Stalled more than 4 years in Guatemala. One family’s adoption story

When I read this story in the Washington Times, my reaction alternated between sorrow and outrage.  Andrea Poe writes:

Anthony Gatto, an attorney, and his wife Megan live outside Albany, New York.  They have been waiting to finalize the adoption of their son Anderson since he was born in October of 2006.  More than four years later, they continue to fight to gain custody of their little boy. 

They are one of the nearly 1,000 American families who have children stranded in Guatemala due to bureaucratic snafus, inter-country glitches and adoption laws that shift like sand beneath their feet.

The Gattos have visited Anderson in Guatemala. The child’s birth mother has gone on record stating her wish that the Gattos adopt him. Back in the States, the couple has done everything in their power to finalize  Anderson’s adoption. They pay $500 per month to an orphanage for his care. Four years later, they are still stuck.  Anthony Gatto writes:

Last May, we attended a Congressional Briefing on the issue that was attended by staff people from over twenty members of Congress.  We are part of a group of parents waiting to adopt children from Guatemala since the new law passed in 2007.  The group is called Guatemala 900 ( We currently have over 20 Senators (including New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand) and 10 Representatives (including Rep. Scott Murphy) fighting for the 400 families who have been waiting since January 2008 to adopt a child from Guatemala with stories similar to ours. 

All of these children have been in orphanages for over 2 1/2 years.  These children do not know the joy of a loving family and unless something is done, they will spend the rest of their lives in an orphanage.

Gatto supplies a vivid illustration of what waiting for Anderson since 2006 looks like:  

We have had his nursery fully furnished for almost three years and it only serves as a reminder that we must continue to fight for him because he is our son.  Every day we look down the hall at his room.  His crib is still assembled even though he’s too old and too big to fit in a crib. 

We refuse to take it down until we get him home.  Each year for his birthday and Christmas we buy him presents and wrap them for him when he gets home.  My wife and I celebrate his birthday each year and his closet is now full of presents, waiting for him.

I share the Gattos’ final plea:

We need to bring national attention to this matter in order to bring all of these children home.



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

5 Responses to “Stalled more than 4 years in Guatemala. One family’s adoption story”

  1. Sveta says:

    Unbelievable…Is there anything public/we can do? Letters? Please? Publicity? I’ll send my prayers, too.

  2. Jessica says:

    Thanks, Sveta. You can begin by checking the
    website; on the right side of the page they have links to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (which has a FB page), the Joint Council on International Services and other organizations. Even joining a FB page shows solidarity and adds to their numbers of supporters.
    You can also post a comment on Andrea Poe’s original article, saying you feel empathy and outrage. Those kinds of comments probably mean a lot to the Gattos; your voice can represent many.
    Thanks for caring.

  3. [...] that her profile of me and our story would run in her column on January 11, 2011. Readers of this blog may remember my comments on the piece Poe ran on the Gatto Family, whose case has been stalled in Guatemala since the closure of adoption in December 2007. In [...]

  4. [...] Since I started blogging two years ago, I’ve logged more than 25 posts about the adoption shutdown and families whose cases have been stuck in the pipeline.  One in particular stands out: Stalled more than 4 years. One family’s adoption story. [...]

Leave a Comment