Our Guatemalan adoption community mourns the loss of at least 19 children in a fire at an orphanage in San Jose Pinula. The fire followed a 15-hour riot waged to protest living conditions and alleged abuse.
Someone asked me via Facebook, “They thought rioting would make it better?”
To which I answered: These children have no voice and no rights and no advocates. They saw no other way to call attention to their deplorable conditions.
Someone else asked, “Were these placed children?”
And I explained this was a government-run orphanage, a kind of full-time care facility for children removed from dangerous situations at home, mixed with children in juvenile detention and children left there by relatives. Adoptions from Guatemala to the US closed in December 2007.
I was shaking as I read the news and watched the footage of inside the concrete facility.
They feel so close to us, those children.
I offer prayers for their souls and for the survivors who must live with the memory of this horrific ordeal.