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News- Guatemala halts foreign adoptions

Off the BBC today, Guatemala halts foreign adoptions.

The authorities in Guatemala have suspended the adoption of some 2,300 children by foreigners for at least a month to check for irregularities.

The government had been under pressure to curb a controversial trade where intermediaries could be paid thousands of dollars to arrange an adoption.

Guatemala’s attorney general, Baudilio Portillo, said the cases being put on hold were already in the system before the new legislation took effect.

Mr Portillo said the cases would be checked “one by one” to see if the children being offered up for adoption were really the offspring of the parents whose names appeared on documents supplied by private lawyers.

If there were any doubts, DNA tests would be carried out.

The attorney general’s move was prompted by concern expressed by Guatemalan legislators and the newly created National Adoption Council over possible anomalies and manipulation of DNA results in some cases.

Unfortunately, even in cases where the DNA tests are accurate, DNA tests are no measure of genuine consent, and no measure of whether or not the biological parents were paid for the child.

But for what it’s worth, I’m very pleased to see this case by case review, because as recently as last November, I was deeply concerned these adoptions were simply going to go forward without any detailed investigation. You can see my earlier frustrated blogging on Guatemala titled “The post I can’t write- Guatemala” where I said:

This is where my post on the unfolding Guatemalan adoption disaster was going to appear. But that’s not what you’re going to get. The more I dug into Guatemalan adoptions, the more I researched the personalities, structures, and organizations at the center of the firestorm was the more I knew I could never write the real post.

My personal opinion: I’ve become convinced Guatemala is being used as nothing short of a baby farming system.

I had just spent several days doing research on what all had been happening, and while there was much I would have like to have put in that post, mere allegations are not enough. A careful investigation was what was going to be really necessary, and at the time, it appeared such was unlikely.

It’s a mess, so to no small degree I’m glad to see Guatemala’s attorney general had the good sense to hit the pause button and decided to give it the careful scrutiny that is so desperately needed.

No doubt there are plenty of people who disagree with me on this. But as I said in my earlier post- rather than learning from history, some prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) appear not to give a damn whether the kid they are adopting was kidnapped, sold etc, OR are in deep denial that such could happen to them, not them, not their agency. When the sad fact of the matter is these tactics are far more widespread than anyone wants to come right out and admit.

The screaming is already well underway, the endless mantra of “I want what I want and I want it right NOW!”, or, to paraphrase, ‘I’ve already paid so much, I’m already so invested, I want what I paid for, how dare anyone stand in my way!’

Which, while not representative of ALL PAPs, is clearly representative of a noisy segment of said population ( We were treated so a small taste of such at the Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference‘s Guatemala Forum last Autumn.)

For the kids’ sakes, I can only hope the circumstances, whatever they may be, come to light quickly.

Considering what I’ve found in my research on Guatemalan adoptions, allow me to add, I hope any(/the) perpetrators and their crimes also come to light quickly and are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.

One Response to “News- Guatemala halts foreign adoptions”

  1. Baby Love Child Says:

    Also be sure to check out the sidebar on the BBC story, particularly background links to older stories such as Guatemala adoptions: a baby trade? (while bearing in mind that people like Susana Luarca are well worth the google. Personally, I wouldn’t trust her to feed a goldfish, much less handle a Guatemalan adoption.)

    As the “Baby Trade” piece points out so clearly, dire poverty is at the core of such much of the adoption trade. No amount of DNA tests are going to expose how the grinding poverty that keeps a womyn from being able to feed her child and thus sells the child into adoption instead, does not equate to authentic ‘uncoerced’ consent.

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