Posts Tagged ‘Guatemala900’

Hope for the Guatemala900 and pending adoptions?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Will President Otto Perez Molina go down in history as the official in Guatemala who finally resolves the more than 300 adoption cases that have been pending since the shutdown in December 2007? If I were a parent waiting for a child whose case had been in limbo for more than four years, would I dare to hope?

An article in the Associated Press seems to indicate that the new President is willing to take action after meeting with Lousiana Senator Mary Landrieu, a tireless champion of international adoption. Hopes have been raised before. Will this time be different? From the AP article:

Guatemala’s president says he’s willing to speed up 350 adoptions by U.S. couples that were in process before his Central American nation suspended adoptions by foreigners in 2007 following allegations of fraud and baby theft. President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday he hopes to resolve those cases after meeting with Sen. Mary Landrieu. The Louisiana Democrat has been traveling to Guatemala to push for the adoptions to go through.

Since I started blogging two years ago, I’ve logged some 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.

May change occur soon.

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In Guatemala, 2 women sentenced in adoption case

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

From the Associated Press on October 25, 2011, Guatemala Court Sentences 2 in Adoption Case, an update on the contested adoption of Anyeli Liseth Hernandez Rodriguez:

A Guatemalan court sentenced two women to 16 and 21 years in prison on Monday for trafficking a stolen baby who was given for adoption to a U.S. family.

Special prosecutor Lorena Maldonado said the sentences handed down to a lawyer and the legal representative of an adoption agency will reinforce the birth mother’s bid to get her daughter returned from the United States.

“Even though the criminal proceedings are separate from the adoption process, these sentences help, and confirm the argument of the mother, Loyda Rodriguez, that this girl is her daughter and was stolen from in front of her house, and that there is a criminal structure in Guatemala that steals children,” said Maldonado.

Guatemalan authorities have asked that Anyeli, now named Karen Abigail, be removed from her adoptive family in Missouri and returned to Guatemala. Such an occurrence would be a first in any international adoption case. Adoptions from Guatemala to the United States closed in December 2007, with some 300+ cases still pending. Read the article here.

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Good news for 44+ pending cases in Guatemala, reports Associated Press

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Reported by Nacha Cattan of the Associated Press, in an article titled Guatemala to renew adoptions halted midway by ban, on August 21, 2011:

“Guatemala has issued a decree that could speed up dozens of adoptions by U.S. couples that have been stuck in limbo since the Central American country suspended adoptions in 2007 amid allegations of fraud and even baby theft.”

“The decree says that parents whose adoptions were halted midway by the ban can complete the process if they prove a “prolonged” relationship with the child and that they were not responsible for any fraud, among other requirements. The possibility of a domestic adoption must also be ruled out.”

“But it might not go far enough to solve all pending cases, says Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who will visit Guatemala this week to, among other things, push to expand the program to more U.S. adoptive parents.”

This is a positive step in the right direction. Read the entire article here.

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Both Ends Burning Campaign to stage march on Washington DC

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Two weeks ago, our family attended MOGUATE, a gathering of adoptive families in Missouri and neighboring states. While there, I met an American mother, Y, with a daughter, Z, from Guatemala. When Y accepted the referral of Z, her daughter was a baby only a few months-old. Today, Z is a four-year-old girl.

Z has been home with Y and her husband and son for seven weeks. The case dragged on for four long years.

Y is a member of the Guatemala900, the families who have been trying to finalize the adoption of their children since the shutdown of adoptions from Guatemala in December 2007.  Y told me that the turning point in their adoption process occurred after she participated in a march on Washington, DC. After that, someone, somewhere, in a position of authority, reviewed Y’s case, recognized the paperwork was legal and in order—simply, for no real reason, stalled–and moved it forward. This being a case in international adoption, complications naturally ensued. But at least an end was in sight, and, finally, came.

Every day that a child is in institutional care is a day that child pays for later down the road.  I’m sorry, but from my observations, conversations, and experience, it’s that simple.

On Friday, August 26, from 2 to 5 p.m., the Both Ends Burning Campaign will stage a march on Washington, DC, Step Forward for Orphans. The event will take place on the National Mall-Childrens Carousel near 9th and Jefferson, Washington, DC.

If you are in the area, or can get there, please add your voice to the plea of parents everywhere who are waiting for their children.

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Office of Children’s Issues delivers “Letter of understanding” to CNA

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

This notice from the U.S. State Department represents a positive step forward for the waiting families of the Guatemala900  and those of us who care about them.

Notice: Guatemala listserv update June 13, 2011

Letter of understanding delivered

The Office of Children’s Issues announces that it has delivered a letter of understanding to the CNA [Consejo Nacional de Adopciones, the office that processes adoptions in Guatemala] that confirms the U.S. Government’s role in the CNA’s proposed framework for processing its transition cases to conclusion. We await the CNA’s response and will provide updates as they become available.

On June 2, 2011, the State Department posted a summary of the April 14, 2011 meeting in Washington, DC that included representatives of both countries who are involved in resolving the pending cases. You can read that notice here.

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Good news for Guatemala900 Family; open birth certificate editorial; my reading in Santa Rosa

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

At last! A happy ending for one of the waiting families of the Guatemala900. After four long years, Kinsey Reyher joined her adoptive parents, Brittney and Danny Reyher, and brothers, Kainen and Gabriel, in Terre Haute, Indiana, the Brazil Times reported on May 31, 2011.

Brittney and Danny, along with some family members when they had time, made 14 trips to visit with Kinsey, appeared for two court hearings, struggled through a change in lawyers and went through eight different agency coordinators to try and finish the adoption process.

“There was delay after delay… So many people were out there praying for us. And we could feel the prayers. This process brought our whole family closer together.”

On June 17, 2009, Brittney and Danny and the other 402 waiting families waiting for their children to come home, along with their supporters, marched on Washington to bring about public awareness to the Guatemala 900.

***

While the Reyher family enjoys their lives together, Brittney and Danny stay in touch with the families still waiting for their children to come home from Guatemala.

“I would like people to know about the remaining 300 cases that are still in limbo in Guatemala,” Brittney said, adding there are at least two other families from Indiana who are waiting for their child to come home from Guatemala. “One family is from Farmersburg and the other Greencastle. We are all friends and a huge support to one another. Even though our adoption is complete, we won’t feel complete until all the children are with their forever families.”

May this be one of many cases soon to be resolved.

In another must-read article, my good friend and fellow adoptive mom Laura-Lynne Powell argues that open birth records benefit everyone–from mothers who place their children for adoption to children who deserve to see evidence of their biological roots. ”Adoptees shut out from birth records” was published in the Viewpoints section of The Sacramento Bee on Sunday, May 29, 2011. Here’s a short excerpt:

My own school-age sons were adopted in open adoptions and we continue to enjoy loving relationships with members of their first families. We visit and exchange gifts and letters. We’re all Facebook friends.

But neither of my sons have a legal right to see their birth certificates. It doesn’t matter that we already know the details of their births. Because we live in California, they can’t see the documents. I can’t see them. The women who gave birth to them can’t see them.

So my question is this: If Barack Obama’s birth certificate is so important, then why aren’t the birth certificates of all Americans – including those who happen to have been adopted – important as well? Why can’t we get past this outdated prejudice?
Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/29/3660060/adoptees-shut-out-from-birth-records.html#ixzz1NxoIxAhq

Finally, I’ll be reading from Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir at Copperfield’s Books Montgomery Village, this Sunday at 1 p.m. At the moment, this is my last scheduled reading in the Bay Area. Please stop by and say hello~

Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 1 p.m.
Copperfield’s Books Montgomery Village
2316 Montgomery Drive
Santa Rosa 95404
707-578-8930

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Guatadopt post

Monday, May 16th, 2011

If you’re connected to adoption from Guatemala, chances are good that you’ve already read the May 11 Guatadopt post on the relationship between CICIG and Senator Landrieu, and the status of Susana Luarca.

If you haven’t, please do. Guatadopt writer “Kevin” offers an excellent summary of both situations; his analysis of the difference between “abnormalities” and “non-serious abnormalities” in the adoption process rings true. As for Kevin’s statement that “all of this is very reminiscent of what has been going on in this debate for far too long.” Hear, hear! Take a look at the Guatemala900 website to learn about families whose cases have been hashed over for a minimum of three years. Many cases have moldered years longer.

As an adoptive mother to one child who lingered in foster care for fifteen months, and another for six,  I can tell you that every day makes a difference–to adoptive parents, yes, but more than that, to the future life of a child. 

The “comments” on the Guatadopt site enlighten as much as the post itself.  Read for yourself, and you’ll see.

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Hope at last for the Kyrgyz 65

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Back in February of this year, I posted a blog about Frank and Gabrielle Shimkus, who along with other families known as the Kyrgyz 65, were waiting for their adoption from Kyrgyzstan to be finalized. Their plight sounded sadly similar to that of families waiting for children in Guatemala, the group known as the Guatemala900. Gabrielle explained:

We received our referral in Aug. 2008. A little boy, 2 months old, with a cleft lip and palate. He was as frail as could be. We had all of our paperwork here in the US approved and our dossier in Kyrgyzstan. We went for our first visit in November 2008, and spent 2 full weeks with him, loving him.

It was only supposed to be one more month before we returned to go to Kyrgyz court and take him home with us for good, but that didn’t happen. One day the Kyrgyz government heard rumblings of people forging paperwork. It turns out to be vaguely true, but of another country, not ours. That day they decided their adoption laws were too easy and in one fell swoop got rid of every law on the books. They did not consider that there were 65 families in the immediate pipeline to adopt—families, like ours, who were weeks away from that one court hearing that would have allowed us to take our kids home. Their government refused to allow our adoptions to go forward because they no longer had the laws to finish them.

Still they dangled the carrot in front of us. “Just give us a few months. 6 months we promise. You will have your kids by Christmas.” They then placed a moratorium on international adoptions.

After months of hanging by a thread, the country elected a new president, who was the first female Asian president. She heard our pleas, told us to be patient. Months more went by.  A new Parliament was elected and we were promised our legislation would be one of the first to go through. It didn’t happen. The US State Department has been involved all along, but provide us with no concrete answers.

We are now 2 1/2 years since this tragedy began. The 65 families have a forum where we keep in daily contact with each other. We have contacted every Senator, Congressman, and person of influence we can think of. Some of the families have dropped off. 2 of the children have died waiting. Yes, 2 children are dead because they succumbed to illnesses treatable here in the US. It is horrible, beyond words.

The crazy thing is that all along they have said we can have our kids. Very few people are against this. They just don’t have the know-how to finish our process. Crazy to still hold on to hope when everytime it gets ripped out from under us. Still, no one will tell us “NO YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR KID.” Maybe if they did things would be different. Maybe some of the parents could heal and move on. But the carrot is still out there dangling. We get pictures every few months, and that is the closest we come.

I’m thrilled to report that Radio Free Europe has posted an article titled Kyrgyzstan Lifts Ban on International Adoption. The family profiled is none other than the Shimkuses. As my children would say, Yippee!!

Read the Radio Free Europe article here, and another regarding the official announcement by the Kyrgyzstan government here.

And please keep sending positive thoughts for the Guatemala900.

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Please sign the Guatemala900 petition to Senator Mary Landrieu

Friday, May 6th, 2011

The Guatemala900,  the group comprising families stuck in adoption limbo with the closure of adoptions from Guatemala in December 2007, is circulating a thank-you note in the form of a petition to Senator Mary Landrieu. I signed the petition and urge you to do the same. The Guatemala900 petition preamble reads:

The children and families of pending adoptions in Guatemala have been waiting anywhere from 3 to 8 years for the process to complete.

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu recently traveled to Guatemala to meet with President Alvaro Colom as well as the heads of the various entities that govern Guatemalan adoption in an effort to break the gridlock that these children’s cases have encountered.

For this amazing devotion, the Guatemala900 offers this letter of thanks to Senator Landrieu.

Please show your solidarity for the children in Guatemala and their waiting families by clicking on the link and signing the petition.
Thank you.

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New Yorker article on the death of Rodrigo Rosenberg

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

This week’s issue of The New Yorker (April 4, 2011) contains a riveting article about the death of Guatemalan attorney Rodrigo Rosenberg that should be read by anyone interested in the country or adoption. A Murder Foretold: Unravelling the Ultimate Political Conspiracy by David Grann begins this way:

Rodrigo Rosenberg knew that he was about to die. It wasn’t because he was approaching old age—he was only forty-eight. Nor had he been diagnosed with a fatal illness; an avid bike rider, he was in perfect health. Rather, Rosenberg, a highly respected corporate attorney in Guatemala, was certain that he was going to be assassinated.

Not only is Rosenberg’s death a tragedy, it occurred under circumstances so tangled and unbelievable, you must must read the entire article to appreciate its impact. The more people understand why a man would be driven to do what Rosenberg did, perhaps the more they will care about Guatemala, and the less Rosenberg’s death will have been in vain. For purposes of this blog, which deals with adoption, I will focus on a few early paragraphs, because they lay out the context in which adoption to the United States occurred:

Rosenberg had frequently expressed despair over the violence that consumed Guatemala. In 2007, a joint study by the United Nations and the World Bank ranked it as the third most murderous country. Between 2000 and 2009, the number of killings rose steadily, ultimately reaching sixty-four hundred. The murder rate was nearly four times higher than Mexico’s. In 2009, fewer civilians were reported killed in the war zone of Iraq than were shot, stabbed, or beaten to death in Guatemala.

The violence can be traced to a civil war between the state and leftist rebels, a three-decade struggle that, from 1960 to 1996, was the dirtiest of Latin America’s dirty wars. More than two hundred thousand people were killed or “disappeared.” According to a U.N.-sponsored commission, at least ninety per cent of the killings were carried out by the state’s military forces or by paramilitary death squads with names like Eye for an Eye.

***

In 1996, the government reached a peace accord with the rebels, and it was supposed to mark a new era of democracy and rule of law. But amnesty was granted for even the worst crimes, leaving no one accountable. 

***

After the peace accord, the state’s security apparatus—death squads, intelligence units, police officers, military counter-insurgency forces—did not disappear but, rather, mutated into criminal organizations. Amounting to a parallel state, these illicit networks engage in arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, human smuggling, black-market adoptions, and kidnapping for ransom. The networks also control an exploding drug trade. Latin America’s cartels, squeezed by the governments of Colombia and Mexico, have found an ideal sanctuary in Guatemala, and most of the cocaine entering America now passes through the country. Criminal networks have infiltrated virtually every government and law-enforcement agency, and more than half the country is no longer believed to be under the control of any government at all. Citizens, deprived of justice, often form lynch mobs, or they resolve disputes, even trivial ones, by hiring assassins.

I personally would like to know what author David Grann means by “black-market adoptions.” Use of an alias on paperwork? Change of a birth date? The omission of the name of a husband when one existed? None of those things are “right,” but they are a far cry from baby-snatching, which is what “black-market adoptions” implies, at least to me.  Perhaps Grann simply is saying that adoption was handled in a manner he observed often in Guatemala. As my lawyer once told me during my daughter’s adoption, “Things are different here.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011

/04/04/110404fa_fact_grann#ixzz1IN5OtDYa

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