Posts Tagged ‘Senator Mary Landrieu and Guatemalan adoption’

It’s here! The documentary “Stuck”

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

The long-awaited documentary Stuck, produced by adoptive dad and Both Ends Burning founder Craig Juntunen, is now in theaters across the US in limited screenings. Previously, I wrote about Stuck and Craig Juntunen here and here.

What I love about the movie is that Craig put faces and personal stories to the abtract idea of “children without families, somewhere out there in the world.” I thought I couldn’t cry anymore about adoption, but after watching the film trailer, I know now that I can.

In previous posts, I’ve lamented the lack of leadership in international adoption, and how, among our elected officials, no one seems to be leading the charge. May I please amend that statement? Senator Mary Landrieu advocates for adoption non-stop. She is everywhere, all the time. Certainly in Craig’s film,  but also Skyped into a broadcast I watched recently on Guatemala television, lobbying in Congress, at conferences, and on the ground in countries where adoptive parents continue to wait for their cases to untangle from miles of red tape while their hoped-for children grow up without them. I’m sure I speak for thousands of others when I say “Thank you, Senator Landrieu.”

Last summer, in the days leading toward the fifth anniversary of adoptions being closed in Guatemala, I was so demoralized thinking about the unresolved cases, and the future of the children who live in institutional care, that I despaired of ever seeing change being made. Craig Juntunen’s movie gives me  hope.

Please watch the trailer, share with friends, and check the film’s itinerary. Craig and his team are embarking on a cross-country bus tour, and seek volunteers to help promote the film along the way. Details are on the website.

Onward. ~


Guatemala 900, still waiting

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Since I began blogging, I’ve logged many posts on the group known as the Guatemala 900, American families waiting to finalize the adoptions of the Guatemalan children to whom they’ve been matched. Now numbering around 300, the Guatemala 900 cases have been stalled since the shutdown of adoptions between Guatemala and the U.S. in December 2007, nearly four-and-a-half years ago. Since then, the waiting children have remained in care in Guatemala, while their adoptive families support them from afar in the U.S.

On May 10, 2012, Senator Mary Landrieu hosted a public conference call, in which the Senator relayed information about her most recent trip to meet with Guatemalan officials to discuss the pending adoptions, and her plans to advocate for families in the future. On May 14, the State Department issued its official statement on the conference call and the current situation; you can read about it here.

In the meantime, I’ve posted two photos of my children, one taken in November 2007, and the other taken a few days ago, to demonstrate how long four-and-a-half years means in the life of a child.

After hearing Senator Landrieu deliver the news of how little progress has been made in the last four-plus years, the temptation for me would have been to run sobbing from the room, giving up all hope of resolution. Yet the families of the Guatemala 900 soldier on, believing that one day soon their cases will be finalized.

I just want to say, again, how much I admire the Guatemala 900, for their loyalty to the children they understandably consider their own, and for holding fast to their dreams of providing those children with permanent, loving families.


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.


Craig Juntunen on Huffington Post

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

On March 13, Craig Juntunen, founder of Both Ends Burning, posted a pro-international adoption essay on Huffington Post, “We Need to Help Orphans Find Families.” If you’re reading this now, you probably know where I stand on this issue: I agree with Craig, so much so that I wish I had written these words myself:

Instead of letting this conversation get swept away in politics, let’s start with the universally accepted fact that institutionalization is an emotional — and sometimes a physical — death sentence for a child. During my travels to Haiti, I met Roberson, a 13-year-old boy who maintains the social, emotional and physical well-being of a 6-year-old. Roberson is unfortunatelyonly one of millions of orphans worldwide that fail to develop critical human functions due to institutionalization.

If we aim to save Roberson and other kids like him from a life behind the bars of institutions, we have to fix the international adoption system. Far too many eager families are simply deciding not to adopt because the system has become so burdensome. Today, the average wait for adoptive families to welcome their children home is 33 months, and costs average $25,000.

Leadership is the answer for these kids, but unfortunately, there is no sense of urgency among those who hold the power to make the necessary changes. For every Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN), who relentlessly pursue justice for these children, there are many others who are content to let The Hague be their excuse for doing nothing.

There must be a way for us to improve the adoption environment without sacrificing safeguards and child welfare. We need to focus on getting kids safely out of institutions, in part by streamlining the time and cost of international adoption. If we can all agree that these children’s lives matter, then why aren’t we doing something to give them a better chance of realizing the dream of joining a loving family?

I share Craig’s frustration. Adoptions from Guatemala to the US closed in December 2007. Since that time, more than 300 cases remain unresolved, and thousands of children remain living in orphanages. And that’s just one country of hundreds.

Where is the leadership?


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.


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.