Update on the Karen/Anyeli adoption case

The Limits of Jurisdiction, by Erin Siegal McIntyre (“Finding Fernanda” and the “Embassy Cables”), offers the latest update on the adoption most commonly known as the “Case in Missouri” or the “Karen/Anyeli” case. Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive family since December 2008. But a family in Guatemala remains convinced she is their kidnapped daughter, Anyeli.

Every time I re-read the facts of this case–which I just did again–and take in the magnitude of it, the amount of time, the number of players involved, the years representing a percentage of a person’s life time, I am left breathless.

Here’s an excerpt:

For the past six years, the child known as Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive parents, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan. But Loyda Rodríguez and Dayner Hernández, a young Guatemalan couple, are convinced the child is their daughter, Anyelí, who was kidnapped in November 2006. Although a Guatemalan judge ruled that Karen should be returned to Guatemala in 2011, the Monahans have kept her.

Today, both families hope to do what’s best for Karen. But understanding what that means is just as complicated as understanding what actually happened to the child.

In Guatemala nearly a dozen people, including government officials, have been charged with serious criminal offenses related to Karen’s adoption, including dereliction of duty, human trafficking, and falsifying documents. Two women, a nursery director and a lawyer, have been found guilty and are serving jail time for their involvement with the child.

The case pits American against Guatemalan interests, a family against a family. It can be seen as a study in the failure of cooperation and international diplomacy, or as an examination of influence, wealth, and power. The situation forces questions about the definitions of what is right, what is moral, and what, exactly, is criminal.

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