Posts Tagged ‘Ambassador Susan Jacobs’

U.S. State Department notice on pending adoptions in Guatemala

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

The U.S. State Department has issued a notice about Ambassador Susan Jacobs’ December 2010 meetings in Guatemala with President Colom and other officials involved with intercountry adoption. The notice is dated February 3, 2011. As someone who has navigated the Guatemalan adoption process, I believe the most telling statement regarding the meetings is this:

The Office of Children’s Issues (CI) was encouraged by the positive reception on the recent trip, but the process for resolving the final grandfathered caseload remains complex.  Pending Guatemalan investigations and court processes must still be resolved, on which a strict timeline cannot be imposed. 

In other words, resolution will not be easy, and it is not going to happen overnight. But here’s the good news:

  • The Guatemalan government is holding frequent working group meetings to evaluate pending cases and make decisions regarding next steps.
  • The U.S. Embassy is checking in frequently with the working group to monitor its progress.
  • Why is this news good? Because Americans citizens with pending adoptions need advocacy in-country, on the ground. The U.S. government has  promised to check in “frequently.” Great news. Let’s hope the State Department holds to this promise.   

    Another important point as posted previously on this blog:

    On December 20, 2010 Ambassador Jacobs and Alison Dilworth hosted a conference call for prospective adoptive parents to report on their December trip.  During the call they asked that all adopting parents with grandfathered cases send their case information to to be sure their cases are included on the master list that CI and the Embassy are compiling.  This information was also solicited on the adoptions website.

    In response to this request CI has received 63 responses from adopting parents.  As a reminder, in order to be considered grandfathered, the case must meet both U.S. and Guatemalan requirements. 

    If you know someone with a pending case, urge them to send an email to This is critical in order for the State Department to get a handle on the “universe of cases.”

    Finally, this:

    The Guatemalan working group met on January 21, 2011 and will meet weekly.  The institutions that participated in this first meeting were the PGN, CNA, MP, and CICIG.  The Embassy communicates with each of the institutions that participates in the working group on a regular basis.

    From my reading, these weekly Guatemalan working group meetings are the crucial conduit through which the pending cases will be resolved. May they stay focused on the task at hand.


    State Dept. Announcement

    Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

    Below is the press release issued by U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Children’s Issues, regarding adoption cases pending in Guatemala. The release is dated December 20, 2010.

    The Office of Children’s Issues is asking U.S. citizens with active grandfathered adoption cases in Guatemala to send a brief email to including the name(s) of the adopting parent(s), the name and date of birth of the child and the date that your I-600A and/or I-600 petition was filed with USCIS.  Please give your email the subject line: “Guatemala Master List” so that it may be properly directed.

     Sending us this information will ensure that your case information is included on a master list of pending grandfathered cases that the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala is compiling.  We will use this list in regular meetings with a newly formed working group for grandfathered adoptions in Guatemala.  This working group is being formed pursuant to directive of the President of Guatemala following his December meeting with Ambassador Susan Jacobs, the U.S. Department of State’s Special Advisor for Children’s Issues, and Adoption Division Chief Alison Dilworth.  The working group will consist of representatives of the various Guatemalan government agencies that play a role in Guatemala adoptions, as well as other important stakeholders in the adoption process in Guatemala.


    US State Dept. hosts Monday conference call about status of Guatemalan adoption

    Friday, December 17th, 2010

    Like many adoptive parents to children born in Guatemala, I am eager for resolution of the hundreds of adoption cases pending since the shutdown of adoptions from Guatemala in December 2007. This group of waiting families is known as the Guatemala900. Some light may be shed on this issue during a conference call hosted by the U.S. Department of State on Monday, December 20, 2010 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am (EDT).

    The State Department’s press release is reprinted below. Click here to read this and other press releases posted on the State Department’s website.

    The U.S. Department of State Office of Children’s Issues Adoptions Division would like to invite prospective adoptive parents, adoption service providers, and adoption stakeholders with an interest in Guatemala adoptions to a teleconference with the Office of Children’s issues to discuss the status of intercountry adoption processing in Guatemala. 

    The focus of the call will be primarily to provide an updated outlook for resolution of the many remaining “grandfathered” cases involving U.S. citizens.   This update will include information from Ambassador Susan Jacob’s December trip to Guatemala in which she and Adoption Division Chief Alison Dilworth met with high level government officials and non-governmental adoption stakeholders to discuss the status of “grandfathered” cases still pending in Guatemala.

    Please join us for this call to learn more about adoption processing in Guatemala.

    To join the call

    If you are calling from within the United States, please dial: 1-888-363-4749
    If you are calling from outside the United States, please dial: 1-215-446-3662
    The passcode for all callers is: 6276702


    Ambassador Susan Jacobs in Guatemala to discuss adoption

    Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

    The U.S. State Department announced that Ambassador Susan Jacobs will be in Guatemala from December 7 to 11 to discuss pending adoption cases. This is great news for the families whose adoptions have been on hold since adoptions from Guatemala closed in December 2007. Ambassador Jacobs will also discuss the future of adoptions from the country, a subject of great interest to many interested in international adoption. My personal hope is that  headway will be made toward establishing adequate safeguards in the system so that adoptions may someday be reopened. Read the article here.

    “Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs will visit Guatemala December 7 – 11 for meetings on intercountry adoption. She will meet with government officials and nongovernmental adoption stakeholders to discuss the status of U.S. citizen adoption cases that have been pending since the suspension of new adoptions by Guatemala in 2007. She will also discuss Guatemala’s efforts to implement new intercountry adoption safeguards that would provide a path toward future adoption processing.”


    November is National Adoption Awareness Month

    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    Happy National Adoption Awareness Month! When Seal Press decided to publish my book, Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir, in November, I was thrilled. While writing the book, my hope was that our experience could contribute in some small way to the dialogue surrounding adoption. What better time to publish than in the month dedicated to the subject? As it turns out, the book was released in mid-October… Close enough!  

    On November 1, the U.S. State Department held a briefing on international adoption-related issues with Special Advisor for Children’s Issues Ambassador Susan Jacobs. Ambassador Jacobs answered questions regarding the implementation of the Hague Treaty; adoptions from Ethiopia, Haiti, Nepal, and other countries; as well as the currrent situation in Guatemala. 

    The entire briefing is worth reading and watching.  Ambassador Jacobs’ comments regarding Guatemala, quoted below, reiterate the State Department’s commitment to resolving the unfinished cases (the “Guatemala900″) that date from the Hague Treaty shutdown, in December 2007. I join the many Americans who are still hoping for resolution for those families soon.

    Regarding adoptions in Guatemala, Ambassador Susan Jacobs said:

    “In terms of the [Guatemalan] pilot project, every time we asked for details about it, there weren’t any. So it turned out there really wasn’t a pilot project to which – in which we could participate. And in looking at the procedures and regulations that had been put in place, not very much had changed since adoptions had been shut down. So we are trying to work with the Guatemalan Government to help them set in place proper regulations and procedures, and at the same time, close the cases that are in the pipeline. There are hundreds of cases that need to be resolved, so we’ve asked them to focus on that.”