying that. When you are in the process of adopting from a foreign country the acute lonliness and day to day struggles take their toll and to be able to log on and check in with Guatemalan adoption relevant information is invaluable. Guatadopt has been an e-lifeline for so many and I am happy to be here with such a great group. Thank you for extending the invitation.

Second of all, as Kevin mentioned, much of my role here is to bring Guatadopt back to it's "activist roots" and to help be a bridge between Guatadopt and the work that the Guatemala900 is doing. I am on the Executive Committee of Guatemala900 and am devoted to helping the PAPs gain transparency for their adoption process and that the cases be provided timely due process. In the end, it is about the children and their basic human right to a family.

On that note, the Guatemala900 is on a final push for Congressional signatures to the letter that was co-authored by Senators Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Barbara Boxer (CA), and Russ Feingold (WI). The letter is addressed to several of the top-level positions in Guatemala that deal with the "grandfathered" adoption cases. The letter respectfully requests the Guatemalan government take steps to institute a transparent and predictable process for all pending adoption cases. This letter will be addressed and sent individually to several Guatemalan government officials who each play a significant role in the processing of these adoptions. This list includes the PGN, CNA, and the Supreme Court among others.

The deadline for Congressional signatures has been extended until TUESDAY JUNE 15. Please see www.guatemala900.org for details.

Posted by Ann at 10:52 PM

June 07, 2010

Guatemala 900 Call To Action

Okay, this should have been posted sooner. But Guatemala900 needs your support - NOW! Basically little ore than calling your reps in DC to get them to sign on to a letter being sent to Guatemala.

Get all the information on it here: http://guatemala900.org/wp/?p=1436

Posted by Kevin at 05:56 PM

May 08, 2010

Way To Go Guat 900!

I just read the synopsis of the meeting this week in DC. Hats off and heartfelt kudos to the Guatemala 900! Your dedication and determination is clear in the pictures and actions. I truly hope to God that the folks in power in Guatemala look at those pictures and see what I do. I hope that they have the courage to realize that if at this point, years after these cases began, if they have not found sufficient reason to question the legitimacy of a case, IT IS TIME TO COMPLETE THEM. There are clearly devoted families for these children and it is the children's best interest be with their permanent families!

Look for yourself: http://www.guatemala900.org

Posted by Kevin at 10:32 PM

May 05, 2010

Mother's Day Petition - Guatemala 900

The Guatemala 900 has issued a petition to be sent to the First Ladies of the US and Guatemala. What more can I say than to urge everyone to take a second and a half and add your name to it!


Posted by Kevin at 08:26 AM

April 20, 2010

In Process? Then Register with the Guatemala 900

The Guatemala 900 has launched a survey in order to have a good list of active in-process families. All I can say is that I STRONGLY encourage everyone in-process to register. There is nothing to lose and this group is working hard to advocate for the children anf the completion of these cases.

You can find the survey by clicking here or visiting http://guatemala900.org

Posted by Kevin at 06:04 PM

April 15, 2010

Guatemala900 Congressional Briefing

Posted on behalf the Guatemala900 (and the children waiting to join their families!!!)

Guatemala900 will hold a Congressional briefing in Washington DC on Thursday, May 6.

ALL Guatemala900 families & advocates are welcome to join.

Invite your reps to attend the briefing from 10am-noon. It is important to get the briefing on their calendars now. We expect the briefing to be held in a Senate conference room - to be confirmed as we finalize attendance numbers. Members of Congress will respond to invitations from constituents - especially when you tell them you'll be in attendance.
You can find phone #s for your reps here: www.contactingthecongress.org.

The briefing will educate our reps on the situation of the stagnated Guatemalan adoptions and on the actions that we need from them. Since we’ll have them all in the same room, it’s also a great opportunity for them to build on the collective efforts. CCAI (Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute) has offered to support us with logistics and advice. Your reps are welcome to contact CCAI with additional questions ( 202-544-8500 202-544-8500)

We encourage you to schedule a personal appointment with your Reps in addition to the briefing.

If you’re a YES on attendance, please confirm via email with your home State & brief description of your adoption status. This will help us understand which members of congress will attend and size of conference room required.

We are searching for a reasonably priced hotel within walking distance from Congress so that we can march to the briefing together. Details will be published shortly. We’ll hold a meet/greet event on Wednesday evening at the hotel. We’ll also video the march and the briefing as part of a documentary on Guatemala Adoptions.

Please contact me directly with questions and suggestions. Additional information will be posted on the www.guatemala900.org website asap.

Posted by Kevin at 09:12 AM

November 30, 2009

Guatemala 900 Needs you - NOW!!!

Posted on behalf of Guatemala 900

Dear Friends and Family of Guatemala 900,

This is the most urgent cry for your love and support we have ever put out!
Please read this TODAY and put us on your calendar for Tuesday, December 1st and Wednesday, December 2nd. We are launching a campaign that could change the future of many of the children waiting to join their permanent families. We need you to be part of our collective voice to bring children home this Christmas!

We are requesting the immediate support of The Guatemalan PGN (Attorney General's Office) and UNICEF to fulfill our mission to get as many children home as possible by the end of the year. Some of these kids are the legal children of US citizens and possess US Visas, and still, they are held up by bureaucratic delay and unable to join the loving families who have been awaiting them for over 2 years.

please go to the Guatemala900 site for details. Thank you!

Posted by Kevin at 08:38 AM

October 30, 2009

Halloween Flier

Okay, in case your bigggest fear on Halloween is trick-or-treat for Unicef, an updated version of the fliers.

Download file

Posted by Kevin at 11:35 AM

August 17, 2009

Call to Action - Letter to Sec of State Clinton

The Bay Area is at it again - brings back memories of Hague past. And Guatemala 900 as well.

Sen. Barbara Boxer's office has written a letter and is requesting additional members of congress to sign on. As you can see from clicking on more, it urges Sec. of State Clinton to do more to aid the still hundreds of in-process families.

By clicking on "more" you can find complete instructions and the letter.

TIME FOR ACTION: Senator Boxer has sponsored a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address our in-process adoptions. The Senator has invited the rest of Congress to sign on – and needs to close signatures by Tuesday August 25.


-Please contact the WASHINGTON DC offices of your Congressional reps. Contact info is here: http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/index.html

-Ask for the Legislative Director, Chief of Staff or Staffer for Intercountry Adoption.

-Tell them to contact Senator Boxer’s Legislative Aide to sign on to the letter (contact info is below).

-Forward Boxer’s invitation to them via email or fax

The email conventions for Congressional contacts:

Senate: firstname_lastname@lastnamofsenator.senate.gov (with an underscore between first & last name)

House: firstname.lastname@mail.house.gov (with a period between first & last name)

If your reps have questions about the letter or about Guatemala adoption, they can contact Kathleen or Becky at Congressional Coalition on Adoption (202-544-8500).

Please reach out to them THIS WEEK: make the phone call and forward Boxer’s invitation, below.

Guatemala900 is very grateful for Senator Boxer’s leadership and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption’s support for this effort. Now we need to deliver the signatures, and make our voices heard.


From the Office of Senator Barbara Boxer:

Dear Colleagues,

Senator Boxer invites you to join her in writing to Secretary Clinton regarding the hundreds of pending adoptions by American families of children from Guatemala .

As many of you may know, when Guatemala passed legislation to implement its obligations under the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, the legislation contained provisions that allowed adoptions cases that were in process prior to December 31, 2007 to be completed under previous adoption laws. Guatemalan authorities registered approximately 3,000 such cases and according to the State Department, approximately three-fourths of these cases have already been processed to conclusion.

In response to allegations of fraud and baby-stealing under the previous adoption laws, Guatemala is closely screening the remaining cases. This has significantly stalled the adoption process for many American families. While we applaud Guatemala ’s efforts to ensure transparency and accountability in the processing of intercountry adoptions, we remain concerned that these delays have imposed significant hardships and emotional strain on birth mothers and adopting parents, and have forced children to remain in institutional settings without the love and care of a family and possibly with long-term emotional and physical consequences.

It is in the best interests of these children to see these cases completed fairly and efficiently. We hope you will join us in signing this letter.

To sign on, or for any questions, please contact Ariana Reks at 4-6177. The deadline for signatures is Tuesday, August 25 at noon.


Ariana Reks

Legislative Aide to Senator Boxer


Posted by Kevin at 07:57 PM

October 26, 2007

March on Unicef - ON HOLD

The FOA March on UNICEF has been cancelled for the time being. Click on more for more info.





those planning to attend the demonstration are requested to remain on alert for a rescheduled demonstration in the very near future, depending upon the outcome of the discussions.


Posted by Kevin at 05:58 PM

October 21, 2007

It's Halloween Again UNICEF

I just went back and read how the annual Halloween Campaign has been posted. It's amazing to me that in four years, the same flier still works okay. The story hasn't changed much...

So I'll link you back to three yeras ago to get the flier(s) and the idea. But I'd like to add/ask one more thing from those participating this year.

To everyone who was asked to collect for the UNICEF campaign and is not, instead collect for another charity. That way the sprit of good work can continue.

And for all of us who may have a trick-or-treater or two come by collecting for UNICEF, let's instead pledge to donate $5 for each child that comes for UNICEF to another charity. Compliment the trick-or-treater for wanting to do good and let them know that they have achieved it, just for a different charity.

One recommendation, a great charity that I don't believe we have featured before is Behrhorst Partners For Development: http://www.behrhorst.org/

Click here to go back to the 2004 post on this campaign and find the fliers: http://www.guatadopt.com/archives/000228.html

Posted by Kevin at 05:39 PM

October 13, 2007

A weekend call to action

Since UNICEF has been protecting Director Veneman and not tansferring calls to her or to her voicemail from the switchboard, then here may be a more creative way to get through while they are closed.

Phone Call: The issue that Unicef needs to clarify clearly are "does UNICEF support the grandfathering of all cases in process as of the effective date of any new law in Guatemala (cases would be processed under the current adoption system)?"; and "what do they mean by "due process" in their statement?" Due process has a very different meaning than grandfathering.

To leave a message on the voice mail of the Executive Director (Veneman) you should:

1. dial the switchboard 212-326-7000

2. Listen to the recording, and choose 1 to use the "dial a name feature"

3. Type in 8363626# (which are the numbers for the letters Veneman)

4. You should hear a voice mail outgoing message for the office of the Executive Director.

5. Leave your message at the beep.

Fax: Ask the same questions, in your own words, by fax. Unicef's fax number is 212 326 7758.

Posted by Kevin at 10:46 AM

September 05, 2007

Plea for help from Casa Quivira families

Posted on behalf of Casa Quivira In-Process Families:

Help get all 42 Casa Quivira babies home now
Many of you have posted about the Casa Quivira situation and asked, "How can I help?" Regardless of why this may have happened, there are still 42 innocent babies caught in the middle. We need your help.

Why now? Congress has been on recess and begins session again at noon on Tuesday, September 4. The developments are increasingly disturbing each day. We need to rally together for the safety, well-being, and right to a permanent family home (today, not 15 years from now) for all 42 children caught in this political mess.

Please contact the Chief of Staff or the Legislative Director in your Senators’ and Congress members’ Washington DC offices, we cannot contact lower level staffers. Call and/or Fax –email as a follow-up.

1) Call and fax both state Senators and your Congressional rep (DC offices)
2) Call and fax U.S. Government reps on the subcommittee that funds Guatemala with our Federal Tax dollars (list to follow)
3) Call and fax Consul General, John Lowell in the US Embassy

For US reps contact information—including Chief of Staff and Legislative Director names, please go to www.visi.com/juan/congress/

US Embassy in Guatemala
* Ask for John Lowell Consular General
phone: 011-502-2326-4000

Here is a sample fax. Be sure to add your approriate information. IN addition, it always best to wrote one from scratch using the same points: Download file
fax: 011-502-2326-4654, or 011-502-2326-4674

List of Senate and Congressional members of the subcommittee that funds Guatemala programs

Senator Patrick Leahy (Chairman) (VT) Senator Daniel Inouye (HI)
Senator Tom Harkin (IA) Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD)
Senator Richard Durbin (IL) Senator Tim Johnson (SD)
Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) Senator Jack Reed (RI)
Senator Judd Gregg (Ranking Member) (NH) Senator Mitch McConnell (KY)
Senator Arlen Specter (PA) Senator Robert Bennett (UT)
Senator Christopher Bond (MO) Senator Sam Brownback (KS)
Senator Lamar Alexander (TN) Chair: Nita M. Lowey (NY)
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (IL) Adam Schiff (CA)
Steve Israel (NY) Ben Chandler (KY)
Steven R. Rothman (NJ) Barbara Lee (CA)
Betty McCollum (MN) Dave Obey (WI)
Ex Officio Frank R. Wolf (VA) Joe Knollenberg (MI)
Mark Steven Kirk (IL) Ander Crenshaw (FL)
Dave Weldon (FL) Jerry Lewis (CA), Ex Officio


Message Points for phone calls

To Senators/Congress members:

As you may be aware, Guatemalan authorities raided the baby home of Casa Quivira, a licensed foster home in Antigua Guatemala, with 46 babies inside, on the night of August 11. These babies were all in process to be adopted by American citizens.

We are calling you because the 42 remaining babies are in jeopardy. It is still unknown to all families involved where their children are or the status of their babies’ health and well-being.

The affected families are American citizens who entered into the adoption process in “Good Faith” and should all be able to go through the established legal Guatemalan adoption process like ALL other 5,000 in-process adoption cases.

1. That the families affected be made aware of the location of their children, the status of the health and well being of their children. Additionally, It is in the best interest of the children to be returned to the Casa Quivira facility.

2. That the Casa Quivira cases be allowed to proceed immediately and be processed in a timely manner just like all other 5,000+ in-process adoption cases that are working through the same notarial process which is specified under Guatemalan law.

I ask that you as my Senator/Congress member contact the Department of State Office of Children’s Issues with my requests.

Contact information:
Julie Furuta-Toy Director of Office of Children’s Issues
Phone: 202-736-9083

I also ask that you as my Senator/congress member contact Ambassador Castillo with my requests.
Phone: 202-745-4953

Here is a sample fax. If possible, write one from scratch as it is more effective: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 10:32 PM

April 29, 2007

Families Without Borders Campain re: DOS

Posted on behalf of Families Without Borders:

Families Without Borders is an adoption advocacy group founded in 2003 during Guatemala's initial ratification of the Hague. All of our members have children who were adopted from Guatemala, and most were directly affected by the virtual shutdown of Guatemalan adoptions by PGN in 2003. Until recently we have focused primarily on educating corporate sponsors of UNICEF about the true impact of UNICEF'S policies, decisions, and actions on intercountry adoptions - especially from Guatemala. However, we are deeply and increasingly concerned by the recent DOS statements about ICA from Guatemala, as well as by the pressure they are putting on the Guatemalan government to implement specific and restrictive adoption reform laws.

We have analyzed the current published DOS position on Guatemalan intercountry adoptions and have summarized our conclusions and opinions in a "white paper." We also have crafted a sample cover letter that expresses our major concerns with the DOS position. We hope that you will read the letter and supporting white paper, and send both documents to your Senators or Congressional Representatives. At this time, we feel that these representatives have a much greater potential to influence DOS than do adoption advocacy groups. Please feel free to add personal information to the cover letter as you feel appropriate. A directory of Senators and Representatives can be found at: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm and at http://www.house.gov/writerep/ respectively. Due to potential delivery delays for security screening of mail to the House and Congress, may we suggest that fax would be the most efficient and effective method of contact.

For more information about Families Without Borders, please visit the web site www.familieswithoutborders.com

Click here to read the FWB position paper: Download file

Click here to download a sample letter: Download file

Posted by Kevin at 10:54 PM

March 30, 2007

US CIS Fee Increase

The US CIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service) has proposed a fee increase that would impact adoptive families. The proposed increase would have the cost of fingerprrints go from $70 to $80 per person and the I600A Application would go from $545 to $670.

A public comment period on this is open until April 2. To comment, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main. Enter "USCIS-2006-004" as the keyword and choose USCIS as the agency (sorry but no direct link is possible).

My personal opinion is that the fee increase is not a problem IF the funds are used to ensure proper staffing levels and training of embassy personnel.

Posted by Kevin at 10:03 PM

February 28, 2007

Call To Action

We've been receiving a number of requests for help "organizing". Now is a sketchy time and never before has the title of the Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows" held more true. Admittedly, we are somewhat at a loss for what to recommend. But one of our avid readers and commenters (who hopefully is soon to join with her own Writer's Corner) put together this campaign. We thank Marie for her help!

The Call To Action

There are many changes possibly occurring in Guatemala that might affect the processing of adoption cases. Adoptions may halt and families could be left without a child. We are short on time and your child and the children of Guatemala now need your help. Just take 5 minutes to write a letter, e-mail or call your US Represntative, Senators and even the President now. President Bush is visiting Guatemala next month and adoption is most likely an area of discussion between him and Pres. Berger.

Include in your comments:
· that you wish that the U.S. continues to encourage Guatemala to take the necessary steps to pass implementing legislation that is consistent with the Hague Convention but does not remove the chance for orphans to join a permanent family.
· Tell them that you strongly agree with the DOS statement that “any sudden halt to adoption processing would be problematic and hurt both the children and adoptive parents because children would be caught in the process with no system through which they could be placed internationally with a permanent family.”

Here are some main requests you MUST stress to them:

· As parents we have entered into this on a good faith agreement
and as citizens of the United States we should be protected

· In-process cases must be allowed to continue
without unnecessary interruptions or delays, while still ensuring that everything is consistent with the law (remember that with everything going on, we need to be understanding of additional measure the Embassy may be taking)

· Encourage the DOS to honor the statement of processing all
I-600 (A) applications

· Provide additional staff at the Embassy to process these cases
accurately and in a timely manner

· You may want to provide a short summary of your adoption story

Remind them that your vote counts!

To find your reps…

U.S. Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

US House of Representatives:
http://www.house.gov/ .

To e-mail Pres. Bush:
President George W. Bush: comments@whitehouse.gov

Thanks again and call, e-mail or write those letters NOW!

Here is a sample communication:

Download file

Posted by Kevin at 05:54 PM

October 24, 2006

Halloween Campaign

It's that spooky time of year again, which means it's time to brace ourselves for the UNICEF Trick or Treat fund raising campaign. I was at the Notre Dame game last weekend versus UCLA (Go Irish - nice finish!) and was surpised at how many kids were there collecting for UNICEF. I wish I had brought some of these fliers with me!

Each year, many adoptive families had out fliers about UNICEF and Intercountry Adoption to parents of trick or treaters. So rather than describe whole thing again, here's a link back to the listing from 2004: http://www.guatadopt.com/archives/000228.html.

Posted by Kevin at 09:54 AM

October 27, 2004

Halloween Campaign

Those of us who've adopted children from Guatemala know that UNICEF's annual Halloween collection campaign involves a lot of tricks, but certainly no treats, for children hoping for a "forever family." But outside of the adoption community, very few people know what UNICEF has been up to under the guise of "helping the children."

UNICEF's tricks include:
advocating for new adoption laws without providing the funding to implement those laws effectively and care for children in orphanages and other institutions
distorting the nature of the notarial adoption process in Guatemala
denying that they oppose ICA when in fact their actions indicate they do.

We all grew up knowing a UNICEF that worked to vaccinate children, promote literacy, and provide humanitarian relief. We can only hope that UNICEF will one day return to its original mission, rather than its current emphasis on public policy advocacy that may sound good on paper but that has had a devastating impact on children eligible for adoption.

So lets make them and all parents that come to our doors on Halloween aware of what is going on.

Here are two different fliers you can use to hand out.

The first one prints four-to-a-page that is perfect for handing out to all parents out with their kids. It is a rehash from last year but unfortunately, the story hasnt changed.

Download file

The second is one developed by my lovely wife and is more designed at those Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF. Feel free to use it as-is or to customize it with your own childs picture.

Download file

The important thing here is to utilize this childrens holiday as a chance to inform more of the public about UNICEFs position on intercountry adoption and to make UNICEFs supporters aware of what all they stand for.

Posted by Kevin at 03:51 PM

July 20, 2004

Pre-Approval Delays

Lately, there have been extended dealys for in-process families waiting to receive their visa pre-approvals. So here are a few of the things being done as well as explanations for those of you wanting to take action...

Posted from the Big List with Permission from Hannah Wallace:

Dear Listmembers, I've been silent on this list for several months, but not
at all inactive. Right now I'm in Guatemala and trying to get a meeting with
Roy Hernandez regarding the systemic problems that the majority of people are
encountering with the Embassy in Guatemala. At the same time, Focus on
and the Joint Council on International Children's Services are attempting
to address the systemic issues as organizations. Back in March of 2001, INS
had a conference in Guatemala and many of the problems were resolved after that
conference. I think that there are solutions now to some of the problems,
but we need to advocate to get interest in resolution.

The problem is, and has been, primarily that the Embassy IS seriously
understaffed in relation to the crucial role they play in Guatemalan adoptions. In
trying to fulfill this expanded mandate in Guatemala (supervising the DNA
process, and pre-approving children for Visa status prior to the adoptions becoming
finalized). Furthermore, when the Congressional Delegation (Delahunt et al)
went to Guatemala, they went to investigate constituents complaints about
flawed and fraudulent adoption practices. There was also great concern about the
IAR situation, so the Embassy was really asked by Congressional leaders to step
up their investigations and maintain greater oversight over attorneys and
agency practices in Guatemala. However, there still have not been additional
officers assigned on a permanent basis to the Guatemalan BCIS post. For several
years, there have been attempts to deal with this by having officers from other
posts in the region assigned (usually month by month) to Guatemala, which
sometimes causes more problems than it solves, as they're inexperienced with the
Guatemalan process. Also what one of these temporary officers says one month,
may not be consistent with the next month.

Finally, because of the staff time problems, the Embassy has not been
receiving phone calls for many months. The only people who can really get through,
and sometimes not very quickly, are Congressional liaisons. While this frees up
their time to work on cases, it causes an incredible problem in resolving
problems when they come up. Simple misunderstandings, mistakes, etc. become
extenuated and resolution of simple problems is difficult.

I would suggest that families contact their Congressional Reps and the
Congressional Coalition on adoption to gain advocacy for solving the staffing
problems and communication problems at the Embassy -- the systemic problems. You may
want to refer to examples from your own situation, but your own situationis
multiplied by hundreds at a time and ARE the result of staffing problems. BCIS
officers need security clearance to be assigned to a post. Most officers who
have this security clearance have been assigned to "hotspots", esp. since
Sept 11. There may be budgetary considerations, which Congress can address, but
essentially the allocation of funds and officers has been made for Homeland
security above Citizenship Services.

For specific concerns about your own case, you should ask for your own
Congressional liaison to find out what is happening, and should ask for help around
specific situations. The more people who complain, the greater the chances of
being heard, especially if you address the more systemic issues.

Hannah Wallace, Adoptions International
President, Focus on Adoption: An Intercountry Adoption Advocacy Organization

Here are some e-mail addresses and websites that may come in handy:
1) Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute: info@ccainstitute.org

2) E-mail for the CIS Ombudsman: cisombudsman@dhs.gov

3) Finding your Representative: http://www.congress.org ....here you can find your congress person and ask him/her to write to Mr Cuddihy at Office of International Operations (CIS) and Mr.Mercier at Office of International Affairs(ICE)

Below is a drafted letter, courtesy of an Adoption Forum participant, that can be used:

Dear ______________,

I am writing to ask your help in whatever can be done to improve the adoption process from Guatemala, specifically the US Embassy VISA pre-approval step. After going through months of pulling together paperwork, including obtaining prior approval from the US Dept. of Homeland Security to adopt a child from Guatemala, US citizens are currently forced to wait again two more months in the middle of their adoption to get VISA pre-approval from the US Embassy.

These delays are recent (up to the beginning of May were taking the normal 2-3 week timeframe). However, in the past month they have only processed 3-4 days worth of DNA results and appear to be getting more and more behind each week. Communication with the US Embassy staff on this matter has become very difficult for families and the Embassy (DHS) has not posted any updates to why these recent delays are occurring. It should also be mentioned that the slowdown in this step is adversely affecting the rest of the adoption process - cases are routinely being kicked out of the Guatemalan Attorney Generals office (PGN) because they do not have VISA pre-approval, causing additional weeks of waits to reenter the system.

We are asking your help in contacting Joseph D. Cuddihy at the office of International Operations, Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), and Richard F. Mercier of the Office of International Affairs Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) requesting an increase in the staffing of CIS Adoption Unit in Guatemala.

If even a couple more staff members could be added to help with the flow of paperwork, perhaps adoptive families could be together sooner and the children would have much needed permanency.


Posted by Kevin at 05:02 PM

July 08, 2004

More Media Lies

The spin doctors of the media have been hard at work once again legitimatizing undocumented, false claims being made about Guatemalan adoptions by Casa Alianza and UNICEF. This time around, it is not in a sensationalized newspaper story but rather as part of a Lifetime Special Report television program called Babies for Sale. You can read about it here:


This story/program, written by former Gen-X Time reporter Jessica Reaves, does seem to have been initiated with good intentions and appears to focus around a couple who stood the high ground against an unscrupulous lawyer in an attempted adoption that had nothing to do with Guatemala. And in as much as this program stands to educate prospective parents to adequately research and question those they hire in the adoption process, we applaud the effort.

At issue, however, is how they are framing the world of intercountry adoption. Particularly troublesome for those of us who fight to educate people on the truths of Guatemalan adoption and dispel the lies carried in the media is this excerpt:

UNICEF estimates that nearly 1,500 babies are illegally peddled from Guatemala each year for sale to couples in North America and Europe, earning criminal baby brokers an estimated $50 million each year, according to Casa Alianza, a child welfare group in Latin America.

We at Guatadopt know that this is a false, unsubstantiated claim that is being regurgitated by Ms. Reaves without ever second guessing it. And while the program does not center on Guatemalan adoptions, Ms. Reaves did have Guatemala on her mind.

On May 27th and June 1st she posted to the Adoption Forum sites looking for families who had been victimized by child trafficking. She posted this directly to the Guatemala Adoption forum along with one on Activism and Legislation and one on International Adoption - General Issues. Guatemala was the only country specific forum she posted to.

What bothers me about this is the fact that if she was using a site like that (which I think was a good thing for her to do if she was truly investigating), then she certainly had the ability to learn about Casa Alianza's stance on adoptions as well as the controversy that surrounds every claim they make. So IMHO, it was a dereliction of her journalistic integrity, intentional or not, to just quote that 1,500 figure. If she had done her homework, she'd know not to accept it at face value. Since the basis of the story is not Guatemala, she would have been best served leaving this figure out of her work. But by utilizing it in the story, it seems to me to be an at least somewhat intentional attempt to sensationalize the story without regard for objectivity and accuracy.

You can write to Lifetime TV about this though website at this location: http://www.lifetimetv.com/about/write.html . I would encourage readers to do so but to realize that this story, in its entirety, may be a valuable one. Nonetheless, the station, its producers, and Ms. Reaves need to be made aware of the impact these lies have on us. So please be kind and diplomatic while also expressing your dissatisfaction.

Guatadopt.com has attempted to contact both Lifetime TV and Ms. Reaves in order to bring this to their attention and provide them with documentation of why they should not have quoted the 1,500 adoptions figure. Thus far we have received no reply so feel free to suggest that they do contact us in your letter to them.

Posted by Kevin at 05:23 PM

June 16, 2004

Single Adoptive Parents URGENT Help Needed

As you may or may not be aware, there is a new law project being presented in Guatemala. While many aspects of this bill are positive compared to previous new law proposals, it has one very disturbing aspect. This bill threatens to end the ability of single parents to adopt children from Guatemala.

Focus on Adoption will be working to try to prevent this No Singles clause from making its way through the Guatemalan Congress by proving to them that children adopted by single parents are not having their rights jeopardized. These efforts would be in addition to the work of groups like the ADA who are dedicated to preventing laws from being passed and implemented that are not consistent with the Guatemalan Constitution.

In order to do so, Focus on Adoption will be presenting the Guatemalan authorities with proof of the loving homes that single parents provide. As such, Focus on Adoption is asking for the help of singles who have adopted from Guatemala. Focus on Adoption would like to receive copies of any and all post-placement reports from singles that have adopted. If you have not had any post-placement reports done, then providing a simple progress letter and photograph will suffice. Letters from any older adoptees with single parents would also be wonderful.

Please be sure that the information sent includes your name, your childs birth and adopted names, date the adoption was completed, and who your adoption agency was. Once again, this information is needed ONLY for single parents who have adopted.

It is possible that you may be asked for this same information from your agency for the same purpose. If so, just let them know that you have already sent it directly to Focus on Adoption.

Information can be mailed to:

Focus on Adoption
312 S. Lincoln Avenue
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Via Fax: 856-321-0809

Via E-Mail: reachoutnj@aol.com

For more information on Focus on Adoption including how to become a member, please visit http://www.focusonadoption.com.

Posted by Kevin at 08:32 PM

January 25, 2004

PLEASE Sign the Media Petition - NOW

Many of us have been nothing short of appalled by the negative and often inaccurate portrayal of Intercountry adoption from Guatemala. The mass media have failed in their journalistic duty to investigate a story comprehensively and objectively. The fact that, if true, the horrific cases written about could not reasonably result in an adoption from Guatemala is overcome by sensationalized headlines.

Individuals, grassroots organizations, and non-profit groups have been attempting to clarify the facts around adoptions from Guatemala for some time. Unfortunately, our voices have not been heard by those with the ability to create an accurate portrayal.

A petition has been written to try to show the numbers of people disturbed by the medias portrayal of Intercountry adoption from Guatemala. It is targeted to two media watchdog organizations as well as the C.I.S. in Guatemala, all of whom have the ability to help with this situation. This petition has been by endorsed by both Focus on Adoption and Families Without Borders.

To sign the petition, go to http://www.petitiononline.com/41203gm/petition.html . Please pass it on to as many people as possible.

Please have every individual sign separately rather than putting something like "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" so that we get a more accurate number of signatures.

p.s. There is a typo on the title of the petition. I am trying to get this fixed but normal rules for the petition site are, for good reason, that once it is posted, no changes are permitted. This typo will not appear when the petition is forwarded to hose it targets and I promise to do a better job of proofreading next time...

Posted by Kevin at 06:45 PM

August 13, 2003

Congressional Meeting Packet

The Bay Area Group (CA) has been very successful with convening meetings with high-ranking staff members in the offices of Senators and Representatives in their area. They have pulled together information on a wide range of topics and put it into a format for use in meetings with our elected officials. The packet, which is currently 95 pages long (so don't just download and hit print unless you're really ready for that), is most effective when placed in a binder and left with the staff member after the meeting. They have also provided helpful hints about scheduling meetings, what you should bring, how you should prepare, etc.

Some notes about the packet:
(1) you will have to revise sections of it based on the composition of your own group - for instance, there is space for a list of group members, pictures, etc that will be different for each group. If you don't use a section of the packet, make sure to remove mention of it from the table of contents.
(2) there are portions of the packet that use color - for changing the color of text directly, highlighting sections of text, a map, etc. If you are using a black and white printer, go through the document carefully to make sure that these areas are still legible and differentiated from the rest of the text.
(3) this is a large file (95 pages) and might take a little while to download. Please be patient.

Please, feel free to use this packet in your meetings with senators and representatives.

Congressional Packet Kit - ms word

The Bay Area group indicated that they didnt start seeing what they really need from the reps (calls/ letters) until they began meeting with them. The dozens of letters their office received prior to the request for a meeting got their interest, but it was the meetings that really have been the golden nugget in terms of getting officials to ACT on our concerns.

Julie Nicholson has put together some pointers that the Bay Area Group has learned from these meetings. You can find it at:

Helpful hints for Congressional meetings - ms word

Julie is willing to correspond with anyone who wants further information on setting up a meeting, how theirs have gone, etc. She can be reached at: juliemn@earthlink.net.

If you simply want to know what to ask for when the congressional offices call in response to your repeated letters, a list of "action points" (which is also found in the packet) has been compiled. Remember that meeting directly with a staffer is the best way to get action, but you can start with the action points here:

Action Points

A big thanks to all of the people who have worked on this packet, and provided documents or information for inclusion. We hope that it will be put to use by many people as senators and representatives all over the country are faced with requests for meetings on this issue!

Posted by at 12:05 AM

August 12, 2003

New Online Petition

My amazing group of coauthors has worked feverishly to put together another petition. This one is addressed to Michelle Bernier-Toth, Director of the Office of Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State. It outlines the problems that are being faced with the U.S. government position regarding Guatemalan adoptions (eg sending us to the Central Authority for information, suspending DNA authorizations, etc) and requests five major points of action.

Please read, sign, and pass on to everyone that you can, the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/DOSguat/petition.html

We have requested that you supply your state of residence. That request was made because we hope that U.S. Senators and Congressional Representatives will look at this petition while considering how they will intervene on behalf of their constituents. If they see that there are people from all over the country who are affected, and many people from their state, then they might be more likely to take positive action quickly.

The petition was authored by Ellen Daley, Allison McSweeney and myself (Maura Meade-Callahan) with thoughtful revisions by Theresa Lacey and Hannah Wallace. Thanks to everyone.

Posted by at 10:57 PM

July 31, 2003

Petition for families without DNA authorization

In consultation with adoption professionals and adoptive parents, we have pulled together another online petition. This petition is specifically for US adoptive parents who have "transition" cases and have not been able to get DNA authorization from the US embassy.

Although we know there are many people who support the position that the BCIS should resume DNA authorization and testing immediately, we thought that a statement directly from those involved would have a great impact. We do encourage everyone to continue mailing your letters to Joe Cuddihy at the BCIS. A sample letter is available on this site. I also hope to put together a more general petition to get the DOS and BCIS to stop legitimizing the Central Authority in Guatemala. However, that one isn't done yet.

For now, I encourage all families who are stuck in the process without DNA authorization to please visit the petition at: http://www.petitiononline.com/DNAauth/petition.html and sign it. I will fax letters to Joseph Cuddihy (BCIS in DC) and Roy Hernandez (US Embassy in Guatemala) tomorrow to let them know about the online petition. Hopefully there will be quite a few signatures on it by that time.

Maura Meade-Callahan
with special recognition to petition co-authors (in alphabetical order): Ellen Daley, Tina Edmonson, Allison McSweeney, and Julie Nicholson

Posted by at 03:08 PM

June 19, 2003

US-UNICEF Position (Petition)

Maura Meade-Callahan has written a position statement for us. I encourage everyone to take the time to read it and sign it. As many of you know, UNICEF has been pressuring the Central Authority to implement unrealistic procedures.

UNICEF Position Paper/Petition

**NOTE: I have had many comments on this post and I wanted to make sure that readers did NOT think that by adding a comment, they were signing the petition. To read/sign the petition, click here or on the link above. At the top of the petition are links to sign or to view signatures. There is also a place for your comments.

Posted by Kelly at 09:32 AM